Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

October 15, 2007 09:15 ET

Minister Blackburn Announces New Ergonomics Provisions

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2007) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today announced proposed amendments to regulations under the Canada Labour Code to prevent occupational injuries due to hazards arising from poor ergonomics in federally regulated workplaces. The announcement was made at the 38th Annual Conference of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists in Toronto.

"Our workplaces are evolving and so are the health and safety challenges that workers are facing today," said Minister Blackburn. "Technological changes in the workplace have created new hazards for workers, including an increased incidence of musculoskeletal injuries such as tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and back injuries. The proposed amendments will help to prevent and reduce these types of injuries."

It is estimated that musculoskeletal injuries constitute about one third of all work-related injuries, and that applies to federally regulated workplaces as well.

Amendments are proposed to the Hazard Prevention Program Regulations to modify the requirement for hazard identification and management in order to include hazards related to poor workplace ergonomics. As a result, employers, in consultation with workplace committees, are obliged to identify and assess these particular workplace hazards, implement preventive measures to protect the employees, and educate and train employees in the safe performance of their work.

"The proposed requirements have been developed in partnership with employer and employee representatives," added Minister Blackburn. "Safety regulations such as these help to reduce work-related injuries, benefit Canadians by promoting safer workplaces and allow for greater economic productivity."

The Labour Program of Human Resources and Social Development Canada develops, administers and enforces legislation and regulations related to the workplace, including the Canada Labour Code. Part II of the Canada Labour Code deals with occupational health and safety in the workplace affecting private and public sector workers under federal jurisdiction. Federally regulated employees covered under Part II include the Public Service, Crown corporations, and international and interprovincial transportation industries, banking, broadcasting, uranium mining, ports and shipping, and telecommunications.

The proposed amendments were published in Part I of the Canada Gazette on June 23, 2007. Interested parties had 75 days to submit comments to the Labour Program. It is anticipated that the proposed amendments will be published in Part II of the Canada Gazette in the fall, at which time they will become effective.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Blackburn
    Andrea Kent
    Director, Communications
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office