Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

April 30, 2009 10:34 ET

Minister of Labour Reminds Employers of Their Occupational Health and Safety Obligations

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 30, 2009) - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Labour, today issued a bulletin to all federally regulated employers to remind them of their obligations under the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations concerning health and safety measures in the workplace. This responsibility includes responding to new or evolving situations that may pose a risk to workers.

"I want to remind Canadian employers concerned about the human swine influenza situation to continue monitoring the information and advice provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and take appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of employees in the workplace," said Minister Ambrose. "The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with provincial and territorial labour departments to protect the health and safety of Canadian workers."

For further questions about this virus, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada websites www.phac-aspc.gc.ca and www.fightflu.ca to get more information. You can also call the general enquiry hotline at 1-800-454-8302.

A copy of the bulletin to employers is attached.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


Labour Program Bulletin: Human Swine Influenza

As you know, cases of human swine influenza have been reported in Canada, Mexico, the United States, and elsewhere. While there have been relatively few cases in Canada, some businesses and workers have raised concerns about occupational health and safety.

Employers under the Canada Labour Code, Part II are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of their employees in their workplaces. Part XIX of the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations requires that employers develop, implement, and monitor a program for the prevention of hazards in the workplace. This responsibility includes responding to new or evolving situations that may pose a risk to workers.

In the event that a worker expresses concerns or refuses to work because of perceived workplace hazards, an employer must endeavour to deal with the matter internally. Should a refusal to work prove impossible to resolve internally, the Labour Program must be informed by the employer. In such a situation, a Health and Safety Officer will investigate and issue a decision on whether a danger exists and if it does, what protective measures should be taken.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is the key national contact responsible for tracking any pandemic influenza developments and will share information with Canadians as it becomes available. Employers and employees are encouraged to monitor the information and advice that is being provided by PHAC on its main website (phac-aspc.gc.ca) and its "Fight Flu" site (fightflu.ca). Additional information related specifically to workplace health and safety matters can be obtained from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (ccohs-cchst.ca).

If you would like further guidance regarding your obligations under the Code, please contact the Labour Program office nearest you. Office locations and other information can be found on the Labour Program website: www.labour.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Ambrose
    Jonah Mozeson
    819-953-5646
    or
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559