Advisory Circulars

Commercial & Business Aviation

OVERVIEW OF THE AMENDMENTS TO
PART II OF THE CANADA LABOUR CODE

Subject:  5. Policy Health and Safety Committees
(section 134)

AMENDED CODE EXPLANATION/APPLICATION
134.1(1) For the purposes of addressing health and safety matters that apply to the work, undertaking or business of an employer, every employer who normally employs directly three hundred or more employees shall establish a policy committee... One of the employer's additional duties is to establish a policy health and safety committee. As mentioned earlier, this committee must be established in companies that have 300 or more employees. It is formed at the corporate level to deal with health and safety matters for the well-being of the whole company.
(2) An employer who normally employs directly more than twenty but fewer than three hundred employees also may establish a policy committee. Nothing prevents a company with more than 20, but less than 300 employees, from establishing a policy committee. However, once established, they must adhere to this section of the Code.
(3) An employer may establish more than one policy committee with the agreement of
(a) the trade union, if any, representing the employees, and
(b) the employees, in the case of employees not represented by a trade union.
Large companies may also choose to establish more than one policy committee, for specialized groups of employees for example.
(4) A policy committee
(a) shall participate in the development of health and safety policies and programs;
The policy committee's principal role is to participate in the development of health and safety policies and programs with the employer at the corporate level.
(b) shall consider and expeditiously dispose of matters concerning health and safety raised by members of the committee or referred to it by a work place committee or a health and safety representative; Policy committees deal with corporate level issues as well as issues referred to it by a work place committee or health and safety representative.
(c) shall participate in the development and monitoring of a program for the prevention of hazards in the work place, that also provides for the education of employees in health and safety matters; Policy committees participate in the development and monitoring of a prescribed program for the prevention of hazards in the work place, including the education of employees in health and safety matters.
(d) shall participate to the extent that it considers necessary in inquiries, investigations, studies and inspections pertaining to occupational health and safety; Policy committees have the authority to participate in inquiries, investigations, etc.
(e) shall participate in the development and monitoring of a program for the provision of personal protective equipment, clothing, devices or materials; Policy committees also participate in the development and monitoring of programs for the provision of personal protective material.
(f) shall cooperate with health and safety officers; In Transport Canada, Civil Aviation, health and safety officers are called "Civil Aviation Safety Inspectors-Occupational Health and Safety" or "CASI-OH&S" for short.
(g) shall monitor data on work accidents, injuries and health hazards; and Policy committees are required to monitor data regarding work accidents, injuries and health hazards relating to the work places they represent.
(h) shall participate in the planning of the implementation and in the implementation of changes that may affect occupational health and safety, including work processes and procedures. Policy committees are required to participate in the planning of the implementation and implementation of changes in the work place. It is the employer's prerogative to initiate change. The change must have a health and safety dimension before the committee may participate.
(5) A policy committee may request from an employer any information that the committee considers necessary to identify existing or potential hazards with respect to materials, processes, equipment of activities in any of the employer's work places. Policy committees may request from the employer any information needed to identify hazards in the work place. The employer is obligated under the Code, in paragraph 125.(1)(z.18), to provide such information when it is requested.
(6) A policy committee shall have full access to all government and employer reports, studies and tests relating to the health and safety of the employees in the work place, or to the parts of those reports, studies and tests that relate to the health and safety of employees, but shall not have access to the medical records of any person except with the person's consent. This clause gives the policy committee full access to all government and employer reports, studies and tests relating to health and safety again under paragraph 125.(1)(z.18). However, it cannot have access to the medical records of employees without the employee's consent.
(7) A policy committee shall meet during regular working hours at least quarterly and, if other meetings are required as a result of an emergency or other special circumstances, the committee shall meet as required during regular working hours or outside those hours. It is mandatory for policy committees to meet at least quarterly, and as required to deal with any urgent or special matters.
 
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