Advisory Circulars

Commercial & Business Aviation

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

Subject:  6. Work Place Health and Safety Committees
(section 135)

AMENDED CODE EXPLANATION/APPLICATION
135.(1) For the purposes of addressing health and safety matters that apply to individual work places,...every employer shall, for each work place controlled by the employer at which twenty or more employees are normally employed, establish a work place health and safety committee... Every work place with 20 or more employees is required to have a "work place committee" (formerly known as the safety and health committee). A company that has many work places where 20 or more employees work at one time, (as is the case of air operators who have multiple bases) must have a work place committee for each work place. This committee enjoys the same powers as the policy committee, when there is no policy committee, with some very important additions. Even though the aircraft is considered as the "work place" of aircrew, a work place committee does not have to be established. Aircrew (pilots and flight attendants mainly) may be represented in a work place committee at the operations base.
(7)(c) where the program referred to in paragraph 134.1(4)(c) does not cover certain hazards unique to a work place, shall participate in the development, implementation and monitoring of a program for the prevention of those hazards, that also provides for the education of employees in health and safety matters related to those hazards; Work place committees are required to advise on the implementation and monitoring of prevention programs for hazards unique to their work places. The work place committee develops programs for activities unique to that specific work place.
(d) where there is no policy committee, shall participate in the development, implementation 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 related to those hazards; This duty is normally fulfilled by the policy committee, but in companies where there is no policy committee, the work place committee will assume the responsibility.
(e) shall participate in all of the inquiries, investigations, studies and inspections pertaining to the health and safety of the employees, including any consultations that may be necessary with persons who are professionally or technically qualified to advise the committee on those matters; Policy committees may choose to participate in inquiries, investigations, studies and inspections, but work place committees are required to do so.
(f) shall participate in the implementation and monitoring of a program for the provision of personal protective equipment, clothing, devices or materials and, where there is no policy committee, shall participate in the development of the program; The work place committee participates in the implementation and monitoring of programs for the provision of personal protective equipment, clothing, devices or materials developed by the policy committee. However, when there is no policy committee, it will participate in the development of such programs.
(g) shall ensure that adequate records are maintained on work accidents, injuries and health hazards related to the health and safety of employees and regularly monitor data relating to those accidents, injuries and hazards; Work place committees do not maintain records but are required to ensure that the employer is keeping such records.
(h) shall cooperate with health and safety officers; Again in this context, we are referring to CASI-OH&S.
(i) shall participate in the implementation of changes that may affect occupational health and safety, including work processes and procedures and where there is no policy committee, shall participate in the planning of the implementation of those changes; Work place committees are to participate in the activities stipulated in this clause and carry out functions normally carried out by the policy committee where none exists, as mentioned earlier.
(j) shall assist the employer in investigating and assessing the exposure of employees to hazardous substances; Work place committees are to help in the investigation and assessment of exposure of employees to hazardous substances.
(k) shall inspect each month all or part of the work place, so that every part of the work place is inspected at least once each year; and One of the work place committee's major additional duties is to inspect each month all or part of the work place so that every part of the work place is inspected at least once a year. The objective of these inspections is to ensure the health and safety of employees at all times. Since aircraft are also considered as "work places" pursuant to the Code, they are governed by this provision. Aviation companies with a large fleet of aircraft will need to establish an inspection schedule based on a risk assessment and the availability of resources.
(l) where there is no policy committee, shall participate in the development of health and safety policies and programs. Again, where there is no policy committee, the work place committee will assume the responsibility of participating in the development of health and safety policies and programs.
(8) A work place committee, in respect of the work place for which it is established may request from an employer any information that the committee considers necessary to identify existing or potential hazards with respect to materials, processes, equipment or activities. This is standard authority for identifying hazards specific to the work place.
(9) A work place committee, in respect of the work place for which it is established shall have full access to all government and employer reports, studies and tests relating to the health and safety of the employees, 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 provision gives work place committees full access to government and employer reports, studies and tests relating to the health and safety of employees represented by that committee.
(10) A work place committee shall meet during regular working hours at least nine times a year at regular intervals 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. In the former Code, work place committees had to meet at least twelve times a year. The new requirement is to meet at least nine times a year at regular intervals. This offers more flexibility to companies whose operations slow down during a certain time of the year.
 
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