Proposed changes to Alberta's Occupational Health and
Safety Code (Code) are now available for viewing and feedback
The Code applies to most employers in Alberta. Over the last few
years, the Government of Alberta has conducted a review of the Code
and solicited feedback on areas in want of revision.
It is now possible to read the proposed changes and comment on
them. From now until January 31, 2015, respondents can choose which
parts of the Code they want to provide feedback on, vote to either
accept or reject the proposed change and provide comments. To
prepare for changes to the Code and to voice concerns, Alberta
employers should consider the extent to which their own
occupational health and safety programs might be impacted by the
The proposed changes are extensive. However, three parts deserve
Part 37, Oil and Gas Operations. This part
includes proposed changes requiring an employer to ensure that,
where applicable and appropriate, work in oil and gas operations is
performed in accordance with the requirements of the relevant
Industry Recommended Practices.
Part 29, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information
System. This part will likely undergo several changes to
align the Code with revised federal legislation.
The Alberta government has promised to "consider all
feedback and finalize recommendations," which will be
forwarded to the Occupational Health and Safety Council for review,
and then to Minister Ric McIver, who will consider adopting the
changes into law. The process is expected to be complete by the end
of 2015. However, a grace period is being considered to provide
employers and workers with an opportunity to comply with any
changes to the Code.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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