The federal government has announced certain amendments to the
federal Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
legislation which covers suppliers of hazardous chemicals in
Canada. The purpose of the amendments is to align with the Globally
Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals
(GHS). The GHS is being adopted by countries around the world and
provides a consistent international system for chemical
classification and labelling.
While the amendments came into force February 11, 2015, there
will be a transition period during which suppliers can comply with
either the old WHMIS system (WHMIS 1988) or the new WHMIS system
Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Code, 2009
(OHS Code), Part 29 contains the applicable WHMIS requirements for
employers and workers in Alberta and is in the process of being
amended to align with the federal legislation and the GHS. It is
anticipated that there will also be a transition period during
which Alberta employers can comply with either or both WHMIS
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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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