During its last budget speech, the Quebec government signalled
its intention to shortly table a bill to reorganize various labour
boards, with the changes to take effect on January 1st,
This initiative will involve the consolidation into one entity,
to be called the Commission des droits et de la santé et
de la sécurité du travail, of the Current
Pay-Equity Board (Commission sur l'équité
salariale), Labour Standards Board (Commission des normes
du travail) and the CSST, the Occupational Health and Safety
Board (Commission de la santé et de la
sécurité du travail).
These are major changes, as the CSST, which was originally
called the Commission des accidents de travail, has
existed autonomously since 1928. Its board of directors has joint
labour/management representation, its members appointed by both
employer and union associations, whereas the pay-equity board and
the labour standards board have quite different boards of
directors. On the administrative level, the roles of each of these
entities are also very different, as the CSST is a quasi insurer
with a prevention mandate, while the two others play a more direct
role in furthering the intent of the legislature, namely ensuring
equal treatment of female and male workers, and that basic labour
standards are respected.
The personnel of these three entities are moreover very
specialized, and it will be important to ensure that that degree of
specialization is retained. For example, a rehabilitation worker at
the CSST performs an entirely different function than a pay-equity
analyst. On the funding level, the CSST is financed exclusively by
employers, and its compensation fund amounting to several billion
dollars deposited with the Caisse de dépôt et de
placement du Québec, belongs to the employers, and not
to the government.
While the idea of consolidating these entities seems prima facie
to be sound policy, it is far from certain that the desired results
will be achieved in practice. Only time will tell.
The budget speech also announced the consolidation of the Labour
Relations Board (Commission des relations de travail) with
the Occupational Illness and Injuries Board (Commission des
lésions professionnelles) into a single entity to be
called the Tribunal administratif en matière de
travail. This in a way is a partial revival of a bill to
consolidate administrative tribunals tabled in the early 2000s by
then Justice Minister Marc Bellemare, which died on the order
paper. Several studies at the time concluded that it would be
preferable to consolidate all administrative tribunals under one
roof, particularly in order to harmonize the various rules of
procedure and evidence.
It appears that the proposed reform will do away with joint
labour/management representation on the board of the occupational
illness and injuries board.
On another note, the CSST has just released its financial
statements for 2014. The capitalization level of its indemnity fund
is at 104.5%, meaning that the CSST has $1.04 for every dollar of
exposure. Its financial situation is thus excellent.
On still another note, on March 17th, 2015, the
Minister of labour, employment and social solidarity, Mr. Sam
Hamad, asked the chair of the consultative committee on labour and
employment matters to submit to him, by June 30th, 2015,
on the basis of a 2011 report prepared jointly by employers, unions
and the CSST (the Camiré Report) recommendations and
proposals for legislative amendments aimed at modernizing the
health and occupational safety regime. To be continued ...
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