Canada: La Cour suprême du Canada confirme que le devoir d'accommodement garanti par la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne du Québec s'applique aux accidentés du travail

Le 1er février 2018, la Cour suprême du Canada1 a confirmé la décision de la Cour d'appel du Québec, rendue le 15 juin 2015, à l'effet que les dispositions de la Loi sur les accidents du travail et les maladies professionnelles (la « LATMP ») concernant la réadaptation d'un travailleur et son droit de retour en poste doivent s'interpréter à la lumière de la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne du Québec (la « Charte »).

La LATMP prévoit un régime complet d'indemnisation pour les accidentés du travail, mais n'impose expressément à l'employeur aucune obligation d'accommoder ces accidentés. Cependant, la Cour suprême a confirmé que l'obligation d'accommodement constitue l'un des principes centraux de la Charte et qu'elle doit donc nécessairement s'appliquer aux dispositions de la LATMP. La Cour suprême adhère au principe que toutes les lois doivent être interprétées à la lumière de la Charte.

Les employeurs devront donc continuer à appliquer leurs pratiques établies depuis juillet 2015 et effectuer un exercice d'accommodement dans le cadre du retour au travail d'un travailleur porteur de limitations fonctionnelles suite à une lésion professionnelle. L'employeur conserve donc l'obligation d'adapter et d'aménager le poste de travail et/ou les tâches d'un travailleur ayant subi une lésion professionnelle, à moins que ces modifications ne lui entrainent une contrainte excessive.

En ce qui concerne l'obligation d'accommodement de l'employeur, nous vous rappelons que l'employeur n'est pas tenu de démontrer qu'il est dans l'impossibilité d'accommoder le travailleur, mais plutôt qu'aucune solution de rechange raisonnable ou pratique n'est possible dans les circonstances. Bien évidemment, cette obligation s'arrête à la contrainte excessive, mais il n'en demeure pas moins que l'employeur doive tout de même supporter une certaine contrainte.

Quant à la Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (la « CNESST »), elle devra de son côté continuer de s'assurer que les employeurs aient déployé des efforts afin de tenter d'accommoder un travailleur capable de revenir au travail, et ce, jusqu'à la limite de la contrainte excessive.

Enfin, il convient également de mentionner que le tribunal administratif du travail, division santé et sécurité du travail (le « TAT »), conserve également sa compétence afin de déterminer si l'employeur a rempli son obligation d'accommodement envers un travailleur qui est de retour au travail suite à une lésion professionnelle, avant d'en venir à la conclusion qu'il n'a aucun emploi convenable pour le travailleur au sein de son entreprise.

Conseils pratiques

Nous réitérons donc les conseils pratiques que nous avions émis lors de la sortie de la décision de la Cour d'appel en juin 2015 :

  • Se livrer à un exercice d'accommodement lorsque le travailleur accidenté entreprend sa réadaptation : ne pas se contenter d'affirmer qu'aucun emploi convenable n'est disponible sans vérification préalable;
  • Proposer à la CNESST, lorsqu'elle se livre à l'analyse de l'emploi pré-lésionnel, d'évaluer également d'autres postes disponibles qui pourraient potentiellement correspondre aux limitations fonctionnelles identifiées;
  • Conserver et mettre à jour, lorsque disponible, une analyse ergonomique des exigences de chaque poste afin d'être en mesure de présenter plusieurs options ou d'anticiper la présence d'une contrainte excessive;
  • À l'approche de l'expiration du délai de retour au travail, rassembler l'information médicale complète à jour afin d'évaluer si ce droit de retour pourra être exercé prochainement et quel est le pronostic de la lésion;
  • En milieu syndiqué, impliquer le syndicat dans la recherche de solutions, puisqu'il a lui aussi un devoir de collaboration en matière d'accommodement.

Footnotes

Québec (Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail) c. Caron, 2018 CSC 3.

2 Poirier, Katherine, «  Lésion professionnelle : un exercice d'accommodement s'impose dorénavant en faveur d'un travailleur accidenté », 13 juillet 2015

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