Whistler, British Columbia— During the meeting co-hosted by the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blac kburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, and the Honourable Michael de Jong, the British Columbia Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services and Government House Leader, the Ministers adopted a joint statement emphasizing the importance and benefits that healthy wor kplaces bring to Canadian society.
Promoting a safe and healthy wor kplace was one of a number of issues Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for Labour discussed at their annual meeting, which wraps up today.
A safe and healthy workplace is a productive workplace where the adoption of reasonable and cost-effective policies and practices allow workers to perform at their best in an environment that promotes good mental and physical health.
“I’m pleased that together we are moving this agenda forward,” said Minister Blackburn. “A healthy workplace is good for workers, their families, employers and the economy. We see the benefits of good workplace practices through lower absenteeism, higher productivity and lower health-related costs to employers and governments.”
“Workplace safety takes on special significance, especially in B.C.’s forest sector,” said Minister de Jong. “The risks can never be fully eliminated from dangerous jobs, but there are numerous safety initiatives underway and there is a move to change the culture so that unsafe is unacceptable. Everyone involved in this industry, and all other sectors, needs to take an active role in promoting safer work practices.”
Ministers pledged, according to their own governmental priorities, to promote safe and healthy wor kplaces through consultation, research, information sharing, and cooperation and collaboration on joint projects among jurisdictions when appropriate. In addition, Ministers emphasized that a change in the wor kplace culture is at the core of creating safe and healthy wor kplaces and will encourage employers, workers and unions to loo k at innovative policies and practices to ma ke these changes possible.
Finally, related to the Wor kplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS), Ministers agreed to loo k at federal-provincial-territorial efforts to harmonize their statutes and regulations with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) as recommended by the United Nations. Li ke the WHMIS, the GHS is a systematic approach to defining and classifying hazards, and communicating health and safety information on labels and material safety data sheets, but broader in scope.
Regarding other matters, Ministers discussed issues concerning vulnerable wor kers and non-standard employment, such as part-time work, job sharing and weekend and overnight shifts. Vulnerable wor kers are often found in low paying full-time jobs, part-time jobs, casual or contract work.
The Ministers responsible for Labour meet every year to share experiences and promote cooperation among labour jurisdictions in Canada. Throughout the year, ongoing work continues through the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation.
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Please see attached a Joint Statement on Healthy Workplaces
For more information:
Office of the Minister of Labour and
Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
Office of the British Columbia Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services and
Government House Leader
Public Affairs Bureau