Home Workplace News Meeting of the ministers: Collaborative efforts in labour policy aims to enhance workplace compliance, safety

Meeting of the ministers: Collaborative efforts in labour policy aims to enhance workplace compliance, safety

by HR Law Canada

Recent developments in Canadian labour policy spotlight the concerted efforts by federal, provincial, and territorial labour ministers to tackle key issues in workplace safety and legal compliance.

Hosted by Seamus O’Regan Jr., federal Minister of Labour and Seniors, alongside Harry Bains, Minister of Labour for British Columbia, the meeting in Richmond, B.C., on April 5 addressed several pivotal areas including the harmonization of occupational health and safety standards and labour laws.

A central topic of discussion was the alignment with the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, ILO C155, dating back to 1981, which Canada has yet to ratify. This review aligns with the broader international movement towards recognizing a safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental worker’s right, as underscored by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2022.

The adequacy and suitability of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially for women, emerged as a significant concern. Ill-fitting PPE not only poses severe safety risks but also serves as a barrier to gender inclusivity in trades and other fields. This issue has prompted plans for collaborative engagement with PPE manufacturers, aiming to develop solutions that ensure safety and inclusivity across all demographics.

Additionally, the meeting explored the regulatory challenges posed by gig work and other non-traditional employment forms. As this sector grows, it necessitates adaptive legal frameworks that can effectively safeguard gig workers under evolving work conditions.

Key legal strategies for managing labour disputes were also on the agenda, including the establishment of fair essential service levels and policies regarding the use of replacement workers during strikes or lockouts. Minister O’Regan highlighted the strategic importance of these discussions, stating, “Governments get more done when we work together. That’s what businesses and workers expect, and that’s what happened here today.”

Minister Bains reinforced the commitment to maintaining robust employment standards, emphasizing, “Working people across Canada are entitled to fair working conditions. We rely on our labour laws, employment standards and the workers’ compensation systems to ensure appropriate rules are in place. The labour ministers’ meeting was a chance to compare best practices and discuss ways to keep up with the needs of our changing workplaces.”

The gathering concluded with a reaffirmed commitment to ongoing collaboration, aimed at bolstering fair, safe, and inclusive labour policies. For HR and legal professionals, these developments signal significant future considerations in workplace law and employee safety regulations, emphasizing a proactive approach to compliance and equitable work conditions across Canada.

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