253749 Health and safety lessons from north of the 49th

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 3:10 PM

Dorothy Wigmore , Occupational hygienist/ergonomist and educator, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Canadian health and safety laws often are held out as examples for American workers, their unions and legislators. Influenced by Scandinavian and United Kingdom principles and approaches, governments installed a trinity of workers' rights -- to know, participate and refuse -- that reflected many items on the wish lists of provincial and federal labour movements. The promise has not lived up to its billing, ebbing and flowing since the first comprehensive law passed in Saskatchewan in 1972. Recent inclusion of “violence” and “psychological harassment” took the laws into the territory of workplace stressors. However, Canada has one of the highest rates of work-related deaths in the industrial world and longstanding hazards still are common. Barriers to significant change include lack of power for joint health and safety committees, little creativity in using current laws and poor enforcement.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe basic government protections for workers in Canada. Describe some of the reasons why Canada’s health and safety laws have failed to protect workers.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Canadian and have worked with and for the labour movement for more than 30 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.