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BC Employers Subject to New Requirements Regarding Joint Health and Safety Committees and Worker Health and Safety Representatives

WorkSafeBC has approved the addition of the following three new sections to the
Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) relating to Joint Committees and
Worker Representatives:

  1. Section 3.26 - Evaluation of Joint Committees - Employers must undertake an
    annual evaluation of each of their Joint Committee(s) to examine its effectiveness and
    identify possible improvement. The evaluation must be conducted by either the cochairs,
    the employer, or a person retained by the employer, but in all cases input from
    the co-chairs is required. The evaluation must include at minimum consideration of the
    topics identified in section 3.26(3). The results of the evaluation must be discussed by
    the Joint Committee and any comments or feedback must be incorporated into the final
    evaluation report.
  2. Section 3.27 - Minimum Training Requirements - Employers must provide new
    Joint Committee members must receive at least 8 hours of instruction and training,
    while new worker health and safety representatives must receive at least 4 hours. All
    training and instruction must take place as soon as practicable but not more than 6
    months after being selected and must at minimum include the topics listed in section
    3.27. Time spent undertaking this training and instruction must be paid by the
    employer and is in addition to the 8 hour entitlement of education leave provided for in
    section 135 of the Act. The requirements apply to individuals selected to be on the
    Joint Committee on or after April 3, 2017, but there are exceptions for people who
    were previously on the Joint Committee or who have already received the training.
  3. Section 3.28 - Participation in Incident Investigations - WorkSafeBC has clarified
    the role of employer and worker representatives in the employer's fulfillment of its
    preliminary and full incident investigations. More specifically, section 3.28 provides that
    the "participation" of employer and worker representatives includes, but is not limited

    • assisting the persons carrying out the investigation with gathering information
    relating to the investigation;
    • assisting the persons carrying out the investigation with analyzing the information
    gathered; and
    • assisting the persons carrying out the investigation with identifying any corrective
    actions necessary to prevent reoccurrence of similar incidents.

Client are encouraged to review their internal policies and practices around Joint Committees
and Worker Representatives and revise as necessary to ensure they will be compliant with the
new requirements which come into force on April 3, 2017. Employers failing to comply with the
requirements could face non-compliance orders and in some cases, financial penalties.


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Lawson Lundell's Labour and Employment Blog provides updates on the most recent legal  developments impacting the Canadian workplace and offers practical tips for employers. We cover a range of topics, including labour relations, employment law, collective bargaining, human rights, employment standards, employment equity, workers' compensation, business immigration, privacy, occupational health and safety and pensions and employee benefits. 




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