Health and safety at work: the Québec late, believes Jean Boulet

Santé et sécurité au travail: le Québec en retard, croit Jean Boulet

The laws on health and safety at work have a great need to be dusted off. While he was a “precursor” 40 years ago, Quebec is now late, judge the minister of Labour Jean Boulet.

“It is clearly in the back of the other schemes when one compares with what is done elsewhere,” says Mr. Boulet in an interview to the Sun. Particularly in the other canadian provinces.

The one who worked until recently as a lawyer in labour law has been able to observe the deficiencies of the quebec laws adopted in 1979 and 1985, which have never been reviewed in-depth since. “By practicing, advocating, I have been conscious of the importance of modernizing our laws.”

Mr. Boulet has decided to make this issue a priority of his mandate. He hopes to be able to introduce a bill in full next fall.

For example, the current law is not so concerned with the problems of mental health of workers. The emphasis is more on physical health problems. “The phenomenon of psychological harassment in the workplace, it is necessary that our laws relating to the prevention and compensation into account,” says Mr. Ball.

The ergonomics and work environments have also changed significantly in the past 40 years. So well that some occupational diseases have almost disappeared, while new ones have appeared. “We need to review the priority areas, because our labour market is in constant mutation.”

Mr. Boulet has some specific ideas of what he would like to improve, but it does not advance too much, in order not to create “expectations” in relation to a professional body or to another. The advisory Committee of labour and the labour has already delivered recommendations in 2017, of which Mr. Boulet account is inspiring, because they reflect “a certain consensus” between employers and employees.

“The desire to” go to the end

In 2012, the ex-minister of Labour Lise Thériault had attempted to modernize these laws, without success. The visions of the bosses and the unions were very different, and the bill eventually died on the order paper.

Mr. Boulet said to have the will to go all the way this time. “I don’t want to alert, but there is a need to act.” And to counter the current shortage of labour, is better that the employees are not victims of an accident, or may not be sick for a long time. “You really must see it as a win-win.”

In Quebec, despite the many prevention campaigns, the number of deaths, accidents at work and occupational diseases is on the rise. According to a report of the Committee on standards of equity, fairness, and the health and safety at work (CNESST), there were 230 work-related deaths in 2017, an increase of 20 % compared to 2013. In 2017, 96 135 Quebec have been victims of a work accident or have suffered an occupational disease, an increase of 8 % compared to 2013.

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NO CHANGE FOR THE 65 YEARS AND OVER

The minister of Labour Jean Boulet does not mimic the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), which is committed last week to address the problem of road accident victims, who see their revenues decline drastically after age 65.

According to him, workers injured on the job are “not really penalized,” even if just as road accident victims, they see their income replacement benefits be reduced by 25 % each year beginning at age 65, no more touching at all at the age of 68.

“These people can receive their pension in a progressive way from this age. They have access to sources of new revenue”, argues Mr. Ball.

He adds that Quebec is the only province in the country where those who become disabled following a work accident are exempt, so that the retirement annuity of the worker accumulates as if it were still at work.

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