The Health and Safety committee issued this bulletin previously in 2018 and we think it is important in this time to remind our members of their right to not only refuse dangerous work but more importantly to ask questions and seek solutions as soon as they feel the need.
With regards to the countless reports concerning grooming, no masks, no gloves and limited wipes, we remind you that the company has committed to boarding these and you have the power to request that these items be boarded prior to departure. Operations should not take precedence over the receipt of these precautionary and required tools that are there for your safety and the safety of our passengers.
Please continue to report any issues with the above through the proper Air Canada reporting channels as well as a copy to your Union.
The Three Fundamental Health & Safety Rights
The Canada Labour Code Part II provides three fundamental rights to all employees covered by federal health and safety legislation. The law also protects employees from discipline when exercising their safety rights and/or duties as long as they act in good faith. This applies to all employees regardless of any probationary period.
Remember these three rights. They’ll keep you and your colleagues safe when put to practice.
1. The right to know
Never feel silly to ask a question. It is your legal right to know about anything that could affect your health & safety in the workplace.
The Federal Labour Program explains it like this:
Through the provisions of the Code, employees have the right to be informed of known or foreseeable hazards in the work place and to be provided with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to protect their health and safety.
This right to know is strengthened by ensuring that the methods of communication are appropriate for all employees, including employees with special needs.
Through their health and safety committees or representatives, employees are given the right to have access to government or employer reports relating to the health and safety of employees, but do not have access to medical records of any person except with that person’s consent.
2. The right to participate
You participate by filing reports, health and safety complaints, and by being present for all elements of an investigation in a work refusal. You also participate by following the standard operating procedures provided by the company, which are intended to promote safety in the workplace. If you choose to refer a health and safety complaint to your local workplace health & safety committee, your Union representatives then participate on your behalf.
Remember that it is both your right and also your duty to participate by reporting all hazards, potential hazards and accidents/occupational illnesses to the company. It is much harder for the company to inform employees of hazards and for it to eliminate them, and for health and safety committees to do their work if they aren’t reported!
3. The right to refuse dangerous work.
Under the Canada Labour Code Part II, employees have the right to refuse dangerous work without risking or losing their wages and without fear of discipline as long as the refusal is made in good faith, and subject to certain conditions including measures to prevent placing other people at risk.
The Union issued a bulletin on the topic including what danger is and when, and how you can exercise your right.
Your Air Canada Component of CUPE Health and Safety Committee