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Mar 26, 2004

Safety legislation subject to consultation

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It’s a process that started in 1999, and today the Ministry of Labour completed a series of nationwide consultations designed to formulate new legislation regarding health and occupational safety for the country’s workforce. Author of the draft legislation, Canadian Consultant Doctor Shal Gewurtz, today sat down with over fifty representatives of workers, employers, and government to look at how the new law will work and make suggestions on how to make it comprehensive enough to address conditions in today’s work place. National Facilitator for the Regional Centre for Occupational Safety and Health, Tim Palacio, says feedback so far indicates that new legislation is long overdue.

Tim Palacio, National Facilitator, CERSSO

“Everyone agrees that we need to repeal the Factories Act that is of 1942 vintage, seventy years old and certainly the environment has changed dramatically. And so they are in agreement that what we are doing is extremely important so that safety in the workplace becomes more of a priority based on the environment of today.”

Patrick Jones

“Why do we need a law for occupational safety?”

Timothy Palacio

“Well nobody goes to work expecting to either get maimed or injured or hurt in the workplace. Of course when that happens, all people look at is Social Security Board for benefits. Well no feedback is given to the Ministry involved so as to try and prevent the accidents from happening again. It’s important for us to be able to close that loop so that we look at the side of prevention of the accidents before they happen, we look at near misses, estimate those and try and see how we can prevent those from happening, as well as trying to see how we can rationalize the claims that are currently being paid out by Social Security Board to minimise them so that the country will benefit on a whole.”

Doctor Gewurtz expects to return the draft legislation, including suggestions coming out of today’s workshop, to the Ministry of Labour in early May. After this Minister Marcial Mes will take it to Cabinet for consideration.

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