CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Workers' safety is number one concern

Date: June 1, 2007
Source: Cornwall Seaway News
Page: 14

Dear Editor,

I am pleased to respond to Roland Seguin’s letter, which appeared in the Seaway News on May 25, 2007 on the subject of Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) reprisals.

The health and safety of Ontario workers is a key priority of our government and the Ministry of Labour. Our Ministry continues to take strong, aggressive action to ensure that when Ontarians go off to work they come home safe and sound.

Under the OHSA workers have three basic rights:

• The right to participate. Workers have the right to be part of the process of identifying and resolving workplace health and safety concerns.

• The right to know. Workers have the right to know about any potential hazards to which they may be exposed.

• The right to refuse. Workers have the right to refuse work that they believe is dangerous to either their own health and safety or that of another worker. The OHSA describes the exact process for refusing dangerous work and the responsibilities of the employer in responding to
such a refusal.

Section 50 of the OHSA protects workers from reprisal by employers for exercising their rights under the act. If workers believe they have been the subject of a reprisal for exercising their rights under the OHSA, they can make a complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).

The OLRB is a respected, independent tribunal mandated to mediate and adjudicate a variety of labour and employment related matters.

If workers are unionized, they also have the option of filing a grievance under the collective agreement.

These means of resolving disputes related to reprisal allegations are well suited to deal with all of the issues, which often can be complex. The OLRB has broad powers to remedy an unlawful reprisal, including reinstatement if the worker’s employment has been terminated.

Our government is working to reduce workplace injuries by 20 percent through a comprehensive, integrated health and safety strategy using education, training, legislation/regulation and enforcement. Our goal is that by 2008, there will be 20,000 fewer lost-time injuries than would have otherwise occurred, and that this level will be maintained. Lost-time injuries are claims by workers who have lost wages by missing work as a result of a temporary or permanent work injury.

This strategy is being carried forward by our high-risk workplace initiative and the targeted inspection of priority firms. Importantly, this strategy is working. There have been 30,340 fewer lost-time injuries than would have otherwise occurred.

The health and safety of Ontario workers is our number
one concern. Creating safe, healthy workplaces benefits all Ontarians and the Ministry of Labour is playing its part.

Steve Peters, Minister of Labour


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