I am concerned about occupational health and safety issues on returning to the workplace. How can I find out more about precautions that the employer has put in place? What can I do if I still feel unsafe about returning to the workplace?
The employer has an obligation to protect the health and safety of employees under section 240 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA), Part II of the Canadian Labour Code (CLC), and article 26 of the AJC-AJJ Collective Agreement.
The employer follows the guidance of Health Canada’s Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP), whose Occupational Health Advisory helps guide the response of departments and agencies to COVID-19 in their workplaces. In our view, this guidance may not always be sufficient in light of the aerosol transmission of the virus.
Section 128(1) of Part II of the CLC provides for the right to refuse work if you have reasonable cause to believe that a danger exists. Under section 122 (1) of the CLC, 'danger' means any hazard, condition or activity that could reasonably be expected to be an imminent or serious threat to the life or health of a person exposed to it before the hazard or condition can be corrected or the activity altered.
The AJC has continued to advocate for safe and healthy working conditions for our members throughout the pandemic. If you have any concerns about your health and safety on returning to the workplace, you should discuss them with your manager first. If you continue to have concerns, please contact your occupational health and safety representative, or regional GC Representative for advice and assistance or fill out our online intake form.