OHS Insider Month in Review – October 2017: Alberta

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LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

Workplace Safety
Oct. 16: Phase 1 of Alberta OHS reform with the end of public comments. The MOL will now review comments on its preliminary plan and propose a bill by year’s end. Changes on the table:

  • Expand powers of OHS officers to issue stop work orders and tickets
  • Require employers to provide notification of new projects
  • Give workers stronger protections against reprisals
  • Establish special new protections for young workers
  • Make employers do more to prevent occupational illnesses
  • Revise the COR/PIR program.

Workers’ Compensation
Oct.: Alberta employers should also brace themselves for a workers comp reform bill. Key recommendations of the review panel report:

  • Make return-to-work mandatory for injured/ill workers
  • Create a new independent office to ensure fairness of the WBC process
  • More assistance workers and employers seeking appeals and reviews
  • More physician choices for injured workers
  • Identify and fix current benefits policies that are unfair to workers.

Drugs & Alcohol
Oct. 27: Managing workplace cannabis use is one of the issues being addressed during the public hearings on how Alberta should implement legalized cannabis that close today. While legalizing cannabis is a federal initiative, each jurisdiction has to create its own regulatory plan for putting it into effect within their own boundaries.