OHS Insider Month in Review – September 2017: Alberta

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LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

Workplace Safety
Oct. 16: Alberta’s OHS laws are in for a major overhaul and stage 1 in the process ends today when hearings close on an MOL discussion paper outlining potential changes, including:

  • Giving OHS officers greater powers to issue stop work orders and tickets
  • Requiring employers to provide notification of new projects
  • Beefing up workers’ protections against reprisals
  • Implementing special protections for young workers
  • Making employers do more to prevent occupational illnesses
  • Revising the COR/PIR program. 

Workers’ Compensation
Sept. 30: It’s not just the OHS laws. Alberta is also giving its worker comp system a total makeover. Comments have now closed on the review panel report recommendations. Highlights:

  • 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
Sept.: If you get busted for impaired driving in Alberta, your licence is suspended unless and until a court rules in your favor. At least that’s the way it used to work. But in May, the Alberta Court of Appeal struck down the rule as a violation of individual Charter rights. Rather than appeal, the government has decided to accept the decision and change the licence suspension rules. Now the government is holding hearings to figure out how. We’ll keep you apprised.