OHS Insider Month in Review – November 2017: New Brunswick

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LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

Workplace Violence
Oct. 20: Consultations are underway on a plan to make workplace violence prevention an express duty under OHS laws. The goal: Finalize regulations by April 28, the National Day of Mourning. Along with Québec and Yukon, New Brunswick is the only jurisdiction in Canada without specific workplace violence requirements in its OHS laws—although the employer’s obligation to prevent violence in the workplace is implied under the general duty clause of the OHS Act.

Workers’ Compensation
Dec. 7: That’s the deadline to provide feedback on a government Task Force discussion paper reviewing the current fiscal condition, transparency and overall effectiveness of New Brunswick’s worker’s comp system. Meanwhile, WorkSafeNB is raising the average 2018 assessment rate 15%, from $1.48 to $1.70 per $100 of payroll. Rising claim costs necessitated the increase; reduced administrative costs kept it from being even higher.

Drugs & Alcohol
Nov. 1: Tough new penalties for impaired driving take effect, including:

  • Extension of the look-back period for a driver’s abstract from 7 to 10 years
  • Higher licence reinstatement fees
  • New vehicle impoundment program for impaired drivers
  • Mandatory alcohol interlock device installation
  • Authority of law enforcement to impose 24-hour roadside suspensions.

Traffic Safety
Oct. 26: Proposed Motor Vehicle Act changes would set standardized speed limits of 30 km per hour for municipal school zones and 50 km per hour for school zones in all other areas unless otherwise posted.

Workers’ Compensation—Policies
Nov. 10: Comments close on a pair of proposed WorkSafeNB policy revisions containing mostly minor changes:

Water Quality
Nov. 20: That’s the deadline to comment on the DOE’s newly proposed 10-year strategy for drinking water management and use.

Exotic Pets
Oct. 31: Anybody interested in keeping a scorpion or other exotic animal as a pet needs to be aware of the newly proposed legislation requiring a permit to possess, sell, display, import or release exotic pets in the interest of both public safety and conservation.