Reimagining Occupational Health & Safety in Quebec – AVETTA white paper
Bill 59 – The Background
Quebec’s workplace safety regulations were pending overhaul for almost four decades, until Quebec Labor Minister John Boulet introduced ‘Bill 59’ on October 27, 2020, officially referred to as the “Act to Modernize the Occupational Health and Safety Regime”.
This new bill is largely being seen as a modern rendition of the ‘Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety (AOHS)’ii and the ‘Act Respecting Industrial Accidents and Occupational Disease (AIAOD)’– a work-oriented injury and illness reparation plan. Both laws were enacted way back in 1979 and 1985 respectively and they were not extensively reviewed since their approval.
The mitigation of workplace risks is the core objective of this new bill. To explain the entire framework through which the regulatory reform would be executed, Jean Boulet stated – “The evolution of the labor market, the changes as to the nature of the risks associated with work and the need for a flexible and scalable system, modernization of the occupational health and safety system is essential.”
The minister stated that he expects by investing more in proactive prevention, the cost of paying out worker indemnities will significantly reduce. The workplace safety board of Canada, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) paid around USD 3.2 billion Canadian dollars in 2018 for 225 deaths and 103,406 claims of workplace injuries. On average, every working day around 251 workers suffer from a workplace accident.