Manitoba has become the first province to harmonize occupational safety and health regulations in several key areas to increase labour mobility while maintaining protections for workers.
“This past July, I welcomed a commitment made by all provinces and territories to take meaningful action to address common regulatory hurdles and reduce trade barriers within their control,” said Premier Brian Pallister. “Manitoba is leading the charge. The changes we are implementing will remove obstacles to interprovincial trade and make it easier for individuals to work across Canada.”
The amendments to the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation include:
• updating first-aid kits and first-aid certifications in accordance with the newly developed CSA standard as part of a national system for workplace first aid
• extending baseline hearing test requirements from within 70 days of hire to up to six months, and replace annual hearing reports with requirements to report every two years
• clarifying existing requirements for the provision and use of several types of personal protective equipment, including high-visibility safety apparel, hearing protection, life jackets and personal flotation devices
• ensuring a secondary air supply is carried on the person or within arm’s reach for workers working in dangerous atmospheres.
The changes meet harmonization recommendations of the Occupational Safety and Health of the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation, a cross-jurisdictional advisory and consultative body respecting shared issues relating to occupational safety and health. These changes will enable alignment with accepted practices and requirements in other provinces and break down barriers, the premier said.
Manitoba and Nova Scotia have agreed to lead further work by provincial trade ministers on reducing internal trade barriers and red tape in OHS, transportation, agriculture and business registration.
This news brief originally appeared in the February/March 2019 issue of COS.