Labour unions have a long and proud history for fighting for health and safety rights for workers. Each province has legislation specific to Health and Safety in the workplace; Health and Safety legislation includes regulations for employers to maintain a safe workplace, protection against violence, harassment and discrimination, and workers’ rights to a safe workplace. It also outlines rights and responsibilities related to hazardous materials, safety equipment and training.
Each unionized workplace should have a Health and Safety committee and/or representative. A Health and Safety Committee can give you advice on how to stay safe at work, as well as receive complaints about possible health and safety violations. The Committee is also responsible for ensuring your employer is in compliance with Health and Safety legislation and can make effective recommendations to improve workplace safety.
Workers United offers Health and Safety Committee training, as well as WSIB specific training workshops. Contact your Health and Safety committee, shop steward or Union representative for more information, or check your union bulletin board.
The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work
You have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you believe the work you’ve been asked to do may endanger you or those around you, you have the legal right to refuse to perform the work. You must tell your supervisor or manager that you believe the situation is unsafe; they may not agree, but you cannot be forced or ordered to perform work that you believe is unsafe and you cannot be disciplined for refusing to do the work. If necessary, let your supervisor know that you are exercising your rights under your provinces’ Occupational Safety Act. Above all, you have the right to return home in the same condition you were in when you arrived at work.
Both workers and employers have a responsibility to maintain safety in the workplace. The WSIB’s guideline for employers and workers can be found here.
Have you been injured at work?
Have you been injured at work? Have your suffered an injury outside of work that left you unable to work? Do you need help making a workers compensation claim? Have you made a WSIB claim and it’s been denied? Are you unsure whether or not you may be eligible for workers compensation benefits? Workers United can help.
If you have been injured at work, follow these important steps:
- Talk to your Health and Safety representative and document what happened. How did the accident happen? What factors contributed to the accident? Write down the details!
- Make an appointment to see your doctor, or visit a walk-in clinic or hospital if necessary. Make sure your doctor knows how your injury occurred
- Make a compensation claim! Don’t wait to file a claim with your provincial Workers Compensation Board
To find the appropriate forms to fill out, visit your provincial Workers’ Compensation Board website.
If you live in Ontario: http://www.wsib.on.ca
If you live in Manitoba: http://www.wcb.mb.ca/
If you live in Saskatchewan: http://www.wcbsask.com/
If you live in British Columbia: http://www.worksafebc.com
If at any time you need help, contact our Health & Safety representative, Inderdeep Sidhu (firstname.lastname@example.org) who can assist you through the process.
Employment Insurance Eligibility
Did you know that you may be eligible for Employment Insurance (E.I.) benefits while off work due to injury? You may apply for E.I. benefits immediately after suffering a workplace or non-workplace injury that has made it difficult or impossible to continue working your normal duties
Your Rights and The Duty to Accommodate
If you have been injured at work, you may be eligible to claim earnings lost as a result of your injury. Your employer has the obligation to accommodate your return to work and make adjustments to your job if necessary. It is illegal for your employer to suspend, terminate or otherwise discriminate against you due to a workplace injury or accident.
Additional Health & Safety Resources
- Know your Health & Safety Rights fact sheet
- Duty to Accommodate fact sheet
- Mental Health & Addictions Disabilities fact sheet
- Pregnancy and Breast Feeding in the Workplace fact sheet
- Ontario WSIB fact sheets
- Manitoba Worker fact sheets
- Saskatchewan Worker fact sheets
- British Columbia health & safety publications
- Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers
For more information, contact Inderdeep Sidhu, WSIB and Health & Safety representative:
Telephone: 416-835-6355 or 1-800-298-4064 ext 232