"When you do a review, and you only look at the bottom line, it’s safety that suffers.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (05 Dec. 2018) — Recently, the Pallister government in Manitoba announced that it plans to change occupational safety and health regulations in several key areas in order to harmonize standards with other provinces.
The government claims the purpose is “to reduce barriers to interprovincial trade and increase labour mobility, while maintaining protections for workers.”
More workers to suffer due to changes to health and safety regulations
However, the amendments include lowering the bar for baseline hearing test requirements (increases from 70 days of hire to up to 6 months from hire) and replacing annual hearing reports with requirements to report only every 2 years.
The changes have worker health and safety advocates worried.
“How does this change improve safety on the job?” questioned Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE). “This government continues to weaken the standards that are in place to protect us as workers. Last year, they eliminated the minister’s Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health — a council that included labour representation. And now this. When you do a review, and you only look at the bottom line, it’s safety that suffers.”
Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, echoed Gawronsky’s concerns, and said that these changes “will weaken protections for Manitobans whose work exposes them to noise that can cause hearing loss. They also make it much more difficult for workers to exercise their right to claim Workers Compensation for work-related hearing injuries."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE