Pallister Government Announces Further Weakening of Health and Safety Regulations
Nov 30, 2018
Recently, the Pallister Government announced that it plans to change occupational safety and health regulations in several key areas in order to harmonize standards with other provinces.
They claim the purpose is “to reduce barriers to interprovincial trade and increase labour mobility, while maintaining protections for workers.”
However, the amendments include lowering the bar for baseline hearing test requirements (increases from 70 days of hire to up to six months from hire) and replacing annual hearing reports with requirements to report only every two years.
The changes have worker health and safety advocates worried.
“How does this change improve safety on the job?” questioned MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky. “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.”
Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) President Kevin Rebeck echoed Gawronsky’s concerns and says 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."