Alberta Government Invites Feedback on Proposed Changes to Occupational Health and Safety Code

Proposed changes to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Code (Code) are now available for viewing and feedback here.

The Code applies to most employers in Alberta. Over the last few years, the Government of Alberta has conducted a review of the Code and solicited feedback on areas in want of revision.

It is now possible to read the proposed changes and comment on them. From now until January 31, 2015, respondents can choose which parts of the Code they want to provide feedback on, vote to either accept or reject the proposed change and provide comments. To prepare for changes to the Code and to voice concerns, Alberta employers should consider the extent to which their own occupational health and safety programs might be impacted by the proposed changes.

The proposed changes are extensive. However, three parts deserve special attention:

  • Part 27, Violence. This part contains proposed changes requiring employers to develop a policy, procedures and training regarding workplace harassment (British Columbia recently enacted similar changes to its occupational health and safety legislation).

    Part 37, Oil and Gas Operations. This part includes proposed changes requiring an employer to ensure that, where applicable and appropriate, work in oil and gas operations is performed in accordance with the requirements of the relevant Industry Recommended Practices.

  • Part 29, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. This part will likely undergo several changes to align the Code with revised federal legislation.

The Alberta government has promised to “consider all feedback and finalize recommendations,” which will be forwarded to the Occupational Health and Safety Council for review, and then to Minister Ric McIver, who will consider adopting the changes into law. The process is expected to be complete by the end of 2015. However, a grace period is being considered to provide employers and workers with an opportunity to comply with any changes to the Code.

If you have questions or if you would like assistance in understanding proposed changes or preparing feedback, please contact any member of our Labour and Employment Group.