Write Employment and Immigration Minister and the Premier!
Apr 15, 2010
Issue: Report of the Alberta Auditor General (April 2010) - Occupationa Health and Safety
Action Requested: Write the Minister of Employment and Immigration (the Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk) and the Premier
Many of you will be aware that Alberta's Auditor General released a report this week that was highly critical of the Alberta Employment and Immigration's implementation and enforcement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
His report identified "serious weaknesses in the (government's) system for dealing with persistent non-compliance." In particular, the report said the government doesn't have a clear "decision ladder for escalating compliance action from promotion and education to enforcement."
In addition, the AG's report found:
- Over 60 companies have persistently failed to comply with OHS orders.
- Half of those employers continue to hold a valid Certificate of Recognition (COR) that helps them win contracts and qualifies them for reduced WCB rates while stats show that their workers are much more likely to get hurt on the job than the provincial average.
- In a number of cases, the government simply suspended compliance orders even though the company in question had done little or nothing to address the issues.
This is a landmark document for the AFL's struggle for stronger occupational health and safety standards and enforcement in Alberta. We have been lobbying for years for better standards and enforcement for occupational health and safety in our province and this document gives empirical evidence that what we have been calling for is necessary.
The Auditor General has made five recommendations including: a call for greater enforcement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act; improvements to planning and reporting for health and safety; improving proactive inspections; and ensuring that companies with Certificates of Recognition are addressing any safety issues they have been cited for.
The entire report can be found at: http://www.oag.ab.ca/files/oag/OAGPubRepApr2010.pdf.
The AFL has requested an urgent meeting with Minister Lukaszuk, who has committed to address all of the issues brought up by the Auditor General "in one way or another," to discuss timelines for the implementation of all of the recommendations made in the report.
We urge each of you to also write to the Premier and the Minister and insist they take immediate action to implement the Auditor General's recommendations.
We would also encourage you to join us in calling on the government to publish the names of companies that are repeat offenders of the Occupational Health and Safety Act as it should be a worker's right to know whether their workplace is safe or not.
We are also calling on the government to bring in legislation that would make joint health and safety committees mandatory on every work site, which the Auditor General has recognized as being a helpful tool in other provinces where it has been implemented.
This is a window of opportunity for us that we must not allow to slip by without taking action.
The Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk
#418 Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 415-4800
Fax: (780) 422-9556
The Honourable Ed Stelmach
307 Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427-2251
Fax: (780) 427-1349