Federal Government Publishes Proposed Regulations Amending Certain Canada Labour Code Regulations and Invites Public Input
Date: November 1, 2023
On October 28, 2023, the federal government issued a notice regarding proposed Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canada Labour Code (the Proposed Regulations). The Proposed Regulations would amend the hazardous substances requirements for five occupational health and safety (OHS) regulations under the Canada Labour Code.
The Proposed Regulations look to fill gaps in the current OHS regulations, introduce consistent standards regarding terminology, test methods, and best practices commensurate with those followed elsewhere around the world, and align select requirements with those in the United States. The Proposed Regulations also impose maximum exposure limits relating to:
- nanomaterials (i.e., hazardous chemical substances in extremely small particle form)
- thermal stress (i.e., adverse effects on the body from working in hot or cold temperatures such as heat stroke or hypothermia)
- non-solar UV radiation (i.e., UV radiation from sources other than the sun, such as UV lamps, arc welding and mercury vapour lamps)
- radon (a radioactive gas produced by the decay of uranium in soil, rock or water)
Specifically, the federal government is looking to amend the Hazardous Substances section of five OHS regulations, deeming them faulty for being outdated on select issues (e.g., radon requirements and methodologies) and silent on others (e.g., requirements for protection from nanomaterials, thermal stress and non-solar UV radiation).
The Proposed Regulations would amend the five OHS regulations by requiring employers to:
- establish an engineered nanomaterial exposure and prevention control program when such nanomaterials are present in the workplace
- develop and implement procedures for monitoring and controlling thermal stress
- ensure that employees are kept free from exposure to UV radiation with a wavelength in air ranging from 180 to 400 nanometres—other than solar radiation—in select circumstances
- abide by an amended acceptable level of radon consistent with Health Canada guidelines
- ensure that the concentration of any airborne chemical substances be kept as low as feasible
- comply with ambulatory incorporated standards
- maintain air sampling for internal use records for 30 years and keep and maintain records of hazardous substances used by contractors
- perform air sampling in accordance with new directions (including instructions relating to the equipment used and the location of the testing, among other things)
The Proposed Regulations would apply to workplaces dealing with hazardous substances under federal jurisdiction. Those include aircraft servicing, pipeline manufacturers, research laboratories, communication industries, and road and rail transportation employers, among others.
The Proposed Regulations would come into force on the day on which they are published. They would also amend the Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations to create penalties for non-compliance.
The government is inviting the public to provide input on the Proposed Regulations and is requesting feedback by no later than November 27, 2023.
Should you wish to make submissions on the Proposed Regulations and require assistance, please contact your regular Hicks Morley lawyer.
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