Health and safety at work

All workers in Canada have the right to a safe workplace. Canada has laws to protect workers from unsafe working conditions. While some jobs may have more risk than others, no one should feel that the work they are doing is unsafe.

If you believe your employer is not following the law, you have the right to complain to your provincial or territorial labour standards office. If you are a member of a union, you may also want to get advice from your union representative.

Is my work safe ?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I have the training I need to do my job and to operate the equipment or machinery that I am using?
  • Do I have the right safety equipment to do the job?
  • Has my employer made my workplace as safe as possible?

What if I am asked to do dangerous work?

You have the right to refuse to do work that you believe is a serious risk to your health or your safety. Your employer cannot force you to do work that you believe is dangerous. They cannot fire you or refuse to pay you. Your employer must investigate any danger that is reported in the workplace. You have the right to refuse to do the work until you and your employer agree that:

  • the danger is removed;
  • you have received the proper training; or
  • the problem no longer exists.

What if my employer does not agree that the work is dangerous?

If you and your employer do not agree, report the situation to the workplace health and safety office in your province or territory. You can refuse to do work that you feel is dangerous until a provincial or territorial official from the workplace health and safety office tells you that it is safe.

What if I am injured at work?

If you have an accident at work, tell your supervisor or employer as soon as possible. See a doctor immediately if you believe you may need medical help. 

Provinces and territories may offer workers’ compensation (medical or wage benefits) if you are hurt on the job or if your job causes you to get sick. If you do not yet qualify for the provincial or territorial health care plan, your employer should provide you with private health insurance until you are covered. Your employer is not allowed to deduct any money from your pay for private health insurance except if you are hired under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.

Photo credit : Amol Sonar