Whitehorse Daily Star

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Jeanie Dendys

Changes to workers rules coming

The Yukon government is hoping to revamp rules around the territory’s workers’ compensation system and occupational health and safety system,

By Palak Mangat on April 17, 2019

The Yukon government is hoping to revamp rules around the territory’s workers’ compensation system and occupational health and safety system, with the goal of having the changes tabled for the fall of 2020.

That’s after engagement is expected to begin in the fall, the details of which are being finalized.

Jeanie Dendys, the minister responsible for Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board, announced the review in the legislature Tuesday.

It will include improvements to two acts: the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“Both pieces of legislation have fallen out of step with modern workplace practices and, more importantly, do not align well with one another,” Dendys told the house.

The compensation act, which lays out rules for things like the board’s compensation and business, was more recently updated through a number of amendments in 2008.

“It’s beginning to show its age, particularly in areas like mental health,” the minister said.

The body tasked with leading the review is the board, a group solely funded by Yukon employers with the aim of preventing disability.

Reached this morning, board spokesperson Andrew Robulack explained it could include looking at basic, ground-level changes that better define terms, along with more specific changing thresholds for things like exposure levels for workers.

Some of those are out of line with other Canadian jurisdictions, he noted.

Both opposition parties were afforded a chance to respond to Dendys’ statement in the house.

The Yukon Party wondered about the board being tasked to review the rules, when that group itself can be impacted by the very guidelines it’s examining.

The Yukon NDP stressed the need for regular reviews, adding there should be mandatory and not discretionary ones built into legislation.

Comments (2)

Up 0 Down 1

Be careful what you wish for on Apr 25, 2019 at 6:47 pm

The last place that "rules" respecting psychological well-being belong is in the sphere of occupational health and safety or workers compensation. It's one thing to say "here's some useful guidelines"; it's quite another to impose standards that most small businesses cannot possibly follow.

Quite simply, this is not enforceable and will set businesses and workers up for failure.
Even if it was enforceable, OHS inspectors are the last people that should be tasked with enforcement.

Up 2 Down 1

Katie on Apr 23, 2019 at 1:51 am

It's about time; in fact, overdue.Thank you Ms. Dendys, this is imperative.

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