(Quebec) Without scientific studies, there is no question of adopting the reform of occupational health and safety standards of the Legault government.
The official opposition is categorical: Bill 59 by the Minister of Labor, Jean Boulet, will have to be thoroughly revised to gain its support.
The Liberal Party (PLQ) thus demands a precise scientific study called “gender analysis” (ADS) in order to clearly demonstrate that this reform will not penalize women.
According to liberal employment spokesman Monsef Derraji, this reform is “sexist and flouts science,” as several unions and workers’ groups lamented during consultations last week.
The massive 118-page legislation aims to modernize the current law, which dates back 40 years.
“Unanimity against the bill”
“There was unanimity, or almost, against the bill (during consultations), noted Mr. Derraji, in an interview with The Canadian Press broadcast Sunday. Why has the minister chosen only a few points that are consensus? ”
Under this reform, several predominantly female employment sectors would no longer be subject to the current prevention mechanisms.
For example, hospitals would be considered at low risk of accident when a large number of injuries are reported each year.
“To say that the level of risk is low in the field of health, it is certain that (the government) did not consult the workers, denounced the Liberal MP. Does the bill take into account the effects of the pandemic? ”
According to the PLQ, it is now up to the minister and the Caquista government to demonstrate, with serious studies and supporting scientific evidence, that the bill will not punish women workers. A “gender analysis” allows for the consideration of gender differences in the planning and delivery of care and services.
“I do not want, as a legislator, to start studying the bill without having the right portrait of its effects on women at work,” said Mr. Derraji. The minister must confirm that his bill will not affect claims related to women’s occupational injuries. ”
The current law provides for four main prevention mechanisms: a health and safety committee, a health program specific to the establishment, a prevention program and a prevention representative. Under the reform, employers would rather be divided according to their size and between low, moderate and high risk levels, with prevention mechanisms tailored to each.
However, to establish the level of risk, we would rely on compensation data from the Commission des normes, de l’énergie, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), and not on scientific studies, which many denounce. stakeholders.
“Where are the scientific data?” Mr. Derraji asked. Why are we not based on science? ”
Moreover, under the bill, doctors specializing in work in public health departments (DSP) will no longer be able to intervene in workplaces unless they have been contacted by an employer.
“Is it normal, after all that we have lived, to come and dismiss the expertise of public health doctors? »The Liberal spokesperson said indignantly.
Mr. Derraji wonders if it is not officials or outright the Prime Minister’s office who piloted the preparation of this bill rather than the minister, “who still has the reputation of doing things well”.
“Everyone agrees on the modernization of the law, but no one is saying that this is how modernization should be done,” he concluded.
Bill 59 aims to reduce compensation costs for victims of industrial accidents.
The CNESST paid out benefits totaling 2.22 billion in 2018. It then accepted 103,406 occupational injuries and recorded 226 deaths. Every day, 251 workers suffer an accident.
According to CNESST data, psychological injuries have increased by 67% over the past 10 years.