Canadian occupational health and safety legislation is primarily based on three fundamental rights of workers:
* the right to be informed of known or foreseeable safety or health hazards in the workplace;
* the right to participate in the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases either as members of joint health and safety committees or as health and safety representatives; and
* the right to refuse dangerous work and be protected against dismissal or disciplinary action following a legitimate refusal.
The occupational health and safety Acts usually lay down these principles and the general duties of employers and workers. Regulations issued under these Acts specify technical requirements that must be complied with, set standards that must met and prescribe procedures that must be followed to reduce the risk of occupational accidents and diseases.
Officials appointed by the federal, provincial and territorial governments have the power to inspect workplaces and make a variety of orders directed at the employers and workers. Inspections may be requested by employees, and the law protects them against dismissal or disciplinary action for seeking the enforcement of the occupational health and safety legislation.
The following documentation is not intended to be a substitute for the relevant federal, provincial or territorial statutes and regulations governing occupational health and safety. Users are reminded that it is prepared for convenience only and that, as such, it has no official sanction. Users are therefore advised to consult the actual texts of the legislative provisions whose summary is provided below.
* Recent and historic changes to occupational health and safety legislation
* Jurisdiction of the federal government and the provinces/territories
* Canadian legislation relating to joint occupational health and safety committees(PDF Document)
* Canadian legislation relating to safety and health representatives (PDF Document)
* Canadian legislation relating to the right to refuse dangerous work (PDF Document)
* Enforcement Orders of Health and Safety Officers/Inspectors (PDF Document)
* Prevention of violence in the workplace (PDF Version)
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