Canada’s Labour Ministers Meet to Discuss Important Workplace Issues

Fredericton, New Brunswick -Federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for labour met today in Fredericton, New Brunswick, to discuss important workplace issues. These included next steps for occupational health and safety standards harmonization, the findings of the Expert Panel on Modern Federal Labour Standards, and how to better support workers through initiatives such as international labour standards on violence and harassment in the world of work.

The ministers also discussed collaboration on labour matters between governments and partners, information sharing and worker protection for temporary foreign workers, as well as mental health in the workplace. The meeting was co-chaired by the federal Minister of Labour, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, and the Government of New Brunswick’s Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, the Honourable Trevor Holder.

Collaboration was at the heart of the discussions, with all governments recognizing that working together will be especially important to reduce and eliminate trade barriers within Canada. This collaboration will increase consistency of regulation and will simplify regulatory requirements for businesses, allowing them to work more seamlessly across multiple jurisdictions. In January 2019, labour ministers endorsed the National Occupational Health and Safety Reconciliation Agreement that aims to reduce or eliminate trade barriers within Canada. All jurisdictions have now signed the Agreement and progress is being made towards its implementation.

Ministers also discussed perspectives for Canada to meet the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Minister Tassi and the Nokiiwin Tribal Council provided an overview of a collaborative project to make appropriate tools and resources available to First Nations communities and individuals in support of the implementation of Bill C-65, new legislation to better address harassment and violence in the workplace. When it comes into force, the legislation will apply to federally regulated workplaces including First Nation Band Councils.

Ministers committed to continuing to work together and with all partners to foster strong federal, provincial and territorial collaboration on these issues for all Canadians.

“All Canadians deserve a safe and healthy workplace. That’s why our government will continue to work with our provincial and territorial colleagues and Indigenous peoples in implementing health and safety requirements that will improve working conditions to better protect Canadian workers.”
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour

“My counterparts and I recognize that harmonizing workplace health and safety standards across the country can significantly reduce barriers to trade and business development. We will continue seeking ways to improve work environments, to the benefit of employees and employers, while maintaining these important standards.”
– The Honourable Trevor Holder, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour