Reporting Health & Safety Complaints & the Right To Refuse Dangerous Work Right to Know, Right to Participate, Right to Refuse
It is highly advised, if possible, to file a health and safety complaint and follow up via email with a manager to attempt to resolve your concern PRIOR to arriving at work. This does not reduce or remove your right to refuse dangerous work. What it does is provide the employer extra time to try to fix the issue at the root of your concern, which is beneficial to everyone.
You can file a health and safety complaint by logging into ACAeronet > Safety > Submit a report/SIMS at Mainline or by logging into AQD at Rouge.
The company may be experiencing a high volume of reports, so we suggest following up with a manager regarding your formal complaint via phone or email
Please take note:
YOU NEED TO BE AT WORK TO REFUSE and it needs to be in good faith.
STEP 1 is between yourself and the company - As per the Canada Labour Code the Union will not be present at this stage.
STEP 1 does not go on indefinitely. If the company is unable to resolve your concern and you still believe you’re in danger you may move on to step 2 at which point your union H&S reps will be involved alongside their management colleagues from the joint H&S committee (see bulletin mentioned below for details).
NO ONE except for a safety official from Transport Canada or Employment Social Development Canada can tell you there is no danger (including making a decision about imminent or serious threat). Nor can anyone except such an official force you to go back to work.
You cannot be threatened or disciplined.
You do not lose pay (reassignment may apply)
You have a right to be present for every part of the investigation including any conversations with other departments and any experts.
Details can be obtained by sending a blank email to email@example.com
. We recommend that it be consulted in conjunction with the information in your manual at the end of chapter 2.
Throughout the COVID-19 experience we have received many emails asking what we are doing to address this virus at the Health and Safety Committee level. Our answer has been consistent: “We’re doing what the reports show we should be doing. Have you filed a health and safety complaint?” The answer is almost always NO. This needs to change.
We will not forward emails addressed to the union to the company, or screenshot social media posts. In many cases we cannot even discuss these without identifying our members. This would be a massive breach of trust and confidentiality. What’s on FB stays on FB enjoy all the likes ..
This is why we need reports. They are submitted directly to the company, so we know we can refer to them and work off of them. They’re also trackable and generate crucial stats that carry a lot more weight when recommending a change to senior management than “things we heard on FB”.
Take a few minutes to give your committees the tools they need to represent you. If you have time to post on Facebook, or Yammer, or to write an email – you have the time to file a formal report.
Here’s how to send a health and safety complaint e-report:
ACAeronet > Safety > Submit a report/SIMS
You will pass through two login screens
Click on the e-report tab in the top left of the screen
Select health and safety complaint from the menu on the right
A pop-up will appear
Remember to use your Air Canada email address
Before clicking “submit” verify the “set department” button just to the left and ensure IFS DEPARTMENT is selected.
We suggest typing the text of your complaint in a blank email so that it isn’t lost if there is a problem submitting.
If you are an in-charge, you may file your health and safety complaint on your iPad.
Your union H&S reps will be able to see your report in the safety system but send us an email to let us know you’ve submitted it with the report reference number.
If you’re having trouble with e-reporting reach out to us. We’ll be happy to assist and/or to put you in touch with the correct manager.The Three Fundamental Health & Safety Rights
The Canada Labour Code Part II provides three fundamental rights to all employees covered by federal health and safety legislation. The law also protects employees from discipline when exercising their safety rights and/or duties as long as they act in good faith. This applies to all employees regardless of any probationary period.
Remember these three rights. They'll keep you and your colleagues safe when put to practice.
1. The right to know
Never feel silly to ask a question. It is your legal right to know about anything that could affect your health & safety in the workplace.
The Federal Labour Program explains it like this:
Through the provisions of the Code, employees have the right to be informed of known or foreseeable hazards in the work place and to be provided with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to protect their health and safety.
This right to know is strengthened by ensuring that the methods of communication are appropriate for all employees, including employees with special needs.
Through their health and safety committees or representatives, employees are given the right to have access to government or employer reports relating to the health and safety of employees, but do not have access to medical records of any person except with that person’s consent.
2. The right to participate
You participate by filing reports, health and safety complaints, and by being present for all elements of an investigation in a work refusal. You also participate by following the standard operating procedures provided by the company, which are intended to promote safety in the workplace. If you choose to refer a health and safety complaint to your local workplace health & safety committee, your Union representatives then participate on your behalf.
Remember that it is both your right and also your duty to participate by reporting all hazards, potential hazards and accidents/occupational illnesses to the company. It is much harder for the company to inform employees of hazards and for it to eliminate them, and for health and safety committees to do their work if they aren’t reported!
3. The right to refuse dangerous work.
Under the Canada Labour Code Part II, employees have the right to refuse dangerous work without risking or losing their wages and without fear of discipline as long as the refusal is made in good faith, and subject to certain conditions including measures to prevent placing other people at risk.