Workplace Safety

“Breeding ground” for slavery?

A few weeks after Jamaican seasonal workers were sent home early after allegedly complaining about housing and working conditions, a United Nations Human Rights Council rapporteur says the federal employment programs are “a breeding ground for contemporary forms of slavery.” In his report, Tomoya Obokata of Japan urges the government to step up efforts to safeguard workers’ rights and offer a clear pathway to permanent residency. [node:read-more:link]

Some RCMP armour deficient

RCMP Commissioner Michael Duheme says some of his personnel are deployed into dangerous situations with expired hard body armour. Some manufacturers say ceramic or steel plates can degrade and be less effective after several years but others argue that they remain “stable and resistant to degradation” beyond the designed 10-year lifecycle. [node:read-more:link]

“Screaming into the wind” at CBSA

Three years after the Auditor-General said the Canada Border Services Agency did not adequately deal with workplace harassment, discrimination and violence, one of the agency’s veteran dog-handlers has gone public with ongoing issues. [node:read-more:link]

Enhanced protection for politicians?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed that the government is considering more protection for cabinet members and other MPs as threats against them increase. “We are looking into real measures,” he replied May 31 when a Quebec MP pointed out in the House of Commons that ministers in his province have bodyguards. [node:read-more:link]

Federal inaction cited in vessel sinking

The Transportation Safety Board says that the capsize of a Nova Scotia fishing boat with the loss of six crewmembers during a gale in December 2020 can be linked to federal inaction on recommended stability standards. Modifications by the vessel’s owners, Yarmouth Sea Products, had raised its centre of gravity but the TSB said in its March 22 report that Transport Canada inspectors had had not told the company about the heightened risk of instability. [node:read-more:link]

Exploitive employers “scumbags”

Draft changes to Ontario labour law would leave employers who withhold foreign workers’ passports or work permits facing stiffer penalties. “One group of workers who are often forgotten are migrant workers,” Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said March 20. during a press conference on Monday. “My message to those scumbags out there abusing migrant workers is this: you can run, but you can’t hide. We will find you, fine you, and put you behind bars.” [node:read-more:link]

Rights body blots own copy book

The Treasury Board Secretariat says that the Canadian Human Rights Commission discriminated against its own black and racialized employees. It was responding to a policy grievance filed in October by nine employees’ unions alleging that they and others had faced “systemic” racism, sexism and discrimination. [node:read-more:link]

CBC employees feel “betrayed”

After the CBC recently included personal information such as sexual orientation and religion in their online human resources, some of the national broadcaster’s employees feel “betrayed.” They say they had provided the information confidentially in response to a voluntary “cultural census.” [node:read-more:link]

Ontario company fined over assault

A construction company’s former employee has been awarded a total of $295,158 in damages by the Ontario Superior Court against the company and a supervisor who assaulted him. In awarding damages (Docket No. CV-20-0000361), Justice Joseph Di Luca said the claimant had been subjected to some of the worst treatment he had ever encountered, notably an assault requiring surgery. [node:read-more:link]

Online threats a “violent” trend

Quebec Premier François Legault was the target of sometimes violent threats a year ago after he suggested during the pandemic that unvaccinated persons should be subject to a surtax. The threats are outlined in an Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre report which says the threats and online “doxing” of home addresses as parts of a larger an “increasingly violent” trend. [node:read-more:link]

Police killings a call for action

Several major Canadian police associations want to identify the root causes of an “unacceptable wave of violence” after five officers were killed on duty in four months. “We are saying today what we are sure most Canadians are feeling: enough is enough,” the Canadian Police Association, the Police Association of Ontario, the Ontario Provincial Police Association and the Toronto Police Association said January 6. Representing some 60,000 personnel, they said “everything will be on the table”, including judicial frameworks and a “growing and chronic” shortage of officers. [node:read-more:link]

CFB Comox 2021 blast report

A B.C. government investigation has confirmed that an explosion a year ago at Canadian Forces Base Comox on Vancouver Island was due to a civilian heavy equipment operator’s breach of a natural gas line exposed during barracks renovations. Twenty-eight military and civilian personnel suffered minor injuries but the RCAF’s 19 Wing search-and-rescue operations were not affected. [node:read-more:link]

Surge in global slavery reported

The International Labour Organization, the UN and a global non-profit group say in a new report that an estimated 50 million people were victims of “modern slavery” in 2021, an increase of some 10 million recorded five years earlier. The increases were noted in an array of poorer countries but the data indicated that issues such as forced marriage and labour also were confirmed in wealthier parts of the world. [node:read-more:link]

CRTC imposes hefty diversity quotas

New requirements imposed by the CRTC mandate the CBC to dedicate at least 30% of its spending on independent English programming to producers who self-identify as Indigenous, official language minorities, visible minorities, disabled or LGBT. This will rise to 35% in 2026. Diversity spending thresholds on CBC’s French side will start at 6.7% in 2023 and scale up to 15% in 2026. [node:read-more:link]


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