As an employer, you play an important role in preventing workplace injuries and promoting a safe and healthy workplace. In fact, in Quebec, under the Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety (AOHS) and the Act respecting industrial accident and occupational diseases (AIAOD) as well as their various regulations, you have a legal obligation to properly inform, instruct and supervise your employees and to do everything you reasonably can to protect them.
Registering with the CNESST is mandatory!
We can never stress this enough: registering with the "Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail" (CNESST) is not an option! All companies with at least one full-time or part-time worker must register with the CNESST no later than 60 days following the first day that your first worker reports work.
To register, use one of these two methods:
- By telephone: 1.844.838.0808
What are my obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Quebec?
Regardless of the size of your business or sector, your main obligation as an employer is to identify, control and eliminate any workplace hazards. In order to do so, you must:
- Inform your employees of any job-related risks and provide appropriate training. It’s your responsibility to ensure your employees possess the skills and knowledge required to work safely.
- Appoint qualified supervisor that will supervise the work of your employees and ensure adherence to your safety processes.
- Maintain the safety of the equipment, tools and work methods in your facilities, and that these are properly used or adopted by your employees.
- Supply adequate protective and safety equipment to your employees, free of charge and regardless of compensation, and see that it is kept in good condition.
- Supervise the maintenance of the workplace, provide sanitary installations, drinking water, adequate lighting, ventilation and heating and see that meals are eaten in sanitary quarters at the workplace.
In order to comply with all those requirement, consider creating a health and safety committee overlooking your operation and making sure you are compliant. The committee will also be responsible to develop a prevention program.
Am I required to have a health and safety committee?
- It is required if your business is in an industry belonging to a category identified by regulation and if you are employing more than 20 workers.
Am I required to have a prevention program?
- It’s mandatory if you have an establishment belonging to a category described in Schedule 1 of the Regulation respecting prevention programs.
CNESST provides you the following resources:
- Guide for your Health and Safety workplace prevention.
- Several tools to identify risks and hazards and to complete a self-assessment.
- CNESST has a list of risks that are prioritized in all sectors and industries.
- You can search for information on prevention by theme or by sector:
Offer medical attention (First-aid) on site as per the First-aid Minimum Standards Regulation. In order to do so, you must:
- Ensure that a minimum number of First-aid trained workers are available at all times on site during working hours.
- Register your employees for First-aid training. CNESST is giving grant for the training under certain condition.
- Provide enough First-aid kits in the workplace, making sure they are readily available and maintained (replacing used or outdated material accordingly).
- Insert a copy of the Practical Guide for First Aiders in the Workplace in your First-aid kit.
- Post in a conspicuous place a copy of the First-aid Poster and identify on it the family and given name of all First-aid trained workers, their job title, work location and the location of your First-aid kits.
- Maintain a log of workplace accidents. Every time a first aider gives First-aid to another worker, they must fill a report containing their name and that of the injured worker, and the time and description of the injury or sickness as well as the type of First-aid given and hand the report to the employer.
Requirements if you purchase, use or manufacture controlled products:
- If you purchase, use or manufacture controlled products you are required to provide employees with Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHIMS) training.
- Ensure that all controlled products (purchased, produced on site or decanted) are properly labeled.
- Obtain updated material safety data sheets from the supplier or produce them themselves for the controlled products manufactured on site.
- Collaborate in the development of a training and information program on the controlled products and ensure that it is updated annually.
- Ensure that employees are trained and informed and that the acquired knowledge is put into practice.
- Should you determine WHMIS training is needed, you and your staff can access free online training through your CFIB membership with VuBIZ.
Wait that’s not all! Here are some important things you should know that may require additional obligations:
Zero tolerance policy
- In the last few years, CNESST adopted a zero tolerance policy in specific sectors and workplace activities. Violation of the policy will result in heavy fine and CNESST will put a stop to the work.
- Did you know that every day, 31 young worker are being injured at work? When employing young workers consider using Escouade Jeunesse which offer free training intended for young workers on health and safety in the workplace.
- If one of your employee is pregnant, she could file for a preventive withdrawal if the work place is causing a danger to her pregnancy. Make sure to read our article on the topic to be prepared if the situation occur.
Psychological and sexual harassment
- Under the Quebec Employment Standards, you must put in place a psychological harassment prevention and complaint process policy.
- IMPORTANT: Even with the best effort put toward prevention, it is possible for workplace injuries to occur, so make sure you understand your obligations.
CFIB is here to help you!
In addition to health and safety requirements, there are several other compliance measures your business should be considering. You can always contact CFIB for further information, examples of a Health and Safety Policy, Emergency Communication Procedure, or more details on any Occupational Health and Safety issues at 1.888.234.2232 or email us at