Federal, provincial and territorial labour ministers meet to discuss important workplace issues 

News release

March 1, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec                   

Federal, provincial and territorial labour ministers met virtually today to discuss important workplace issues. The meeting was chaired by the federal Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, to discuss the challenges posed by the pandemic, Canada’s possible ratification of the International Labour Organization’s Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019, as well as the harmonization of occupational health and safety standards.

The ministers discussed how to continue to support workers through the disruptions caused by COVID‑19. All governments recognize that workplaces have changed significantly as a result of the pandemic. Ministers exchanged on labour standards and policies that support a safe return to the workplace. They also discussed the new reality of working from home for many Canadians and the need to pursue efforts on mental health in the workplace, which is of particular interest to ministers. Other topics of discussion included issues related to temporary foreign workers, training initiatives and sick leave.

On the matter of mental health in the workplace, Anne Tennier, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, gave ministers an overview of the organization’s work in that area. 

Ministers indicated their support to pursue work related to the reconciliation of occupational health and safety standards, including the completion of a second agreement on this topic in the coming months. They also committed to pursue their collaboration on labour issues, agreeing that it is crucial for federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together on these issues for the benefit of all Canadian workers.

*Newfoundland and Labrador is operating in a caretaker period due to a provincial election and participated as an observer.


“COVID-19 has caused significant challenges for workers in Canada, and workplaces have shifted as a result. Continuing to weather this pandemic requires all of us to work together to protect workers and ensure that workplaces are as safe as possible.”
– Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi

Quick facts

  • The federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for labour meet regularly to discuss issues of mutual concern that they can collaboratively address. Throughout the year, their work is supported by Deputy Ministers through the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation.

  • In January 2018, the ministers responsible for labour endorsed an agreement in principle that clarified key principles and considerations associated with occupational health and safety harmonization. The National Occupational Health and Safety Reconciliation Agreement was endorsed in January 2019. All jurisdictions have now signed the Agreement and progress is being made toward its implementation. 

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Lars Wessman
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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