Bomb Threats - 937-1-IPG-003

Effective Date: October 13, 1987

1. Subject

Application of paragraph 125(s) of the Canada Labour Code , Part II with respect to bomb threat situations.

2. Issue

In response to some concerns expressed by employers, concerning the right of employees to know of any known or foreseeable hazards and when should employees be informed, Human Resources Development Canada - Labour has developed the following position regarding the right to know with respect to bomb threats for use by Operations Labour Program in advising the employers.

3. Question

What are the employer's obligations and the employee's rights in bomb threat situations?

4. Conclusion

As stipulated in the provisions under paragraph 125(s) of Part II of the Canada Labour Code (CLC), the employer has a responsibility to ensure that each of his employees is made aware of known or foreseeable safety or health hazards in the area of that employee's work place.

Therefore, the right to know, as intended in Part II of the CLC, entitles the employee to be made aware of the circumstances surrounding bomb threats.

As well, the employer has a responsibility, under Section 17.5, (Emergency Procedures) of Part XVII (Safe Occupancy of the Work Place) of the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations , to prepare emergency procedures after consultation with the safety and health committee or the safety and health representative for that work place. The intent of these procedures is that they would be implemented if any person commits or threatens to commit an act that is likely to be hazardous to the safety and health of the employer or any of his employees.

The recommended procedure for health and safety officers to handle, the issue of bomb threats and preventive action consist in ensuring:

  1. That the employer, after consultation with the safety and health committee or the safety and health representative, prepares emergency procedures to deal with bomb threats.

    Note: In developing emergency procedures it should be noted that a bomb threat is a violation of the Criminal Code . Therefore employers should consult with local police authorities. Federal departments and agencies may also find the Bomb Threat Manual prepared by Emergency Preparedness Canada a useful source of information.

  2. That the employer will initiate an effective pre-emergency program of informing all employees of their role in a bomb threat emergency and of the procedures to follow in accordance with the applicable emergency measures.
  3. That the employer, on receipt of an initial warning of a bomb threat should, prior to advising all employees:
    • inform local police authorities of the threat;
    • for the purpose of paragraph 135(6)(e) or 136(4)(b) of the Act, notify the safety and health committee or the safety and health representative, if any, of the bomb threat; and
    • initiate a visual check of the work place in accordance to the emergency measures. However, the employer may exercise his management responsibilities and initiate the evacuation of the premises in any case.
  4. That the employer informs his employees that a bomb threat was received and the action that was taken with the result of the findings. The local police authorities or the employer may establish the need to initiate the evacuation plan of the premises depending on the findings.

An employee cannot be prevented from leaving the work place in a bomb threat situation. However, the employer must be informed of the action taken by the employee. Such reporting to the employer is required under subsection 128(6) of Part II of the Canada Labour Code. If the refusal to work is referred to a health and safety officer, the health and safety officer's investigation as to whether a danger exists should include a review of the police report assuming that there is one. As noted above, a bomb threat is an offence under the Criminal Code which requires the involvement of the police.

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