907-1-IPG-005 – Health and Safety Committee meetings – Payment of wages and alternative means of holding meetings

Effective Date: March 2017

1. Purpose

This IPG replaces IPG-005 “Payment of Wages and Powers of Committee”, IPG-016, “Payment of Wages – Time spent in attending Safety and Health Committee meetings” and IPG-046 “Safety and Health Committee Meetings”.

2. Issue

Payment of wages related to time spent performing the duties of a Health and Safety Representative (Representative), Work Place Health and Safety Committee (Committee) member or Policy Committee (Committee) member.

Alternative means for holding regular Committee meetings, including virtual means and use of alternate Committee members.

3. Questions and answers

Q1. Are Representatives and members of a Committee entitled to be paid by their employer for the time spent completing work related to the functions and duties of the Representative [under subsection 136(8)of the Canada Labour Code (Code)], or the Committee [under subsection 135(10) of the Code]?

A1: Yes, Representatives and members of a Committee are entitled to be paid for traveling to meetings, attending meetings and completing work, whether during their normal working hours or outside of those hours, if that work was delegated by both chairpersons of the Committee or by the employer, for a Representative.

If a Committee member or a Representative undertakes work on their own initiative, without prior authorization from both Committee chairpersons or the employer, for a Representative, they are not entitled to be paid for that work.

Consequently, the employer would not be in contravention of any provision of the Code for refusing to pay a Representative or a Committee member who had not received prior authorization from an appropriate party.

Q2. Must the employer take steps to ensure that Committee members or Representatives are not subjected to a loss of pay if they are unable to carry out their regular work after performing their duties due to the nature of their work place such as, for example, a marine vessel, train, aircraft, or a long-haul truck?

A2: Although there are no Code provisions for employees working in occupations where their normal workplace is not where the meeting takes place, it would be contrary to the intent of the Code to allow an employee to be financially impacted for being a Committee member or a Representative. If the nature of the work place is such that its location changes with time, and that the Committee member or Representative cannot return to their work place, the employer, in consultation with the Work Place Health and Safety Committee or Policy Committee, should develop procedures to avoid financially impacting committee members.

For example, this may be managed by careful planning of meetings and work schedules, or, if it is impossible to do so, other work activities could be given for the rest of the day, at the location of the meeting.

Q3. In exceptional circumstances or within occupations where the normal workplace is not where the Committee meeting takes place are there any options to make holding regular Committee meetings more convenient?

A3: Due to the structure and location of some organizations, it may be difficult and expensive for the Work Place Health and Safety Committee to meet regularly as required by subsections 135(10) of the Code, or for the Policy Committee to meet as per subsection 134.1(7) of the Code, in-person. Therefore, meetings may also be held via virtual means, including videoconference or teleconference. However, the Committee Terms of Reference should specify that meetings be held in a specific manner other than in-person.

Subsection 135.1(6) of the Code also provides for the use of alternate members of a Committee, when existing members are unable to perform the functions of a Committee member. The parameters for the selection and use of alternate members must be established under the Rules of Procedure pursuant to subsection 135.1(14) of the Code.

Regardless of how the meeting is held, quorum must be established at each meeting, in accordance with section 8 of the Policy Committees, Work Place Committees and Health and Safety Representatives Regulations.

4. Conclusion

Representatives and Committee members are entitled to be paid for the health and safety related work that they undertake in order to meet their duties under the Code and Regulations, so long as it is pre-approved by both Committee chairpersons or, in the case of Representatives, by the employer.

This remains true even if they cannot fulfill their regular work after attending meetings or carrying out other duties related to the Committee or Representative, as might be the case within certain work places.

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