Saskatchewan government to introduce new night shift rules
The Saskatchewan provincial government says it will introduce new regulations to protect late night workers.
Don Morgan, Saskatchewan Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, made the announcement to hundreds of delegates at the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour convention in Regina on Saturday.
The new regulations include safe cash-handling procedures, use of video cameras, a check-in system, and a personal emergency transmitter available to all employees working in late night retail.
Morgan said he hopes to formally introduce the new regulations later this month.
The changes are inspired by the death of Jimmy Wiebe, a Yorkton man who was shot and killed while working a graveyard shift at a gas station in June 2011.
Since Wiebe's death, NDP labour critic David Forbes has been asking the provincial government to make it mandatory for employers to have two people working during overnight shifts. Forbes said one of the biggest issues is making sure that employers are complying with the regulations.
"We’re encouraged by the announcements that the minister made," Forbes said. "It's not as far as we thought they should go, particularly around the two people working, but it's important that we get moving on this as quickly as possible."
Morgan said the government will not force employers to have two people working at the same time.
No asbestos registry
Asbestos was also a significant issue at the convention. Two delegates received a standing ovation after giving an emotional speech requesting the government to make public its list of buildings that have asbestos in them. The issue was presented on behalf of Howard Willems, a Saskatoon man who contracted a rare form of cancer while inspecting a number of older food plants in Saskatchewan.
"I met with Howard Willems, who has mesothelioma, and when you meet him and see the difficulty that he has breathing it's hard not to have an incredible amount of sympathy," Morgan said.
However, Morgan said he is concerned that having a website or a registry may create a false sense of security.
Morgan also said that Bill 23, which will make changes to the current Occupational Health and Safety legislation, will be proclaimed on November 7. Morgan said it will help reduce Saskatchewan's "unacceptably" high workplace injury rate.