Quebec’s Minister of Labour, Mr. Jean Boulet, recently announced his intention to launch a wide-ranging workshop aimed at the modernization of the entirety of the province’s occupational health and safety regime.
Beginning this fall, numerous aspects of Quebec’s laws on prevention and indemnification of workers will be overhauled. This is promising news, as several processes, particularly for challenging decisions of the CNESST, the government insurer for Quebec workers and employers, are cumbersome and definitely in need of revision.
However, employers are well advised to monitor developments closely. Among other initiatives, Minister Boulet has signalled his intention to add work-related psychological illnesses to the list of officially recognized occupational illnesses.
Thus, anxiety, stress and burnout syndrome will likely soon be considered occupational illnesses, and it will doubtless be much simpler for employees to establish that they are suffering from one.
In addition, the terms and conditions pertaining to temporary assignments will be revisited, with the aim of improving reintegration of employees through a progressive return to work.
When the public consultations are held, Quebec employers should seize the opportunity to make their viewpoints known on the proposed changes. In the meantime it would be prudent to prioritize sound corporate values and take concrete steps to ensure that employees benefit from organizational happiness.
For example, adopting sound corporate practices on respect for co-workers and on the prevention of psychological and sexual harassment, offering an effective and confidential employee-assistance program, or simply providing employees with more support and feedback, are good ways to increase productivity while lowering the risk of developing work-related psychological issues.