Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I have a number of questions for the hon. minister.

Bill C-4, in the guise of a budget omnibus bill, takes aim at a lot of federal civil servants. I am particularly concerned about the Canada Labour Code changes that affect the right to refuse unsafe work.

It did not come as much in the minister’s statements, but I do not understand why, with only 150 refusals in any given year by federal workers under the Canada Labour Code who find that they need to refuse dangerous work, the definition of danger has been changed in this act. It specifically removes the language that deals with refusing work that could lead to a chronic illness or threats to reproductive health.

Tony Clement:
Mr. Speaker, this topic was just discussed by the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo in her address on this issue about 40 minutes ago.

The member put an interesting fact before this House: the present situation, 80% of the cases that the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is talking about that were appealed because of dangerous circumstances, even including the appeals, were found not to be the case.

Clearly this provision, if I can say it euphemistically, has been overused. I think it does deserve tightening. It the Minister of Labour’s responsibility, and she is an excellent person to ask about this issue. I certainly support the Minister of Labour and her changes to the Canada Labour Code.