Earlier this month, a Parole Officer (PO) in Quebec exercised their right to refuse dangerous work under section 128(1) of the Canada Labour Code.
The Canada Labour Code is clear that an employee at work may refuse to work in a location or to carry out a task if he or she has reasonable grounds to believe that carrying out the task constitutes a danger for himself or herself or for another employee.
Prior to the work refusal, USJE’s Regional Vice-President for Québec, Patrick Menard, reported circumstances at the worksite that presented a real and substantial risk for the health and/or safety of an employee. Unfortunately, the employer’s response to this reporting was unsatisfactory and no measures were taken to mitigate the risks or protect the USJE member.
It was reported to CSC by USJE that threats were made to identify and disseminate information about the POs involved in a case that has attracted significant media attention. A participant in the Parole Board Hearing process threatened to publish their statement to the Parole Board, in full, on social media and share it with journalists after the hearing, including comments which have been reported to USJE as disrespectful and insulting to the individual POs and to the department.
USJE considers that the Parole Officer member is entitled to protection against any form of psychological violence, including psychological harassment. The employer has not come up with any effective plan to prevent the danger to the member. USJE is of the opinion that the PO does not have to be exposed to these extraordinary circumstances and that they have a right to protection from anything that could occur during and after the hearing.
USJE stands strongly against any form of bullying, harassment, or threatening of our members for doing their jobs. Our members are on the front lines, keeping Canadians safe, and deserve respect and safety themselves.
If you believe that your work is unsafe and presents a risk of harm to you or your colleagues, please inform your supervisor and your Union Health & Safety representative or RVP as soon as possible. Safety at work matters.