New rules will reduce administrative burdens for job creators, uphold workers’ rights to participate in workplace health and safety and support a consistent health and safety culture across organizations.

Rather than being required at each work site, committees and representatives will be required for each employer regardless of how many sites the employer operates. For example, a school division will require only one committee rather than having a committee at each school in the division.

“We have heard that the current rules around health and safety committees are not working. The new rules for health and safety committees will support healthy and safe workplaces while reducing administrative burdens. Employers are still responsible for ensuring healthy and safe work sites and the new rules provide the flexibility to meet the unique needs of each workplace.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration

Streamlined training requirements

Government-approved training is mandatory for work site health and safety committee co-chairs and worker representatives. The number of training courses will be reduced from two to one to reduce repetitive content and time spent away from work. These new requirements will save government an estimated $275,000 per year.

“The College of Alberta School Superintendents is in support of the changes to the Occupational Health & Safety rules not allowing school authorities to operate a single, division-wide OH&S committee. We believe this to be a prudent change that allows school divisions to ensure the safety of all students and staff in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

Bevan Daverne, president, College of Alberta School Superintendents

“Our divisional Occupational Health & Safety committee has resulted in the consistent implementation of safety practices across the division while addressing the concerns of individual schools. Working together as part of a larger community, school representatives learn and share best practices with each other, resulting in benefits across all sites.”

Shawn Russell, associate superintendent, Corporate Services, Chinook’s Edge School Division

“We are pleased with the ministry’s decision to allow the operation of a single overarching Occupational Health & Safety committee – as opposed to one at every site. Having received a variance to operate a division-wide committee a few months back, we have found it to effectively serve the health and safety needs of our district, while allowing us to meet the requirements of the OHS act in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Greg Miller, assistant superintendent, Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools

Quick facts

  • Employers with 20 or more workers are required to have a committee.
  • Employers with five to 19 workers are required to have a worker health and safety representative.
  • Work sites with multiple employers where work lasts 90 days or more are required to have a site-specific committee or representative, depending on the number of workers.
  • Employers have until Jan. 31, 2020 to comply with the changes.
  • New training requirements take effect immediately.
  • Where a collective agreement exists, those parties will not be subject to the new rules until the agreement expires.
  • Government may designate additional committees or representatives where needed.