October 2020                                                             FRANÇAIS | ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ
Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees (JOHSC) and COVID-19 
Creating and Maintaining a culture of Prevention

A strong and well informed Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) is your greatest resource for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace. JOHSC must assist employers in the development and maintenance of your Exposure Control Plan and to promote that plan within the workplace.

Note: If you are a business with 20 or fewer employees, you do not need to have a JOHSC based on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations, Part 4, Section 37 (NT and NU), but employers must ensure that their OHS Representative is aware of relevant safety information. Employers and OHS Representatives must follow similar practices for providing employees with a healthy and safe workplace, including a strong Exposure Control Plan.

What is a JOHSC?

The core philosophy behind the JOHSC is the Internal Responsibility System (IRS), which is the cornerstone of Canadian workers' compensation systems. It places the responsibility for safety in the hands of every person in the workplace. When everybody participates and takes responsibility for the safety of themselves and everyone around them, the cultures and attitudes that support safety are strengthened.

A JOHSC is a committee made up of equal employer and worker representation with the mission to create, maintain, and promote a strong safety culture in your workplace. JOHSC activities should be guided by input from workers' concerns, inspections, workplace incidents and trends, and dangerous occurrences or investigations that have shown hazards that require attention. 

Their role includes, but is not limited to:
  • Organize regular safety meetings to address workplace safety plans, review policy, and plan training and education sessions for employees.
  • Monitor and develop workplace health and safety procedures.
  • Participate in regular workplace inspections, WSCC inspections of the workplace, as well as inspections that occur in response to any incidents in the workplace.
  • Participate in investigations of any incident that results in injury or illness.
  • Hear worker health and safety complaints, including instances where a worker refuses to work based on their feeling that they are not safe.
  • Provide recommendations to the employer on how they can improve their health and safety practices in the workplace.
To learn more about the requirements for a JOHSC, see WSCC's Code of Practice: Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees.

JOHSC During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed many elements of our lives, including our work lives. Whatever environment you work in, COVID-19 restrictions have impacted how we conduct business. The role of a JOSHC is more important than ever, and it is essential that their role in your business continues. The JOHSC are key participants in the process of workplace Risk Assessments and completing and updating  Exposure Control Plans (ECP)

Ways that COVID-19 may have impacted your regular JOHSC activities:
  • You may need to conduct meetings virtually, but you must continue to hold and conduct meetings according to your JOHSC's Terms of Reference.
  • Audits of the Exposure Control Plan will need to be conducted regularly, or every time there is a change to the work site or tasks. New control measures need to be evaluated to make sure they are working effectively.
  • New training may be required to understand how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace. A well trained and educated JOHSC will provide the confidence needed to create a strong ECP that is executed effectively in the workplace.
    • Visit WSCC's  COVID-19 Resources page for educational resources intended to assist employers and JOHSCs in their COVID-19 safety planning.
  • Lead by example. Many of the COVID-19 protocols in workplaces require behavioral changes, which require your employees to relearn aspects of their jobs. The JOHSC members have the opportunity to provide a clear example of these new work practices, which educate and demonstrate a strong safety culture.
  • Evaluate what parts of your ECP are working and what needs to be changed. This includes listening to and understanding the concerns of frontline workers and creating policy and procedure to respond to those concerns. 
Your JOHSC are an important resource for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace. Train them, empower them, and ensure that they are leading the charge in responding to safety concerns in your workplace.


Expressions of Interest
Safety Advisory Committee Member and Mine OHS Legislation Committee Member

The Ministers responsible for the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are seeking expressions of interest from qualified candidates for the Safety Advisory Committee and the Mine Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Legislation Committee.

The WSCC has exclusive jurisdiction in all matters affecting safety and compensation for workers injured in the workplace. The Safety Advisory Committee and the Mine OHS Legislation Committee make recommendations for changes to the Safety Act(s) and regulations and the Mine Health and Safety Act(s) as may be required or desirable in the interests of occupational health and safety.

The Ministers responsible for the WSCC in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut appoint members to the Committee on recommendation from the WSCC Chief Mining & OHS Inspector, the Chairperson of the Committee. The Committee consists of members representing the interests of workers, employers, and such other members as the Ministers consider advisable to appoint.

The ideal candidates will demonstrate an understanding of workplace safety, be of high ethical standards, and have a respect and appreciation of the diverse stakeholders' interests from across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. They must be reliable, and commit to actively participate in the work of the Committee.

Qualified individuals can forward their resumes by December 18, 2020, to:

Northwest Territories
The Honourable Shane Thompson
Northwest Territories Minister Responsible
Workers' Safety & Compensation Commission
Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories
PO Box 1320
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9
Kim_Hjelmeland@gov.nt.ca





OR
Nunavut
The Honourable George Hickes
Nunavut Minister Responsible
Workers' Safety & Compensation Commission
Legislative Assembly of Nunavut Territories
PO Box 2410
Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0
ghickes@gov.nu.ca


POLICY CHANGES 

The Governance Council reviewed and approved the following policies and GC directives at its September 2020 meeting:
  • Policy 00.05, Determining Status of Persons under the Workers' Compensation Acts: General
  • Policy 00.05.01, Determining Status of Persons under the Workers' Compensation Acts: Employers
  • Policy 00.05.02, Determining Status of Persons under the Workers' Compensation Acts: Workers
  • Policy 00.06, Third Party Actions
  • Policy 10.02, Workers' Protection Fund investments
Please refer to the WSCC Policy Manual to view all WSCC policies or the Governance Council Directives to view all governance directives.




WSCC Office Closures

WSCC Offices are closed for Remembrance Day on Wednesday, November 11th, and will reopen on Thursday, November 12th at 8:30 AM.

To report a serious workplace injury or incident, call 1-800-661-0792.

To report unsafe work, use our Report Unsafe Work service on WSCC Connect.

wscc.nt.ca   /  1.800.661.0792   *   wscc.nu.ca  /  1.877.404.4407