This preamble is for information purposes and does not form part of the formal directive.

The National Joint Council (NJC) Occupational Health and Safety Directive (the "OHS Directive") contains clarification, precision and enhancements to the Canada Labour Code Part II ("the Code") []. For a full understanding of overall responsibilities, the Directive should be read together with the appropriate sections of the Code and its applicable regulations.

References to the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (COHSR) [] are included for convenience.

In addition, the parties should note that the Marine Occupational Safety and Health Regulations [], the Aviation Occupational Safety and Health Regulations [], the On Board Trains Occupational Safety and Health Regulations [], the Oil and Gas Occupational Safety and Health Regulations [], and the Non-smokers' Health Regulations [] may also apply.

Links to websites that provide additional technical information have been included. However, that linked information does not form part of this directive.

Finally, this directive also aims to complement the OHS programs in force in the federal public service. Like the legislation, it should be considered a minimum standard that a given employer's OHS program may exceed.


Collective Agreement

This directive is deemed part of collective agreements between the parties to the NJC. Employees shall be afforded, by their employer, ready access to this directive, the Canada Labour Code, and its applicable regulations.


When referring to consultation in this directive, please refer to the NJC By-Laws for the definition [].

Grievance Procedure

In case of alleged misinterpretation or misapplication arising out of this directive, the grievance procedure, for all represented employees within the meaning of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act, will be in accordance with section 15.0 of the NJC By-Laws. For unrepresented employees the departmental grievance procedure applies.


The NJC grievance procedure can be used to file a grievance for any language in the Directive that provides protection additional to the Code. It shall not be used if any alternative administrative redress procedure is available under the Code.

Effective Date

This directive is effective March 1, 2022, unless otherwise specified.


This directive applies to:

  • all departments and other portions of the public service of Canada listed in Schedules I and IV to the Financial Administration Act; and
  • any employer listed in Schedule V to the Financial Administration Act that is a member of the NJC and that has opted to follow this directive.

The employer recognizes that the Canada Labour Code and its applicable regulations, which will be amended from time to time, are the minimum standard with which they will comply.

The Canada Labour Code and its applicable regulations, which will be amended from time to time, are incorporated in this directive.


Ampacity (intensité de courant) means current-carrying capacity expressed in amperes.

Appropriate regulatory authority (autorité administrative compétente) means a regulatory agency, authority, body or regulator including a federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal agency or any other agency that is responsible for exercising autonomous authority in a regulatory capacity over some area of activity.

Appropriate standard (norme appropriée) means a standard or standards, as amended from time to time, to the extent that the most recent standard provides the highest level of safety. If more than one standard meets this criterion, the standard or standards shall be selected using the following order of precedence:

  1. a standard prescribed by the Canada Labour Code, Part II, and its applicable regulations;
  2. a standard prescribed by provincial and territorial occupational health and safety acts and regulations;
  3. any standard that has been recognized by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) group;
  4. a standard developed by a government organization about a subject area within its jurisdiction (e.g., Health Canada, Transport Canada and Environment Canada);
  5. a standard developed by an association recognized by a majority of qualified practitioners in the field to which the standard is addressed (e.g., American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers [ASHRAE]);
  6. a standard universally accepted by a majority of qualified practitioners; and
  7. principles and standards developed by the International Labour Organization and endorsed by the Canadian Government.

Authorized inspection agency (organisme d'inspection autorisé) means the provincial or territorial or other inspection agency that:

  1. employs qualified inspectors;
  2. meets the provincial or territorial requirements of:
    1. an authorized elevating device inspection agency, or
    2. an "Authorized Inspection Agency" as defined in section 3.2 of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boilers and Pressure Vessels Code []; and
  3. does not contract with any department or agency of the public service for the operation, repair or maintaining:
    1. elevating devices, or
    2. boilers, pressure vessels or piping systems.

Certified applicator (opérateur antiparasitaire certifié) means an individual who has obtained a certificate for using pesticides, that is recognized by the appropriate regulatory authority.

Confined space (espace clos) except as otherwise determined by the definition in the Canada Labour Code, Part II, and applicable regulations, means, but is not limited to, a tank, silo, storage bin, process vessel or other enclosure for which special precautions are necessary when an employee must enter to protect the employee from a dangerous atmosphere, to prevent the employee from becoming entrapped in stored material or to otherwise ensure the employee's safety.

Custodian department (ministère gardien) means the department or agency that has charge or custody of a government-owned building occupied by federal employees.

Design (plan) means the plans, patterns, drawings and specifications of an elevating device.

Designated inspection agency (organisme d'inspection désigné) means the provincial, territorial or other inspection agency engaged by the operating authority to inspect boilers, pressure vessels or piping systems for specified geographic areas.

Elevating device (appareil de levage) means a fixed mechanical device for moving passengers or freight, and includes an elevator, dumbwaiter, manlift, escalator, inclined lift, moving sidewalk or other similar device.

Employer (employeur) means a department, agency or separate employer that is a member of the NJC and that has opted to follow this directive.

Field party (équipe de travail sur le terrain) means a field survey or field operations party, or a party operating in an area that is generally more than two hours' travel time, by the usually available transportation, from the nearest medical facility. However, in any unusual circumstances, an employer may apply this term to parties operating at locations less than two hours' travel time from such a facility.

Food preparation area (aire de préparation des repas) means any area that is used for storing, handling, preparing or serving food.

Health and safety committee/representative (comité de santé et de sécurité/représentant) :

Health and safety representative (representant de santé et sécurité) means a person who is appointed as a health and safety representative under section 136 of the Canada Labour Code. The health and safety representative is responsible for addressing workplace health and safety issues and is required for workplaces with fewer than 20 employees.

Policy committee (comité d’orientation) means a policy health and safety committee established under section 134.1 of the Canada Labour Code. Employers with 300 or more employees across Canada are required to establish a policy committee. The policy committee addresses issues that, because of their nature, cannot be effectively dealt with by individual workplace health and safety committees or representatives. Policy committees strengthen the internal responsibility system by ensuring consistency across an employer's work sites.

Regional health and safety committees (comité régional santé et sécurité) where established, shall assist in the overall administration of the health and safety program for the region it was established to cover, similar to a Policy Committee. The employer shall develop, in consultation with bargaining agents, internal policies, directives and instructions governing its establishment and operations.

Workplace committee (comité local de santé et sécurité) means the workplace health and safety committee or the health and safety representative, as applicable for the workplace it was created for.

Lunchroom (salle à manger) means a room equipped with tables and chairs in which employees may eat food brought onto the premises.

Machine guard (dispositif de protection) means a device installed on a machine to prevent a person, or any part of the body or clothing, from becoming caught in any part of a machine or of the material being processed or handled that can cause injury. It also means a device that makes the machine inoperative if a person or any part of the person's clothing is in or near a part of the machine that can cause injury.

Mobile elevated work structure (charpente surélevée mobile) means a vehicle-mounted aerial device, elevating rolling work platform, boom-type elevating work platform or self-propelled elevating work platform.

Motor vehicle (véhicule automobile) means a truck, tractor, trailer, semi‑trailer, automobile, bus, motorcycle, all‑terrain vehicle, snowmobile or other similar self‑propelled vehicle used primarily for transporting personnel and/or material.

Motor vehicle accident (accident de véhicule automobile) means an event involving the operation of a motor vehicle that results in injury to persons and/or damage to equipment or property.

Motor vehicle operator (conducteur de véhicule automobile) means any employee required to operate a motor vehicle in the performance of his or her duties.

Operating authority (autorité exploitante) means the custodian department or agency responsible for installing, operating and/or maintaining:

  1. an elevating device; or
  2. a boiler, pressure vessel or piping system.

Person in charge (personne responsable) means a qualified person appointed by management to ensure the safe and proper conduct of an operation or of the work of employees.

Pest (parasite) means an animal, a plant or other organism, including mold(s), that is injurious, noxious or troublesome, whether directly or indirectly, and an injurious, noxious or troublesome condition or organic function of an animal, a plant or other organism.

Pest control product (produit antiparasitaire) means a product registered and regulated under the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) and its regulations that is:

  1. a product, an organism or a substance, including a product, an organism or a substance derived through biotechnology, that consists of its active ingredient, formulants and contaminants and that is manufactured, represented, distributed or used as a means for directly or indirectly controlling, destroying, attracting or repelling a pest or for mitigating or preventing its injurious, noxious or troublesome effects;
  2. an active ingredient that is used to manufacture anything described in paragraph (a); or
  3. any other thing that is prescribed as a pest control product.

Provincial or territorial inspection agency (organisme d'inspection provincial ou territorial) means the agency responsible for inspecting, certifying and registering boilers, pressure vessels and piping systems under provincial or territorial jurisdiction in the geographical area in which a boiler, pressure vessel or piping system operated by the public service is located.

Qualified inspector (inspecteur qualifié) means a person recognized under the laws of the province or territory in which a boiler, pressure vessel or piping system is located as qualified to inspect boilers, pressure vessels and piping systems.

Qualified person (personne qualifiée) means, with respect to a specified duty, a person who, because of his or her knowledge, training and experience, is licensed or otherwise qualified to perform that duty safely and properly.

Record of inspection (dossier d'inspection) means a record prepared by a safety inspector.

Safety device (dispositif de sécurité) means any device intended to aid in preventing the unsafe operation or use of an elevating device or manlift.

Safety ground or safety grounding (prise de terre de sécurité ou mise à la terre de sécurité) means a system of conductors, electrodes and clamps, connections or devices that electrically connect an isolated electrical facility to ground for the purpose of protecting employees working on the facility from dangerous electrical shock.

Safety inspector (inspecteur de sécurité) means a person recognized under the laws of the province or territory in which the elevating device is located as qualified to inspect elevating devices.

Sanitary facility (installation sanitaire) means a toilet or personal cleansing facility and may include a toilet, urinal, wash basin and shower bath.

Seal (étanchéiser) means that a qualified person takes any measures necessary to prevent the unauthorized operation or use of an elevating device.

Workplace (lieu de travail) means any place in which an employee is engaged in work for his or her employer.

Resolving Qualified Person Disputes

In case of disputes about the term “qualified person,” the following procedure shall be implemented:

  1. The employee shall raise the matter directly with the person in charge.
  2. The person in charge shall review the employee’s qualifications and decide the employee's status as a qualified person.
  3. If the employee is dissatisfied with the decision, the matter shall be referred to the workplace committee.
  4. The workplace committee shall review the matter and make recommendations to the person in charge no later than 30 calendar days from the date on which the committee received and considered the matter.
  5. If the workplace committee does not consider itself competent to deal with the case, it shall recommend an acceptable third party to the person in charge no later than 30 calendar days from the date on which the committee received and considered the matter.
  6. The person in charge shall, pursuant to paragraphs (d) or (e), take the recommendations into consideration; render, in writing a final management decision, including the rationale for his or her decision; and take the appropriate action no later than 30 calendar days from the date on which a decision was rendered by the workplace committee or by the acceptable third party.

If an employee does not agree with the final decision rendered, a grievance may be filed pursuant to the NJC redress procedure (section 15 of the NJC By‑Laws).