Joint Health and Safety Committees
Making the most of JHSCs
The Joint Health and Safety Committee is not only required by legislation, it has an essential role in promoting health and safety in the school community and throughout each school board. The JHSC includes both management and worker representatives who meet as equals. It is important to remember that the Occupational Health and Safety Act is clear that the school board, as the employer, has the greatest responsibility for health and safety in the workplace. The JHSC identifies potential health and safety issues and brings them to the school board’s attention. The JHSC must be kept informed of health and safety developments in the workplace by the school board.
ETFO members who serve as representatives to their JHSC provide a vital voice for teachers and education workers.
That all district school boards adopt the
Multi-Workplace Joint Health and Safety Committee (MWJHSC) structure
and include all bargaining units.
Multi-workplace versus site-based JHSCs?
Many school boards have a Multi-workplace (Multi-Site) Joint Health and Safety Committee (MWJHSC) which functions at the board level and discusses issues that affect all worksites in the board. These boards may also have health and safety representatives or committees at the worksite level but it is the MJHSC that has the rights and duties under the Act which are clarified in their Terms of Reference.
In some other boards there are only JHSCs at each worksite/school that meets the obligations under the Act. They may also have a health and safety steering committee to discuss issues at the board level but that committee does not have recognized rights and duties under the Act. To understand the committee structure at your board, contact your local or health and safety representative.