PRIME Quick Links
Practice Incentive 2

Health and safety committee and/or representative/designate
To determine if you are federally or provincially regulated, please see the section titled Employer Category. You will also find a chart here to help you determine if you need a committee, a representative or a designate. This section describes the requirements for federally-regulated employers.

For every workplace where there are 20 or more workers, you must establish a health and safety committee to monitor the health, safety and welfare of the workers on that site (Canada Labour Code, Part II). Workplaces with fewer than 20 workers require a health and safety representative.

Health and safety committee
A health and safety committee is an advisory group made up of employer and worker representatives. Their primary role is to improve health and safety by:
  • Recognizing hazards
  • Making recommendations for corrective action
  • Responding to worker concerns
  • Monitoring the health and safety program
  • Acting as a resource to the employer in matters concerning health and safety in the workplace
At least half of the committee members must represent workers and be elected by fellow workers or appointed in accordance with the constitution of the workers’ union. Employer representatives are appointed by the employer.

Each committee must have two co-chairs: one representing workers and one representing the employer. Committee members must do occupational health and safety training as prescribed by their federal regulations. For further information on federal training requirements, contact: Employment and Social Development Canada, 1-800-641-4049.

The employer must inform all workers of the roles and responsibilities of the committee, hold a meeting to select committee co-chairs and respond to the committee’s recommendations. Committees should have a Terms of Reference outlining its structure, function and responsibilities. They should use agendas for their monthly meetings and keep minutes, copies of which may be requested during a PRIME audit.

Health and safety representative
Workplaces that have fewer than 20 workers are required to have a health and safety representative (instead of a committee). The representative must be elected by other workers or appointed in accordance with the constitution of the workers’ labour union.

Functions of health and safety committees and representatives
  • Monitor the health and safety program at the workplace (where required)
  • Receive and respond to workers’ health and safety concerns
  • Identify safety concerns and recommend corrective actions
  • Promote health and safety to workers, including training
  • Take part in workplace inspections
  • Take part in investigating accidents/incidents
  • Promote health and safety programs and policies where required
  • Monitor the effectiveness of corrective actions

Practice Incentive criteria #2 is a requirement for all employers.

Your checklist for this criteria (federally-regulated employers): If you can answer “yes” to the following questions and can present evidence to support your responses in an audit, you have met Practice Incentive criteria #2.
  • Do you have a health and safety committee or a health and safety representative/designate for each of your workplaces?
  • Are these people trained in occupational health and safety (appropriate to federal requirements)?

A list of certified trainers is available here