Government puts health and welfare of business over that of workers says HEU

News release

Push to delay smoking regulations sets bad precedent

The Liberal government’s push to delay implementation to April 30, 2002 of the Workers’ Compensation Board’s Environmental Tobacco Smoke regulations is unacceptable and puts the health and welfare of business over that of workers, says B.C.’s largest health care union.

“The stronger Environmental Tobacco Smoke regulations are important to the health of caregivers in long-term care facilities throughout the province,” says Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “They uphold the legal right of workers to a healthy workplace and will enhance the lives of many by reducing the incidence of smoking-related illnesses and disease. The WCB is right to implement them.”

The WBC’s panel of administrators approved amendments to strengthen the ETS in March. The revised regulation that further controls workers’ exposure to second-hand smoke was to take effect September 10. Long-term care facilities are workplaces that have been identified as requiring further controls, along with those in hospitality and provincial corrections.

Labour minister Graham Bruce announced the government’s push to delay earlier this week when he unveiled an MLA committee to study and recommend how best to implement environmental tobacco smoke regulations in the workplace by October 31.

Allnutt says that the government’s action sets a bad precedent. “The government has been clear that this delay is to protect the health and welfare of business — at a considerable cost to the health and welfare of workers. “What other steps do they have in mind to put profit before safety?”

-30- For further information, please contact at 604/734-3431: Chris Allnutt, secretary-business manager Margi Blamey, communications officer, 604/714-1597