Amendments to Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act

NFLD moves forward changes following second reading in House of Assembly

Amendments to Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act

A significant step forward was taken in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly as a proposed amendment to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act garnered a crucial second reading. This amendment seeks to provide bereavement counseling services for surviving dependents in the unfortunate event of a workplace fatality.

If the legislation is approved, it would grant WorkplaceNL the authority to offer financial support for bereavement counseling services to surviving dependents following a workplace fatality occurring on or after January 1, 2022.

The push for this change comes in response to multiple requests made in 2022, urging WorkplaceNL to include bereavement counseling sessions among the support services offered to dependents of deceased workers.

This proposed amendment aims to bring Newfoundland and Labrador in line with other Canadian workers' compensation boards, with currently eight of them already providing bereavement counseling services to dependent family members.

The Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister Responsible for WorkplaceNL, emphasized the significance of this amendment, stating: "One life lost in the workplace is one too many, and the impact on these families is enormous. By adding bereavement counseling to the benefits available for dependents, we are acknowledging the significant impact of a workplace fatality and helping them navigate through a tragic loss. This change would also reduce financial barriers to accessing mental health supports, and demonstrates the Provincial Government’s commitment to prioritizing mental health and safety."

This development underscores the government's commitment to enhancing mental health support for affected families while continuing its dedication to improving workplace safety.

The proposed amendment will now proceed to further deliberation and discussion within the House of Assembly, with advocates hopeful that it will become a law that addresses the emotional well-being of those who have lost loved ones in workplace tragedies.

Stay tuned for updates on this important legislative development as it unfolds in the House of Assembly.