In theory, a woman who works in a federally-regulated industry governed by the Canada Labour Code has the right to refuse dangerous work. For example, a pregnant or nursing worker should be able to stop work if she considers that continuing to perform her regular duties may constitute a risk to her health or her baby’s.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Often, women workers who need to go on preventive maternity leave while pregnant incur substantial income losses. Employment Insurance benefits are just not enough to allow some women to stop working for their safety or that of their child.
The federal government needs to address this issue by taking its cue from legislation in Quebec, for example, where women who go on preventive maternity leave are guaranteed benefits from the provincial workers’ compensation board, the CNESST.
Teamsters Canada tried to bring this issue before the Supreme Court of Canada in an attempt to rectify this flagrant injustice for 51% of Canada’s labour force.
Teamsters Canada encourages its members to consult the electoral platforms of the political parties to find out their positions on the various campaign issues.