Vol. 145, No. 21 — October 12, 2011


SOR/2011-206 September 30, 2011


Regulations Amending the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

P.C. 2011-1110 September 29, 2011

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Labour, pursuant to subsection 157(1) (see footnote a) of the Canada Labour Code (see footnote b), hereby makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.



1. Subsection 2.9(3) of the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:

(3) While ascending or descending a fixed ladder, an employee shall

  • (a) maintain a three-point contact with the ladder; and
  • (b) carry any tools, equipment or materials in a pouch or holster or in any other secure manner.

2. Section 2.20 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

2.20 Sections 2.21 to 2.24 apply to every work place that is equipped with an HVAC system that is under the employer’s control.

3. (1) Subsection 2.24(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

2.24 (1) Every employer shall appoint a qualified person to set out, in writing, instructions for the operation, inspection, testing, cleaning and maintenance of an HVAC system and the calibration of probes or sensors on which the system relies. In writing the instructions, the qualified person shall take into account CSA Guideline Z204-94, entitled Guideline for Managing Air Quality in Office Buildings, dated June 1994.

(2) Paragraph 2.24(2)(a) of the Regulations is repealed.

4. Paragraph 10.49(d) of the English version of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  • (d) maintenance and operating procedures shall be established to prevent the escape of flammable liquids and combustible liquids, as required by subsection 4.1.6;


5. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Issue and objectives

The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR) expressed concerns regarding subsections 2.9(3) and 2.20(1) and paragraphs 2.24(2)(a) and 10.49(d) of the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (COHS Regulations). Their inquiry focused on a redundancy between the COHS Regulations and the Canada Labour Code, Part Ⅱ (the Code), the employer’s ability to comply with certain provisions, and a grammatical error. The amendments respond to these concerns that have been outstanding since 2002.

The objectives of these amendments are to further clarify the intent of the COHS Regulations, to provide specific direction and to correct a grammatical error. The changes are administrative in nature and are required in order to address the concerns of the SJCSR.

Description and rationale

The COHS Regulations are made pursuant to the Code, the purpose of which is to prevent accidents and injuries arising out of, linked with, or occurring in, the course of employment. The Code applies to federally regulated industries such as the federal public administration; banks; telephone, telegraph and cable systems; and radio and television broadcasting.

The following amendments were made in response to the SJCSR comments:

Subsection 2.9(3)

Additional instructions were added to the current provision to specify that employees must maintain a firm hold (using a three-point contact) when climbing up and down a fixed ladder and that tools should be carried in a pouch or in any other secure manner. Three-point contact means two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times. This clarifies the intent of the COHS Regulations and further protects the employee from a hazardous occurrence. The intention of subsection 2.9(3) is to describe the specific actions required in order to ensure that an employee climbs a fixed ladder safely so as to not injure him or herself or others. There are added risks to climbing a fixed (versus portable) ladder given its design (it has between a 75 and 90 degree pitch) and the heights at which it can and does extend (a telecommunication tower’s fixed ladders can extend to hundreds of feet).

Subsection 2.20(1)

The SJCSR was concerned that these sections created an unfair burden on an employer who leases space in which they do not have control over the building or the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system.

The amendment to subsection 2.20(1) clarifies that the employer, when that employer has control over the work place, is responsible for air quality as it relates to health and safety concerns regardless of their tenancy status as set out in the Code under subparagraph 125(1)(m)(v). The amendment makes an employer’s obligation more explicit in ensuring that an employer exhibits due diligence in protecting the health and safety of their employees, but does not change an employer’s obligations. As this clarification aligns the provision with an obligation that is already in force in the Code, it will have no impact on stakeholders.

Paragraph 2.24(2)(a)

The amendment to paragraph 2.24(2)(a) states that a “qualified person,” rather than the “instructions,” is to take into account the Canadian Standard Association Guideline Z204-94 (R1999) Guideline for Managing Air Quality in Office Buildings. This will have no impact on stakeholders. The amendment makes an employer’s obligation more explicit but does not affect an employer’s obligations, as currently expressed in the Code. This paragraph becomes subsection 2.24(1) in the amended COHS Regulations.

Paragraph 10.49(d)

Paragraph 10.49(d) was amended, in the English version of the COHS Regulations, to correct a grammatical error. The word “as” was added to this provision. This change is administrative in nature and will not impact stakeholders.

Cost-benefit analysis

A cost-benefit analysis of the amendments was completed in January 2011 by the Research and Analysis Unit, Occupational Health and Safety Division, Labour Program. The amendments are expected to have a low impact with negligible implementation costs.

The additional provision added to subsection 2.9(3), prescribing that three-point contact be maintained when climbing up or down a fixed ladder, is expected to lead to a reduction in the instance of occupational morbidity and mortality of approximately 25%. However, given their small occurrence within the federal jurisdiction, a 25% reduction translates into approximately 13 avoided injuries per year and one avoided fatality over 20 years. This assumes that approximately 50 injuries per year and 1 fatality per every 5 years will occur. These modest expected reductions translate into savings for the Canadian economy of approximately $750,000 per year, the bulk of which stem from reductions in workers’ compensation and health care costs. The total net benefits, expressed in constant 2011 dollars and discounted at 8% over 20 years, stand at approximately $7.3 million.


Stakeholders were consulted in 2004 and 2010. In May 2011, they were informed about the outcome of analysis and decision regarding the inquiries submitted by the SJCSR. Overall, the stakeholders emphasized that they do not want the policy intention of the COHS Regulations to change. Stakeholders consulted included such groups as the Federally Regulated Employers - Transportation and Communications (FETCO), Bank of Montreal (BMO), Canadian Labour Congress, and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

As these amendments are not substantive, an implementation plan or enforcement strategy was not required.


Simone Kendall
Policy Analyst
Occupational Health and Safety Policy Unit
Program Development and Guidance Directorate
Labour Program
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Place du Portage, Phase II
165 Hôtel-de-Ville Street, 10th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0J2
Telephone: 819-953-0232
Email: simone.kendall@labour-travail.gc.ca

Footnote a
S.C. 2000, c. 20, s. 20(1)

Footnote b
R.S., c. L-2

Footnote 1
SOR/86-304; SOR/94–263; SOR/2002–208