LAVAL, QC, Sept. 16, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Commission des lésions professionnelles du Québec ("CLP") has rendered a decision concerning the case of Marie-Êve Éthier, a young woman working for Canadian National (CN).
A CN yardmaster and conductor for the past six years, Marie-Êve Éthier is sometimes required to work for eight hours straight without a rest period or meal break.
Marie-Êve was in the early stages of her pregnancy when her doctor, concerned about the health of the mother-to-be and her unborn child, recommended she go on preventive leave. Marie-Êve asked CN to accommodate her by assigning her tasks that posed less risk to her health. Instead, her employer sent her home. Although she filed a claim for compensation within the legal time limit, the Commission de la santé et la sécurité du travail (CSST) refused to pay her the income replacement compensation typically paid to workers on preventive leave, claiming that employees of federally regulated enterprises are not eligible.
On July 31, the CLP ruled that the provincial law does not apply to workers of federally regulated enterprises and that there is therefore no reason to grant the Teamsters Union's request.
The Teamsters' lawyers immediately decided to file an application for judicial review with the Superior Court.
"The CLP's refusal has reinforced our will to fight for Canadians whose jobs are governed by federal law," explained Teamsters Canada president Robert Bouvier. "We think Ms. Éthier has been treated unfairly and we're going to continue to fight."
The labour leader is calling on MPs to start thinking about the consequences of this potential loophole in federal legislation.
"Our MPs should step in to protect pregnant workers," added Bouvier. "Why is it that the health of a pregnant worker whose job falls under provincial law is protected while one who works for a federally-regulated employer law is not? This is a contradiction that needs to be addressed right away."
Women who could be affected work mainly in the air, rail, road and marine transportation sectors.
The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
SOURCE: Teamsters Canada
For further information:
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Communications