Telecoms argue extending workplace safety to third-party locations ‘absurd’

Originally published by the Wire Report

OTTAWA — Two of Canada’s largest telecoms and CBC/Radio-Canada told the Supreme Court on Monday that it’s “absurd” and “illogical” for a court to force them to ensure the safety of an environment their employees work in but the companies have no control over.

The case stems from a complaint a Canada Post employee made in 2012 about the need for postal routes to be inspected for safety, not just the physical building in which the postal service operates. The Federal Court found the request to be unreasonable, but the Federal Court of Appeal overturned that ruling, suggesting it is reasonable to expect an extension of safety rules to those locations.

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case dealing with the implications of requiring workplaces to inspect third-party locations.

“It would be impossible, or at the very least impracticable, to first ask a workplace committee to be sent to conduct an inspection [prior to employees being sent] to where they need to be where the breaking news is occurring,” Maryse Tremblay, a lawyer at Borden Ladner Gervais, said about what this could mean for journalists trying to work in a fast and unpredictable environment.

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