The Future of Worker Safety in Yukon

March 7, 2024

Who is the primary customer for WSCB?

The YFL would argue that because it’s the “Workers’ Safety and Compensation Board”, the worker is your customer. Employers who pay into the compensation fund are sponsors, involved because they also want to take care of workers. “Customer service 101″ is taking care of your customers. We can do this by making sure workers stay safe in their jobs, that they feel safe to bring up safety concerns, and that they are supported when they raise a concern or are injured at work. Think of workers as the main customers, questioning whether decisions made by the board or by an employer, put their well-being first. Employers may feel they are the customers of the WSCB, paying into the compensation plan in return for insurances against litigation. But if the goal is worker safety, do we see workers as the central customers and do our choices prioritize their safety?

I expect that most workers assume that WSCB keep workers safe and cares for workers when injured at work. The ACT is the legal framework that establishes legal guidelines and standards to ensure the safety and well-being of workers in various industries. Employers are mandated to adhere to the Act’s regulations, fostering a safe and secure work environment for all employees. The Yukon Federation of Labour provide support and advocacy for workers to ensure their safety rights are upheld, empowering them to voice concerns and seek assistance, but we are concerned that there is not enough advocacy for worker safety by government and WSCB in Yukon.

WSCB hosted a “Workplace Solutions” conference last year, one of the statistics shared was that 55% of nurses will not be around in 12 months—workplace culture was a major factor why they left. 

YWITT hosted a “Building Strong Leaders” workshop, and they indicated the top reason workers leave is Workplace culture, and highest turn over in healthcare and trades.  Negative workplace culture was described as not valued (no raise = no respect / racism or sexism at work / public or peer abuse).

Workplace Culture is a major factor in staff turnover.

Top reasons workers stay: 

“You’re invested in my future.” “You take care of me.”

YWITT workshop: promoting retension

Future Strategies for Worker Safety:

In shaping future strategies for workers’ safety and compensation in Yukon, a comprehensive approach is suggested under four key pillars:

SUSTAINABLE GROWTH

  • Commitment to foster growth, resilience, and impact in advancing not only workplace safety but also labor rights and social justice.
  • Prioritizing the next generation by engaging and empowering youth as the future of the workforce.
  • Reconciliation and partnerships with First Nations for respectful collaborations.
  • Emphasis on resources for high vacancy jobs including skilled trades and implementation alongside immigration strategy to support newcomers in the Yukon labor market.

RESPONSIVE ADVOCACY

  • Legislative advocacy championing workers’ rights under the Workers Safety and Compensation Act.
  • Prioritize psychological well-being in the workplace, recognizing stress and fatigue as critical concerns (recommend the SUCCEED program from WorkSafe NB). Adaptive safety protocols to address non-standard work arrangements and emerging challenges, such as the effects of climate change.
  • Implementation of comprehensive safety measures, aligning with industry and national Occupational Health and Safety standards.

EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES

  • Mentorship, skill development, and safety protocols are recommended to bridge the generational gap in the workforce.
  • Provide comprehensive safety training and educational resources with clear and safe pathways for reporting, linked to expert support that begins as soon as a worker inquires about a safety-related concern at work.
  • Targeted training programs focusing on practical skills and knowledge with easily accessible resources for specific work environments with heightened risks.

ETHICAL LEADERSHIP

  • Ethical decision-making takes center stage in safety advocacy for worker well-being and rights.
  • Inclusive safety leadership must be modeled and encouraged to engage the voices of marginalized workers, with a reward system for proactive safety cultures within organizations.
  • Seamless support transitions for the worker to assist with navigating claims, reporting, reprisals, and appeals.

Remembering Why Workplace Safety Matters

It is no easy feat bringing a diverse collective audience together for a common goal. Our emphasis in coalition building is to amplify worker voices and advocate for safety rights, addressing intersectional issues of safety, mental health, and well-being. We applaud the WSCB’s Encouragement for collaboration between labor organizations, employers, and regulatory bodies.

The DAY OF MOURNING is a significant annual event hosted by the Yukon Federation of Labour and one of the key partnerships between WSCB and the YFL. Day of Mourning honors workers injured on the job as well as observes the importance of safety priorities and achievements, honoring the legacy of safety movements and advocacy for worker well-being. Additionally, the Yukon Worker’s Memorial in Shipyards Park had significant government and corporate sponsorship to create a legacy that reminds us of past WorkSafe issues we have overcome and reminds us to do better. 

Everyone has community connections that can leverage support for workers’ safety and ensure diversity and inclusion in the occupational safety culture. This holistic approach is well suited to address the multifaceted aspects of worker safety and compensation, ensuring a resilient and supportive framework for the Yukon workforce. Changes for the future of the workforce must involve workers’ ideas and input; safety can’t just be about workers but must involve workers.

Bolder action needed to make life more affordable and tackle corporate greed

April 16, 2024
Click to open the link

Yukon Federation of Labour Extends Gratitude to USW Organizers for Swift Support in Workers’ Unionization Efforts

April 12, 2024
Click to open the link