Smoke-free prison no easy task (Legal view)

Gradual implementation reasonable: Board
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/19/2010

A Crown corporation obligated to protect employees from second-hand smoke in the workplace took years to phase in a no-smoking policy but this was reasonable due to the unique characteristics of the workplace, the Canadian Public Service Labour Relations Board has ruled.

Hélène Galarneau was a correctional officer for Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) at the Montée St-François Institution and Federal Training Centre in Laval, Que. In 2005, Galarneau, along with several other correctional officers, filed a grievance claiming CSC violated health and safety provisions in the collective agreement, which stated the employer must make “reasonable provisions for the occupational safety and health of employees.”

The grievance also claimed CSC violated the Non-Smoker’s Health Act and Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms by exposing Galarneau to second-hand smoke since her hiring in 1984 and did not do enough to stop it after the federal government banned smoking in public buildings in 1989.