Understanding the right to refuse work

How should an employer respond if an employee raises safety concerns?
By Patrick Essiminy and Pierre-Luc Benoit
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/28/2019
Working in pit
The Quebec Act respecting occupational health and safety provides for a specific process that must be followed by employers confronted with the exercise of a right to refuse work. Credit: Aisyaqilumaranas/Shutterstock

The right for a worker to refuse to work if she believes there is a danger relating to health and safety in the workplace is a topic that has been discussed on several occasions since the Quebec Act respecting occupational health and safety was enacted in 1979.

The act provides for a specific process that must be followed by employers confronted with the exercise of a right to refuse work. Further, the act provides for administrative or penal recourses against the employer in the event of non-compliance.

Right to refuse to work