Other Langauge Home
General | Alta | BC | Man | NB | Nfld | NS | NWT | Nun | Ont | PEI | Que | Sask | Yuk | Federal
Environmental Rights

Work Environment

Workers' Environmental Rights

Workers' environmental rights are fairly new in Canada. The few rights that have been set in law are workers' right to refuse to pollute, and workers' right to report workplace pollution. The right to refuse to pollute allows a worker to stop working when the work causes environmental damage. The right to report workplace pollution secures a worker from being fired for reporting environmental damage that originates in the workplace. Popularly known as "whistle blower protection", the right to report is found in environmental law in some provinces and territories, and in labour law elsewhere. Workers' right to refuse to pollute is found in Yukon's environmental law, and in federal environmental law that applies in the provinces and territories across the country.

Workers' environmental rights are still developing. At present, it's not always clear how employers can be brought to respect these rights. Nor is it always clear when workplace pollution is at a level that makes it legal to report the employer, or legal for a worker to refuse to work. Workers' environmental rights differ between the provinces, territories and the federal workplace jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions, these rights are more developed and clearer than in others. To learn more, click on the provincial, territorial or federal tab for the law that applies to your workplace. If you're unsure whether your workplace falls under federal law, click here.

Unionized workers can check their collective agreement for environmental rights, or speak with a union steward to learn more. Collective agreements sometimes clarify the right to refuse to pollute and explain when workers can get whistle blower protection.

See the right to refuse and the right to participate and other workers' health and safety rights on this site for models on which workers' environmental rights might be developed in the future.

News Feeds

Canadian Labour