Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

You have a right to refuse to perform any work you think will injure you or your fellow workers, but Bill 47 rolls back your right to refuse unsafe work.

Document iconDownload Fightback Factsheet #1 - Bill 47 and The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

Checkmark symbol Before Bill 47
  • Your employer must tell you if the work you’re assigned has been refused by somebody else for safety concerns.
  • You can refuse unsafe work that has “dangerous conditions”.
  • Workers who have refused unsafe work participate in the workplace investigation.
  • If you are disciplined by the employer, you can file a complaint with a provincial Occupational Health and Safety Officer.
Warning symbolAfter Bill 47
  • Your employer is only required to tell you after the other worker has contacted Occupational Health and Safety Alberta, which can only happen after the employer has written a report.
  • You can only refuse unsafe work if is an “undue hazard”, a far higher standard that includes an “immediate threat” requirement. This likely excludes your ability to refuse work that could result in a COVID-19 exposure, since the illness will not manifest immediately.
  • No requirement exists to involve the worker or their union in the investigation.
  • Unionized workers may only use the grievance process. In some workplaces, this could be a significant new administrative burden.