Bill 59's Changes to the Occupational Injury and Workers' Compensation System

The Union des travailleuses et travailleurs accidentés ou malades (UTTAM), the organization of Quebec workers who have suffered workplace injuries or illnesses, has published information bulletins on Bill 59 on its website here.

We are reproducing below some of the main points of the UTTAM analysis of Bill 59:

"Indeed, the reform provides for important modifications to the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases (LATMP) which will have the effect, in many cases, of denying the right of victims to true consolidation, [i.e. optimization of treatment] of their injury.

"To name but a few of these attacks, we should mention:

- the abolition of the list of occupational diseases in the law and its replacement by a regulation that the CNESST [Labour Standards, Pay Equity and Workplace Health and Safety Board] will be able to modify at will, which will make it more difficult to compensate occupational diseases;

- the introduction of additional criteria for certain common occupational diseases, such as tendonitis and deafness, reducing eligibility for compensation;

- the abolition of the right to physical rehabilitation, a program aimed at eliminating or mitigating physical disability;

- the possibility for the CNESST to impose vocational rehabilitation measures during the period of medical treatment (before consolidation) that would not be contestable, either by the worker or by his or her attending physician;[1]

- restrictions on the right to medical assistance (medication, orthotics, prostheses, treatments) and the possibility of having victims of occupational injuries pay for part of the treatment;

- the abolition of the presumption of disability for workers aged 55 and over at the time of an occupational disease or 60 and over at the time of an occupational accident, who could now be forced to seek employment despite their inability to return to work;

- limiting the power of the courts on what constitutes suitable employment in order to prevent them from ruling in favour of workers who challenge a CNÉSST decision on this subject;

- maintaining discriminatory measures against domestic workers.

"In addition, this bill contains several measures that make it even more complicated for workers to file claims (processes to file claims, time limits, etc.). Everything in this bill is aimed at making it more difficult to access the system and compensation.

"Faced with a bill that threatens to expand employers' control over occupational health and safety and that proposes a significant reduction in the rights of injured or sick workers, we must react.

"In the coming weeks, we must tell the Minister of Labour loud and clear that if this is really what he sees as the "modernization" of the occupational health and safety system, for us, the answer is NO!"


1. In its brief submitted during the special consultations and public hearings on Bill 59, UTTAM writes:

"Bill 59 provides, in its section 27, for the creation of a new period during which it will be able to put in place 'pre-consolidation rehabilitation measures.' The CNESST would then have the power to impose rehabilitation measures on the worker to 'promote his or her reintegration into the workplace' while the worker is undergoing medical follow-up and receiving treatment for his or her injury.

"Among the measures that the CNESST could impose is a gradual return to work so that the worker can develop the ability to gradually return to the duties of his or her job. Once the Commission has decided on such a measure, the worker would be forced to participate or face suspension of benefits.


"The power granted to the CNESST to impose such measures, which may include a gradual return to work, without the obligation to obtain the agreement of the treating physician, is totally excessive. "

This article was published in

Number 18 - March 17, 2021

Article Link:
Bill 59's Changes to the Occupational Injury and Workers' Compensation System


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