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CNESST Lawyer in Montreal: Frequently asked questions

There are different questions that people have about the CNESST. Here, the best lawyer in Montreal will aim to answer some of the most common questions people have.


What is the origin of the CNESST?

The Manufacturers Act that primarily targeted children and women was formed in 1885. This covered worker protection and was replaced later in 1894 by another act known as the Loi des Etablissements Industriels. In the year 1909, an act known as occupational hazards was introduced. This law was later modified in 1926, to alter its scope so that work benefits could be increased.

The main act that represented industrial accidents came into effect in 1928. This act enhanced the compensation plan for workers and made it mandatory that employers have insurance and that the insurer will be performing the required obligations as specified in the act. An act that represented industrial accidents was formally approved in the year 1931 and was used to provide insurance to workers that were work accident victims and eliminated proof or negligence or fault concept.

Until the time this act was enacted, this concept was the prerequisite for claiming compensation. This act also introduced concepts of accident prevention as well as rehabilitation elements for workers who  have suffered accidents during work. In 1979, another act was passed that was related to occupational safety and health. Its objective was to eliminate dangers to well being, safety, and health of the workers right at the source. Finally, in 1985, an act that was related to occupational diseases and industrial accidents was introduced.

This act was used to usher in reforms to different aspects such as income protection, rehabilitation, attending physicians, and workers returning to work. This act was cleared for review as well as appeal for decisions taken by the CNESST.

What role does CNESST play in Quebec?

CNESST is one of the organizations that administers occupational safety and health plans for the province. It works like a public insurer for employers as well as workers and at the same time oversees prevention measures implemented at the workplace.

This occupational safety and health plan came into existence after a wide consensus of social contracts that link workers and their employers. As per this social contract, all the workers get compensated for injuries that are related to their employment and at the same time employers get protection from legal actions.

The role of CNESST is to provide occupational disease or accident victims with financial support as well as rehabilitation assistance and medical support that would assist them in returning to work. In addition, it also helps employers by assisting them in creating a hazard free and healthier workplace. Apart from these, CNESST is responsible for enforcing two laws related to obligations and rights of employers and workers with respect to occupational safety and health.

Is it possible for a worker to enforce an action after an accident?

If a worker suffers an industrial accident then he or she cannot bring into force an action against the employer, since the employer is covered under the occupational safety and health plan and provides the necessary protection irrespective of whether there was a fault or not. Moreover, this plan proves to be beneficial for both parties since the worker is compensated and the employer is protected against legal action.

What is known as WHMIS?

WHMIS which is the abbreviation for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, and is a system in place for the exchange of information related to hazardous materials. It is designed as per different provincial and federal laws. It is a tool that focuses on prevention of accidents and diseases that occur during work.

In addition, it explains the supplier’s role to provide material safety data labels and sheets for all the controlled products that are sold or imported. According to WHMIS, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure controlled products are properly labeled and have a data sheet about material safety that is accessible for everyone. In addition, the employer is required to create an information and training program for all the workers so that the workers are aware of the risks posed by specific hazardous materials and what kind of precautions they have to take before handling these types of products.

Is it possible to contest a decision made by the CNESST?

Yes it is possible to contest a CNESST decision by enlisting the help of a CNESST lawyer. If an employer or worker thinks he or she has been affected by a decision taken by the CNESST then they can contest. However, the approach will depend upon the kind of decision that is being contested.

The first thing to do is to submit an application requesting a review and this application should also consist of decisions subject and information related to the basis for such an objection. Moreover, this application is to be submitted at the office of the CNESST in the region where the applicant resides. It is necessary to file a review application within thirty days from the date when the CNESST decision was given.

In case the decision consisted of an inspection, or when the worker who is exercising his or her right to refuse work, or refuses to re-assign work to a breastfeeding or pregnant worker, the period to contest the verdict is ten days.

During the contest, the CNESST will be listening to arguments put forward by both parties and then provide its verdict. It is possible that the CNESST will modify, confirm, or overrule certain decisions that were given earlier. In case a worker is still not satisfied, they now have 45 days to again contest it with the Commission des Lesions Professionnelles.

If you would like to get more information about the CNESST or want to know how the whole process works, or if you want to contest a decision then give us a call and our CNESST lawyer will try to do their best to guide you in the right direction.