Training records is the paper trail that proves that the company has provided a worker with the appropriate training for their job, as well as the proof that the worker has completed the required training. But what happens when a worker decides to leave your company to work for someone else?
If you've read our blog before, you know that health and safety is rarely simple, and record retention is no exception. There is a federal and provincial answer to this question, so take a deep breath and we'll go through it together.
From a federal standpoint, there are quite a few records that should be maintained during and after the worker has been employed or exposed to certain hazards.
- General hazard prevention program training (19.6.5): at least 2 years after the worker ceases to be exposed to the hazard.
- Workplace violence training (20.10 (1)(5)): a minimum of 2 years after the worker is no longer exposed to the hazard or violence (usually the end of their employment).
- Hazardous substance training (s. 10.15): 2 years after the worker no longer handles or is exposed to hazardous substance (including any work with pipes that may contain these substances).
- Ventilation system training (10.18 (7)): As long as worker remains employed with the company.
- Motorized equipment for materials handling operator training (14.23 (1)(4)): As long as worker remains employed with the company.
- Manual lifting instructions (14.49 (c)): 2 years after they no longer apply (change of position or end of employment)
But here's the thing. Aside from the federally imposed requirements, each province also has its own specific rules for record retention. So what are you expected to do with your workers records? Don't worry. We are going to break it down by province so you have all the information you need to make the best decision for your company:
We're going to start with an easy one. The Yukon doesn't have any provincial regulations around the retention of worker safety records. So it is a matter of ensuring you are compliant with federal regulations and following the best practice of having up-to-date employment records.
Northwest Territories & Nunavut
The Northwest Territories and Nunavut follow the same rules as the Yukon in regards to training records for past workers. However, they must also keep records of job specific training, specifically training in safe use of atmosphere-supplying respirator (91. (5)) which must be kept for the length of the worker's employment.
The most western Canadian province requires every company that must have a safety program in place to retain worker training records for 6 years. Other records that specifically need to be kept on file are:
- Safety Committee/Safety Representative training (3.27 (9)): Must be kept for at least 2 years after the worker is no longer a committee member or representative.
- Cytotoxic drugs exposure training (6.52 (2)): At least 3 years from the date the training was provided.
Alberta, surprisingly, doesn't have any regulations in place for the retention of training records for workers. So the best thing you can do is make sure that you meet the federal regulations for record retention and follow your industry's best practices in regards to health and safety training.
Saskatchewan, much like the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, requires companies to retain training in safe use of atmosphere-supplying respirators (3.8) for the duration of a worker's employment.
Manitoba has somewhat more strict retention regulations (2.10 (b) than most of Canada. Here, employers are required to keep all Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) regulated training records for 5 years.
Ontario has some pretty unique rules regarding training. While there is no specified amount of time a record of training must be kept, they are required to keep it all training on file for AT LEAST 6 months after a worker has left the company. Why? According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour employers must be able to provide a worker (or their new supervisor) with their record of training if a request is made within 6 months of them leaving the company.
Quebec is yet another province that simply abides by federal record retention regulations. Please see the best practices of record retention for your specific industry in Quebec.
Moving into the first of the maritime provinces, we find that all safety training (Step 5: Documentation), as well as new worker orientations records, be kept for 3 years. However, unlike Ontario, there is no rule requiring them to provide these to workers upon request.
Newfoundland & Labrador
The fourth province to have no provincial regulations regarding record retention, Newfoundland & Labrador sticks to those imposed federally and by the relevant industries.
Nova Scotia plays by the same rules as it's western counterpart, Manitoba, requiring employers to retain ALL training records (1.15 (5)) for no less than 5 years.
Prince Edward Island
The smallest province in Canada has only one specific requirement. Employers in PEI must retain records of asbestos training and exposure (49.28 (2)) for no less than 40 years regardless of a worker's employment current employment status.
For the record...
As you can see, there is no regulation to rule them all when it comes to training record retention. Regardless of the regulations in your province, keeping records for a decent amount of time after a worker leaves, and being able to provide them with a copy of their record, can go a long way to building goodwill among your workforce and industry.
As always, if you aren't sure what these regulations encompass, or if you have any questions about record retention, you'll want to take a closer look at the OH&S regulations for your specific area and industry.
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