General information

How did the CSST originate?

  • The Manufacturers Act (Acte des manufactures de Québec), which targeted mostly women and children, was enacted in 1885. The first law drafted for the protection of workers, it was replaced in 1894 by the Loi des établissements industriels, which was in turn amended in 1903 and again in 1907.
  • In 1909, a new law was passed introducing the notion of "occupational hazards". Amendments were introduced in 1926 modifying the scope of this law and increasing the benefits prescribed for workers.
  • The initial Act respecting industrial accidents was adopted in 1928, enhancing the workers' compensation plan and making it mandatory for employers to have insurance whereby the insurer undertook to perform the obligations dictated under the Act. A while later, the law was finalized, leading to the creation of the Commission des accidents du travail du Québec (CAT).
  • An Act respecting industrial accidents was officially approved in 1931, providing insurance for workers who were victims of a work-related accident and eliminating the concept of proof of fault or negligence, a notion that had until then been a prerequisite to compensation. It also introduced the elements of accident prevention and rehabilitation for workers having suffered a work-related accident.
  • In 1979, Québec passed An Act respecting occupational health and safety, the object of which was the elimination, at the source, of dangers to the health, safety and physical well-being of workers.
  • In 1985, An Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases came into force. This signalled the beginning of reforms to numerous aspects of the plan, including income protection, attending physician, rehabilitation and return to work, as well as the review and appeal process for decisions rendered by the CSST.

For more information, see the History section of the site.

What is the CSST's role in Québec?

The Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST) is the organization mandated by the Government of Québec to administer the province's occupational health and safety plan. It acts in the capacity of a public insurer for workers and employers while also overseeing prevention in the workplace. The occupational health and safety plan evolved from a wide consensus, which led to a social contract linking over two million workers to their respective employers. Under this contract, workers are compensated for employment injuries, and employers are protected from legal action.

  • The CSST offers victims of work-related accidents or occupational diseases financial support, along with the medical and rehabilitation assistance necessary to enable a return to work.
  • The CSST benefits employers who fund the system through the payment of premiums (assessments) by helping them to ensure a healthier, hazard-free workplace.
  • The CSST is responsible for applying the two main laws governing the rights and obligations of workers and employers with regard to occupational health and safety. These are An Act respecting occupational health and safety, in force since 1979, and An Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases which, while enacted in 1985, hails back to the 1930s.

For more information on the CSST's role, see the section Mission under Who we are.

Can a worker bring an action against his or her employer subsequent to an industrial accident?

No, because the employer is subject to the Québec occupational health and safety plan, which offers protection irrespective of fault (no-fault). This program is beneficial for both of the parties involved :

  • the worker who is the victim of an employment injury is compensated, thereby protecting his work income;
  • while the employer is protected from legal action, which protects its assets.

What is WHMIS?

WHMIS stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, a Canada-wide system for exchanging information on hazardous materials. Designed according to various federal and provincial laws and regulations, WHMIS is a tool focused on the prevention of work-related diseases and accidents. It describes the role of suppliers (including importers and distributors), which is to provide material safety data sheets and labels for controlled products sold or imported that are found in workplaces in Canada. Under WHMIS, the employer is responsible for ensuring that the controlled products used by the company are labelled and include material safety data sheets that can be accessed by everyone. It must also develop a training and information program for all employees, to make them aware of the risks of using certain hazardous materials and the precautions to be adopted when handling such products. The staff of the CSST's Service du répertoire toxicologique (toxicology directory) (http://www.reptox.csst.qc.ca/) can answer your questions concerning the WHMIS. It also publishes the Material Safety Data Sheet User's Guide, which can be obtained from your regional CSST office.
You can also obtain more information from the CSST's Centre de documentation, located at 1199, rue De Bleury (4th floor) in Montréal.

Where can the various CSST forms be obtained?

A larger number of CSST Formulaires forms (some in French only) can be downloaded directly from the Forms section of our site.

You can also obtain all of the required forms by contacting your regional CSST office.

How does one follow training to become a workplace first aider?

  • The employer or main contractor must contact its regional CSST office to obtain a list of recognized training organisations in the region that can provide such training. It can also consult the list available on our Web site.
  • The employer or main contractor then contacts the training organization of its choosing to reach an agreement as to course dates and other conditions.

It will then receive information on any subsidies offered, and will be asked to complete the registration form (Formulaire d'inscription). The training organization will take the necessary measures to obtain a CSST subsidy, if applicable.

  • To be entitled to a subsidy, the person enrolled in the workplace first aid course must attend the entire training, regardless of whether or not he or she passes the course. Any cancellations must be made five (5) days prior to the first session; otherwise, the training organization is entitled to charge the company for the training.
  • Persons who follow the entire training and successfully pass the theoretical and practical exams will receive a first aider certificate valid for a period of three (3) years. After this period, they will need to follow the training again if they wish to retain their certification.

For more information on the first aiders training program or the number of first aiders required for your facility, see the section First aid in the workplace or contact your regional CSST office.

Can a CSST decision be contested?

Yes. Any person, worker or employer, who feels injured by a CSST decision, is entitled to contest this decision. The approach to follow will depend on the type of decision being contested. In most cases, the first step will involve submitting a written application for review, which must include the subject of the decision and the grounds for the objection. This application must be submitted to the CSST office in the region where the worker involved resides. An application for review can be filed within the 30-day period following the date on which a CSST decision is rendered. When this decision involves an inspection, an employee exercising his right to refuse to work or a refusal to reassign a pregnant or breast-feeding worker, this period is ten (10) days.
The CSST will hear arguments from both parties, after which it will reach its decision. It can notably confirm, overrule or modify a decision that has already been rendered. A person who feels injured by this new decision has forty-five (45) days from the date of its notification to contest it with the Commission des lésions professionnelles.
For more information on contesting decisions, contact your regional CSST office.