Al­berta looks at heels law

B.C. de­ci­sion has Labour Min­is­ter eye­ing leg­is­la­tion

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - El­iz­a­beth cameron For Metro | Cal­gary With files from the CAnA­diAn Press lu­cie ed­ward­son Metro | Cal­gary

Bri­tish Columbia’s move to ban manda­tory high heels in the work­place could give rise to sim­i­lar changes in Al­berta.

Last Fri­day, B.C. Premier Christy Clark an­nounced amend­ments to the footwear reg­u­la­tion un­der the Work­ers’ Com­pen­sa­tion Act (WCA).

Al­berta Labour Min­is­ter Christina Gray told Metro she has been mon­i­tor­ing the de­vel­op­ments in B.C. with in­ter­est and is com­mit­ted to hav­ing a sim­i­lar con­ver­sa­tion in this prov­ince.

“(We) rec­og­nize high heels in par­tic­u­lar can cause health and safety con­cerns for work­ers,” Gray said, and added that no woman should face dis­crim­i­na­tion at work be­cause of her gen­der.

A pri­vate mem­ber’s bill in­tro­duced by B.C. Green party Leader Andrew Weaver last month would have made it il­le­gal for em­ploy­ers to re­quire women to wear high heels at work, but in­stead of im­ple­ment­ing the bill, the gov­ern­ment amended the WCB.

The amended reg­u­la­tion says em­ploy­ers can­not force work­ers to wear footwear with a de­sign, con­struc­tion or ma­te­rial that in­hibits the worker’s abil­ity to safely per­form their job, and em­ploy­ers have to con­sider slip­ping, an­kle pro­tec­tion, foot sup­port, mus­cle or bone in­juries, and elec­tri­cal shock when con­sid­er­ing manda­tory footwear.

Re­becca Sul­li­van, pro­fes­sor and co-or­di­na­tor of the women’s stud­ies pro­gram at the Univer­sity of Cal­gary, pro­vides gen­der-di­ver­sity and eq­uity train­ing to work­places — in­clud­ing ad­dress­ing dis­crim­i­na­tory dress codes. She said women should wear heels if they want to, but they shouldn’t be a re­quire­ment for the job.

“There is no work on the planet where high heels are nec­es­sary,” Sul­li­van said.

“We need to start hold­ing the em­ploy­ers and cus­tomers ac­count­able for dis­crim­i­na­tory and ha­rass­ing be­hav­iour to­wards women em­ploy­ees,” she said, point­ing out that any prac­tice which ex­poses an em­ployee to an un­nec­es­sary health risk is al­ready against the law.

“It’s up to the gov­ern­ment to en­force the law, and it’s up to busi­nesses to not put their work­ers in harm’s way for no rea­son.”

Gray said her min­istry is cur­rently re­view­ing Al­berta’s labour leg­is­la­tion — in­clud­ing the Work­ers Com­pen­sa­tion Act and the Em­ploy­ment Stan­dards Code — and high heels will likely be part of the dis­cus­sion.

“We will be look­ing at Al­berta’s Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety code in the com­ing months,” Gray said.

“I am very in­ter­ested in hear­ing what Al­ber­tans think about this topic.” Court ap­pear­ances for the Cal­gary po­lice as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent and an­other Cal­gary Po­lice Ser­vice of­fi­cer have been ad­journed to later this month.

Re­cently-elected Cal­gary Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion (CPA) pres­i­dent, Sgt. Les Kaminiski, and Const. Brant Der­rick did not ap­pear in court Wed­nes­day.

De­fence lawyer for Der­rick, Don MacLeod, ap­peared on be­half of his client and as an agent for Kamn­ski , who’s new coun­sel, Alain Hep­ner, is out of the coun­try.

Kamin­ski’s pre­vi­ous coun­sel, Wil­lie DeWitt, was re­cently named a Court of Queen’s Bench judge.

MacLeod asked to have both of­fi­cers’ next court ap­pear­ance ad­journed. They will now ap­pear April 20.

Kamin­ski is charged with per­jury and as­sault with a weapon, while Der­rick is fac­ing a charge of as­sault caus­ing bod­ily harm,

The charges stem from a 2008 traf­fic stop in down­town Cal­gary, where Ja­son Arkin­stall was charged with ut­ter­ing threats to­wards Der­rick.

Arkin­stall was ac­quit­ted in 2011 by a pro­vin­cial court judge, who stated in his writ­ten de­ci­sion that he didn’t con­sider Kamin­ski and Der­rick to be cred­i­ble wit­nesses.

Af­ter charges were laid against Kamin­ski, the CPA held an­other vote ask­ing their mem­bers if they wanted him to stay on as pres­i­dent, in which the ma­jor­ity voted for him to re­main in the po­si­tion.

I am very in­ter­ested in hear­ing what al­ber­tans think on this topic. Christina Gray Last Fri­day, B.C. an­nounced changes to its Work­ers Com­pen­sa­tion Act that ban manda­tory high heel re­quire­ments in work­place dress codes.


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