Letter to the Minister of Defense

15 Department of Defense staff working in unsafe conditions is unacceptable

May 3, 2016

Dear Minister,

I write with urgency in the wake of disturbing reports that fifteen military and civilian staff will be asked to work under precarious conditions for three days later this month.

According to news reports, these employees will be in a workplace on the eleventh floor with no electricity, water or smoke detectors over the May long weekend. Fire alarms and sprinklers will be turned off, elevators will not be in service, and there will be no washroom facilities beyond the sixth floor.

Minister, these conditions are, quite simply, unacceptable.

I urge you to act immediately to protect the health and safety of the affected employees, and to assure Canadians that no-one will be asked to work under such unsafe conditions.

I further urge the government to restore the right to refuse unsafe work, and to repeal Division 5 of the Conservatives’ Bill C-4 without delay. Canadian workers should have the right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions, even when their employer is unable or unwilling to recognize the danger.

Yours sincerely,


Sheri Benson, MP for Saskatoon West and NDP Labour Critic

Cc: Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Labour; Hon. Judy Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement; Randall Garrison, MP, Critic for National Defence