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Reassignment is a measure under the For a Safe Maternity Experience Program that allows a pregnant worker to exercise her right to be assigned to another position or other duties that are not physically dangerous for the unborn child or for herself because of her pregnancy and that she is reasonably able to perform. A breastfeeding worker could also be eligible for reassignment if her working conditions are physically dangerous for her breastfed child.

The reassignment is put in place by the employer. This measure allows the worker to continue to work safely during her pregnancy or while she is breastfeeding her child.

Advantages of reassignment

Reassignment allows the worker to:

  • perform duties that are not dangerous for her unborn or breastfed child or for herself because of her pregnancy
  • develop new skills
  • maintain contact with her co-workers and employer
  • remain present and active in her workplace

Reassignment allows the employer to:

  • retain the expertise of their workforce in their establishment
  • carry out productive tasks for the benefit of the establishment
  • reduce the amount of benefits charged to them by helping to reduce the costs of the occupational health and safety plan

Request for reassignment

To request to be assigned to non-hazardous tasks, a pregnant or breastfeeding worker must give her employer the Reassignment or preventive withdrawal certificate for a pregnant or breastfeeding worker (in French only). The certificate must be completed by the professional who is providing her pregnancy care or postnatal care. When the worker gives the certificate to her employer, this constitutes her request for reassignment.

The certificate must certify that:

  • the worker's working conditions are physically dangerous:
    • for the unborn child or for herself because of her pregnancy
    • for her breastfed child
  • the worker is fit to work

The worker must also be available for assignment to other duties.

It is up to the employer to proceed with the reassignment in accordance with the recommendations made in the Reassingment or preventive withdrawal certificate for a pregnant or breastfeeding worker.

The employer may offer a reassignment at any time during the worker’s pregnancy or while she is breastfeeding. They may reinstate the worker in her position if the hazards she was exposed to in this position have been eliminated.

If it is impossible for the employer to offer her a reassignment, the employer may opt for preventive withdrawal.

Choice of reassignment

When proposing a reassignment to other duties or to another position, the employer must take the following into consideration:

  • the reassignment must be safe, i.e., the hazards described in the protocol (in French only) or in the medical-environmental report attached to the certificate are not present in the new duties assigned or the new position proposed
  • the new position or new duties do not expose the worker to new hazards
  • the worker has the physical ability, training and skills required to perform the duties of the reassignment

While on reassignment, the worker must report for work. If she considers that the reassignment offered by her employer is unsafe or if she feels unable to perform the duties, she may contest her reassignment.

Maintenance of employment benefits

During her reassignment, the worker retains all the benefits of the job she held before she was reassigned, including her regular wages. If the wages for the position she is reassigned to are lower than her regular wages or if the reassignment is part time, the employer must still pay the worker her regular wages for the entire duration of the reassignment.

As an employer, if you offer a part-time reassignment or a reassignment with lower wages than the worker's regular position, you can apply to the CNESST for financial support (in French only) to reimburse you the difference between the worker's regular wages and the wages for her reassignment position.

At the end of her reassignment, the worker must return to her regular job.

Laws and regulations

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