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Priority groups

Developing and implementing a prevention program is an obligation for employers whose establishment (or construction site) belongs to priority groups 1, 2 or 3.

The CNESST encourages workplaces to set up participation mechanisms such as health and safety committees and worker representatives in the establishment.

What is a priority group?

All companies in Québec are classified into 33 sectors of economic activity, which are divided into 6 priority groups.

Each priority group includes similar economic sectors in terms of occupational health and safety risks.

Breakdown of priority groups by sector of activity
Priority groups Sectors of activity
Group 1
  • Building and public works
  • Metal product manufacturing
  • Forest and sawmills
  • Chemical industry
  • Mines, quarries and oil wells
Group 2
  • Transportation equipment manufacturing
  • Non-metallic mineral product manufacturing
  • Wood industry (excluding sawmills)
  • Rubber and plastic products industry
  • Primary metal processing
Group 3
  • Public administration
  • Food and beverage industry
  • Furniture and furnishings industry
  • Paper industry and miscellaneous activities
  • Transportation and warehousing
Group 4
  • Trade
  • Machinery manufacturing (except electrical machinery)
  • Leather industry
  • Tobacco industry
  • Textile industry
Group 5
  • Other business and personal services
  • Communications, power transmission and other utilities
  • Petroleum and coal product manufacturing
  • Electrical product manufacturing
  • Printing, publishing and related activities
Group 6
  • Agriculture
  • Hosiery and clothing
  • Hunting and fishing
  • Uncoded files
  • Education and related services
  • Finance, insurance and real estate
  • Miscellaneous manufacturing industries
  • Medical and social services

Obligations by priority group

The Loi sur la santé et la sécurité du travail provides for 4 prevention mechanisms that are either mandatory or encouraged, depending on the priority group. These prevention mechanisms are:

  • an occupational health and safety committee
  • a prevention program
  • an establishment-specific health program
  • a prevention representative
Obligations by priority group
Priority group Prevention program Establishment-specific health program Occupational health and safety committee Safety representative
Priority
group 1
Mandatory Mandatory Provided for by the Act except in establishments with 20 or fewer workers Provided for by the Act
Priority
group 2
Mandatory Mandatory Provided for by the Act except in establishments with 20 or fewer workers Provided for by the Act
Priority
group 3
Mandatory Mandatory Not applicable Not applicable
Priority
group 4
Recommended Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable
Priority
group 5
Recommended Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable
Priority
group 6
Recommended Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable

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