What is a deviation?

In New Brunswick, the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act recognizes that not all specific instances and new work processes can be addressed in legislation. As such, the Act has a provision that allows an employer to apply to WorkSafeNB for permission to deviate from the existing standards and requirements. Applications for deviations, and the authority to review those applications, are made under subsection 3(3) of the Act. That subsection reads:

3(3) Where an employer applies, in writing, for an authorization to deviate from any provision of the regulations, the chief compliance officer may give permission in writing for that deviation under such terms and conditions as he shall consider advisable 

(a) in accordance with the standards, if any, prescribed by regulation for granting such deviations, or

(b) where no standards for granting deviations are prescribed by regulation, if he is satisfied that the deviation affords protection for the health and safety of employees equal to or greater than the protection prescribed by regulation.

The Chief Compliance Officer can only consider deviations related to the regulations. 

How to request a deviation under the OHS Act

The process for requesting a deviation is simple and straightforward. The employer is required to make a written application for the deviation to the chief compliance officer. A deviation request form is available here. The application should contain an explanation on how the employer proposes to afford equal or greater protection to the health and safety of its employees. The chief compliance officer will review the specifics of the application and either grant or deny the request. 

The chief compliance officer may require additional information as determined necessary for the specific application.

The time for processing an application depends on many variables and the complexity of the operation. As such, the employer should submit the deviation request form as early as possible to avoid delays.

The Chief Compliance Office can be contacted in writing at:

1 Portland Street 
P.O. Box 160
Saint John N.B., E2L 3X9

You can also contact by sending a fax to 506 738-4099 or by emailing the chief compliance officer at

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