Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity today to speak to the members of the House of Commons on Bill C-380.
The protection of Canadian working women, particularly pregnant and nursing employees, is a matter the government takes extremely seriously, as I do myself.
I wish to reassure the hon. member for Shefford, Quebec and to tell him that we share his concerns for the health and well-being of pregnant and nursing women in workplaces all over Canada.
While we do share the same interest in protecting pregnant and nursing employees, we believe that the changes proposed to the Canada Labour Code in Bill C-380 are somewhat premature. This is a complex aspect of social policy and one that addresses not only occupational health and safety legislation but also workplace standards, the judgment of health professionals and personal decisions by all the women involved. If one takes into account the way federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions over labour matters are divided, along with broader national interest, the problem becomes even more complex.
Our commitment on this as a government is clearly set out in the Canada Labour Code. We need to look particularly at Parts II and III. As hon. members are already aware, Part II addresses workplace health and safety, while III addresses labour standards.