Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee

June 1, 2017

DATE:                    June 1, 2017                                 TIME: 1:30 p.m.

LOCATION:          8th Floor Boardroom, 395 Terminal Avenue, Room 8070

ATTENDEES:

Employer Representatives

Employee Representatives

Members

Dan Couture
(Employer Co-Chair)
Maggie Trudel-Maggiore
Janique Caron
Dana-Lynne Hills

Doug Mason
(Employee Co-Chair)
Marc Brière (UTE)
Allaudin Alibhai (PIPSC)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Debbie Ferguson (UTE)

Guest Mark Bishop  
Secretary Jaime Robinson  
Observers David Walsh

Mathieu Juneau (UTE)
Eric Langlais (PIPSC)

Absent

Robert Allen

 

OPENING REMARKS

Mr. Doug Mason opened by welcoming members to the last meeting prior to the summer vacation period. Mr. Dan Couture welcomed Mr. Mark Bishop, National Operations Manager from the National Real Property Solutions Division, as a first time guest joining the Committee to provide an update on the asbestos agenda item.

1. ASSURANCES OF VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE (AVC) AND DIRECTIONS

One AVC was received during this reporting period. On May 23, 2017, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) received an AVC related to a reported noise hazard associated with the operation of air sampling pumps testing for asbestos containing materials (ACM). On May 30, 2017, a response was sent to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) outlining the Agency’s position that it disagreed with the AVC. It stated that at no time was the CRA advised by the qualified and certified professionals hired to do the testing by Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC) that there was a noise hazard associated with the operation of the air sampling pumps. As such, this information was never raised as an issue during meetings with the local health and safety committee (HSC), unions, and local management in advance of messaging to all staff about the air sampling.

While the CRA did not agree with the non-compliance determination due to the absence of data to substantiate that there was a noise hazard, it agreed to conduct a review of the situation and take any required action, including ensuring that all employees required to use personal protective equipment will be instructed and trained in the use of said equipment. On May 31, 2017, the ESDC Health and Safety Officer accepted the Agency’s response and confirmed that the file was closed by ESDC.

Mr. Mason noted that a summary of the AVC, as well as the Agency’s response, had been shared with NHSPC members on May 31, 2017.

2. WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PREVENTION

At the NHSPC meeting on April 6, 2017, it was agreed that management would delay approval of the draft Procedures in Response to Workplace Violence so that the employee representatives could share feedback on the finalized draft.

On May 26, 2017, following a review of those comments, the National Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Section shared a draft of the procedures as well as a document highlighting changes made and items where agreement had not been reached.

As a result, management proposed that the NHSPC recommend the draft procedures for final approval and implementation. A recommendation was also put forward that the working group focus on developing supporting tools and the roster of competent persons.

The employee representatives expressed their opposition to moving forward with the draft procedures. They requested that the working group meet again, with the support of a representative from the ESDC, to review the items where consensus had not been reached. It was agreed that the working group would reconvene and that management would reach out to a policy representative from ESDC to seek their willingness to meet with the working group.

3. health and safety committee effectiveness

Health and Safety Committee Training Initiative

The National OHS Section is organizing training sessions for HSC members, in conjunction with regional learning coordinators. Training dates have been booked from May to July 2017 in three regions, with five additional training sessions planned before September across Canada.

Currently, with eighteen participants per session, it is anticipated that an additional thirty sessions will be required to train the approximately six hundred and twenty individuals who require training. Given the large numbers, it is possible that not all committee members will receive training by the end of the fiscal year. A train-the-trainer session has been planned for Ottawa from June 27 to 29, 2017.

Newsletter

The spring newsletter was published on May 12, 2017, and included articles on the role of the health and safety committee during times of transition and workplace changes, updates to the office ergonomics program, National Day of Mourning, North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, and first aid/AED network maintenance. The summer newsletter is scheduled for release in July 2017.

Umbrella committees

At the April 2017 meeting, the Committee was informed of two requests to establish umbrella committees which had been reviewed by the NHSPC and sent to ESDC.

In the original request, EPCOR Tower in Edmonton would fall under the umbrella of the Edmonton Tax Services Office HSC; however, the duration of the occupancy was extended for two to three years. As such, a new health and safety committee will be created and the umbrella committee request has since been cancelled. There was also a request for BRD Newton to fall under the Surrey Tax Centre until June 2017. There has been no response yet from ESDC.

Additionally, a request was approved to have the Urbandale Building in Ottawa fall under the multi-workplace of the Minto Place-Canada/Enterprise Building HSC. This request has been approved by ESDC and will be in effect until March 2018.

Two new requests in Headquarters are forthcoming. The HSC co-chairs from Fitzgerald Campus are drafting a letter to seek ESDC approval to renew the existing umbrella committee on a permanent basis. Also, a new request was submitted to the unions to establish a permanent umbrella committee at Billings Bridge in Ottawa, which has two civic addresses.

Other items

The employee representatives asked for management’s assistance to ensure that HSCs are notified in the event of a critical incident in their workplace. It was agreed that management would look at options to ensure that all stakeholders receive a reminder.

It was also noted that an electronic copy of the Health and Safety Committee and Representative Scorecard would be shared with the employee representatives once approved.

4. OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAM

The NHSPC was provided with updates on the following elements of the OHS Program:

Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) Working Group

The National OHS Section and the Learning and Development Directorate (LDD) are reviewing the accessibility function on the Safety Care videos to ensure that the videos are usable for persons using adaptive technology. Quizzes are also being developed that will accompany the videos.

Work continues to update the standard operating procedures (SOP) and safe work procedures (SWP) that were revised as a result of the MEJHA working group meeting in November 2016, and changes in corporate policy instrument language and formatting. All SOPs, including associated documentation, are expected to be approved by the end of June 2017.

The National OHS Section is continuing work on the new SWPs that were identified. They will be ready for review at the fall MEJHA working group meeting.

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) Working Group

As it has been five years (May 28, 2012) since the launch of the Procedures for Field Employees Conducting Off-Site Visits, a call-letter is being prepared to seek management and employee representatives for the JHA working group. The working group’s mandate will be to review the procedures to ensure that the Agency is meeting its legislative requirements for developing, implementing and monitoring control measures for the health and safety of field employees. The NHSPC will be provided with an update once the working group has been established.

OHS Directive

The revised Directive on Occupational Health and Safety was approved by the Board of Management on April 20, 2017. A communiqué was sent to the HSCs and representatives on May 19, 2017, informing them of this update and requesting that they post the Directive on their worksite health and safety notice board.

Ergonomic Strategy

The Office Ergonomics SOP and the selection guide document were approved by the Assistant Commissioner, Human Resources Branch and Chief Human Resources Officer, on April 12, 2017. Work continues to update the online content, including InfoZone and KnowHow, to support the new documents. When the online content is complete, a communiqué will be sent to the Agency Management Committee (AMC) announcing the new SOP and promoting the online content. In addition, messaging will be sent to the HSCs, webinars will be conducted with the ergonomics coach community, and ergonomics lunch and learn sessions open to managers and employees will be hosted.

OHS Monitoring

On April 25, 2017, AMC members received a communiqué outlining the list of locations that will be visited during the 2017-2018 fiscal year, as part of the two-year OHS Program monitoring cycle. The results of the first year of OHS monitoring activities will be presented to the Board of Management and the NHSPC in September 2017.

5. Action Item Report

Members reviewed the summary of deliverables and status updates since the last meeting. Mr. Mason highlighted the effort made to have previous editions of the HSC newsletter posted to InfoZone and requested that editions from the last 2 years be published online if possible.

6. ASBESTOS

The NHSPC was advised that CRA currently has 44 sites known to house asbestos-containing materials (ACM), with four changes since the last Committee meeting in April 2017:

  • 2250 St. Olivier Street in Trois Rivières was added. Local management and the HSC have been informed and airborne asbestos fibre testing is being arranged through PSPC.
  • 1557 Hollis Street in Halifax was removed. The building was released from CRA inventory on November 30, 2016.
  • 1166 West Pender Street in Vancouver was removed. The building was released from CRA inventory on March 31, 2017.
  • 100 Lafontaine in Chicoutimi was removed. PSPC have confirmed that there are no known ACMs at this location. Airborne asbestos fibre testing was completed at this site, and no issues were identified.

Management also confirmed that all ACMs would be removed from the new Windsor office either in advance of or during the project to prepare the premises for occupation.

Members were informed that the national testing initiative has been completed and all of the sites known to contain ACM have tested well below the applicable limits. The employee representatives questioned whether testing would continue on an annual basis. Management agreed to review and confirm the original commitment made and would communicate to the NHSPC.

The results of testing are being communicated at the local level to the Responsible Building Authority (RBA), HSC, and employees, and InfoZone will be updated to include the results. CRA will continue to work with PSPC to ensure that information on the most recent assessment/reassessment of the ACM condition, as well as upcoming project activity that has the potential to disturb ACM, is received and shared at the local level.

As reported at the April 2017 meeting, the CRA Asbestos Communication Procedures were completed and communicated, and front-line Finance and Administration Branch personnel in the regions are being trained via WebEx. The training sessions are due for completion at the end of May 2017.

7. Fire and Emergency exercises

The Security and Internal Affairs Directorate (SIAD) monitors the CRA’s emergency response and fire safety compliance against legislative and policy requirements. Requirements include one full-scale evacuation exercise across all buildings (that is the annual fire drill) and three additional exercises (1 full-scale non-fire related exercise and two partial exercises) for high-rise buildings.

The CRA is the major tenant in 20 high-rise and 67 low rise buildings, for a total of 87 buildings for which the CRA is responsible for emergency response and fire safety activities. Of these buildings, compliance results show that 100% of CRA buildings have an approved emergency response and fire safety plan and 95% have completed their annual full-scale fire drill.

There were two buildings in the Ontario region that were non-compliant. Both 1475 John Counter Boulevard and 55 Town Centre Court completed their annual fire drill on April 13, 2017, and April 25, 2017, respectively, due to the property managers having to reschedule. 

There were two other buildings, 40 Alderney Landing in the Atlantic region and 468 Terminal Avenue in the Pacific region that did not complete their annual fire drill as they recently moved into these locations on November 21, 2016, and January 30, 2017, respectively. As newly occupied buildings, the annual fire drill must be conducted within 12 months of the occupancy date.

In addition, of the 20 high-rise buildings, one was missing a partial exercise. The CRA has 27 employees at 150 Slater Street in the Headquarters region, and is the only federal tenant. The CRA is sub-leasing space from Export Development Canada (EDC). EDC and the property manager have been leading the fire safety activities and were compliant with provincial requirements.

Members were informed that additional structure and support will be provided by local security in order to meet the CRA’s emergency exercise and meeting requirements for 2017-2018, in accordance with the federal emergency response guide which supports an all hazards approach.

Mr. Mason suggested that in the future, management consider the timing of drills, including directly following a building move, so that they might have the most impact.

8. PSYCHOLOGICAL STANDARD

On May 26, 2017, the Well-being Section shared a written update with NHSPC members on key accomplishments to advance the Wellbeing Strategy to date.

The NHSPC was informed that the working group will be scheduling a meeting in the near future to exchange ideas on the role of HSCs with respect to mental health and how to equip them with information on the resources available at the Agency to address mental health issues. It was confirmed that the NHSPC will receive an update once members’ feedback has been fully reviewed.

Management noted the employee representative’s suggestion to invite a member of the Joint Taskforce on Mental Health to speak to the working group. Management also noted a request from the employee representatives to consider mental health first aid training as a possible forward agenda item for the Committee.

9. WRITTEN UPDATES

Statistics for Health and Safety Training

As of April 25, 2017, the percentage of untrained employees has remained at 3% since the last report in March 2017. Small increases can be seen in the Atlantic and Prairie region, with the largest increase in Headquarters. Slight decreases are noted in the Ontario, Pacific and Quebec regions. Overall, the results remain relatively constant since 2015.

The April 2017 statistics show that the percentage of untrained managers in OHS remains at 14% since the last report in March 2017.

Workplace Violence Prevention Training

At a national level, the number of employees and managers trained in workplace violence prevention has remained relatively constant since September 2016. Overall, the percentage of untrained employees and managers remains at 2% nationally.

Nationally, 21% of the employee population require re-training to meet the 3 year training requirement.

Mr. Mason noted the progress made to improve overall completion rates over the last several years and recommended that continued effort be placed on improving manager and workplace violence re-training completion percentages.

Occupational Health and Safety Communication Plan

Members reviewed the communication plan for 2017-2018. Since the last meeting of the NHSPC in April 2017, Agency news sliders related to North American Occupational Safety and Health week, the National Day of Mourning, and environmental sensitivities were issued.

Quarterly Security Incident Reports

The Committee reviewed the Quarterly Security Incident Report for January to March 2017. No issues were raised by Committee members.

CLOSING REMARKS

Mr. Couture thanked members for their contribution and re-affirmed all members continued commitment to making the NHSPC a productive, collaborative forum.

Mr. Mason noted that this would be his last meeting in the role of Co-Chair and highlighted the NHSPC`s work during the H1N1 and SARS outbreaks as well as the introduction of automated external defibrillators as particular sources of pride. He also took the opportunity to thank Ms. Debbie Ferguson for her many years of service and dedication to the NHSPC and to the advancement of the Agency`s OHS program. Ms. Ferguson will be starting her retirement in June.

Mr. Doug Gaetz expressed his thanks to Mr. Mason on behalf of the Union of Taxation Employees for his contribution in the role of Co-Chair.

Original signed by

Original signed by

Dan Couture
Employer Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

November 12, 2017

Doug Mason
Employee Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

December 4, 2017

Date

Date