Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC)

December 16, 2019

DATE:                  December 16, 2019                        TIME: 1:30 p.m.
LOCATION:         395 Terminal Avenue, Room 8070

ATTENDEES:

Employer Representatives

Employee Representatives

Members

Dan Couture
(Employer Co-Chair)
Hugo Pagé
Debby Honcoop (for Dana-Lynne Hills)
Maggie Trudel-Maggiore
Heather DiPenta

Doug Gaetz (UTE)
(Employee Co-Chair)
Tracy Marcotte (UTE)
Allaudin Alibhai (AFS)
Brian Oldford (UTE)
Alnashir Ravjiani (AFS)

Secretary David Walsh  
Observers

Jeremy Hebert
Andrea McKay
Chantal Monette

Mathieu Juneau
Absent Dana-Lyne Hills  

This meeting was chaired by the employee co-chair, Mr. Doug Gaetz.

OPENING REMARKS

The National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) co-chairs welcomed everyone to the last meeting before the holidays. Members were invited to participate in the language of their choice. Debby Honcoop, Director, Physical Security and Program Management Division, was welcomed to the meeting replacing Dana-Lynne Hills. Jeremy Hebert, Director, Real Property and Services Integration Directorate, was announced as a guest for this meeting. Dan Couture confirmed that the merger of the Prairie and Pacific regions into the Western Region on April 1, 2020, will have no impact on the National Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Program and the OHS Officers in each region.

REVIEW AND APPROVAL

NHSPC Meeting Minutes – September 12, 2019  

Employee representatives will review and approve the September 12, 2019 minutes early in January 2020. The June 27, 2019 minutes are posted on InfoZone.                                                                     

Action Item Report    

The action item report was reviewed and approved by members. Management  provided an additional update on the Sudbury business case action item. It was indicated that Collections and Verification and Assessment, Benefit and Service branches have confirmed their full support on adjusting signature blocks on outgoing correspondence. A joint analysis of the current structure surrounding letters and outputs was completed. As a result, the current working group will create guidelines for the use of the signature blocks for Agency programs. An update will be provided to members at the next NHSPC meeting in March 2020.   

Forward Agenda

The employee representatives confirmed that the dates provided for the 2020 NHSPC meetings work well with the exception of September 22, 2020 and proposed the date of September 29, 2020. The National OHS Section will verify the availability of members and will send the official invitations to participants shortly. The forward agenda provided to members is an evergreen document and can be adjusted if required.

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Communication Plan

The OHS communication plan was reviewed and approved. Members were informed that the National OHS Section is currently finalizing the Newsletter edition and will provide a copy to employee representatives for their review and approval. The newsletter will be posted in early 2020. The upcoming communications are planned for February 2020 and include Heart Month and Repetitive Strain Injury day.

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PREVENTION (WVP)

Members were informed that since the last NHSPC meeting, the revised WVP tools have been posted on the “Addressing an alleged incident of workplace violence” page on InfoZone which includes the revised manager’s checklist, the workplace violence process map and the report of workplace violence form. The message to inform managers and employees that the tools are posted on InfoZone will be sent in January 2020.

An update on workplace violence cases for the period of January 2019 to November 15, 2019 was provided to members. Also, members were provided with information on trends and contributing factors that lead to cases of workplace violence and further discussions will take place at the next NHSPC working group meeting on December 18, 2019.  Employee representatives requested a copy of the case statistics report. The National OHS Section will provide the information to employee representatives shortly. The frequency for reporting on statistics was shared with members and it was proposed that further discussions take place at the NHSPC working group meeting. Finally, the National OHS Section reported that there were 922 visits to the “Preventing and resolving  workplace violence” page from January to September 2019.

Bill C-65 update

Members received an update on Bill C-65. Since the last meeting, a project team was created to work on the development of a new workplace violence and harassment process in consultation with the WVP working group and other stakeholders. The National OHS Section will continue to work with a data analyst to determine how to move forward with the collection of data in order to meet the new reporting requirements that will be introduced with the implementation of Bill C-65.

A national communication will be sent shortly to all employees to inform them that the current WVP process program remains in effect until notified of changes. The Workplace Violence project team is participating in a Treasury Board Secretariat engagement and response capacity working group. A guide for employer and employees to work through the new workplace violence and harassment process will be developed by the working group. The WVP program and implementation of Bill C-65 will be discussed at the NHSPC working group meeting on December 18, 2019.

PSYCHOLOGICAL OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY (OHS)

Members were informed that the NHSPC Psychological Health and Safety working group is scheduled to meet on December 18, 2019, to discuss awareness of psychological hazards, support material for employees and managers and the next steps on the psychological health and safety file. At this meeting, a communiqué to inform all employees of the progress made on the psychological health and safety portfolio and an information sheet to promote existing CRA resources, will be reviewed.  The existing external resources will also be discussed at the meeting to determine whether they would be appropriate for the CRA.

The National OHS Section will consult with other government departments to discuss  best practices. Internal existing data sources will also be reviewed with a data analyst.

Finally, members were informed that the National OHS Section continues to participate in the Psychological Occupational Hazard Conditions working group with other government departments. From this working group, a sub-group was created in August 2019, to work on draft tools for job hazard identification and assessment. An update will be provided to members at a next NHSPC meeting.

ERGONOMICS PROGRAM

Members were informed that September 22, 2019, marked two years since the revised ergonomics program launched. In the last year, the program focused on identifying hazards early, utilizing internal tools and implementing timely solutions. An increase in ergonomic coach adjustments by volunteer coaches was shown since the last report in 2018.

An ergonomic working group including an NHSPC employee representative, Labour Relations, Early Intervention and Return to Work and OHS was created and a first meeting was held on September 24, 2019. At this meeting, members discussed delays in obtaining an ergonomic assessment, gaps with the current process and provided recommendations to improve the process. It was mentioned that this file will be monitored closely and an update will be provided to members at the next NHPSC meeting. The summary of the September meeting will be shared with NHSPC members shortly. The working group plans on meeting again in February 2020.

As previously mentioned, the existing ergonomic services contract expires in May 2020. The National OHS Section is currently reviewing the statement of work for the new contract jointly with Contracting and anticipate to post the request for proposal in early 2020. The members will be kept up to date on the status.

ENVIRONMENTAL SENSITIVITIES AND SCENT POLICY

Members discussed the request  made by employee representatives at the June 2019 NHSPC meeting to explore the possibility of CRA implementing a scent policy. Background information on environmental sensitivities was provided and they were also informed of the review and analysis made recently by the National OHS Section. As a result of their analysis, including consultations with other federal departments and the Guide for Public Service Alliance of Canada Members 2003, the National OHS Section recommended to members that the CRA continue to work to address this issue through education and awareness in lieu of a scent policy and continue to promote tools available on InfoZone.

In addition, the National OHS Section proposed that a tool, such as a guide, be developed jointly, in lieu of a policy, with employee representatives to support CRA employees and managers on the potential hazards of chemical and environmental sensitivities and to assist in promoting a scent free workplace. Members agreed with this proposal.

There was much discussion, however, and employee representatives expressed disappointment stating that the CRA was missing out on an opportunity. InfoZone is only one way to educate employees and not necessarily the best way to make workplaces scent free.

NHSPC MEMBER TRAINING

Members were informed that every member of the NHSPC must receive training every three years to be informed of their legislative responsibilities outlined in the Canada Labour Code, Part II, the Health and Safety Committee and Representatives Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and in the Policy Committees, Work Place Committees and Health and Safety Representatives Regulations. This training must include the rules of the committee, the responsibility of committee members and consensus building.

The National OHS Section proposed an additional short presentation to members at the next NHSPC meeting to cover the previously outlined requirements. This training could be provided on an ongoing basis, to any new member of the NHSPC before their first meeting and would be held outside of the NHSPC meetings. The employee representatives requested a copy of the presentation and the Health and Safety for Committee Members course for their review. The National OHS Section will update the online training and will ensure that the delivery method of the learning product is  available to all NHSPC members.

WRITTEN UPDATES

Members received the written updates in advance of the meeting. Items requiring clarification were discussed as required and are listed below.

OHS Program

OHS Program Monitoring

Members were informed that the OHS program monitoring for cycle two, year two, is currently underway. To date, 81% of the sites have been visited (36/44). The remaining eight sites will be completed by March 31, 2020. The National OHS Section is working on developing new monitoring and reporting tools for cycle three. Cycle three, year one, will be launched on April 1, 2021.

Bed Bugs

Members were informed that certain regions have been experiencing bed bug issues in recent months. All situations are being controlled and monitored by management. A national awareness message was posted on InfoZone on November 6, 2019, including links to the revised OHS InfoZone bed bugs page, Health Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada. Employee representatives requested that cases be reported to members including the level of the situation.  Members agreed that this information be shared with the NHPSC members until March 31, 2020.

Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) Working Group         

Members were informed that the annual review of existing SOPs and safe work procedures (SWP) began on November 12, 2019. The Information Technology Branch  Canada Border Services Agency Traffic Lane SOP and 6 associated SWPs were shared with the working group along with the new carousel equipment, key cutter, and OPEX 306 mail slitter SWP’s for consultation.

The Control of hazardous energy program and associated procedures have been shared with the working group for consultation. An assessment will be conducted by the working group to determine applicable equipment or processes that may require new lockout procedures.

The environmental scan of carts was reviewed and 4 new SWP’s for specialized carts including carts with cages and doors, multi-level carts, pneumatic carts, and motorized electric carts are currently in development.

Lastly, the most recent noise level testing results indicate that the noise levels within the area of the equipment and compressor at both National Print Mail facilities in Winnipeg and Summerside, are now below 87dBL. The implementation of a hearing protection program is no longer required.

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for Field Employees Working Group

Members were informed of the result of the task hazard analysis, which indicate that respiratory protection is only required for the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). The National OHS Section is jointly working with CID to develop and implement a respiratory protection program. All existing respiratory protection equipment used outside of CID will be removed from CRA workplaces. Based on the JHA working group recommendations, approval will be sought to change the existing Procedures for field employees conducting off-site visits from a corporate policy instrument to a SOP. The new definition of remote workplace has been revised and published to the Workplace Management – Glossary of definitions.

Finally, members were informed that the communication issues for field employees will be discussed at the next working group meeting.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVCs) and Directions

Members were informed that there were 8 visits from the ESDC-Labour Program since the last NHSPC meeting. Various non conformities were identified at the following buildings: 13450 - 102 Avenue (Surrey, British Columbia), 275 Pope Road (Summerside, Prince Edward Island), 47 Dorchester Street (Sydney, Nova Scotia), 555 McAllister Drive (Saint John, New Brunswick), 11 Station Street (Belleville, Ontario), 1161 Crawford Drive (Peterborough, Ontario) 66 Stapon Road (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and 5800 Hurontario Street (Mississauga Ontario).

All non-conformities identified in the AVCs stated above have been resolved, making all buildings compliant with the exception of 66 Stapon Road and 5800 Hurontario Street. The CRA is working with the local management at these two buildings to ensure that all identified non-conformities are addressed and actioned. Members were also informed that the National OHS Section is currently working on an analysis and work plan on compliance including the monthly inspections. This initiative will be monitored closely.

OHS Training Report

The committee received an update on the mandatory OHS training statistics. The November 2019 training statistics show that nationally, the percentage of untrained employees has remained at 2%. The percentage of untrained managers in OHS is 7% and has improved by 8% since the last report in August 2019 following targeted communications sent in September 2019.

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 has dropped by 2 percent since the last report in August 2019.

Finally, the percentages of employees requiring re-training in workplace violence training has decreased by 16% following targeted communications sent in September 2019.

Health and Safety Committee (HSC) Effectiveness

HSC Effectiveness Results

The second quarter HSC effectiveness results were shared with the members. The National OHS Section followed-up with the buildings that did not meet the requirements for meetings and inspections.

HSC/Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) Training

The HSC/HSR training sessions were delivered in Hamilton, Toronto Centre, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Summerside, Saskatchewan, Sudbury, London and St. Catharines in the summer and fall of 2019. A French train-the-trainer session is planned for Ottawa in early 2020.

Newsletter

Members were reminded that the next edition of the newsletter will be published in early 2020.

Incident Reporting and Disability Management System (IRDMS)

Members were informed that the IRDMS is scheduled to launch in spring 2020. Since the last NHSPC meeting, the National OHS Section has consulted HSCs on the job aids that have been created and a presentation was made to the National MG Network on November 5, 2019. A list of reports that the IRDMS will generate was also shared with the members. The National OHS Section is currently working on a communication, a training webinar for HSC members, updates to InfoZone and  different training products.

KnowHow Statistics

Members were informed that the Workplace Hazardous Management Information System 2015 page and video, the ergonomics home page, and the Find the right fit video were identified as part of the top 50 viewed pages on KnowHow from August to October 2019.

Finances and Administration Branch (FAB)

Asbestos

Management from FAB provided an update to members on the asbestos file. Since the last meeting, there has been one addition to the list of site known to contain asbestos containing materials bringing the total to 45 sites known to contain ACM. As a yearly process, CRA is undertaking pro-active Airborne Asbestos Fibre Testing in all CRA-occupied sites known to contain ACM and as in prior years, the eventual test results will be published on Infozone.

Quarterly incident Report

Members reviewed the report on threats, assault on CRA employees for the second quarter. The employee representatives raised concerns related to threat indicators maintained in the CRA systems. Management from FAB confirmed that a threat indicator stays in effect for 3 years. After that period of time, all threat indicators are reviewed by Security to decide if an extension of the threat indicator is warranted.

The frequency for presenting the armed intruder video to all new employees was raised by the employee representatives. Management from FAB indicated that the video is presented on an ad-hoc basis by the HSCs. A confirmation will be provided to members at the next NHSPC meeting.

CLOSING REMARKS

The next NHSPC meeting is scheduled for March 24, 2020. Doug Gaetz thanked the members for their participation, work and commitment to the NHSPC this past year. Dan Couture expressed his best wishes to members for this holiday season and thanked everyone for their contributions to the NHSPC and the work done related to OHS this past year.   

Dan Couture

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

May 13, 2020

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

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