Health and Safety Committee

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

March 16, 2021

DATE:                   March 16, 2021                            TIME: 1:30 p.m.

LOCATION:       Microsoft Teams Meeting

ATTENDEES:

Employer Representatives

Employee Representatives

Members

Dan Couture
Claude Corbin
Dana-Lynne Hills
Heather Dipenta
Maggie Trudel-Maggiore

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

Guests

Frank Davoudi
Jeremy Hebert

 
Secretary David Walsh  
Observers Chantal Monette Mathieu Juneau

This meeting was chaired by the Employee Co-Chair, Mr. Doug Gaetz.   

OPENING REMARKS

The co-chairs welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked the members, observers, guests and all others who have contributed on health and safety matters and files during this exceptional time. They took the opportunity to congratulate Dana-Lynne Hills in her new role as Deputy Assistant Commissioner within the Finance and Administration Branch (FAB). It was also confirmed that Dana-Lynne will remain a member of the committee. As well, the Committee was advised that the main focus of the committee remains the COVID-19 response.

Doug Gaetz welcomed Mark Muench (AFS) to the meeting and indicated that the replacement for Tracy Marcotte will be confirmed prior to the June 2021 NHSPC meeting. He also highlighted the work underway on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)-related topics since the last meeting in December 2020.

Dan Couture welcomed Frank Davoudi, Director for the Real Property and Service Integration Directorate (RPSID) to his first NHSPC meeting and thanked Jeremy Hebert, for his support over the last several years. He also highlighted that to date, 69 buildings continue to operate at reduced capacity and provided the members with a summary of national communications developed and updated since the last NHSPC meeting held on December 15, 2020.   

Review of documents

NHSPC Meeting Minutes – December 15, 2020 

Members approved the December 15, 2020 minutes.    

Action Item Report

The action item report was reviewed and approved by members.
Item 3 – Sudbury Business Case - Members received a copy of the presentation provided by the directorates and were invited to provide their comments to the Assistant Director, OHS. It was agreed that a meeting would be scheduled shortly with the employee representatives, if necessary to discuss this topic and the way forward.

Forward Agenda

The forward agenda 2021 was reviewed and approved by members.

OHS Communication Plan   

The 2020-2021 OHS communication plan was reviewed and approved by the members.  It was noted that members will be consulted on the 2021-2022 OHS communication plan prior to the next NHSPC meeting. The National OHS Section also confirmed the  resumption of the work on a draft guide on environmental sensitivities in the workplace in Summer 2021. 

UPDATE FROM THE Human Resources branch (HRB) - OHS Program

Members were informed that the COVID-19 training products were launched in January 2021, and were reminded that the course is mandatory and should be completed by all employees according to the established deadlines.  

WORKPLACE HARASSMENT VIOLENCE PREVENTION (WHVP)

Members were reminded that the new WHVP regulations came into force on January 1, 2021. Several consultations were held with the NHSPC Working Group and internal stakeholders since December 2020, to discuss the Regulations, the workplace harassment and violence procedure and process, the tool for managers and health and safety committee members, the interim resolution process, the options to develop a joint list of investigators and the training. It was agreed to use the training material developed by the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) as part of the new workplace harassment and violence prevention program. A Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) learning module will also be included to address the gaps in the CSPS training.  As a result, the previous training on Workplace Violence Prevention was removed from the Directory of Learning Products.

The National OHS Section will be working with the NHSPC Working Group to develop a case management system to track all occurrences of workplace harassment and violence and will discuss the timeframe for sharing the information with the NHSPC members. Members were also provided with the number of cases ongoing under the old and new resolution processes. 

Finally, members were informed that the staffing process for the new Harassment and Violence Resolution Officer role was posted and closed on February 15, 2021.

ERGONOMICS PROGRAM

Members were informed that since October 2020, 126 virtual ergonomic assessments have been provided with positive feedback from the employees. The National OHS Section continues to monitor the situation closely to determine when in-person assessments should resume and is also looking at the option of organizing virtual ergo coach training sessions with the provider.

Members were advised that the assessment process regarding the new contract is underway. The contract with the new supplier will become effective on April 1, 2021 for a three (3) years period. To ensure a smooth transition between the suppliers, the National OHS Section is communicating with key stakeholders regularly and is updating the InfoZone to ensure that the information to employees is accurate. The new supplier will be confirmed shortly and the members will be kept informed prior to the next meeting.

PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH AND SAFETY (PHS)  

Members were provided with an update on the resources developed by the Learning and Well-being COVID-19 Working Group (LWB C19 WG) to protect and promote the well-being of employees during the pandemic, as well as the plan to be developed to support employees who are continuing the work from home for the longer term. It was indicated that the National OHS Section will resume the PHS Working Group activities this Spring to discuss initiatives put in place prior to the pandemic and to work on a plan for the way forward. The employee representatives requested that information and tools developed by the LWB C19 WG be shared with the PHS Working Group before being published at the national level. 

UPDATE FROM THE Finance and Administration Branch (FAB)

FAB representatives reported that since the last meeting in December 2020, all buildings where CRA employees are reporting on-site have an implemented worksite plan in accordance with the CRA National Worksite Protocol. Moving forward, FAB representatives will continue to monitor to ensure that worksite plans are developed and all steps are followed for any site that will be occupied to ensure that employees continue to have a healthy and safe work environment.

WRITTEN UPDATES

Members received the following written updates in advance of the meeting.

OHS Program

OHS Program Monitoring
Members were informed that the OHS monitoring program for cycle three was  postponed to 2022 due to the pandemic.  

Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) Working Group
Members were provided with an update on the existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and the Safe Work Procedures (SWP) for machinery, equipment and tools.  The documents were updated following the annual review. The CRA Information Technology employees working at Canada Border Services Agency Traffic Lane SOP and associated SWP were revised and will be posted on InfoZone shortly. The MEJHA Working Group and Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for Field Employees Working Group page on InfoZone was updated to include COVID-19 related information, the mandates of the working groups, membership and contact information. A national communication from the NHSPC Co-Chairs will be sent shortly.  

The SWP on Safe Usage of Reusable Non-Medical Masks was revised and posted on InfoZone following the recommendation from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to use 3-layer masks. The SWP on Safe Usage of Disposable Non-Medical Masks was revised to clarify that they are to be 3-layer masks without exhalation valves or vents.

The Cleaning and Disinfecting Guide for COVID-19 is currently in the approval process and will be posted shortly on InfoZone. 

The review of the Chemical (consumer products) SOP, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System SWP and the chemical products database with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety is underway. In addition, the existing SWPs and SOPs were reviewed and updated according to the new CRA publishing guidelines. The documents will be posted on InfoZone shortly.

Finally, members were advised that an information bulletin on flammable products and a communication on face shields were shared with senior management, health and safety committees (HSC) and representatives, both national working groups and acquisition cardholders.

JHA for Field Employees Working Group
Members were informed that the revised SWP for Field Employees Working Outside of Federal Government Facilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic and its associated checklist and the Field Employee Risk Assessment: Visiting Locations Outside of Federal Government Facilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic were posted on InfoZone. The existing Procedures for Field Employees Conducting Off-site Visits was changed to a SOP. The SOP and SWPs will be posted on InfoZone shortly.

The Respiratory Protection Program (RPP) and project management plan were approved and are currently in consultation with the JHA and the MEJHA working groups and primary stakeholders. Presentations on the RPP Project Management Plan was also shared with primary stakeholders and the employee representatives. The RPP SOP and the applicable SWP will be shared for consultation in March 2021.

The procurement process for training, fit testing, and respiratory protection equipment is underway. Program implementation is scheduled to begin in November 2021.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) - Assurances of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) and Directions

Sudbury Tax Centre

Members were advised that following the last NHSPC meeting, ESDC and a local public heath official visited the Sudbury Tax Centre on March 11, 2021 to monitor the

COVID-19 health and safety protocols and measures in place. The result of the inspection was positive and some recommendations were provided to help reinforce the COVID-19 prevention measures already in place.  

275 Pope Road, Summerside

The National OHS Section was informed that ESDC will visit the 275 Pope Road, Summerside location for an OHS COVID-19 inspection on March 23, 2021. 

13450 – 102 Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia

Since the last NHSPC meeting in December 2020, members were informed that the action plan from the AVC received in July 2020 at 13450 – 102 Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia was completed. The AVC was closed on February 15, 2021.

OHS Training Report

The February 2021 statistics show that nationally, the percentage of untrained  employees for the Health and Safety for Employees Training (TD1599-001) has increased to 4% and the percentage of untrained managers for Health and Safety for Managers Training (TD1599-003) has increased to 14% since the last report in November 2020. The National OHS Section indicated that the change in completion rates is due to a change in reporting criteria. A message was sent by the Leadership and Learning Directorate in mid-February 2021 to all employees and managers affected by this change to ensure they complete the final certification quiz.

Members were also informed that the new mandatory COVID-19 Health and Safety at the Workplace training course (TD1599-006) was launched in January 2021. Members were reminded that the course should be completed by all employees working at a CRA worksite by March 31, 2021, and before entering the worksite. Employees working remotely should complete the course by August 31, 2021. As of February 1, 2021, the course was completed by 31% of CRA employees. 

At a national level, the percentage of untrained employees and managers for the Workplace Violence Prevention Training (TD1599-002) is at 2% with an increase of 1% since the last report in November 2020. Members were also informed that this course was removed from the directory of learning products due to the changes related to the new legislation surrounding workplace harassment and violence prevention. A national communication was sent to all staff to inform about the CRA interim approach to workplace harassment and violence prevention training developed by the CSPS.  

Health and Safety Committee (HSC) Effectiveness

Members were informed that the National OHS Section completed the statistics on investigations and monthly meeting requirements for 2020. The document will be shared with the NHSPC members shortly.

The National OHS Section is currently working with the employee representatives on a plan to resume the HSC “in-class” training for members who require the in-class module. In the interim, the HSC members were requested to ensure they have taken the online portion.

Incident Reporting and Disability Management System (IRDMS)

Members were informed that the launch of the IRDMS is anticipated for June 2021 and were reminded that the health and safety process for reporting hazards and incidents will capture more information to facilitate reporting to worker’s compensation boards and the Labour Program. A communication will be shared during National Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week to emphasize the importance of prompt and proper reporting of hazards and injuries and to provide information on updates that will be coming to the IRDMS/T4009 system.

First Aid and Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Members were informed that to date, 350 of 368 electrode pads have been replaced in occupied buildings. A national message was sent out on February 1, 2021, to request that worksite first aid and AED coordinators update the first aid and AED database, to identify first aid certificates that have expired since December 31, 2020, and to look at the training options available in their geographic area. In addition, the National OHS Section developed a new Information Bulletin to provide guidance to first aid and AED coordinators and responders on their roles and responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document will be posted on InfoZone shortly.

Hazard Prevention Program (HPP)

Members were informed that a three year review of the HPP is underway according to the Canada OHS Regulations - Part XIX. Consultation will be held with the employee representatives on the HPP Evaluation Report, along with the updated draft of the HPP. 

Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMP) - Part IV of the Canada Labour Code (CLC)

Members were informed that the AMP came into force on January 1, 2021. The AMP regime is a new compliance and enforcement measure under the CLC. The Regulations designate violations under Part II and Part III of the Code, and regulations made under each of these parts, including the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, and the new Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulation.

FAB

Quarterly incident Report
Members was provided with the report on threats and assaults against CRA employees for the second quarter of 2020-2021. The employee representatives raised their concerns on the clarity of the language used to explain threat indicators on file. The employer representative from FAB agreed to look into this situation.

Asbestos
Members were provided with an update on the listing of CRA sites known to contain asbestos containing materials (ACM) and the national Airborne Asbestos Fibre Testing (AAFT) initiative. Since the last meeting, there has been no change to the list of CRA sites known to contain ACM. Members were also reminded that the upcoming AAFT which will combine the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 testing cycles, will be initiated in March 2021 with the anticipated results in October 2021.

Packages of concern (PoC)
Members were provided with an update on the increase of PoC arriving lately in CRA mailrooms. The Agency Operations Centre took measures with internal and external stakeholders to investigate and resolve these issues. To date, none of the PoC have been found to contain materials which posed a health and safety risk. The employee representatives thanked everyone involved in resolving these issues and for sharing the information in real time. 

CLOSING REMARKS

Dan Couture thanked everyone for their contributions to ensure that the health and safety of employees remains the priority. He also acknowledged the work done by the working groups and by the National OHS team.

Doug Gaetz closed the meeting by thanking the members for their participation, work and commitment to the NHSPC.

 

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

July 14, 2021

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

June 18, 2021

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