Health and Safety Committee

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

June 22, 2021

DATE:                   June 22, 2021                              TIME: 1:30 p.m.

LOCATION:          Microsoft Teams Meeting

ATTENDEES:

Employer Representatives

Employee Representatives

Members

Dan Couture
Claude Corbin
Amanda Nemer (for D.L. Hills)
Maggie Trudel-Maggiore
Heather Dipenta

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

Guests

Jeremy Hebert
France Lepage
Jean-François Gagné

 
Secretary David Walsh  
Observers

Paula Warnholtz
Chantal Monette

Mathieu Juneau

This meeting was chaired by the Employer Co-Chair, Mr. Dan Couture.    

OPENING REMARKS

The Employer Co-Chair welcomed the members, guests and observers to the meeting. He also welcomed Jennifer MacPherson, president representative for the UTE Health and Safety Committee, as a new member of the Committee. To begin, members were informed on the future of work, the CRA’s commitment to support the health and well-being of employees and the need to continue to effectively deliver tax and benefits programs to Canadians.

Members were provided with an update on the reported COVID-19 cases since March 2020. As a result and as an additional measure, the CRA continues to encourage employees to get vaccinated according to the federal, provincial and public health authorities. Members were also reminded that 70 buildings continue to operate at a reduced capacity with the majority of employees continuing to work from home.  

Finally, members were provided with a summary of the national communications sent and posted on the InfoZone “Agency Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic” page since the last NHSPC meeting held on March 16, 2021.

The Employee Co-Chair welcomed everyone and also Jennifer MacPherson to the meeting. Jennifer was elected as the president representative for the UTE Health & Safety Committee replacing Tracy Marcotte. He also highlighted the work underway on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) related topics since the last meeting in March 2021.

Review of documents

NHSPC Meeting Minutes – March 16, 2021   

Members approved the March 16, 2021 minutes.    

Action Item Report 

The action item report was reviewed and members agreed to close item 1 - Number of occupied buildings/CBSA sites occupied by the CRA and item 2 – Sudbury Business Case.

Forward Agenda

The forward agenda for 2021 was reviewed and approved by members.

OHS Communication Plan   

The 2021-2022 OHS communication plan was reviewed and approved by the members.  A variety of OHS messaging was issued from April 2021 to June 2021, including the communiqués on National Day of Mourning, North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, virtual health and safety committee (HSC) training and IRDMS launch messaging to HSC/Health and Safety Representatives (HSR).

The National OHS Section confirmed that three editions of the newsletter will be issued per year starting in the fall of 2021 and indicated that they are currently reviewing the format in order to streamline and adapt the newsletter in a more timely format for HSCs. The template will be shared with the NHSPC members once it is completed before moving forward.

NHSPC MEMBERS TRAINING

Jean-Francois Gagné, Manager, National OHS Section, provided the NHSPC members with a training session which outlines the role of the NHSPC, the terms of reference, the principles of consensus building and the overview of the health and safety for committee members online course (TD1504-001). It was noted that the online course introduces the new HSC members and HSRs to their roles and responsibilities. Members were encouraged to complete the online course which will be made available in a PDF format for members who do not have access to the CRA network. The employee representatives requested to obtain a list of the NHSPC members who have taken the online training to date.

UPDATE FROM THE Human Resources branch (HRB) - OHS Program
WORKPLACE HARASSMENT VIOLENCE PREVENTION (WHVP)

Members were provided with an update on the new team of harassment and violence resolution (HVR) officers created to take on the designated recipient role outlined in the new regulations that came into force on January 1, 2021. The new team has been a part of the new Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Operations Team since May 1, 2021. Furthermore, the WHS Operations Team, formerly a part of the National OHS Section also joined this section. The staffing process for the HVR officers is underway. Members were informed that the workplace harassment and violence prevention and resolution procedures were approved on June 7, 2021.

Since the last meeting in March 2021, several consultations were held with the NHSPC Working Group to discuss a potential list of investigators, the training for new HVR officers, the training options with respect to the HSCs and their role in this process and finally the case management system which was launched in May 2021. 

A national message will be sent by the NHSPC co-chairs in the summer to launch the new procedures and the new CRA add-on to the Canada School of the Public Service training.

Members were also provided with the number of cases ongoing under the old and new resolution processes. The employee representatives requested a regional breakdown of cases as well as their status for the next NHSPC meeting. The National OHS Section indicated that a detailed report will be produced for the next NHSPC meeting.

ERGONOMICS PROGRAM

Members were advised that the new ergonomic contract was awarded to Praxes Emergency Specialists Inc./Santé Circle Health and became effective on April 1, 2021. Members were also provided with the number of virtual ergonomics assessments from April 1 to May 31, 2021.

Members were informed that a communication was sent to ergonomics coaches on April 28, 2021, inviting them to resume ergonomics adjustment activities and providing guidelines on how to conduct virtual adjustment sessions. In addition, the National OHS Section is currently reviewing the ergonomic coach training material jointly with the new provider.

PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH AND SAFETY (PHS)  

Members were informed that the NHSPC working group will resume their activities and will meet on July 9, 2021, to discuss the PHS initiatives put in place prior to the pandemic and to work on a plan for the way forward. It was also mentioned that the Learning and Well-being COVID-19 working group is currently working on the second video on worksite etiquette and on Phase II of their project plan.

UPDATE FROM THE Finance and Administration Branch (FAB)

Fire and Emergency Exercises

Members received an update on fire and emergency exercises at the CRA. It was indicated that 100% of CRA occupied buildings have an approved emergency response plan and fire safety plan, and 82% of buildings with more than 50 employees on-site have completed their annual full-scale fire drill. Given the circumstances and according to the Treasury Board Secretariat Directive, it was decided to postpone the annual fire drill in some buildings for the fiscal year 2020 to 2021 due to the public health situation and TBS guidelines put in place as a result of the pandemic. The employee representatives expressed their concerns in response to the results for the last fiscal year. FAB employer representatives committed to review the file and will provide the members with an update on this topic prior to the next NHSPC meeting.

COVID-19 CRA National Worksite Protocol

Members were informed that since the last meeting in March 2021, all sites have a completed and implemented worksite plan in accordance with the CRA National Worksite Protocol. Members were reminded that any occasional access at the vacant sites is still covered by the CRA National re-entry protocol on an as-required basis.

WRITTEN UPDATES

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

OHS Program

Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) Working Group         

Members were provided with an update on the existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Safe Work Procedures (SWP) for machinery, equipment and tools. The documents are currently in the approval process.

The CRA Information Technology employees working at Canada Border Services Agency Traffic Lane SOP and associated SWP were approved after being rewritten to account for equipment upgrades at the CBSA sites and will be posted on InfoZone shortly. The National OHS Section will develop the training jointly with ITB and the Learning Solutions Section.

The Cleaning and Disinfecting Guide for COVID-19 was posted on InfoZone and linked to the Agency Operations during the COVID-19 pandemic InfoZone page for ease of reference.

Finally, the members were informed that the Safe Usage, Handling and Storage of Chemicals Standard Operating Procedure, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System SWP and the chemical products database with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety are under review.

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for Field Employees Working Group

Members were informed that the existing HRB corporate policy instrument titled the Procedures for Field Employees Conducting Off-Site Visits was revoked and replaced with the approved SOP for Field Employees and associated SWPs. The training for the new SOP is currently under review with the Learning Solutions Section.

The final drafts of the Respiratory Protection Program (RPP), the Respiratory Protection SOP, and the applicable SWPs were shared for consultation with both the MEJHA and JHA working groups as well as the primary HRB and FAB stakeholders. All RPP documents are expected to be approved in June 2021. The procurement process for respiratory protection services including training, individual fit testing, consultation services, and equipment is currently underway. Program implementation is scheduled to begin in November 2021.

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

Members were informed that following the last NHSPC meeting, ESDC, jointly with the local HSC co-chairs, visited the 1050 Notre-Dame, Sudbury, Ontario and the 275 Pope Road, Summerside, PEI sites to monitor the COVID-19 health and safety protocols and measures in place. The result of the inspections were positive and recommendations were provided to help reinforce the COVID-19 prevention measures already in place.  

OHS Training Report

The May 2021 statistics show that nationally, the percentage of untrained employees has decreased to 2% and the percentage of untrained managers has decreased to 12% since the last report in February 2021.

Members were reminded that the new mandatory COVID-19 Health and Safety at the Workplace training course (TD1599-006) was launched in January 2021 and had to 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 May 24, 2021, the course was completed by 77% of CRA employees. 

Members were also reminded that all employees and managers hired after January 1, 2021, must complete the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) course W101 - Harassment and Violence Prevention for Employees within three months of starting their job at the CRA. All other employees and managers must complete this training no later than December 31, 2021. The May 2021 training statistics demonstrate that nationally, the percentage of untrained employees and managers for the W101 course is 63%. An additional mandatory course is currently being developed to address application of the regulations at the CRA. The employee representatives recommended that a regional breakdown for new employees hired since January 2021 be included with the statistics report in order to facilitate the tracking process. The National OHS Section committed to consult with the Evaluation, Policy, Monitoring and Reporting of learning Section in HRB and CSPS to obtain the data and will provide an update to the members at the next meeting.

Health and Safety Committee (HSC) Effectiveness

HSC Training

Members were informed that national communications were sent to the existing pool of HSC trainers to confirm their availability and interest and to solicit new candidates to become trainers. The National OHS Section is currently looking at several virtual training scenarios. A webinar for trainers will be presented shortly to the existing roster of trainers. The intent is to train new trainers in the Fall 2021.

HSC and Health and Safety Representative (HSR) Scorecards

Members were provided with the statistics on investigations and monthly meeting requirements for 2020. The National OHS Section has sent reminders to the HSC co-chairs and HSRs in the last year in order to provide support and they are currently working on the results for Quarter (Q) 1 and Q2 for 2021 with the operations team.

Incident Reporting and Disability Management System (IRDMS)

Members were provided with an update on the IRDMS. A demonstration of the system was presented to the employee representatives on May 18, 2021 to show the functionality of the system, and how the HSCs/HSRs will be able to use it to complete their reporting requirements. The OHS Officers were trained and are rolling out information session to HSCs and HSRs on the IRDMS system. The system is anticipated to be launched on June 30, 2021.

Hazard Prevention Program (HPP)

Members were informed that the HPP Evaluation Report, along with the updated draft of the HPP, are being finalised and consultation will take place with the employee representatives.

NHSPC Terms of Reference

The current NHSPC terms of reference is under review. A copy was shared with the NHSPC members in June 2021, for their review and feedback.

FAB

Quarterly Incident Report

Members received an update on the report on threats and assaults against CRA employees for the period of January to March 2021 (Q4).    

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 one change to the list of CRA sites known to contain ACM. Members were also reminded that the upcoming AAFT will combine the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 testing cycles. The national testing initiative was launched in May 2021 with the anticipated results in October 2021.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Co-Chairs thanked everyone for their valuable participation and took the opportunity to wish members a safe and restful summer holiday season. The next NHSPC meeting is scheduled for September 28, 2021.

Dan Couture's signature   Doug Gaetz's signature

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

October 7, 2021

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

October 8, 2021

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