Health and Safety Committee

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

December 14, 2021

DATE:

December 14, 2021 

TIME: 1:30 p.m. 

LOCATION:

Microsoft Teams Meeting

ATTENDEES:

Employer Representatives

Employee Representatives

Members

Dan Couture  (Absent)
Claude Corbin
Harry Gill
Maggie Trudel-Maggiore
Heather Dipenta
 

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

Guests

Nandini Srikantiah
Jeremy Hebert
Jaime Robinson

 
Secretary David Walsh   
Observers

Frank Davoudi
Chantal Monette

Mathieu Juneau
Anastasia Demidenko

This meeting was chaired by Maggie Trudel-Maggiore for the Employer Co-Chair, Dan Couture.       

OPENING REMARKS

The Employer Co-Chair welcomed the committee members, guests and observers to the last meeting of 2021 and presented a land acknowledgement. The employer co-chair thanked the committee for their continued efforts and reiterated that the primary focus remains the health and safety of employees while planning for the future. She also took the opportunity to thank Doug Gaetz and the Union of Taxation Employee (UTE) representatives for inviting the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to the 2021 UTE National Health and Safety Conference held from November 30 to December 3, 2021. Members were also provided with an update on the reported COVID-19 cases since the last meeting in September 2021.

Members were informed that on November 15, 2021, Health Canada’s Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP) updated the occupational health advisory for federal worksites and were reminded that the CRA continues to follow the latest occupational health advice and direction of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).  

The Employee Co-Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and acknowledged the progress on a number of OHS initiatives since the last meeting in September 2021. He also shared his closing remarks from the 2021 National UTE conference and extended a special thanks to Dan Couture, David Walsh, Jaime Robinson, Jean-Francois Gagne and George Koutras for their participation. He also expressed the importance for the Health and Safety Committees (HSCs) and the NHSPC to work together for the betterment of all CRA employees.

Finally, he asked to extend the duration of NHSPC meetings in order to have sufficient time to cover all the items from the agenda. The National OHS Section agreed to take the request into consideration when planning the 2022 meeting calendar.

REVIEW OF DOCUMENTS

NHSPC Meeting Minutes – September 28, 2021
Members approved the September 28, 2021 minutes.     

Action Item Report 
No new action items were identified at the last meeting.

Forward Agenda
The draft forward agenda for 2022 was reviewed and approved by the members. The  meetings calendar will be shared with the members shortly.  

OHS Communication Plan
The 2021-2022 OHS communication plan was reviewed and approved by the members.  

UPDATE FROM THE HUMAN RESOURCES BRANCH (HRB) - OHS PROGRAM 

To begin, members were provided with an update on mandatory vaccination. Following the Government of Canada’s announcement on October 6, 2021, full COVID-19 vaccination became a condition of employment for the core federal public service. The CRA followed this direction and introduced the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing which came into effect on November 8, 2021.  The vaccination attestation process took place from November 8 to November 26, 2021. The Policy was fully implemented as of December 13, 2021.  

Members were also informed that, on December 7, 2021, the government announced its intention to introduce COVID-19 related regulations under Part II of the Canada Labour Code with the coming into force anticipated in early 2022.

The employee representatives expressed their concern around the level of consultation with the NHSPC on the vaccination policy. It was confirmed that the NHSPC will be consulted on future amendments to the policy.  

The employee representatives questioned the vaccination attestation process for visitors, contractors and members of the public entering CRA worksites. The employer representatives confirmed that the CRA is currently reviewing the approach for visitors and that there is already an attestation process in place for contractors. The protocol will be shared with the NHSPC members. The employee representatives recommended that guidelines also be developed for field audit activities.

Workplace Harassment Violence Prevention (WHVP)

Members were provided with an overview of the work done over the last year by the workplace violence and harassment prevention and job hazard analysis (JHA) working groups. Members were also informed that the Procedure was launched on November 15, 2021, and that the add-on to the training offered by the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) originally set to launch in October 2021 will be rolled out regionally in February 2022.

Members were provided with the number of cases ongoing under the old and new resolution processes for the period of January 1st to November 29, 2021. The National OHS Section will provide a copy of the statistics to the employee representatives as requested. Members were also informed that moving forward, the NHSPC working group will continue to advance work on various key aspects of the CRA harassment and violence prevention program.

The employer representative also highlighted the work completed over the last year by the Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) and the JHA for Field Employees Working Groups. Members were informed that due to supply issues with disposable non-medical masks, medical masks are now available for CRA employees and can be purchased through the CRA Synergy system. The National OHS Section is currently working on updating the SWP procedure to reflect this change.  

Psychological Health and Safety (PHS)

Members were informed that the Learning and Well-being COVID-19 Working Group is currently working on Phase II of its mandate. The review of tools and resources related to virtual and hybrid work gathered from existing resources at CRA, other government departments, the CSPS, academic publications, and private sector organizations is now completed. Members are also looking at the structure of the information on InfoZone to make it practical and easy to navigate for the users. The next NHSPC psychological health and safety working group meeting will be confirmed shortly.

Hazard Prevention Program (HPP)

Jaime Robinson, Manager, National OHS Section, provided an overview of the HPP. The employee representatives suggested that the NHSPC be consulted on the definition of workplace with a focus on the aspect of control and employer responsibilities. The employer representatives indicated that the issue is being reviewed and consultation with the NHSPC would take place.

UPDATE FROM THE FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION BRANCH (FAB) 

COVID-19 CRA National Worksite Protocol

The CRA National Worksite Protocol and supporting documents were recently updated in collaboration with the national unions, key stakeholders and the NHSPC.  Two national information sessions were held on November 26, 2021 for all stakeholders to ensure consistency in understanding and approach across the CRA. Members were advised that all operational sites continue to operate with a building worksite plan in place, in accordance with the National Worksite Protocol.

CRA Transition Plan

Members were reminded that the CRA continues to follow the transition plan and will be moving from the pandemic phase to Phase 1 only when it is safe to do so and in accordance with PHAC guidance. Union engagement and consultation will be ongoing as the CRA moves through and adjusts through each of the transition phases. Given recent developments with vaccination for all federal employees, the CRA will ensure that the transition plan aligns with the rest of the public service and that a consistent national approach is maintained, regardless of different regional/provincial progress with the pandemic. In addition, FAB representatives raised concerns on some buildings having difficulties soliciting volunteers to meet the requirements for Building Emergency and Evacuation Teams and first aid and AED responders. The employee representatives indicated that they will support the call for volunteers going forward.

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 informed that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and the Safe Work Procedures (SWP) were published on the SOP and SWP InfoZone and the Directory of Learning Products pages; hand and power tools, industrial machinery and equipment, manual material handling equipment, industrial machinery and equipment, power lift truck and Information Technology (IT) employees working at Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Traffic Lane. The working group will continue to focus on how to support the CRA moving forward and whether any adjustments to current tools are needed.

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for Field Employees Working Group 

Members were informed that the SOP for Field Employees and associated SWPs were published on the SOP and SWP and the Directory of Learning Products pages. The existing field employee training is in the final conversion stages with the Learning Solutions Section and will be published shortly.

The Respiratory Protection Program (RPP), the Respiratory Protection SOP, and the applicable SWPs are in the process of publication on the SOP and SWP and the Directory of Learning Products pages in order to be ready for the program implementation. The Request for Proposals (RFP) for Respiratory Protective Services closed November 26, 2021. The National OHS Section is currently working with Procurement to move to the next step in the process.

Ergonomics Program 

Members were informed that the National OHS Section reviewed the updated ergonomics coach training materials received from Santé Health and is currently consulting with the OHS Operations team to review the communication plan for the roll out of the new material. Refresher training on ergonomic principles in addition to the new training on how to conduct an adjustment virtually will be offered in the new year to the ergonomics coaches.

Members were also updated on the number of ergonomics adjustments completed by the ergonomics coaches from September 1 to November 30, 2021. In addition, ergonomic educational and awareness sessions were presented by coaches for various events including new employee training and a virtual regional well-being fair.

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

Members were informed that since the last meeting in September 2021, there were no ESDC visits at CRA locations. 

OHS Training Report

As of November 2021, the percentage of untrained employees has increased to 3% and the percentage of untrained managers has decreased to 15% since the last report in August 2021. As of November 2021, the COVID-19 Health and Safety at the Workplace training course was completed by 91% of CRA employees. 

The percentage of untrained employees and managers for the Harassment and Violence for Employees course is 30%. In addition, 72% of employees hired between January and November 2021 completed the Harassment and Violence for Employees course.

The employee representatives requested the possibility to get a breakdown of employees assigned by offices instead of by region in order to help identify the  training requirements. The National OHS Section will look at the options with the Leadership and Learning Directorate and will inform the members at the next NHSPC meeting.  

HSC Effectiveness
HSC Training

Members were informed that the HSC member in-class training material was reviewed in consultation with a learning consultant. The material and a summary of revisions made will be shared with the employee representatives shortly.

HSC and Health and Safety Representative (HSR) Scorecards 

Members were provided with the statistics on investigations and monthly meeting requirements for Quarter (Q) 3 for 2021.

Incident Reporting and Disability Management System (IRDMS)

Members were informed that a presentation on IRDMS was provided at the UTE Health and Safety Conference in November 2021. The National OHS Section will also develop guides for HSCs, HSRs and managers to assist in the use of IRDMS for the reporting of hazards and hazardous occurrences. A draft of these guides will be ready for consultation by the new year. As requested, a draft report of the cases will be shared with the employee representatives shortly.    

FAB

Quarterly Incident Report  

Members were provided with the report on threats and assaults against CRA employees for July 2021 to September 2021 (Q2). The employee representatives questioned whether the CRA contacts social media platforms to remove posts that promote violence against the CRA or its employees. FAB representatives confirmed that they will consult with the Social Media Section within Public Affairs Branch and will provide a response to the members prior to the next NHSPC meeting.

Asbestos

The members were provided with an update on the listing of the CRA sites known to contain asbestos containing materials (ACM) and the national Airborne Asbestos Fibre Testing (AAFT) initiative.  Members were reminded that the combined national testing cycle 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 was launched in the spring of 2021 and the results were received in October 2021. All samples from the sites tested were well within the established safety threshold, with no noted areas of concern. The results will be posted on InfoZone in the last quarter of fiscal year 2021-2022. According to the results from the national testing, FAB representatives proposed to review the frequency of testing through the committee. The members agreed to review this file through a working group.   

CLOSING REMARKS

The Employee Co-Chair thanked everyone for their participation and continued cooperation and diligence over the last year and during this exceptional time. He closed by wishing members a happy holiday season.  

The Employer Co-Chair closed the meeting by thanking the members for their contributions to the NHSPC during the last year and took a moment to recognize the contribution of employees, managers, health and safety committees and all others who have helped keep workplaces safe over the last year. The next meeting is scheduled for March 2022.

The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

signature - Maggie Trudel-Maggiore

signature - Doug Gaetz

Maggie Trudel-Maggiore (for Dan Couture)
Employer Co- Chair
National Health and Safety Policy Committee

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

Date: March 29, 2022

Date: March 29,2022