March 24, 2022
TIME: 1:00 p.m.
Microsoft Teams Meeting
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
This meeting was chaired by the Employee Co-Chair, Doug Gaetz.
The Employee Co-Chair welcomed the committee members, guests and observers to the March 2022 meeting.
The Employer Co-Chair welcomed everyone to the first meeting of 2022 and congratulated Heather DiPenta on her new position as Director General, Leadership and Learning Directorate in the Human Resources Branch (HRB), effective March 28, 2022. He also announced the retirement of Maggie Trudel-Maggiore, Director General, Workplace Relations & Compensation Directorate, on April 28, 2022. Heather and Maggie were thanked for their contribution to the committee. Their replacements will be announced shortly.
Members were updated on the latest Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP) guidance for federal workplaces. As a result, amendments to the Agency’s COVID-19 guidance are under review and the committee will be consulted on changes that will be implemented moving forward. Members were also reminded that the CRA continues to operate under the pandemic phase of the transition plan and as announced by the Commissioner, employees will be informed 60 days prior to moving to the next phase of the plan. In the interim, CRA employees continue to be required to follow COVID-19 protocols when present at a CRA worksite.
REVIEW OF DOCUMENTS
NHSPC Meeting Minutes – December 14, 2021
Members approved the December 14, 2021 minutes.
Action Item Report
No new action items were identified at the last meeting in December 2021, resulting in a nil report for the March 2022 meeting.
The draft forward agenda for 2022 was reviewed and approved by the members.
OHS Communication Plan
The 2021-2022 and the 2022-2023 OHS communication plans were reviewed and approved by the members.
UPDATE FROM THE HUMAN RESOURCES BRANCH (HRB) - OHS PROGRAM
COVID-19 Pandemic and CRA Vaccination
Members were provided with an update on the changes made to the COVID-19 reporting tool to reflect the availability of testing across Canada. The protocols for addressing cases of COVID-19 are also being amended to align with the latest PSOHP guidance. Employees with COVID-19 will be asked to remain out of the workplace for 10 days and those who had close contacts will be asked to remain out of the workplace for 14 days. In both situations, employees should only return to the workplace if they are free of symptoms. The other main change included a recommendation to provide employees with medical masks instead of cloth masks. Finally, the committee was provided an update on the number of reported COVID-19 cases since March 2020 and discussed the approach that will be taken by the CRA to confirm the vaccination status of volunteers and visitors requiring access to CRA facilities.
Workplace Harassment Violence Prevention (WHVP)
Members were provided with an overview of the work done since the last meeting by the workplace violence and harassment prevention and job hazard analysis working groups.
In January 2022, the NHSPC working group reviewed the proposed adjustments to the workplace assessment and the joint list of investigators. Members were also informed that the new training module on harassment and violence will be launched over a period of several weeks starting on March 25, 2022. Members were also provided with the 2021 harassment and violence annual report and a summary of the number of cases ongoing for the period of November 30, 2021 and March 4, 2022.
The committee was reminded that, pursuant to Section 135.11 (1) of the Canada Labour Code, Part II, the employer cannot provide the committee with any information that is likely to reveal the identity of a person who was involved in an occurrence of harassment and violence in the work place without the person’s consent. The employee representatives expressed concern around the lack of a response in writing on the suppression of information. The employer representatives confirmed that a response in writing would be provided to the committee.
Members were informed that the NHSPC working group will continue to advance work on various key aspects of the harassment and violence prevention program such as domestic violence and updates to the HSC training program.
Psychological Health and Safety (PHS)
Members of the National OHS Section attended the Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisor training delivered by the Canadian Mental Health Association in February 2022. The National OHS Section is currently reviewing the NHSPC Working Group’s action plan against the information learned during this training session for discussion at the next meeting scheduled for May 5, 2022.
Members were also informed that the Learning and Well-being (LWB) Working Group continues to progress on its mandate to support employees who will continue to work virtually and/or in a hybrid model going forward. Feedback from the working group was analysed and evaluated in order to identify tools and resources for consideration. The next steps for the LWB working group is to finalize the selection of key tools and resources, to create a shared, easy-to-navigate space where employees and managers can access support as the CRA moves through the transition plan and into the workplace of the future.
UPDATE FROM THE FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION BRANCH (FAB)
COVID-19 CRA National Worksite Protocol
Members were provided with an update on the number of occupied sites and were reminded that non-essential re-entries are still being considered on a case-by-case basis during the pandemic phase. The National Worksite Protocol and Building Worksite Plans will continue to be updated as the Agency progresses through the transition plan.
CRA Transition Plan
The committee was provided with an overview of the national guidance for in-office presence in phase 1 of the CRA Transition plan and discussed the overall impact of PHAC guidance on the CRA transition plan. Management confirmed that the Agency will continue to assess the situation as it evolves and will continue to consult the national unions moving forward. Members also discussed the current COVID-19 CRA employee survey underway which will be taken into consideration to make informed decisions to support employees and their work in the future.
Members received the following written updates in advance of the meeting.
Hazard Prevention Program (HPP)
The hazard prevention program (HPP) was finalised and the documents were shared with the NHSPC. The employee representatives requested clarification on the injury data contained in the HPP evaluation report. The National OHS Section will follow-up and will provide an answer to the members prior to the next meeting.
National Joint Council (NJC) Directive
The revised NJC OHS Directive came into effect on March 1, 2022. Members discussed key changes and potential impact to the Agency. It was confirmed that the Agency maintains its own OHS program and policy suite which govern requirements at the CRA. Members will be notified if any future changes are made to the CRA policy.
Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) Working Group
On December 15, 2021, the Working Group held its annual review meeting, and discussed its proposed approach for moving forward for annual reviews. The working group members agreed to use the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology for the updates. Working group members were also asked to confirm the need for new or revised tools and/or work processes, including those related to COVID-19. To date, the working group members have confirmed that no changes or concerns warrant revisions, additions, deletions or further investigation into the OHS program documents.
Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for Field Employees Working Group
On December 15, 2021, the Working Group held its annual review meeting, and discussed its proposed approach for moving forward for annual reviews. The working group members agreed to use the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology for updates. The working group members were also asked to confirm the need for new or revised tools and/or work processes, including those related to COVID-19. Members were informed that according to the PSOHP advisory and best practise documentation, CRA employees will have access to medical masks.
Respiratory Protection Program
Members were informed that the Request for Proposals (RFP) for Respiratory Protective Services, was retendered, closing March 7, 2022. The National OHS Section is currently working with Procurement and with the stakeholders to determine the next steps in the procurement process. The publication of the RPP, the Respiratory Protection SOP, and the applicable SWPs has been delayed until a contract is signed.
The National OHS Section received the ergonomics coach training materials from Santé Circle Health and are currently finalizing the steps for ordering training sessions. Ergonomics coaches will be invited shortly for the refresher training on ergonomics principles in addition to the new training on how to conduct an adjustment virtually.
Committee members were also provided with an update on the number of virtual ergonomics adjustments and awareness session completed from December 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) - Assurances of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) and Directions
Members were informed that since the last meeting in December 2021, there were no ESDC visits at CRA locations.
OHS Training Report
As of February 2022, the percentage of untrained employees has increased to 4% and the percentage of untrained managers has remained at 15%. 92% of CRA employees have completed the COVID-19 Health and Safety at the Workplace training.
83% of employees have completed the mandatory Harassment and Violence training, while 77% of employees hired between January and November 2021 completed the training. The employee representatives questioned whether those hired between January and November 20221 are included in overall totals. The National OHS Section will review the training report and confirm prior to the next NHSPC meeting.
Health and Safety Committee (HSC) Effectiveness
Following consultation with the NHSPC, it was agreed that the Regional OHS Officers will provide the HSC training with the support of employee representative trainers as an interim measure. Train the trainer sessions are scheduled for March 2022 with the training expected to start in April 2022.
HSC and Health and Safety Representative (HSR) Scorecards
Members were provided with the statistics on investigations and monthly meeting requirements for Quarter 4. In order to meet the legal requirements, the committees were informed to hold monthly meetings even if workplaces are unoccupied and to conduct monthly inspections if the buildings are occupied. A monthly monitoring tool has been put in place by the Centre for OHS Prevention and Compliance to allow OHS Officers to follow up with the committees and to help them meet their requirements.
Incident Reporting and Disability Management System (IRDMS)
Drafts of the IRDMS guides for OHS Officers and the HSC/HSR are under review. The National OHS Section is also working with Labour Relations and Early Intervention/Return to Work stakeholders to create a holistic IRDMS guide for managers that includes helpful information and step by step processes. A communication will be sent to inform users and managers of the new resource.
First Aid and Automated External Defibrillators (AED)
The National OHS Section is currently working on the replacement of AED batteries in June 2022 in CRA locations. A communication will be sent in May 2022 to provide guidance to first aid coordinators with the replacement initiative.
Quarterly Incident Report
Members were provided with the report on threats and assaults against CRA employees for October 2021 to December 2021 (Q3). The employee representatives recommended that a reminder be sent to employees who deliver critical services or are present at worksites (Call Centres, mailrooms) on how and when to report a security incident to their manager. Security Branch representatives indicated that they will reinforce the message with the appropriate employees.
The 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. FAB representatives highlighted that the new working group is currently reviewing the frequency of testing. The NHSPC will be consulted on the final recommendation.
Maggie expressed her appreciation for the collaborative efforts of the committee and wished them well.
Dan Couture closed the meeting by thanking the members for their contributions and emphasized the importance of a respectful, collaborative approach to ensure that the health and safety of employees remains the priority as the pandemic continues.
Doug Gaetz thanked everyone for their participation and continued cooperation and diligence. He also thanked David Walsh and his team for the work done and expressed his appreciation for the regular discussions held with David over the last 2 years. He also thanked Heather and Maggie for their contribution to the committee and wished them the best for the future. The next NHSPC meeting is scheduled for July 5, 2022.
The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.
Date: June 2, 2022