Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

February 20, 2014

DATE:                    February 20, 2014                       TIME: 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

LOCATION:          8th Floor Boardroom, 395 Terminal Avenue, Room 8070

ATTENDEES:

Employer Representatives

Employee Representatives

Members

 

Absent

Secretary

Observers

Guests

Dan Couture
(Alternate Employer
Co-Chair)
Brian Pagan
Helen Brown
Claude P. Tremblay

Diane Lorenzato
Josée Tremblay

Heather Di Penta

Susan Fagan
Andrea McKay

Rick Adams
Massimo Testa
Josée Lafleur

Doug Mason
(Employee Co-Chair)
Harry Walker (PIPSC)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Debbie Ferguson (UTE)

Marc Brière (UTE)

Simon Ferrand (PIPSC)

OPENING REMARKS

Mr. Dan Couture as the alternate Employer Co-Chair, welcomed everyone to the first National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) meeting of 2014. Before proceeding with the agenda, Mr. Couture relayed a farewell message from Josée Tremblay as an outgoing Employer Representative. Ms. Tremblay extended her appreciation to the NHSPC members for their successful collaboration and offered her best wishes for future endeavours.

Mr. Doug Mason offered his congratulations to the Committee, as many Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) accomplishments had been realized in 2013. He took the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Mr. Pierre Mulvihill for his support as a technical advisor, and advised that he will be replaced by Ms. Andrea Holmes. Once the Co-Chairs had shared their comments, the Committee proceeded with the meeting’s agenda.

1. AVCs and Directions

The NHSPC was advised that the Agency had not received an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) or Direction since its last meeting in December. This positive result confirms that the CRA is meeting its legislative requirements. However, local stakeholders will continue to diligently fulfill their roles and responsibilities to ensure ongoing compliance.

The Committee was informed that the Procedures for Working with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) - Health and Safety Officers’, (link to an InfoZone website) are being updated, as HRSDC is now known as Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Once the changes are finalized and approved, the procedures will be shared with the NHSPC, as well as the Work Place Health and Safety Committees (WPHSCs).

2. Changes to the canada labour code part ii

The NHSPC was advised that Bill C-4 was given Royal Assent. At this point, the Agency is still waiting for direction from the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Labour Program as to how and when the changes to the Canada Labour Code, Part II, will be implemented. An overview document that highlights the main changes to the CLC, Part II and the implementation process will be prepared and shared with the Committee. As discussed previously, the NHSPC will be consulted before any changes are implemented. It was confirmed that the health and safety of CRA employees will be prioritized, when the required adjustments are made.

3. CRA OHS Program

The NHSPC was provided with an update on the following OHS initiatives:

OHS Program Review
In preparation for the OHS Program Review by the Audit Evaluation and Risk Branch, a Terms of Reference was prepared that outlines the rationale and the scope, as well as the various activities that will be undertaken. This document was shared with the NHSPC as was the list of the three site visits; Winnipeg at the Taxation Centre and the Weston warehouse, 875 Heron Road in Ottawa, and Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

As part of the OHS Program Review, Ms. Diane Lorenzato, Mr. Claude Tremblay, Mr. Doug Mason and Mr. Doug Gaetz will participate in an interview process. Their membership on the NHSPC Committee will offer valuable information.

Ergonomic Strategy
The Office Ergonomics Standard Operating Procedure has been completed and consultation is now occurring with the NHSPC and the regions. The roles and responsibilities of Ergonomic Coaches have been clearly stated, and the conditions when a health practitioner should perform an ergonomic assessment, are well documented.

The National OHS Section continues to work with representatives from ‘Know How’ to make ergonomic messages more readily available to CRA employees. It is expected that information will be posted on ‘Know How’ beginning in March 2014.

The Committee was advised that there are 469 Ergonomic Coaches across the Agency who are trained to complete ergonomic adjustments. Moving forward, it is important that their activities are captured through the reporting mechanisms that have been developed. To ensure accurate reporting, a communiqué will be sent to all Ergonomic Coaches, reminding them to record their ergonomic adjustment sessions in the ergonomic tracking tool, and to track their time via the activity code and internal order number.

T4009
As a result of NHSPC discussions at the last meeting, the automatic email messages have been updated as well as some of the content of the online T4009 form. In addition, the programmed automated emails for committees and representatives have been amended. The online form was officially launched on February 3, 2014, with a message to all employees, on behalf of the Committee. The National OHS Section will continue to monitor the use of the T4009, and consult the NHSPC on any future modifications to the system.

Policy Instruments
A meeting of the Working Group was held on February 19, 2014, to discuss the review of the policy instruments. During this meeting, the group discussed the Electrical, and the Use and Occupancy of Building Policies. The resulting recommendations will be submitted to the NHPSC for consideration, with an accompanying rationale.

Virtual Reporting
At the NHSPC meeting in December the Committee discussed the challenges with Virtual Reporting as they relate to safeguarding the health and safety of employees in these types of arrangements. The Committee recommended that an agreement should be prepared to ensure that the OHS roles and responsibilities between the “home” and “host” were documented. The draft OHS Services Agreement was shared with the Employee Representatives along with an Information Bulletin that supports the agreement and provides additional detail. Once these documents are finalized, the National OHS Section will make arrangements to obtain the signatures of Senior Management and confirm the communication plan.

4. Emergency Drill requirements

The NHSPC was advised that the CRA’s emergency response program establishes and monitors the federal emergency drill requirements in all CRA buildings, where the Agency is the most senior official. The mandatory drill calendar includes at a minimum two drills involving a full evacuation, and is flexible to account for the varied threat environments across the organization.

Beginning in 2014-2015, there will be a 3-year phased approach that will enhance the emergency drill requirements in all CRA buildings to 4 emergency drills per year, and 6 Building Emergency Organization (BEO) meetings per year. In the first year, the implementation will be limited to high-rise buildings and where the Agency is a major or sole tenant. (Note: A high-rise building is categorized as being at least 36 metres high, or approximately 12 floors.)

The drill calendar, drill packages, and the list of targeted buildings for 2014-2015 will be shared with the NHSPC in the coming weeks. Over the course of the upcoming year, results will be presented and feedback will be requested from the NHSPC and the WHSPCs. At the end of the first year, the Finance and Administration Branch (FAB) will review the resource impacts as well as the challenges and opportunities for improvement. FAB’s findings will be presented to the Security and Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) and based on the feedback received, the initiative will be re-evaluated and implementation targets for year 2 and year 3 will be confirmed.

5. job hazard analyses (For Field Employees/Multiple Environment)

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for Field Employees
The online training for field employees is moving forward. The e-learning tool was shared with the NHSPC and once this feedback is received, a pilot of this course will be launched in March 2014. The product is expected to be available nationally, by July 2014.

The National OHS Section is continuing to work with the Compliance Programs Branch (CPB) on the integration of OHS and the Integras - Case system for field auditors. It will ensure the risks and hazards associated with field work are properly considered, before the work is undertaken. CPB is reviewing the information collected to create various scenarios, and the next step will be to schedule a meeting for the Working Group.

Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA)
The initial environmental scan for the Public Affairs Branch (PAB), Assessment and Benefit Services Branch (ABSB), Information Technology Branch (ITB), and Taxpayer Services and Debt Management Branch (TSDMB) was completed and once validated, it will be shared with the MEJHA Working Group.

Work is ongoing with FAB to gather existing information in order to prepare and implement policy instruments. The Task Hazard Analysis (THA) review activities that have been undertaken by FAB are still ongoing.

At the upcoming Working Group meeting, the members will prepare an action plan to assign specific standard operating procedures (SOP) to be developed by the branches that will address the high risk areas, such as warehouses and mailrooms. The Human Resources Branch (HRB) will continue to assist and support the branches with the development of SOPs, in order to provide consistent procedures and guidelines.

HRB has a few employees that work in a warehouse environment and are required to operate a forklift. To ensure the health and safety of these employees, the National OHS Section has undertaken the development of a forklift SOP. This document will be shared with the Working Group for consideration, as will the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Traffic Lane SOP.

6. Verbal Aggression towards phone agents

The topic of verbal aggression towards telephone agents was previously raised at the NHSPC meeting on December 12, 2013. The Employee Representatives requested that the CRA extend the transfer message in the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System to include a warning about verbal abuse. The NHSPC was provided with an explanation regarding the approach that the Taxpayer Service Directorate (TSD) has taken to address this matter. TSD had completed extensive consultation with CRA stakeholders as well as other tax administrations, and the feedback confirmed that most callers are courteous. It is important to note that there was concern the warning message would further aggravate callers, making it even more difficult for the agent to manage the call. Industry experts indicated that this type of ‘negative’ messaging could diminish the caller’s expectation of their upcoming service experience as they transfer into the queue, by making them think that interactions with the CRA are ‘normally’ confrontational and/or aggressive.

TSD believes that training and support is the best approach to effectively managing various situations ranging from a frustrated caller to a verbally aggressive one, and has therefore invested significantly in the Service Excellence Training product that is provided to all agents, before they assume their duties. This training is based on industry research and addresses elements such as the types of difficult callers, how to identify them, and methods/strategies on dealing with them. Agents are also trained to establish communication boundaries and advise the caller that they will terminate the call if there is verbal abuse. The NHSPC was advised that Agents also have supervisory support available at all times to provide guidance, should a caller become aggressive.

The NHSPC was advised that Mr. Rick Adams and Mr. Massimo Testa will continue to monitor and research this topic that would include contacting Citizenship and Immigration, as this department has a warning message in its automated messaging system. Mr. Adams and Mr. Testa will provide the NHSPC with an update once they have consolidated additional feedback and identified process improvements that may proactively address the concerns noted.

7. Psychological standard

The NHSPC was advised that the first meeting of the Working Group was held on February 11, 2014. At that time, the members discussed the project plan for the gap analysis which will confirm what is currently in place and what would need to be done in the event the CRA implements the standard. The group’s mandate will be to document all activities, programs and training that the Agency currently has in place that meets or exceeds the requirements identified in the Psychological Standard.

The Committee was informed that extensive consultations and research will need to occur. As a result, a progress report on the gap analysis will be provided to the NHSPC at the September 11, 2014 NHSPC meeting.

8. WORK PLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE EFFECTIVENESS

Committee Newsletter
The Winter edition of the newsletter was published on February 13, 2014, and covers a number of issues, the most important being the requirement for WPHSCs to meet at least 9 times per year, and for Committees and Representatives to inspect at least part of the work place, on a monthly basis and the entire work place over the course of the year.

Inspection Procedure and Guide
The Work Place Inspection Procedures and Guide were shared with the Employee Representatives and their feedback will be consolidated with comments from other CRA stakeholders. When the final versions are ready, they will be shared with the NHSPC and the WPHSCs to ensure a standardized approach to work place inspections. The documents will also be posted on InfoZone, so they are easily accessible.

Committee Scorecard
The NHSPC was advised that additional messaging was provided in the WPHSC Newsletter to reinforce the importance of local committee meetings (at least 9 per year) and the completion of monthly inspections. As well, the first WPHSC monthly reminder message was sent on January 24th to fulfill a commitment that was made at the NHSPC, to ensure that WPHSCs are aware of their legislated obligations. As well, the Work Place Inspection Procedures and Guide will provide clear and precise guidance with instructions to follow.

The new scorecard will be consolidated using the Work Place Committees Annual Reports and will be ready to review at the next NHSPC meeting. As well, when the ‘Appendix A’ is automated in March/April, it is anticipated that legislated compliance will be able to be confirmed on a monthly basis.

Work Place Committee Training
An English Train-the-Trainer session has been scheduled for those participants in the National Capital Region, between March 11 to 13, and a French session is planned for March 18 to 26.

As for the course content review, the Working Group will meet over a number of days at the end of this month, to complete a ‘learning needs analysis’. The NHSPC will be provided with a progress update, at the May 29, 2014 meeting.

WRITTEN UPDATES

The following Written Updates were provided to the Committee:

Training Report

The NHSPC agreed that the OHS training numbers would be consolidated using a new reporting system. The training data is collected centrally by the Strategic Business Integration Directorate, and the monthly demographic profile is produced by the Demographics and Workforce Analysis Section. The information from both sources was extracted for this report on January 24, 2014.

A trend analysis was provided to depict the quarterly training numbers, and allow the NHSPC to track the historical results for the various OHS training products.
The NHSPC reviewed various communication approaches and action plans, to target specific regions that would reinforce the legislated requirement for OHS training.

Statistics for Health and Safety Training:
As of January 24, 2014, 667 managers and 2,038 employees require Health and Safety training. The latest training statistics show the number of employees who have received OHS training has greatly increased (to 95%) in the past year, and that nationally 5% of employees require training.

The January 2014 results for managers' training indicate that the general trend is somewhat stationary for those who have not received training. Nationally 14% are untrained. The NHSPC was advised that it may be more difficult to improve this result, due to the turnover in management positions.

Work Place Violence Prevention Training:
As of January 24, 2014, the data confirms that 6,948 employees have not completed this training. The number of employees not trained in Workplace Violence Prevention continues to decline. Since May 2013, there has been a reduction in the number of employees not trained, by over 4,000. This shows great momentum and confirms this course is being effectively promoted. However, efforts will continue to ensure positive trending.

Occupational Health and Safety Communication Plan

The Committee was provided with a final update for the national OHS Communication Plan, for 2013-2014. The winter edition of the WPHSC Newsletter was issued and it covered topics such as legislated responsibilities (inspections and meetings), the new First Aid Contract, certification of First Aid/Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Responders, Protective Footwear, and OHS document retention. In addition, a national communiqué was issued in February 2014 to highlight heart month and reinforce the importance of a healthy lifestyle as well as raising awareness for the Agency’s AED Initiative/Program. The NHSPC was advised that a Communication Plan for 2014-2015 would be drafted and shared for feedback.

Quarterly Security Incident Reports

The Employee Co-Chair was provided with the Quarterly Security Incident Reports for October to December 2013. These reports were sent to regional OHS representatives, and distributed to the WPHSCs for validation purposes.

CLOSING REMARKS

At the conclusion of the meeting the NHSPC members remarked on the collaborative approach that has resulted in significant progress on the various agenda items. The participants were thanked for their valuable contributions in the meeting’s discussions. The next NHSPC meeting will be held on May 29, 2014.

Original signed by

Original signed by

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

May 22, 2014

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

May 14, 2014

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