Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

December 3, 2009
DATE:  December 3, 2009  TIME: 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm
LOCATION: 8th Floor Board Room, 200 Laurier Ave. W.    

ATTENDEES:

Management

Union

Members

Cheryl Fraser (Management Co-Chair)
Filipe Dinis (Alternate)
Jocelyn Malo
Claude Tremblay
Josée Tremblay

Betty Bannon (Union Co-Chair)
Chris Aylward (UTE)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Harry Walker (PIPSC)
Doug Mason (PIPSC)

Absent

Stephen O’Connor  

Secretary

Leon Page  

Observers

Paul Bruce
Jaime Robinson
Susan Fagan
Pierre Mulvihill (UTE)

OPENING REMARKS

The Management Co-Chair welcomed the Committee members and complimented them on how well the Committee functions and the good work that the Committee had accomplished in the past. The Management Co-chair also expressed her opinion that the Committee had had a very productive year, and that she looked forward to continuing this progress into the New Year.

On behalf of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC), the Management Co-chair thanked Paul Bruce for his contributions to the Committee, in his role on the Corporate Occupational Health and Safety Team, and wished him well in his retirement.

1. job hazard analysis (JHA) for field employees

The Committee was informed that the Working Group meeting scheduled for October 26, 2009, to finalize the “Recommended Options Report”, had been rescheduled to January 13, 2010, due to circumstances beyond its control. The Committee was also advised that an ad-hoc NHSPC meeting would be scheduled to review the “Recommended Options Report”, as soon as the report was finalized. The report would be shared in advance of the ad hoc meeting.

The Committee members were also advised that they had recently received a copy of the memorandum that would provide an update to the members of the initial Working Group that developed the list of jobs to be covered by the JHA for Field Employees, for review and comments. 

2. multiple environment job hazard analysis (MEJHA)

The Committee was advised that management met with Classification on November 23, 2009, to do the preliminary work of identifying the jobs that fall within each of the seven work environments. Once the preliminary work has been completed, a meeting of the MEJHA Working Group would take place, early in the new calendar year, to review the report and determine next steps.

3. canada bORDER sERVICES aGENCY (cbsa) arming initiative – cbsa/cra co-location

The Committee was advised that, as of November 9, 2009, management at the Nova Scotia, Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Newfoundland and Labrador Tax Services Offices (TSOs) had been given the green light to proceed with distributing the information message, the information presentation, and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), to their employees in CRA/CBSA co-location sites.

At the same time, the Information Technology Branch (ITB) was asked proceed with the distribution of a similar package to regional Information Technology Services employees working at CBSA border locations.

All four TSOs, as well as ITB, had been asked to ensure that the distribution process was done in consultation with the unions. It was also agreed that, since the Unions intend to share the document with the Customs and Immigration Union, Management would also share the package with CBSA management.

The Committee was also advised that the Security, Risk Management, and Internal Affairs Directorate would continue to monitor the situation and ensure early distribution of the information package to CRA staff for any co-located sites with newly armed CBSA Officers.

The Committee was advised that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had reviewed the Standard Operating Procedures and had no concerns with their contents.

4. H1N1

The Committee was reminded that H1N1 remained a priority for the Agency, and that the Finance and Administration Branch (FAB), the Public Affairs Branch (PAB), and the Human Resources Branch (HRB) were working together via a Working Group on H1N1, to ensure that the CRA maintained a high level of preparedness, and that all CRA managers and employees were kept up-to-date on the H1N1 file. In order to assist managers in being able to assess the impact of H1N1 on operations, a monitoring tool was developed for the purpose of reporting absenteeism due to sick leave and family-related leave. Management indicated that it would be conducting this monitoring for the flu season, and that it would focus on overall numbers, by location.

The Committee was advised that initiatives on communication about H1N1 included weekly conference calls with the Regions, updates to the H1N1 InfoZone site, and communiqués on various topics such as vaccination, communication with employees, and hand sanitizers. The Committee was also advised that time was provided to employees to obtain the vaccine, if it was required. As well, the Committee was informed that Hand Sanitizer dispensers would be installed at the entrance of every CRA building, and in locations where soap and water was not available. Management may need to look at its approach to Family Related Leave and/or Sick Leave in the event of a full blown Pandemic.

The Committee was advised that the OHS issues, including hand sanitizers, identity of infected employees, and flu clinics, had also been addressed following the release of Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) directions.

The Committee was also advised that the CRA H1N1 InfoZone site had been updated to include TBS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and CRA FAQs, as well as updates to the Manager’s Toolkit. An “Alert” box had also been posted at the top of the InfoZone home page that would remain there for the duration of the pandemic, to provide employees with quick links to updates available on the H1N1 site.

A discussion was held concerning the use of a link to TBS FAQs, rather than having only CRA FAQs, even if the FAQs were the same. The Committee agreed to revisit this approach, as well as the question regarding notifying employees of H1N1 cases that had occurred in the work place.

The Committee was also reminded that Business Continuity Plan Tabletop exercises had been completed across the Agency. However, the Finance and Administration Branch advised that it would look at standardizing the Tabletop exercises by using the one that had been used in the Atlantic Region, as well as involving the Unions in these exercises. It was agreed that the Unions and Workplace Committees had a valuable role to play in dealing with a Pandemic.

5. Violence prevention in the workplace regulation

The Committee was advised that management was consulting with the Corporate Secretariat to ensure compliance with the recently released procedures and directives on the development of corporate policies. The Committee was also informed that, once this feedback was received, the Working Group would meet to review a preliminary draft that had been prepared for its consideration. It was agreed that a work plan would be developed to identify a schedule for next steps.

6. hazard prevention program regulation

The Committee was advised that, further to the commitment at the October 1, 2009 NHSPC meeting, the overview document that reflected how the CRA was meeting its obligations under the Hazard Prevention Program Regulation, was shared with the Union representative of the Working Group on November 12, 2009, for review.

The Committee was also advised that, as the document had now been finalized by the Working Group, an electronic copy of the final draft would be shared with the Committee, for review and approval.

7. health services

The Committee was reminded that the CRA had negotiated a service extension with Health Canada until March 31, 2010, for certain services, and that other health services were being obtained locally, through the private sector.

The Committee was also advised that the CRA expected to issue a Request for Proposal in January 2010, to solicit bids from National Service Providers who would be able to deliver the full spectrum of health services to the Agency. The NHSPC was advised that significant progress was also being made on the interim procurement solution to obtain rosters of health service practitioners to meet the Agency’s short-term needs, in the event that the contract with a National Service Provider was not finalized before the end of the fiscal year. The NHSPC was advised that it would be provided with procurement updates for these two initiatives, and would be consulted regarding subsequent implementation plans.

8. AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS (AEDs)

The Committee was advised that the AED Working Group postponed its second meeting to provide both parties with sufficient time to exchange and review additional research. It was confirmed that a meeting of the Working Group would be scheduled for early January 2010, following which the NHSPC would be updated on this initiative. It was agreed that a health professional would be invited to address this issue at the next NHSPC meeting.

9. health and safety training for managers and awareness session for employees

The Committee was advised that, as of November 18, 2009, 5,431 managers and 37,062 employees had received their training.

The Committee was also informed that the current method of reporting no longer provided an accurate picture of the number of managers and employees who had not received their training. As a result, at the next meeting the Committee would receive a report detailing the number of managers and employees recorded in the CAS system as still requiring the training, rather than an indication of the number that had been trained.

The Committee was advised that a reminder would be sent to the regions in the Spring, to request training plans for Work Place Committee members.

10. update of the ohs awareness session for employees

The Committee was reminded that Doug Mason had been identified as the Union representative for the Working Group established to review the OHS Awareness Session for Employees, and was informed that the first meeting of this Working Group would be scheduled early in the New Year.

11. performance audit of PUBLIC WORKS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES CANADA (pwgsc) on the management of health and safety issues by the office of the auditor general

The Committee was reminded that, at the last meeting it was agreed that the Co-chairs of the NHSPC would send a memorandum to Responsible Building Authorities and Work Place Committees, reminding them of their roles with regard to Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organizations.

The Committee was advised that the memorandum had been drafted and was forwarded to the Union Co-Chair for review and signature. Once signed by both Co-Chairs, the memorandum would be sent out.

It was agreed that, once the memorandum had been sent out, this issue would be considered as closed.
 

12. Radon testing

The Committee was advised that Health Canada’s original plan called for testing of all government-occupied buildings, and that over the last year, more than 300 Government of Canada offices in the National Capital Area and the regions had been tested. To date no radon had been detected in any of the sites tested. As a result, Health Canada had deemed that there was no immediate threat, and had stopped testing for the time being.

It was agreed that the Committee would be provided with the number, and location, of CRA buildings tested, and would be advised whether or not the local Work Place Committees had been consulted.

The Committee was also advised that updates would continue to be requested from PWGSC, in order to ensure safety in CRA workplaces.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Committee members were thanked for their valuable participation in addressing the agenda items, and for all the work that had gone into addressing all the issues that had been tackled this year.

The Committee was reminded that the meetings for 2010 were scheduled for March 11th, June 3rd, September 23rd and December 2nd.

Wishes were extended for a happy holiday season.

Original signed by

Cheryl Fraser
Management Co-chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

February 8, 2010
Date

Original signed by

Betty Bannon
Union Co-chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

February 1, 2010
Date