Health and Safety Committee

National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting Minutes

June 4, 2009
DATE: June 4, 2009 TIME: 1:30 pm - 3:15 pm
LOCATION: 8th Floor Board Room, 200 Laurier Ave. W.

ATTENDEES:

Management

Union

Members

Lysanne Gauvin (Management Co-Chair)
Jocelyn Malo
Jean Laronde

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

Absent

James Ralston
Claude Tremblay
Leon Page
Doug Gaetz (UTE)

Secretary

Paul Bruce  

Observers

Jaime Robinson
Susan Fagan
Ivana Pavic
 

OPENING REMARKS

The Management Co-Chair welcomed the members of the Committee and noted that, while the recent outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1) had not had a significant impact on the Agency, it had given the Agency a good reason to update its pandemic preparedness plans, and an opportunity to test the Agency’s emergency preparedness. It was confirmed that, to date, there had been no confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu within the CRA, and no related refusals to work.

Prior to proceeding with the agenda, the Management Co-Chair took the opportunity to recognize three noteworthy Health and Safety events that took place since the last meeting:

  • Firstly, the National Day of Mourning had been held on April 28, 2009, for which CRA employees were asked to take a few moments around 11:00 a.m. on that day to remember those workers who had been killed or injured at work, and to reflect on the importance of safety in the workplace.
  • Secondly, the North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) week took place from May 3 to 9, 2009. The theme for the campaign was “Make it Home Safe Every Day!”.
  • Lastly, a French Workplace Committee Members Train-the-Trainer session was held from May 26 to June 3, 2009.

1. right to participate

The Unions raised concern regarding their limited involvement in the recent H1N1 flu situation, and reminded the Committee that the Unions’ Right to Participate was mandated in the Canada Labour Code, Part II.

Management acknowledged the Unions’ Right to Participate, and stated that it was remiss in not consulting them prior to opening, and subsequently closing, the Emergency Operations Centre. However, Management pointed out that its focus was to act quickly and decisively in order to position the Agency to best respond to the H1N1 flu virus outbreak, and to protect the health and safety of Agency employees.

Management reminded the Unions that the Questions and Answers had been shared with them prior to their distribution. It was agreed that, for the Unions to more fully participate in urgent issues such as H1N1, they would have to identify a dedicated resource who would have to be readily available.

It was also agreed that the Agency’s Questions and Answers document would need to be reviewed, based on the H1N1 experience, as some answers may need to be revised, and that the Unions would be involved in this review.

It was noted that this experience had certainly yielded many lessons learned, one of which was the necessity to work more closely with the Unions during emergencies. 

The Committee reaffirmed that the right to participate was integral to the operation of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee, and that this right would be respected.

2. job hazard analysis (JHA) for field employees

The Committee was advised that since its last meeting, Resource Environmental Associates (REA) conducted the two additional presentations on the final Phase III Report.  The first presentation was on February 24, 2009, to members of the Working Group, as well as senior management of the Compliance Programs Branch, the Taxpayer Services and Debt Management Branch, and the Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch.  The second presentation took place on March 9, 2009, to the Board of Management.  The contract with REA was closed on March 31, 2009.

The Committee was reminded that a Working Group had been established to review the options presented in the JHA Final Report, and to make recommendations for consideration by the NHSPC.  The Working Group included Chris Aylward and Doug Mason as the Union representatives of the NHSPC, as well as representatives from the following branches:

      • Compliance Programs Branch;
      • Taxpayer Services and Debt Management Branch;
      • Finance and Administration Branch;
      • Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch; and,
      • Human Resources Branch.

The Working Group met on February 24, 2009, and May 6, 2009, to consider the various options presented in the final JHA Report. The Committee was advised that the final recommendations of the Working Group would be presented at the October 2009 NHSPC meeting.

It was agreed that the members of the initial Working Group that developed the list of jobs to be covered by the JHA for Field Employees, would be provided with an update on the progress of the JHA.

3. multiple environment job hazard analysis (MEJHA)

The Committee was informed that work was still progressing on the JHA for Field Employees, and that once it neared completion, the CRA would be in a position to move forward with the MEJHA, using a similar process. 

It was agreed that a Working Group would be established that would be tasked with reviewing the seven work environments to determine the jobs that would be included within each group, as well as to identify any possible groupings of work environments for the purpose of conducting the MEJHAs, based on similar characteristics.  The Committee was also advised that a call letter would be sent out, requesting the names of participants for that Working Group. 

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

The Committee was reminded that a communiqué had been shared with them, similar to the one issued by the Quebec Region, for their review and comments. This communiqué was developed in consultation with local management at locations where CRA employees are co-located with armed CBSA officers, and was intended for distribution by local management at these sites.

The Committee was also reminded that it had been provided with an information package that was developed, using CBSA sources, for CRA employees who are co-located with armed CBSA officers. It was agreed that this information package would be of value to the Information Technology (IT) Staff working at CBSA border locations.  The Committee was advised that this information would be shared with the Regional IT Managers, for dissemination to IT staff who work in proximity to armed CBSA employees.

As well, Committee members were reminded that they had been provided with the Standard Operating Procedure that had been developed to provide guidance to CRA employees on what to do in the event of an altercation or violent physical confrontation between a client and an armed CBSA officer. The procedure would be updated to include a requirement that drills be conducted on a periodic basis.  It was further noted that the Standard Operating Procedure would need to be tailored to the local level, based on local requirements. 

It was agreed that CBSA would be contacted to verify whether the RCMP had been consulted on these documents and, if this had not been done, it would be once the package was complete.

5. violence prevention in the workplace regulation

The Committee was advised that the Working Group met on May 21, 2009 to discuss the research that had been carried out regarding the policies that the CRA currently had in place related to work place violence prevention. Examples of these policies included the Preventing and Resolving Harassment Policy, and Chapter 26 of the Finance and Administration Manual – Abuse, Threats, Stalking and Assaults Against Employees.  It was agreed that the Working Group would re-convene in June to look at an overarching policy, among other possibilities, to address this issue.

6. policy review

The Committee was advised that, on April 7, 2009, the NHSPC Working Group agreed on which policies would be kept, which ones would be realigned as procedures or guidelines, and which ones would be removed because the subject was covered by legislation. This information was subsequently shared with the members of the NHSPC.

The recommendation of the NHSPC concerning the disposition of the CRA OHS policies would now be put forward to the Agency Management Committee (AMC) for review, and then provided to the Board of Management in September, for review and approval.

7. health canada services

The Committee was reminded that Health Canada had invoked the termination clause of the Memorandum of Understanding for health services, which would take effect June 30, 2009. It was further indicated that the CRA had been able to negotiate a service extension with Health Canada, which would allow the Agency to continue to receive services for health evaluations and immunizations until March 31, 2010.  An email was sent to AMC and the Unions, to provide them with this update.

The Committee was reminded that the challenge for the CRA was that some health services were no longer available from Health Canada (e.g.  ergonomic  services, workplace investigations, and health education, promotion and training).  To ensure the Agency’s requirements were met on an interim basis, the regions were advised that these services should be accessed locally through the private sector, following approved contracting protocols.

The Committee was informed that the CRA would be working with all stakeholders, including the NHSPC, to develop options for a permanent, long-term solution for the provision of all health services. The new health service model would be implemented using a coordinated approach, in consultation with the NHSPC, to ensure the success of this initiative.

8. job hazard analysis (common issues) / agency audit

The Committee was advised that there were only three remaining issues related to the JHA Common Issues / Multi-Regional OHS Audit, as follows:

  • To address the first issue (i.e. a recommendation that the CRA should consider an independent audit of Work Place Committees' operations within 12 months of policy implementation), a proposal was made to Internal Audit to undertake audits of Work Place Committees on a periodic basis. The response from Internal Audit was that the Audit Plan has been established for this fiscal year, but the proposal would be reviewed for inclusion in the Audit Plan for subsequent fiscal years.

  • To address the second issue (i.e. a recommendation to Develop and promote a preventative training program for field offices), a recommendation had been included in the JHA for Field Employees, and would be incorporated into the Hazard Prevention Program.

  • To address the third issue (i.e. a recommendation to Consolidate information on the National OHS web site from available sources.) a presentation of the National OHS website was made during the NHSPC meeting.

The Committee concluded that, as the final two remaining recommendations were being completed under different venues, this issue would now be considered as finalized, and would be removed from the Agenda of the NHSPC.

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

The Committee was provided with a chart that indicated that, as of May 29, 2009, 5,305 managers had completed the OHS Training for Managers, and 35,419 employees had attended the OHS Awareness Session for Employees.

It was agreed that a reminder would be sent out to the Assistant Commissioners in September 2009, indicating that training should continue on a regular basis for all new managers and employees.

10. hazard prevention program regulation

The Committee was reminded that the Working Group had developed overview documents that outlined the CRA Hazard Prevention Program, and that these documents were being updated, for further discussion by the Working Group, to ensure that they adequately reflected how the CRA was meeting its obligations under the Hazard Prevention Regulation.

The Committee was also advised that, once the Working Group had finalized the documents, they would be presented to the NHSPC.
 

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 advised that in 2008, the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) launched an audit of management of health and safety issues in federal office buildings. The CRA was one of 24 Departments/Agencies sampled for this audit. The OAG sought evidence that fire safety and emergency plans existed, in accordance with legislation, and that plans were carried out.

The Committee was advised that the OAG concluded that Departments and Agencies were not able to demonstrate that they were complying with key requirements of the Treasury Board Standard for Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organizations. The Agency agreed with all three (3) OAG recommendations.

The Committee was informed that the CRA had developed an action plan to address the OAG recommendations to ensure that all its buildings properly administer the fire safety and fire emergency requirements set out in federal legislation and Treasury Board Policies and Standards, with a target date for completion of June 29, 2009. The Committee was also informed that the OAG was satisfied with the Agency’s action plan, and that Agency officials were carefully monitoring the implementation of this action plan.

It was agreed that the Committee would be advised of the locations of the CRA offices that had been found to be non-compliant.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Management Co-Chair expressed her thanks to the Committee for their valuable participation in addressing the agenda items. As this would be her last NHSPC meeting, the Management Co-Chair took the opportunity to acknowledge the productive nature of the Committee, and indicated that it had been a pleasure to be a part of the NHSPC. Committee members wished her well in her future endeavours.

The Committee was reminded that the next meeting was scheduled for
October 1, 2009.

Items Deferred to Future Meeting

1. Radon Testing

As PWGSC is custodian for all buildings occupied by the CRA, they are responsible for implementing this initiative. CRA Real Property representatives would be advised of the results of the review and planned action. – No activity to report.

2. Automated External Defibrillators

A meeting of the NHSPC Working Group would be scheduled in the near future.

Original signed by 
Claude P. Tremblay for
Lysanne Gauvin
Management Co-chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

September 14, 2009
Date

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

September 10, 2009
Date