Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

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

ATTENDEES:

Management

Union

Members

Cheryl Fraser (Management Co-Chair)
James Ralston
Jocelyn Malo
Claude Tremblay
Josée Tremblay

Betty Bannon (Union Co-Chair)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Pierre Mulvihill (UTE-Alternate)
Doug Mason (PIPSC)
Jean-François Prégent (PIPSC - Alternate)

Absent

  Chris Aylward (UTE)
Harry Walker (PIPSC)

Secretary

Leon Page  

Observers

Paul Bruce
Jaime Robinson
 

OPENING REMARKS

The Management Co-Chair stated that, as this was her first National Health and Safety Policy Committee meeting at CRA, she would like to say how pleased she was to be taking over the role of management co-chair. She acknowledged the good work that the Committee had accomplished in the past, and indicated that she was looking forward to working with the Committee members to address the health and safety issues and concerns of CRA employees.

The Management Co-chair thanked James Ralston for his contributions to the Committee, and the Committee members wished him well in his new position. As well, Josée Tremblay was welcomed to the Committee as a replacement for Jean Laronde, who was retiring.

1. job hazard analysis (JHA) for field employees

The Committee was advised that the Working Group was provided with the “Recommended Options Report” on September 16, 2009, for their review and comments. A meeting of the Working Group would be scheduled for early October 2009, to finalize the Report.  The “Recommended Options Report” would be shared with this Committee, for review and comments, as soon as it was finalized by the Working Group. 

The Committee was also informed that a template, similar to the one that was used for tracking the JHA Common Issues, was being developed. It would allow for tracking the status of the implementation of the recommended options, and for reporting back to this Committee.

On a separate note, the Committee was advised that a memo was being prepared to be sent to the members of the initial Working Group that developed the list of jobs to be covered by the JHA for Field Employees, to update them on the progress of the JHA. This memo would be jointly signed by the Co-chairs of this Committee.

2. multiple environment job hazard analysis (MEJHA)

The Committee was informed that on July 14, 2009, a call letter was sent to the Branches and the Unions, requesting the names of participants for the MEJHA Working Group.  Each Branch has identified its representatives, and there were also two Union representatives from the NHSPC.

As there are approximately 1300 jobs that need to be analyzed, the Committee was advised that a memo was sent to Classification on September 25, 2009, requesting the aid of the Classification Specialists for each Branch, to do the preliminary work in identifying the jobs that fall within each of the seven work environments that have been identified for the MEJHA.  Once this preliminary work was completed, the first Working Group meeting would be held, where this information would be shared, and used as a starting point for discussion.

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

Tax Services Offices Where CRA Staff Are Co-located With Armed CBSA Officers

The Committee was advised that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) had been revised to include the requirement that it be tested periodically. As well, the Security, Risk Management and Internal Affairs Directorate had consulted with the RCMP on the content of the SOP, and was awaiting their response.

The Committee was informed that the information message, information presentation and SOP, which were shared with the Unions on May 27, 2009, had been provided to the Directors of the Nova Scotia, Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Regina Tax Services Offices (TSOs), who had been asked to consult with local Union representatives before moving forward with distributing these documents to their staff.

It was noted that, since this issue was first discussed, there had been several changes to affected locations:

  • CBSA was tentatively scheduled to move out of the Regina office in October of this year;
  • The Newfoundland and Labrador TSO’s Duckworth Street location was now a collocated site with armed CBSA officers; and
  • In Saint John, NB, co-located CBSA officers were currently receiving firearms training and would be armed in the near future.

CRA Regional Information Technology Staff Performing Work At Border Locations Where Armed CBSA Officers Are Present

A similar information package had been created to advise the CRA’s approximately 300 regional Information Technology (IT) employees who do IT work for CBSA at border locations. A copy of this information package was shared with the Committee on September 14, 2009. The Unions confirmed that they were in agreement with the contents of the package.

This issue was the subject of a conference call with the functional area responsible for the Regional IT program in the Information Technology Branch’s headquarters and the Regional Directors of IT, during which it was agreed that a standardized approach would be taken. ITB headquarters would oversee the distribution of this information, and local PIPSC representatives would be consulted in advance of the distribution.

Management would get back to the Union members of the Committee with the information package distribution timelines.

4. H1N1

The Committee was advised that the lead for the H1N1 file was transferred from the Finance and Administration Branch to the Human Resources Branch on September 17, 2009.

The Committee was also informed that the World Health Organization (WHO) had advised countries in the northern hemisphere to prepare for a second pandemic wave, and that H1N1 remains a priority for the Agency and it is taking this advisory very seriously.

The Committee was advised that efforts to prepare for the next wave of H1N1 had continued over the summer and into the fall, with three initiatives that were worth highlighting:

  • First, the information on the Agency's H1N1 Infozone site, including a review of frequently asked questions and the Manager's Toolkit was being updated.
  • Second, it was anticipated that a national communiqué on H1N1, as well as the upcoming seasonal flu, would be sent out in the near future.
  • Third, while a review of the Pandemic Annexes was completed back in May when H1N1 first emerged, management recognize that this type of review should take place regularly as the context of the situation evolves. As a result, on September 9, 2009, Agency Management Committee (AMC) members were tasked with once again reviewing and updating their pandemic annexes.

The Committee was advised that some H1N1 interdepartmental committees had reconvened.  For example, the ADM Emergency Management Committee, of which the CRA is a member, had held a number of recent meetings on H1N1.

There was also a Directors’ General Committee, which had established a subcommittee for internal communications, that includes representatives from the CRA’s Public Affairs Branch.  This committee was established for the purpose of ensuring consistent communications to government employees across the public service.

A discussion was held on seasonal flu clinics, the provision of hand sanitizer within the CRA, and notification related to cases of H1N1 within the CRA. The Committee was reminded that the Agency was taking its lead from the Treasury Board Secretariat. As a result, further information would be required from the central agencies on these matters before final decisions could be made. With regards to hand sanitizer, it was agreed that local offices could proceed with installing hand sanitizer, if they so chose.

The Committee agreed that the channels of communication would remain open on this important issue.

5. Violence prevention in the workplace regulation

The Committee was advised that a Working Group was looking at an overarching policy, among other possibilities, to address this issue, and that it had discussed the research that had been carried out regarding the policies currently in place that deal with work place issues, such as the CRA’s Harassment Policy, and Finance and Administration’s Chapter 26 – Abuse, Threats, Stalking and Assaults Against Employees.

The Committee was also informed that, over the summer, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) released its Guidelines for Violence Prevention in the Workplace, a copy of which was provided to Committee members on July 22, 2009. The Working Group would assess the implications of this document on its planned approach.

The Committee acknowledged the importance of moving forward with this issue.  The next meeting of the Working Group would be scheduled for sometime in October 2009, with a goal of establishing its approach and timelines for moving forward with this issue.

6. hazard prevention program regulation

The Committee was reminded that the Working Group had been working on an overview document that reflected how the CRA was meeting its obligations under the Hazard Prevention Regulation. The draft document would be provided to the Union representative on the Working Group in the near future for review and comments. The document would then be available for review and comments by the Committee.

7. policy review

The Committee was advised that on August 12, 2009, the final status report on the disposition of the OHS policies was approved, without change, by the AMC, and then approved by the Board of Management on September 21, 2009.
The next step would be to implement the recommendations and update the National OHS website, including a communication package to notify employees.

8. health services

The Committee was reminded that the CRA had negotiated a service extension with Health Canada that allows the Agency to receive services for Health Evaluations and Immunizations until March 31, 2010, and that the services that are no longer available from Health Canada (i.e. ergonomic services; workplace investigations; and health education, promotion and training) were currently being accessed locally through the private sector, following approved contracting protocols.

The Committee was also reminded that an Options Paper had been shared with them on August 13, 2009, that outlined options and a recommendation for a permanent, long-term solution for the provision of all health services.  The recommended approach was for the CRA to contract with a National Service Provider to deliver the full spectrum of health services. The Committee was advised that the CRA was moving forward with this recommendation, as well as an interim solution to procure rosters of health service practitioners who would meet the Agency’s needs, on an interim basis.

The Committee was informed that the CRA had hired a Consultant to develop a Statement of Work and Bid Evaluation Criteria, in preparation for the contracting process to obtain a national service provider.

Once a new health service model had been approved, it would be implemented through a coordinated approach, in consultation with the NHSPC.

9. AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS (AED)

The Committee was advised that the initial meeting of the NHSPC AED Working Group was held on September 10, 2009, to discuss the issues and review the current research. The Working Group made arrangements to meet again on October 28, 2009, to clarify the issues and discuss the recommended course of action.

The Committee requested that the Working Group provide all pertinent information concerning this issue for the next NHSPC meeting.

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

The Committee was provided with a chart that indicated that, as of September 22, 2009, 5,369 managers and 37,061 employees have received their training.

Further to a request sent to the Union Co-Chair on September 24, 2009, she identified Doug Mason as the Union representative for the Working Group that would look at creating a more permanent solution for the OHS Awareness Session for Employees.
 

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 the CRA had developed and implemented an action plan to address the three recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor General to deal with the deficiencies identified by the audit.

As agreed at the NHSPC meeting of June 4, 2009, on September 16, 2009, the Committee was provided with a list of locations of CRA offices that had been found by the OAG to be non-compliant with the requirements of the Treasury Board Standard for Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organizations. The list included a summary report of the deficiencies and actions taken to resolve these deficiencies, for each of the buildings.

The Committee agreed that while this issue could now be considered as closed, a communiqué would be developed to be sent by the Co-chairs, reminding the Responsible Building Authorities, and the Local Work Place Committees, of their roles with regard to Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organizations.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Committee was reminded that the next meeting was scheduled for December 3, 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.

Management agreed to update the Committee on Radon Testing at the NHSPC meeting to be held on December 3, 2009.

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

November 27, 2009
Date

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

November 19, 2009
Date