Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

March 1, 2007

DATE: March 1, 2007     TIME:  1:30 pm-3:30 pm

LOCATION: 8th Floor Board Room, 200 Laurier Ave. W.

ATTENDEES:

Management

Union

Members

Lysanne Gauvin  (Management Co-Chair)
Jocelyn Malo
Jean Laronde
Leon Page  (Committee Secretary)

Chris Aylward
(Alternate Union Co-Chair)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Lina Ruel (UTE)
Harry Walker (PIPSC)
Doug Mason (PIPSC)

Observers Paul Bruce
Édith Bélanger
Paul Taylor
Absent James Ralston
Claude Tremblay
Betty Bannon (UTE)

OPENING REMARKS

The Management Co-Chair welcomed the Committee members to the first meeting of 2007, and stated that she was looking forward to continuing the Committee’s progress on the current files, as well as working together to tackle new issues over the coming year to address the health and safety issues and concerns of employees.

The Committee was informed that there would be a film crew present during the meeting to shoot background shots for the revised OHS Video “It’s Good Business”, but no voices would be recorded.

1. PRESENTATION BY DR. PATRICIAL HUSTON RE: PANDEMIC PLANNING

Dr. Patricia Huston, Health Canada, made a presentation (see Appendix A (not available online)) to the Committee concerning Pandemic Planning.  During her presentation, Dr. Huston covered a number of issues related to preparing for, and dealing with, a pandemic, including topics such as the importance of “real-time” communications, as well as the fact that hand washing was one of the most effective ways of controlling the spread of a pandemic. 

2. PANDEMIC PLANNING

The Committee was informed that the CRA Pandemic Strategy was tabled at AMC on February 28, 2007.  All Branches and Regions would now be expected to complete a Pandemic Annex for their individual site Building Continuity Plans (BCP) and to elaborate a Regional/Program strategy that would address the escalation of pandemic outbreaks from a single location to a region-wide or program-wide scale.  Plans would need to be completed and tested by September 2007.

The Committee was reminded that the “Lessons Learned from SARS” document had been shared with them on February 1, 2007, for review and comments, and that the Committee had agreed to establish a working group to discuss the contents of the document and determine next steps.  It had also been proposed that the working group develop a list of HR pandemic issues that would affect the CRA.  This list could be used in conjunction with information received from the Interdepartmental Working Group that had been established by the Treasury Board Secretariat to address HR pandemic issues.  It was agreed that the NHSPC Pandemic Planning Working Group would also develop a communication strategy to keep employees abreast of issues related to pandemics. 

In response to an issue that had been raised regarding the potential use of hand sanitizers in the workplace, the Committee was advised that a subcommittee of the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) HR Pandemic Issues Committee had been created to identify potential personal protective tools.  These tools would include items such as masks and soap/hand sanitizers.  It was agreed that the NHSPC Working Group would look into the possibility of providing signs in washrooms related to the importance of using proper hand-washing techniques, and examine the question of installing hand sanitizers in CRA offices that are open to the public, such as client service areas.

3. JOB HAZARD ANALYSES FOR FIELD EMPLOYEES

The Committee was advised that the updated Statement of Work, as well as documents such as the Evaluation Criteria and the Mandatory Requirements, were sent to PWGSC on December 22, 2006, to prepare the request for proposal to hire a consulting firm to conduct the JHA for Field Employees’ Jobs.  These documents, along with a list of sites to be visited by the consultant, had been shared with committee members on October 25, 2006, for review and comments. 

Due to a lack of action on this file by PWGSC, discussions were held between the Labour Relations Division and the Finance and Administration (F&A) Branch in January, and the file was repatriated to the CRA.  The Committee was advised that F&A was currently finalizing the request for proposal as a high priority, with a projected date for a call for tenders of mid-March, 2007.  The Committee was also informed that, although there had been no major changes to the documents, or to the work that was to be completed, changes had been made to reflect appropriate contractual language.  Committee members were provided with updated draft copies of the documents, as well as an updated version of the timelines document, for their information.  As well, the Unions were invited to identify a representative to participate in the process of evaluating the bids for the purpose of selecting a consulting firm to carry out the JHA.

The Committee was advised that if all went as planned, the consultant should begin work on the JHA in June.

4. WORK PLACE COMMITTEE TRAINING

The Committee was advised that due to technical problems with the formatting of the revised Work Place Committee training package, it took longer than expected to finalize the package.  However, the package had now been completed and would be rolled out to NHSPC members and the Regions by March 9, 2007, for use during training courses being delivered in March.

The Committee was also informed that a call letter had been sent to the Regions and the Unions on February 16, 2007, to request the names of participants for the English and French Train-the-Trainer courses that would be offered this spring.

5. HEALTH AND SAFETY TRAINING FOR MANAGERS

As the Health and Safety Training for Managers and the Health and Safety Awareness Package for Employees were inter-related, the Committee was advised that the two issues would be addressed at the same time.

The Committee was informed that AMC had approved the mandatory training for managers, as well as the requirement for them to deliver the employee awareness module to their employees.  The employee awareness module (a PowerPoint Presentation developed by a NHSPC Working Group) had been updated, based on discussions by the working group, and had been integrated into the managers’ OHS Training course.  As indicated at the last meeting, the Committee would be provided with a copy of the course before it was rolled out to the regions. 

The Committee was advised that a Train-the -Trainer session for the Health and Safety Training for Managers course would be delivered to the Regional HR representatives on March 20, 2007.  Training would be rolled out to managers in the regions during the next fiscal year, with the managers being responsible for delivering the Employee Awareness session to their employees during team meetings.  The Employee Awareness sessions would be delivered within three months from the date the managers received their training.  Training codes were being created in CAS so that OHS training for both managers and employees could be tracked.  It was agreed that a strategy would need to be developed regarding how to ensure that new managers and new employees received this OHS training.

Management acknowledged that the Unions’ preference would have been for the training sessions to be co-delivered using existing Work Place Committee trainers.

6. HEALTH AND SAFETY AWARENESS FOR EMPLOYEES

This item was combined with Item # 5 (Health and Safety Training for Managers).

7. HAZARD PREVENTION PROGRAM REGULATION

The Committee was advised that the working group had met to discuss the overall direction that it would take in addressing this issue.  As part of this process the working group reviewed a draft list of tasks that the NHSPC could undertake in relation to each of the 6 components of a hazard prevention program, as outlined in the Hazard Prevention Program Regulation.

The working group would continue to refine the list of tasks and identify the corresponding tasks that would need to be undertaken at the regional and local levels to ensure complete implementation of the hazard prevention program.

The Committee would be kept apprised of the progress of the working group.

8. PORTABLE DURESS ALARMS FOR COMMISSIONAIRES / SECURITY GUARDS

The Committee was advised that Chapter 26 of the Finance and Administration Manual, Security Volume, “Abuse, Threats, Stalking and Assaults Against Employees” had been reviewed and amendments would be proposed to reflect testing requirements of duress alarm equipment.  Under the section dealing with policy requirements for Managers, a paragraph would be added to ensure that a duress alarm protocol was in place in client services areas and that it would be tested quarterly.

A draft of the proposed changes would be forwarded to Committee members for review and comments.

9. OHS VIDEO

The Committee was informed that the contract for the video had been awarded to Affinity Productions with a target completion of the video by March 20, 2007, and that the NHSPC working group had met with the Public Affairs Branch and the contractor in a joint effort to develop a revised script.

Work has been progressing on schedule.  Once the video was completed, copies would be rolled out for incorporation into the Work Place Committee Training course and the Health and Safety Training for Managers course.  It was anticipated that this would occur in April.

10. DEFIBRILLATORS AND FIRST AID TRAINING

The Committee was informed that Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training was now being included in some First Aid training courses being attended by CRA employees.  Research indicated that the Red Cross has included AED training in all of its training courses, without increasing the length of the standard course; it is still a two-day course.  However, at St. John Ambulance Canada, the AED training is a separate course of 4-6 hour duration.

The AED training has been developed to address the needs of employees who work in an environment where AEDs have been provided, such as pools, arenas and community centres. 

The Committee was informed that the requirement for AEDs within the Agency had not changed, and as a result, the training would not be mandatory for CRA employees.  However, since CRA employees often attend training provided by the Red Cross, it would be possible that the AED training would be part of their course.

The Committee agreed that the use of AEDs in the workplace would be monitored.

11. POLICY REVIEW

Since a number of CRA policies were overdue for updating (e.g. Use and Occupancy of Buildings), it was agreed that a working group be established to review all CRA OHS policies to determine whether or not they would continue to be appropriate in the current CRA environment, and to establish an order of priority for revision or updating, as required.

The Unions agreed to identify a representative to participate on this working group.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Committee was informed that a Work Place Committee Co-Chairs Conference had recently been held in the Ontario Region.  Three NHSPC representatives had attended the Conference and felt that it was a worthwhile undertaking. 

The Committee members were thanked for their valuable participation in addressing the various agenda items and were reminded that the next Committee meeting was scheduled for May 31, 2007.

Original signed by

Lysanne Gauvin
Management Co-chair
National Health and Safety Policy Committee

May 17, 2007
Date

Original signed by 
 
Chris Aylward
Alternate Union Co-chair
for Betty Bannon
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

May 9, 2007
Date