Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

May 26, 2005

DATE: May 26, 2005  TIME: 9:30 am-10:40 am

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

ATTENDEES: Management Union

Robert Russell (Management Co-Chair)
James Ralston
Jocelyn Malo
Claude Tremblay
Jean Laronde
Leon Page (Committee Secretary)

Betty Bannon (Union Co-Chair)
Chris Aylward (UTE)
Marilyn White (PIPSC)
Barb Bell (CEUDA)
Harry Walker (PIPSC)


Jaime Robinson
Paul Bruce
Édith Bélanger

Bruno Loranger (CEUDA)
Martin Ranger (PIPSC)
Lina Ruel (UTE)


The Management Co-Chair welcomed the Committee members to the meeting.  It was noted that since the last meeting, the CRA recognized the National Day of Mourning and National Occupational Safety and Health Week.  As well, the Committee was advised that there had been a number of ad hoc meetings to address a number of issues such as the First Aid Policy, Defibrillators, “No Waste” Program, Work Place Committee Training and the Work Place Committees and Representatives Policy.  Further details would be provided during the meeting. 


The Committee was provided with an update on the status of work underway on the high priority items, as follows:

Work Place Committee Member and Health and Safety Representatives Policy
The Committee was advised that a draft update of the policy, which included Regional and Branch input, was shared with the Union at the first meeting of the Working Group on April 19, 2005, for review and comments.  A second meeting was held on May 19, 2005, during which the Unions provided feedback, which would be used to prepare a revised draft.

Bulletin Boards
On May 4, 2005, a memorandum, signed by both co-chairs of the NHSPC, was distributed to the field, advising managers of the need to make space available on bulletin boards for posting OHS information.  A copy of this memorandum was shared with the Committee.

As well, the following update was provided on one medium priority item:

Health and Safety Training for Managers
Based on the feedback received thus far, including Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s recommendations on course content and delivery, Management had prepared a “draft” training package, which was shared with the Regions and the Unions on May 3, 2005, for review and comments.  Responses were requested by June 10, 2005.


The Committee was advised that the Multi-Regional Audit of Health and Safety was started in the Southern Ontario Region.  Three other Regions (Atlantic, Prairies and Pacific) expressed an interest in participating, so the audit was expanded to include them.  The final report was shared with the Unions in hard copy on October 20, 2004, and followed up with an electronic copy on February 24, 2005.

The Committee was advised that there were some issues that were common to both the OHS Audit and the Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for Customs Inspectors and Superintendents.  The Committee was provided with a list of the actions required to respond to the OHS Audit.  It was recommended that the Working Group for the  JHA Common Issues be reconvened to review the OHS Audit Action Plan, with a view to consolidating it with the JHA Common Issues recommendations and then reprioritizing the consolidated list.  The Union agreed and would identify a representative for the Working Group.


The Committee was advised that research was conducted with various external organizations, including other government departments and the Unions, to identify best practices with regards to silent hours access to CRA facilities.  Some organizations have guidelines in place, but no formal policies.  The Committee agreed that a memorandum should be drafted that would outline what should be considered in locations where employees work after hours.  The memorandum would also indicate that local work place committees should be involved in developing customized procedures based on local factors.


The Committee was provided with an overview of the “No Waste” Program and advised that housekeeping-managed programs would be the standard approach, with the employee-managed approach being considered a best practice.  The “No Waste” Program would be updated to address feedback received from this Committee, as well as from a recent survey.


Committee members met on several occasions to discuss various aspects related to the consideration of a defibrillator program within the CRA.  The Committee was advised that the results of the Federal Government Panel’s review of the installation of defibrillators in federal public service work places concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support this initiative.  In addition to this conclusion, the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) indicated that they would not fund or recommend implementation of defibrillators within the federal public service.  Furthermore, the TBS released a set of guidelines that departments and agencies would have to follow if they decided to pursue the implementation of a defibrillator program on their own. 

The Committee was advised that the CRA would not be instituting a defibrillator program based, in summary, on the following:

  • the medical community was still out on the issue;
  • liability issues would need to be addressed to ensure that the CRA was duly diligent and that managers were not vulnerable to subsequent fines under the Canada Labour Code, Part II;
  • before defibrillators could be installed in the workplace, a structured program would need to be put in place under the supervision of a qualified medical director;
  • there would be a need for ongoing training and recertification of employees;
  • the costs associated with the establishment of a program would be excessive, considering the perceived lack of need for such a program within an office environment; and,
  • the CRA should already have first aid attendants at every site, many of whom were trained to perform CPR, which is considered a critical link in the chain of survival for heart attack victims. (A memorandum would be sent to all offices to ensure that all first aid attendants had received CPR training.) 

There was some discussion around the possibility of local offices developing their own programs.  However, the Committee was informed that the liability issues, as well as the above-mentioned factors, would still be a major concern.  Therefore, the CRA would not support local initiatives.

The results of this discussion would be shared with the local Work Place Committee from Southern Ontario, which had referred the issue of defibrillators to this Committee in June 2003, for resolution.  A further memorandum would be sent to all regions, advising them of the outcome of this discussion and requesting that they ensure that all First-Aid Attendants had received CPR Training.


The Committee was advised that the Working Group held an all-day meeting on March 11, 2005, at which it developed a definition of field employees, validated the list of jobs that should be considered as field employee jobs, divided the list into  six overall categories of common types of jobs (based on risks), and ranked these categories from highest to lowest level of risk. 

As a result of that meeting, a draft report of the findings was shared with the  Working Group members on May 4, 2005, with a request that they provide feedback by May 27, 2005.  Once the final report had been vetted by the Working Group, it would be submitted to the Policy Committee for consideration.


The Report on Advocacy Group Activities, covering the period January 1 to  March 31, 2005, and the Quarterly Security Incident Report covering the same period were provided to the Committee members on April 26, 2005.  The next quarterly reports would be forwarded as soon as they were available. 

The Committee was advised that on May 5, 2005, a memorandum, jointly signed by both Co-chairs, attaching the Statistical Summary portion of the Quarterly Security Incident Report, was forwarded to the Work Place Committees with a request that they review the report to verify that any security incidents that had happened at their work location had been reported.  Any discrepancies were to be addressed with the local security office.

The Committee was informed that this statistical information, which included the number and types of security incidents reported in each region, would be provided to the Work Place Health and Safety Committees on a quarterly basis for monitoring purposes.

The Union raised a concern about the wording on a specific Detax website.  Management indicated that it would look into this and get back to the Union. The Union was also advised that, if it found any such information in the future, an electronic link should be forwarded to Management.


The Committee was informed that the Working Group had met three times to  discuss the results of the questionnaire conducted to address this issue.  As well, additional clarification was subsequently provided on a number of specific issues.  The Committee agreed that the outstanding site-specific issues should be shared with, and addressed, at the local level.

It was agreed that, based on the recommendation from the Working Group, the Security Policy on Building Emergency Planning (Chapter 3) and the pertinent Guidelines would be reviewed and updated.  A revised draft policy and guidelines would be shared with the regions and the Committee for review. 


The Working Group was still dealing with one outstanding issue, which it hoped to resolve shortly.  The updated policy would then be shared with the Committee prior to the next meeting.


The Committee was advised that the French Train-the-trainer course took place on April 5 to 13, 2005.  As a result, 4 additional employees received the training, bringing the total number of trainers to 43.

The Committee was also advised that the current Work Place Committee Members Training course would be reviewed for further updating.  The Working Group would meet during the week of June 6th to review the material, and would meet with Training and Learning during the week of June 20th.

Some discussion took place concerning the concept of e-learning and the objective of the current training.  Further discussion would take place on how to integrate e-learning and classroom training.


The Committee members were thanked for their participation, and everyone was wished a safe and enjoyable summer.  The next meeting would be held on September 8, 2005.

Original signed by

Robert Russell
Management Co-chair
National Health and Safety Policy Committee

August 16, 2005 

Original signed by 

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

August 8, 2005