Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

April 10, 2003

DATE:     April 10, 2003  TIME:  1:30-4:45p.m.

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

ATTENDEES:

Management

Union

Dan Tucker (Co-Chair)
Jocelyn Malo
Denis Lefebvre
Patricia Ballantyne
Jean Laronde
Leon Page (Committee Secretary)
Diane Massicotte (Observer)
Greta Hill (Observer)

Betty Bannon (UTE) (Co-Chair)
Chris Aylward (UTE)
Réal Lamarche (PIPSC)
Marilyn White (PIPSC)
Laurel Randle (CEUDA Observer)
Martin Ranger (PIPSC Observer)
Lina Ruel (UTE Observer)

Absent:

Stephen Rigby

Ron Moran (CEUDA)
John King (CEUDA)

OPENING REMARKS

The Management Co-Chair welcomed the Committee members and then both Co-Chairs expressed the hope that it would be a productive meeting resulting in the resolution of a number of issues.

The Management Co-Chair noted that since the last meeting, a significant amount of time had been devoted to dealing with issues arising out of the international outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The Committee would be provided with more information on what had been done to address that issue under a separate agenda item.

The Union Co-Chair expressed concern with Management’s earlier decision to not share the Working Document # 1 of the Draft Final Report of the Job Hazard Analysis (JHA). She also acknowledged that on April 9, 2003, Committee members had been provided with a copy of the Working Document # 1, as well as an additional document prepared by Customs that identified the differences between the two draft reports. She went on to emphasize the importance of now focusing on the results of the Job Hazard Analysis.

Management agreed that they should have shared the earlier document with the Unions, when they received it.

The Committee also discussed the need for improved communications and consultation, during which both Management and the Unions acknowledged that there had been times when they could have done a better job of communicating. However, Committee members were also reminded that there were areas where the Committee had worked well together, including several of the issues that were discussed at the previous meeting. One such example was the Work Place Committee Training.

Committee members agreed that trust and respect were important elements if the Committee expected to have open discussion of issues at an early stage. Members should review the Terms of Reference and Rules of Procedure, with a view to strengthening the trust and respect amongst Committee members. There was an agreement by all Committee members to respect the confidentiality of the information provided to them in their capacity as Committee members. At the same time, it was acknowledged that, depending on the subject under consideration, there might be occasions where consultation outside the Committee would be necessary. In such cases, prior approval would be required before any information or documentation was shared with others.

1. AUDIT REPORT ON CCRA’S RESPONSE TO THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 (EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT POLICY)

It was agreed that this agenda item would be renamed “Emergency Management Policy” for future meetings.

The Committee was advised that the Emergency Management Policy is currently in the process of being updated based on feedback from the various stakeholders. A copy of the revised draft Policy would be provided to Committee members for their review within the next two weeks.

The Committee was informed of the general intent of the Policy, which would be to provide the overall framework for the development of the Agency’s Emergency Management Program. Work would continue regarding the development, maintenance and testing of contingency plans for each business unit in the event of an emergency situation. The revised Policy would place responsibility on all Branches to ensure that emergency plans were put in place.

2. EMPLOYEES TRANSPORTING NEGOTIABLES

The Committee was advised that a document containing the names of the regional contacts, an action plan and the methodology used to perform the threat and risk assessments, would be finalized and provided to the Committee shortly.

The report detailing the findings of the threat and risk assessments conducted at all locations where negotiables were being transported should be completed by end of July 2003.

The Unions stressed that they did not agree with their members transporting negotiables and believed it should be a management responsibility.

3. WORK PLACE COMMITTEE TRAINING

The French Train-the-Trainer Session was held in Montreal from March 11 to 19, 2003. At the end of the Train-the-Trainer sessions there were 49 trainers available to roll out the Work Place Committee training throughout the Agency. Management agreed to provide the Committee with a list of the trainers by Region together with the name of the Regional Occupational Health and Safety Coordinators.

Some concerns were raised as to whether the outstanding training would be completed in view of recent budget cuts. Management would ensure that the Regions would be reminded of the importance of proceeding with this training. Management acknowledged its obligation to inform the members of the Work Place Committees of their responsibilities under the Canada Labour Code, Part II.

4. USE-OF-FORCE SKILLS TRAINING

The Committee was provided with details of the type of injuries sustained and the total number of hours lost for the training period February 1, 2002 to October 31, 2002. An electronic copy of the document containing the breakdown of injuries would be provided to Committee members.

The Committee was informed that the Use-of-Force Skills trainers’ job description had been revised to include the requirement that all instructors must hold a valid first aid certificate and deliver first aid assistance when necessary. Management would confirm whether the first aid requirement included CPR training.

The Committee was advised that a Transition Policy was already in existence that would address the accommodation of employees who were unable to meet the requirements of the use-of-force training. This issue would be discussed further at the next meeting, under the agenda item dealing with physical standards.

5. INCIDENT REPORTING

The Committee was informed that the Customs Branch and F&A Branch (Security Directorate) are working together to develop one covering memorandum to be used when distributing the two incident reporting forms. Within the next few weeks the Committee would be provided with an electronic copy of the revised Customs and Security incident reporting forms, the draft memorandum to Regional Directors explaining the use of the new forms, and the guidelines for completing the forms. Following review by the Committee, the entire package would be distributed electronically to the field. The Committee was also advised that Chapter 15 of the Finance and Administration Manual had been updated to include the procedures for completing the new Security reporting form.

The new forms would be accessible for printing through InfoZone and then be completed by the Supervisor. The local Work Place Committee would receive a copy of these forms (all personal/confidential information having been removed) for signature, indicating that they had been made aware of the incident. A copy of the form would then be forwarded to Headquarters for analysis and reporting to the National Health and Safety Policy Committee.

6. ACCESS TO CPIC

The Committee was advised that Management had planned to seek clarification on this issue at the pre-meeting scheduled with CEUDA on April 9, 2003. However, since CEUDA did not attend the meeting, further clarification will need to be obtained regarding the Union’s request that Customs Inspectors at primary inspection lines (PIL) be given access to CPIC. Following clarification, Management would review the information to determine whether a case could be made for CPIC access at PILs.

7. JOB HAZARD ANALYSIS

The Committee was advised that the Unions were not yet prepared to provide their comments on the Draft Final Report. A general discussion took place on the various phases of the job hazard analysis, which had resulted in the recommendations presented by the consultant at the Ad Hoc meeting on March 14, 2003. It was noted that on April 9, 2003 a copy of the consultant’s earlier working copy of the Draft Final Report, and a document summarizing the differences between the two documents, had been provided to Committee members. Management reiterated that it should have shared the working document with the Unions. The Unions agreed to review the document summarizing the differences between the Working Document # 1 and the Final Draft Report, and get back to Management if they had any concerns.

The Committee agreed that the consultant would now be asked to finalize the Job Hazard Analysis Report for Customs Inspectors and Superintendents. The Unions would then meet and go through the Final Report in detail and provide their comments. Following this, the Committee would meet as a whole to discuss the consultant’s findings and consult on an action plan for implementation of the various recommendations contained in the Final Report.

The Unions asked for clarification regarding what “evaluations” were being referred to in the letter to the Commissioner of the R.C.M.P. They wanted to know if these evaluations were provided to the consultant, and if so, requested a copy of these reports. Management would confirm whether any written reports exist.

The Committee was informed that the implementation of the recommendations would be a long process, and that Management was anxious to proceed. Management would be developing a strategy for implementing the recommendations of the JHA, and would welcome the Unions’ comments.

In the interim, Management will provide a summary of the Job Hazard Analysis to all Customs Inspectors and Superintendents.

8. JOB HAZARD ANALYSIS FOR NON-UNIFORMED CUSTOMS OFFICERS (REGIONAL INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS AND INVESTIGATORS)

The Committee was advised that in accordance with the Minister’s announcement made on February 5, 2003, Customs would proceed with a job hazard analysis for the Regional Intelligence Officers and Investigators jobs. A copy of the Statement of Work would be provided to Committee members for comments within the next two weeks. Following receipt of those comments, the standard contracting procedures would be followed to secure a consultant to carry out the analysis.

The Committee discussed the rationale for proceeding with this particular Customs job hazard analysis prior to undertaking one for field workers (Auditors and Collectors), and whether the two JHA’s could be combined.

The Committee agreed that a small working group would be pulled together to review the jobs being performed in the field with a view to prioritizing them in terms of level of risk. The various job hazard analyses would then be conducted based on the established level of risk associated with the overall job function. Management agreed to contact the two Assistant Commissioners responsible for field operations to request the names of participants for the working group. The Unions agreed to provide participants from their membership as well.

9. ATROPINE INJECTORS

The Committee was informed that since CEUDA did not attend the pre-meeting, Management was unable to discuss the Union’s request that Customs Inspectors should be provided with Atropine Injectors. To date, intelligence developed by the Contraband and Intelligence Services Directorate (CISD) indicated that the risk of a terrorist attack at a Customs facility was very low and the potential for CBRNE materials to be encountered at ports of entry remained remote. However, Management was prepared to consider any further information that CEUDA presented in support of their position.

It was also noted that, in a CBRNE situation, CCRA had not been identified as a “first responder”. As such, the application of the principle “Secure, Isolate and Notify”, which was taught during the CBRNE training, would be the most appropriate response.

10. ARMED AND DANGEROUS LOOKOUT INTERIM POLICY

This item was also on the agenda for the CEUDA pre-meeting, to allow Management to seek clarification regarding CEUDA’s opposition to Management’s proposal to rescind the interim policy, issued in March of 2001, on the handling of armed and dangerous lookouts. The interim policy had instructed Customs Inspectors to withdraw in all cases when dealing with individuals who were the subject of “Armed and Dangerous Lookouts”. Management’s proposal to rescind the interim policy was based on recommendations contained in the recent Job Hazard Analysis. By rescinding the interim policy Management would be reverting to the previous practice of allowing CIs to use their own judgment in dealing with “Armed and Dangerous Lookouts”, as outlined in the Customs Enforcement Manual. Management would support the CIs decision to withdraw, at any time, from dealing with “Armed and Dangerous Lookout” situations that they were not comfortable handling. A copy of the interim policy was provided to the Unions.

The Unions took the matter under advisement to allow an opportunity to speak to the CEUDA Committee Members, who were not present at the meeting. Management indicated that it would not rescind the interim policy, until this issue was discussed at the next NHSPC meeting.

11. CBRNE AWARENESS TRAINING

Further to a concern that had been raised at the February 6, 2003 meeting, the Committee was advised that Customs Inspectors had been provided with advance written notice of emergency procedures to follow in the event that they were faced with a CBRNE situation, prior to attending the CBRNE training course. This information had been communicated to the Committee Co-Chairs on February 18, 2003, including a copy of the desk drop to employees that had been provided to the CEUDA National President on February 4, 2003.

As of March 31, 2003, all Customs Inspectors and Superintendents currently on duty had received CBRNE training. A total of approximately 3900 employees had received the training, and it had also been shared with other government employees at some locations.
An issue was raised regarding the availability of reference material following the CBRNE training session. Management indicated that it would look into the possibility of providing a reference copy at each work location for employees to consult.

12. SEVERE ACUTE RESPIRATORY SYNDROME (SARS)

The Committee was provided with an overview of the action taken to deal with the current SARS situation, including:

  • Early and frequent communication with the national level of the unions;
  • The addition of a direct link on the CCRA’s National OHS Web Page to Health Canada’s web site which provided the most up-to-date information on the SARS situation, including Questions and Answers;
  • Daily conference calls with Health Canada and other affected departments and agencies to address current issues; and,
  • Ongoing communications between Headquarters and the Regions regarding how to deal with specific situations.

The Committee was informed that the current SARS situation would continue to be monitored and updates provided, as new information was made available.

It was agreed that when situations with national implications, such as SARS, occur in the future, Management would continue its practice of early consultation with the Unions at the national level.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Co-chairs thanked the Committee for their participation and noted that the next Committee meeting would take place on June 19, 2003.

Original signed by

D.G.J. Tucker
Management Co-chair
National Health and Safety Policy Committee

July 7, 2003

Date

Original signed by

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

July 4, 2003

Date