Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting

May 7, 2002

DATE: May 7, 2002 TIME: 2:00-5:15 p.m.

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

ATTENDEES:

Management Union
Dan Tucker (Co-Chair)
Stephen Rigby
Jocelyn Malo
Denis Lefebvre
Jean Laronde
Leon Page (Committee Secretary)
Jaime Robinson (Observer)
Betty Bannon (UTE) (Co-Chair)
Chris Aylward (UTE)
Serge Charette (CEUDA)
Real Lamarche (PIPSC)
Marilyn White (PIPSC)
Lina Ruel (UTE – Observer)
Jake Baizana (CEUDA – Observer)
Martin Ranger (PIPSC – Observer)
ABSENT:
Management Union
Claude Tremblay John King (CEUDA)
GUESTS:
Ted Leindecker (HRDC-Labour)
Michel Labrecque (HRDC – Labour)
Rod Quiney (Assessment and Collections)
Susan Der (Training and Learning)

OPENING REMARKS

The Management Co-chair opened the meeting by welcoming everyone in attendance and acknowledged that it was the North American Occupational Safety and Health Week. He then presented all Committee members and observers with a small token in recognition of this week. He mentioned that progress had been made on several agenda items and that he was looking forward to a productive meeting.

The Union Co-chair mentioned that the Rules of Procedure were useful in helping the Committee to get back on track and to have a more productive meeting. She also mentioned the pre-meeting process that had been put in place so that Customs Management and CEUDA could meet to have a fuller discussion of the agenda items before the Policy Committee meeting. CEUDA and Management acknowledged that the pre-meeting had been very productive and that they planned on reporting the results during this meeting.

1. JOB HAZARD ANALYSIS

The Committee was informed that the Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) was progressing on schedule. The contractor had been selected and was proceeding with Phase I, which was to review all training manuals, procedures, job descriptions, etc. Using this information, the contractor will prepare an overview of its findings. Phase II will include site visits and observations. This will include a review of local contingency plans and of all tasks performed by Customs Inspectors (CIs) at each identified location. It will also include interviews with Management, Work Place Committees and CIs. In Phase III, the contractor will compare the results of the site visits with the procedures and training already established, and the protective equipment supplied, and will identify areas that are lacking in protective measures/equipment. The contractor will provide a list of possible options to mitigate these concerns. The Committee will receive an update on the progress of the JHA at the July Meeting. The final report will be ready in August 2002. The HRDC – Labour Compliance Manager indicated that he was satisfied to date with the way the Committee was dealing with the JHA.

The Union reminded Management of their desire to proceed with a JHA for Field workers, once the JHA for Customs Inspectors was completed. Management acknowledged this request and stated that, as mentioned previously, it would assess that request after the JHA for Customs Inspectors was completed.

2. SUMMARY OF INCIDENTS/ACTIONS - POST SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

During the discussions regarding the post-September 11th incident report, it was noted that the report did not identify whether the local Work Place Committee or the Unions were involved in those incidents. Management will confirm if the local Work Place Committee and the local Union members were involved in these situations.

Three communiqués were prepared and will be shared with the Committee for comments, prior to distribution:

  • Letter to other government departments on ensuring security/emergency procedures are shared;
  • Memo to Regional Directors of Finance and Administration Branch reminding them of the procedures in place for dealing with emergencies and of the need to involve the local Work Place Committee; and
  • Memo to employees recognizing their efforts following September 11th.

The final report from Internal Audit regarding CCRA’s response following September 11th should be available soon. This final report will be shared with the Committee.

3. EMPLOYEE IDENTIFICATION (I.D. BADGES)

The difference between the I.D. badge and the authorization card was discussed, as well as the privacy of employees (i.e. their phone number or address) and the potential harassment outside the workplace. The Union reiterated their request for putting the name of the employee on the back of the card for those who deal with the public. Management indicated that it would monitor the situation and would reassess its position of dealing with this on a case-by-case basis if it saw a pattern developing. Management also indicated that it considers this issue to be completed.

4. EMPLOYEES TRANSPORTING NEGOTIABLES

The Committee discussed the distribution of a memo directing who should be transporting negotiables. It was agreed that an assessment would be undertaken for each location where negotiables were being transported, to identify ways to further reduce potential risks. This report will be shared with the Committee once it is available.

5. WORK PLACE COMMITTEE TRAINING

A representative from the Training and Learning Directorate provided a progress report on the updating of the work place committee training course. The revised draft course should be ready by the end of June and be piloted in the summer, with full implementation by early fall. It was agreed that members of the National Policy Committee would be welcome to participate in the pilot, if they so chose. In the interim, the Regions had been asked to identify the number of committee members that required training, and their current proposed training plans. The Regions were reminded that they should continue using the existing course with the current trainers, as appropriate.

A Statement of Qualifications and the Request for A Proposal was being developed to identify trainers for the delivery of the revised course. This will be shared with the committee once available. As well, an ad hoc meeting will take place to discuss the possibility of engaging some of the existing trainers to deliver the course.

6. USE-OF-FORCE - OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH TRAINING

The Committee was informed that consultations on refresher training policies and best practices of other organizations were underway. Once those consultations were completed, the results would be shared with the Committee representatives.

The Committee was provided with a report on the Use-of-Force injuries that had occurred during the training courses and was informed that 900 Customs Inspectors have completed this course. The number of employees trained during the period covered by the report will be provided, as requested at the pre-meeting. Of those injuries, most were minor injuries such as bruises, sprains, and pulled muscles. There were some Worker’s Compensation claims, which had been reported and will be monitored. The nature and number of injuries do not point to any particular flaw with the course. It was noted that the CCRA injury statistics were comparable to those resulting from the RCMP officer training. For employees to fully understand how to perform their duties, they need this level of training. This issue was also being discussed at the Officer Powers Committee. A bona fide occupational requirement (BFOR) has not yet been developed for Customs Inspectors. Management acknowledged the Union 's request.

7. VOLUNTARY COMMUNICABLE DISEASE INOCULATION PROGRAM

The Committee generally agreed with the wording of the memorandum, except for a potential Union concern regarding the “cost-neutral” clause, which they feel may be in contravention of the AV Collective Agreement. An ad hoc meeting will be held to discuss this issue. The draft memorandum and accompanying package will not be distributed until the cost issue is resolved.

8. ENVIRONMENTAL SENSITIVITIES: CHEMICALS AND PERFUMES IN THE WORKPLACE

Representatives from Management and Union were identified to participate on this working group. They will develop proposed Terms of Reference and an action plan for presentation at the next Committee meeting.

9. CENTRAL DATABASE

The Committee was provided with a proposed draft assault reporting form that had been developed to encompass three different forms, which were used by Customs Inspectors to report assaults. The information collected from the proposed form would be analysed regularly and shared with this Committee. Comments on the draft form were requested, from the Committee members, within one month. As well, the possibility of having one form to capture all pertinent information related to hazardous situations will be explored.

A summary of assaults was also distributed and discussed. The Committee will be provided with an annual report on the number of assaults and the corrective actions proposed or taken. For the first year, Management will provide the Committee with a six-month report at the November 2002 meeting.

A memorandum will be sent to all employees to identify what forms were to be used to report different hazardous situations, such as accidents or incidents. The Co-chairs will jointly sign this memorandum, once it is prepared.

10. DEALING WITH THREATENING SITUATIONS

The Committee accepted the draft memorandum, which will be distributed to employees.

11. DETAX

The Committee was informed that the Commissioner had asked Rod Quiney to head a high level group to oversee what was happening with the tax protestor community, to look at what can be done to raise awareness about this issue, and to take appropriate action when warranted. A website had been created to indicate what CCRA was doing, such as amending Section 241 of the Income Tax Act and updating the policy on Abuse, Threats, Stalking and Assaults Against Employees. Management was continually monitoring for situations and will take immediate action regarding these situations.

Discussions ensued regarding CCRA’s long-term plans for dealing with Detax groups, tax protestors and those who take, or threaten, action against CCRA employees because they do not approve of the government. The Union cited disturbing comments that appear on a specific Detax website. Management indicated that it consults with Legal Services in all such situations to fully understand if it has a case to pursue these individuals, or in the case of a website, the Internet Service Provider. In situations that had gone to court and CCRA had won, Management ensured that this information was made public to create awareness regarding how CCRA deals with tax protestors and their unfounded claims. The Union stated that more needed to be done, regarding long-term plans. Management indicated that it would continue to ensure the safety and security of its employees. Any complaints put forward by employees who fear these individuals will be followed up.

Incident reports related to tax protestors will be included in the assault report for the November 2002 meeting.

12. EVACUATION POLICY

The Committee was provided with a draft copy of the Evacuation Policy and asked to provide comments within one month. An electronic version will be sent to the Unions so that they can consult with their counterparts. As well, the draft policy will be sent to the field for comments.

13. ASBESTOS-RELATED RUMMAGE PROCEDURES

Final approval has been obtained from Health Canada regarding the Respiratory Protection Program component of the Asbestos-Related Rummage Procedures, which will be provided as discussed at the pre-meeting. On May 31, 2002, the procedures should be on the Intranet with implementation of the procedures occurring by the end of summer. Management was in the process of selecting the training method and obtaining equipment to implement the training. Training should be rolled-out by the end of summer 2002.

14. DESIGNATED SAFE WEAPONS AREA

As per a commitment at the last meeting, the Committee was provided with a copy of the firearm examination procedures that were reissued in November 2001. In addition, every port has been asked to designate the safest place within the location for examining firearms. As well, one hundred bullet traps have been purchased and sent to the regions for installation. The results of the JHA will help determine if further steps are required.

15. TIPS FOR THE USE OF LAPTOPS

A copy of the updated draft document was provided to the Committee. Comments were requested within two months. An electronic bilingual version will be provided to the Committee.

16. WORKPLACE FITNESS PROGRAM

Management informed the Committee that it was in receipt of the Unions’ comments and would be providing a response shortly. Before finalizing its reply, Management was obtaining a legal opinion on the issue of employees supplying their own equipment for a fitness room.

17. X-RAY EQUIPMENT TRAINING

The Committee agreed that employees should be properly trained before using X-ray equipment. As well, it was noted that this training would also be incorporated into the Customs Inspectors Recruitment Training Program (CIRTP). A memorandum will be sent to the regions regarding the importance of ensuring that employees are properly trained before using X-ray equipment. As well, the possibility of issuing dosimeters to employees operating X-ray equipment will be considered.

It was mentioned that local Work Place Committees should be inspecting the maintenance records of any X-ray equipment within their work place and should have access to reports on equipment testing. A memorandum will be sent to Work Place Committees reminding them of their obligation to monitor records.

18. CANADA APPEALS OFFICE ON OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

The Committee was provided with a copy of a folder on the Canada Appeals Office on Occupational Health and Safety and it was agreed that it would be suggested that the Committee should distribute this information to the local Work Place Committees. This information will be distributed to local Work Place Committees.

OTHER BUSINESS

PEARSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (PIA) REFERRAL

It was agreed that the issue identified by the referral was being dealt with through another forum (an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance), in consultation with the local work place committee. Therefore, the Committee will not address the referral. A letter will be sent from the Committee’s Secretary to the local Work Place Committee informing them of this decision.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Co-chairs thanked the participants for a very constructive meeting and recognized that progress was being made. The next meeting is scheduled for July 23, 2002.

Original signed by
D.G.J. Tucker
Management Co-chair
National Health and Safety Policy Committee
July 19, 2002

Original signed by
Betty Bannon
Union Co-chair
National Health and Safety Policy Committee
July 11, 2002