National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) Minutes

Health and Safety Committee
National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) Minutes
February 28, 2023
February 28, 2023  TIME: 1:00 p.m. 
Location:   Microsoft Teams Meeting  
Attendees: Employer Representatives Employee Representatives
Sonia Côté   
(Employer Co-Chair)   
Claude Corbin    
France LePage (for Harry Gill)   
Philippe Blanchette   
Deirdra Finn
Doug Gaetz (UTE)     
(Employee Co-Chair)    
Allaudin Alibhai (AFS)     
Alnashir Ravjiani (AFS)     
Mathieu Juneau (UTE)     
Anastasia Trofimoff (AFS)
Nandini Srikantiah   
Frank Davoudi   
Antonella Cucchi   
Gail Brownlee
Absent Harry Gill Brian Oldford (UTE)   
Jennifer MacPherson (UTE)
Secretary David Walsh  

This meeting was chaired by Mr. Doug Gaetz.     


The Employee Co-Chair welcomed attendees to the February 2023 meeting, and congratulated Ms. Sonia Coté on her appointment to the position of Assistant Commissioner and Chief Human Resources Officer of the Human Resources Branch.

The Employer Co-Chair welcomed everyone and gave a high level overview of the December 15, 2022, announcement from the Commissioner’s Office that Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees would be required to return to worksites a minimum of forty percent of their time. In addition, Ms. Côté provided a high-level overview the Public Service Occupational Health Program’s (PSOHP) updated guidance on COVID-19 measures, and messaging on the following subjects that had been published since the last meeting:

  • Flu/COVID-19 communiqué
  • Slips, trips, falls
  • OHS mandatory training

In addition, direct communication was shared with health and safety committees, first aid coordinators and ergo coaches on the following topics:

  • HSC/HSR end-of-year responsibilities
  • Heart Month
  • RSI Awareness day


NHSPC Meeting Minutes – December 12, 2022

Members were asked to submit their comments by December 16, 2022. 

Action Item Report

The action item report from the December 2022 meeting was reviewed without comment or feedback from the members. There are five items that are ongoing at this time.   

Forward Agenda

The draft forward agenda for 2023 was reviewed and approved by the members.    

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Communication Plan

It was noted that a number of communications from the NHSPC Co-chairs would be published in the next few months including for the Day of Mourning, and Safety and Health Week.    


COVID-19 Pandemic and PSOHP Update

On February 10, 2023, Health Canada’s Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP) updated its COVID-19 occupational health guidance. PSOHP’s guidance has been streamlined and simplified. It outlined the multiple preventive practices that can be used in a layered approach to limit the spread of COVID-19, and other respiratory illnesses in the workplace. 

Throughout the pandemic, the CRA has used the PSOHP as its expert, or “qualified person” to establish appropriate measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in worksites. To date, we continue to follow the guidance provided in May 2022 that called for the mandatory wearing of masks, physical distancing and increased cleaning and disinfection. It also included measures such as staying home when sick, and reporting of COVID-19 cases in the workplace. The change is in the application of the measures.

Masks are no longer mandatory in CRA worksites. However, the CRA will continue to maintain a mask friendly environment. Physical distancing, while also a good practice if possible, is also not required. Employees are still required to not enter the workplace if they are sick. Good air quality, cleaning and disinfecting also continue to play an important role in a healthy workplace.  

As previously done with PSOHP guidance, the recommendation is being made that these updated measures be adopted.

There was fulsome discussion regarding the potential move to adopt these measures to address questions and concerns of the member representatives. It was confirmed that employees would use their own sick time leave and not the code previously used for COVID-19. In addition, if the recommendation was accepted, there was a question as to whether it require Board of Management approval before moving ahead. It was confirmed that the recommendation would need the approval of the Commissioner, and that Agency wide messaging would be communicated from that office. The recommendation was accepted by Committee with the understanding that if there were unexpected negative outcomes, the conversation can be revisited.

Several health and safety concerns were discussed regarding the increased number of employees returning to the workplace. There were questions on whether the use of the e-Concierge tool would provide an accurate account that each open worksite had sufficient first aid responders and BEET members present. It was confirmed that these reports are reviewed daily to ensure these areas are sufficiently resourced.

Secondly, it was confirmed that for the present time, enhanced cleaning of high tough points will continue, and cleaning supplies will be available for employees to clean their workspace at the start and end of their workday. There was conversation regarding whether employees may be asked to clean as it is not their “job task”. Affirmation was provided that while not compulsory, that employees are encouraged to follow the practise as part of maintaining their own health and of being respectful of the person using the workspace next.

Update from Journey to Hybrid (JTH)/  Rollout of On-site presence (ROOP)

An update from the JTH/ ROOP was given reaffirming the commitment to the health and safety of employees as they transition back into the workplace over the coming months. The different models of hybrid work were discussed in addition to how exemptions would be examined on a case by case basis or based on business requirements. The agency’s commitment to ensuring the proper Building Emergency and Evacuation Teams (BEET) functions was emphasized with increased encouragement for employees to participate in the various BEET roles. Additionally, with the resumption of fieldwork, the occupational health and safety protocols were updated in collaboration with the Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) group to ensure employee safety at non-CRA sites.  The “ROOP Frequently Asked Questions” page is being updated regularly to help employees and managers navigate the initiative.

Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention (WHVP)

Members were provided with an overview of the work done since the last meeting. The NHSPC Harassment and Violence prevention working group met in February 2023 to review and discuss the adjusted list of investigators available in the National Master Standing Offer, as well as the latest workplace assessment reviews. The working group will meet in March to conduct the last reviews for the 2022 year.

The draft material for the new WHVP training was shared with the working group in January 2023 for review and feedback.

Psychological Health and Safety

The Psychological Health and Safety Working Group met on February 6, 2023, to discuss the work on the new action plan based on the thirteen psychosocial factors for psychological health, safety and well-being. At the meeting, they reviewed the dashboard that was developed using the government-wide Public Service Employee Survey results to assess where the thirteen psychosocial factors were being met. This provides insight into potential future direction for this program.

The working group discussed updates to the mandatory Health and Safety Training for Employees that will encompass information related to psychological health and safety and the 13 psychosocial risk factors.

Finally, the working group discussed the possible psychological impacts of incoming calls to call centres that were threatening in nature. They agreed to continue looking at this to determine if additional measures are needed.


Members received the following written updates in advance of the meeting.    

Occupational Health and Safety Program Updates

Ergonomics Program 

Ergonomic coach recruitment and training has continued. One hundred and eighty-seven (187) volunteers responded to the call for new coaches, and 150 of them had registered for training.

In-person ergonomic assessments by the health services provider will be resuming shortly as they onboard new staff throughout the country. Virtual ergonomic assessments continue to be available.

Labour Program - Assurances of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) and Directions

Members were informed that since the last meeting in December 2022, there were no Labour Program visits at CRA locations.

OHS Training

TD1599-001 Health and Safety for Employees

The National OHS Program is working closely with the Leadership and Learning Directorate (LLD) to update the training materials as well as add new content covering the thirteen psychosocial factors. The next step is to develop the Learning Design Plan which is anticipated to be completed in March 2023. Once the design plan is established, the NHSPC will be engaged to work together on the update of the course.

TD1599-003 Health and Safety for Managers

In December 2022, the National OHS Program reached out to LLD to start the process of reviewing and updating the training materials. This review will also update the format to improve the overall learning experience and to match the look and feel of the other OHS training courses. LLD is currently determining a schedule for next steps.

TD1599-005 Field Employee Training

Publication challenges due to new accessibility requirements have resulted in a further delay of completion. It is expected that the course will be ready for users by the end of March 2023, with publishing on the Directory of Learning Products thereafter.

OHS Training Reports

Mandatory OHS Training Courses completion rates 1

 Course February 2023 November 2022
TD1599-001-Health and Safety for Employees 98% of employees are trained 3% increase from November 2022
TD1599-003-Health and Safety for Managers 86% of managers are trained 1% increase from November 2022
TD1599-006-COVID-19 Health and Safety at the Workplace 96% of employees are trained 1% increase from November 2022
WMT-101-Harassment and Violence Prevention 92% of employees are trained 2% increase from November 2022
TD1599-007- Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention 84% of employees are trained 7% increase from November 2022
  1. The Health and Safety training statistics were compiled from 1 source, druid certifications. Statistics were pulled on February 1, 2023.

There is ongoing discussion with the National OHS Program and LLD on how best to ensure mandatory training is completed in the required time period, and how to flag it when it is not done.

Health and Safety Committee (HSC) and Health and Safety Representative (HSR) Effectiveness

HSC and Health and Safety Representative (HSR) Scorecards 

Members were provided with the statistics on investigations and monthly meeting requirements for the whole of 2022.There was discussion surrounding the results as to how results could be improved. The National OHS Program and employee representatives both committed to working on this to ensure better scorecard results. In addition, a targeted message will be sent from the co-chairs regarding the importance of being compliant.

Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention

Members reviewed data related to the reported notices of occurrence.

Hazard Prevention Program

An overview of data reporting was provided. The Employer’s Annual Hazardous Occurrence Report (EAHOR) and Employer’s Annual Harassment and Violence Occurrence Report (EAHVOR) must be submitted to the Labour Program by March 1, 2023. They include information on the total number of hazardous occurrences in all CRA workplaces between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. The information from the two reports will be shared with the NHSPC in June.

For 2022, data from IRDMS is currently being analyzed and a more fulsome report will be shared at the next NHSPC meeting in June. It was noted that the top hazards continue to be slips, trips, and falls, and ergonomic related hazards.

Finance and Administration Branch (FAB) Updates

Airborne Asbestos Fibre Testing

Members were provided with a written update in respect to CRA sites known to contain asbestos containing materials (ACM) and the national airborne asbestos fibre testing  initiative. There are still 44 CRA-occupied sites known to contain ACM, so there are no changes required to the listing on InfoZone. The Western Region completed ACM testing in 14 out of 15 sites. The site in Brandon Manitoba is closed and will not be tested as it is being released. Results from this year’s testing cycle will be posted on InfoZone before the end of this fiscal year.   

With respect to the provisions and communications related to asbestos-containing materials, the CRA continues to work with Public Services and Procurement Canada, building owners, contractors, responsible building authorities, and local workplace health and safety committees to ensure that employees are engaged and aware with respect to issues related to asbestos in the workplace. This includes information on the most recent assessment/reassessment of asbestos containing materials conditions, as well as upcoming project activities that have the potential to disturb asbestos-containing materials.

COVID-19 CRA National Worksite Protocol

In light of the announcement December 15, 2022, regarding the new mandatory onsite presence, the Agency will assess the ongoing need for the National Worksite Protocol and Building Worksite Plan documents as currently written. The content of these documents will be updated to reflect new requirements.

Summary of regional reporting, as of January 23, 2023:

  • 94 sites in the portfolio:
    • 73 sites are occupied with approximately 6,384 employees on-site (based on e-Concierge reservations).
      • All of the occupied sites have implemented building worksite plans, in accordance with the National Worksite Protocol.
    • 21 sites are unoccupied (most of these buildings are in the process of being decommissioned and will not be reopened)

Security Branch (SB) Update

Quarterly Incident Report  

Members were provided with a written update on security incidents that have transpired over the last quarter. There was a discussion regarding the duration of threat indictors on accounts. Regional Security reviews threat indicators after three years to determine if they should be removed, or stay on the account. The number of new and expired indicators is not kept but Security Branch will look to see if this is information that can be collected.

A question was raised regarding which police force is called in case of an incident, for example in the area of the taxpayer in question, or of the CRA employee and worksite. It was confirmed that the CRA reaches out to the police force of the area where the threat was received. Police services then refer/contact the police services of the location where the caller is located.

There was a brief update on the numerous packages of concern delivered to the Surrey NVCC. When reviewing the incidents, there were several gaps identified where procedures were not strictly followed. These were identified and addressed. 


Ms. Côté thanked everyone for their work and their participation in the meeting.

Mr. Gaetz closed the meeting by thanking members for their work. He took the opportunity to thank David Walsh, Assistant Director, National OHS Program, for his contribution and collaborative approach, especially in the height of the pandemic over the last number of years, and wished him the best in his move to the Character Leadership program. He concluded by welcoming Jaime Robinson into the Assistant Director position saying that, having worked with her numerous times over the years, he was confident that the positive, collaborative work would continue.   

The next NHSPC meeting is scheduled for July 4, 2023.

The meeting adjourned at 3:37 p.m. EST.

Doug Gaetz's signature
Sonia Côté   
Employer Co-Chair    
National Health and Safety Policy Committee
  Doug Gaetz   
Employee Co-Chair    
National Health and Safety Policy Committee
Date: July 20, 2023   Date: