DATE: March 3, 2016 TIME: 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
LOCATION: 8th Floor Boardroom, 395 Terminal Avenue, Room 8070
Shane O’Brien (UTE)
Ms. Diane Lorenzato opened the meeting by welcoming Messrs. Shane O’Brien, Mathieu Juneau and Simon Ferrand as observers and introduced Mr. Jeremy Hebert as guest presenter. Mr. Doug Mason indicated that he was pleased that the issue of asbestos continues to be a topic of focus and that progress was being made on the related action items.
Action item report
Following a review of the action item report, it was agreed that the National Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Section would review the report with the Employee Co-Chair to ensure all items were captured accurately.
1. Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) AND Directions
Eastern Quebec Tax Services Office
The committee was informed that since the last National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) meeting, an AVC was received at the Eastern Quebec Tax Services Office. The AVC was issued in relation to a complaint filed by the Health and Safety Committee (HSC) regarding access to information related to internal air quality (IAQ) testing and/or maintenance schedules.
On January 21, 2016, the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Health and Safety Officer (HSO) issued the AVC which stated that the employer had failed to appoint a qualified person to carry out an investigation in response to air quality concerns and, regarding water infiltration below a window, did not ensure that a schedule was in place to monitor hazardous substances in the workplace. By January 26, the local HSC and the NHSPC were advised that management acknowledged the AVC in writing on that date.
On February 29, 2016, a reply was provided to the ESDC HSO confirming that IAQ testing would take place on March 15 and 16, 2016, with results expected the week of April 11, 2016. That same day, the HSO acknowledged receipt of the response and asked to be provided with the results of the testing once available. The NHSPC was provided with a copy of the response on March 4, 2016.
Paul Martin Building façade repair
The NHSPC was advised that on February 8, 2016, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) confirmed that bidders had been provided with an extension to provide additional information. On February 29, 2016, PSPC confirmed that the required information from bidders was due to be received by close of business March 2, 2016, and that it anticipated awarding the tender by March 4, 2016.
The NHSPC was advised that, as a result of the AVC in Windsor, a local hazard assessment document was prepared to address local unique hazards. Members agreed that the committee should review this issue to determine what role the NHSPC should play in the development of local hazard assessments.
875 Heron Road
The employee representative asked whether there is an ongoing review of the facility at 875 Heron Road. The NHSPC was advised that management was seeking clarification from ESDC, and that this committee would be provided with an update once this information was available.
The NHSPC was provided an update on actions being taken to ensure that employees are aware of the presence of asbestos in Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) occupied buildings. Going forward, the topic of asbestos would be added to the NHSPC forward agenda as a standing item. As part of that item, regular updates would be provided on asbestos management in buildings currently occupied by CRA, including any upcoming work or moves into buildings that may contain asbestos.
It was confirmed that the list of CRA occupied buildings containing asbestos will continue to be shared with the NHSPC and will be posted on InfoZone. The employee representatives requested that air quality testing be conducted at every location where asbestos is present in order to set a baseline. Management confirmed that testing for airborne asbestos fibres was being scheduled and that the list, which will be updated quarterly, will include the date testing was last completed in those locations. It was agreed that the NHSPC would be kept informed on the status of testing and would be advised once the listing was updated and posted. The employee representatives also requested that an annual report be shared with the NHSPC showing by floor, the exact location of asbestos within each building. Management acknowledged the request and confirmed that the report is currently at the building level.
Members were also provided with an update on changes made to asbestos related CRA information products. The Asbestos Information Sheet was revised to align with updated Health Canada guidelines and was posted to InfoZone on February 11, 2016. It was confirmed that the updated Asbestos Communication Guidelines are expected to be finalized by fall 2016.
The NHSPC was also advised that on annual basis, under the new Service Level Agreement (SLA) between CRA and PSPC for Real Property services, CRA will be provided with an update on the most recent assessment of the asbestos-containing materials (ACM) for CRA occupied sites. Upon receipt, a written report and an accompanying overview document will be provided to the local Health and Safety Committee (HSC). It is expected that the HSC will use the new minutes template to document that the information was received and reviewed and will share the updated information with employees. The National OHS Section will include the ability to record the date of this review in the next update to the electronic OHS Reports tool and will ensure that committees are informed by outlining this new process in the upcoming spring newsletter. The employee representatives requested that information be added to the HSC training so that committees understand the requirement to have a standing agenda item on asbestos during their meetings. Management agreed to look at potential options for further discussion.
The employee representatives voiced their concerns with the use of asbestos in CRA occupied facilities and emphasized the importance of ensuring local committees are engaged and are receiving information in a timely matter.They requested that CRA not enter any new lease agreements for facilities that contain asbestos and not introduce asbestos into currently occupied CRA locations.They also questioned the number of employees who have requested or received pulmonary testing for asbestos and asked that a registry be set up to track the number of employees exposed or potentially exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Management confirmed that they had taken note of the employee representative’s requests.
It was agreed that the National OHS Section will look at the current system including communications, notification, and training to ensure that all key stakeholders, including the NHSPC, are properly informed and aware of their responsibilities.
3. CANADA REVENUE AGENCY OHS PROGRAM
MEJHA Working Group
The Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) documentation, including the various standard operating procedures (SOP) and safe work procedures (SWP), were implemented on December 17, 2015, as part of the new Workplace Management policy suite.
On December 28, 2015, the MEJHA working group members were provided with a template launch message for use in their respective branches. A training plan has been established with the working group and it is expected that all impacted employees and managers will be trained by December 17, 2016.
The Loading Dock Areas SOP, as well as the Physical Work Environment Issue Resolution Procedure, have been finalized and are moving to the approval stage.
In response to a request from the employee representatives, members were advised that the Use and Occupancy of Real Property Directive is being revised to incorporate feedback and that a status update would be provided to the committee.
At the request of the employee representatives, it was agreed that the issue of voice damage/acoustic shock would be forwarded to the MEJHA working group to investigate possible health and safety impacts.
Workplace Violence Prevention
The Guide to Preventing Workplace Violence was finalized and posted on InfoZone on December 17, 2015.
At the March 2, 2016, working group meeting, members discussed the role of competent person including: required experience, training, and selection. The employee representatives reiterated that they would not support CRA procedures without the inclusion of an observer/support person. It was agreed that the working group would meet again for a full day session on April 12, 2016 pending the release of the Interpretation, Policies and Guidance document being developed by Employment and Social Development Canada.
Workplace Violence Prevention Re-Training
Following a request by the employee representatives at the December 3, 2015 NHSPC meeting, it was found that a large number of employees require re-training in workplace violence prevention. In order to address the requirement for retraining every three years, it was agreed that a communication would be sent asking managers to ensure employees complete the required course.
Members agreed that the Agency will continue to use the current CRA workplace violence prevention course until the CRA transitions to the Canada School of the Public Service (CSPS) training course. Upon completion, employees will be deemed to be trained for three years, even after migration to the CSPS.
At the March 2, 2016, working group meeting, a review of the sample audit tool, as well as the Task Force’s recommendations, was presented. It was confirmed that work is already underway on the majority of the recommendations. While various policy instruments and programs are in place, members discussed the importance of raising awareness in order to support a respectful work environment. Members also discussed indicators for measuring progress against the standard and agreed to review the issue further.
The Human Resources Branch will develop a respectful workplace and well-being strategy to be presented to senior management including the Human Resources Committee. It was also confirmed that a champion will be identified to oversee implementation. A draft of the strategy will be shared with the unions and brought to the working group at a future meeting.
The Agency will again be promoting Mental Health Awareness Week through a comprehensive communication plan.
Slips and Falls
In response to a request by the employee representatives at the December 2015 NHSPC meeting, members were updated on the review of data related to slips and falls for 2015. It was confirmed that the National OHS Section would begin work on prevention communication package with feedback from the employee representatives for launch in fall 2016.
A link to the Public Health Agency of Canada notice on the Zika Virus was added to the OHS webpage. The notice confirms that the overall risk to Canadians is very low and the risk to Canadians travelling to affected countries is also low.
Ms. Dana-Lynne Hills confirmed that the first meeting of the Employee Threat and Violence Mitigation Framework working group took place in January 2016. It was confirmed that working group members would be contacted regarding next steps pending the review of feedback from participants.
The small appliance information bulletin is being finalized and will be shared with the committee prior to release.
Following a discussion on Workplace 2.0 and concerns related to noise masking, it was confirmed that the system is monitored and can be adjusted as required.
The employee representatives raised the issue of the Sudbury business case for removing employee names from taxpayer letters for certain programs. Management responded that after reviewing the information, it was decided that a response would be provided to the local committee, as there was not enough detail to demonstrate a national issue requiring further review. In response, the employee representatives advocated that items referred to the NHSPC should remain under the jurisdiction of the committee for joint review. Management took note of the employee representatives concerns for consideration.
4. work place health and safety committee effectiveness
Work Place Committee Training Initiative
The updated online Health and Safety Training for Committee Members was launched on January 14, 2016, while the pilot for the in-class portion was held on January 27 and 28, 2016. The session, which received positive feedback, was co-facilitated by Mr. Jean-François Gagné from the National OHS Section, and Mr. Bruce Darling, Union of Taxation Employees representative.
New committee members and representatives are required to take the online course as soon as they take on their new role. Part two of the training program, which is the two day in-class session, should be completed after three to six months of committee or representative experience.
All untrained members must take the course by May 1, 2016, while currently trained HSC members and Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) interested in taking the online course may do so with the approval of their manager.
Health and Safety Committees and Representatives Standard Operating Procedure
The Health and Safety Committee/Representative Standard Operating Procedure was implemented as part of the Workplace Management policy suite launch on December 17, 2015.
Work Place Committee Newsletter
The winter newsletter was published on February 22, 2016, and provided an overview of the changes to the OHS policy structure. Other topics covered included the OHS annual report, Health and Safety Training for Committee Members, and the medical treatment or paramedic response process map. It also contained a summary of the recommendation form to be used for sharing health and safety concerns with management, as well as a reminder to contact the National Service Call Centre for building-related issues.
The next newsletter is scheduled for April 2016.
Work Place Committee Scorecard
It was confirmed that the scorecard had been added to the agenda for the May 26, 2016 meeting and that results would be circulated to committee members when finalized. Following discussion, it was also agreed that the National OHS Section would confirm the process used for gathering information for the year-end annual report.
5. OHS MONITORING
The committee was provided with an overview of the new OHS program monitoring which is scheduled to begin in Q1 of 2016-2017. Under the monitoring process, CRA occupied work places will be evaluated using a standardized process and template through field visits conducted by the regional Occupational Health and Safety Officers (OHSO). The primary purpose of the monitoring will be to verify how the OHS Program is being implemented and it was noted that it will be completed in addition to the work place inspections already conducted by the health and safety committees.
The monitoring process will be made up of three phases: pre-notification, inspection and reporting. Pre-notification will ensure that all relevant stakeholders are informed in advance of the field visits, while the inspection phase includes the field visit and inspection which will be carried out by the OHSO. Following the inspection, a report will be completed by the OHSO and preliminary results will be shared with local management before the OHSO leaves the location. The OHSO will also ensure that any immediate issues are addressed before leaving. A final inspection report, will outline all non-conformances, and will include a Notice of Compliance to be completed by the manager in charge of the area and returned to the OHSO. Management will also be expected to identify corrective measures and completion dates.
It was noted that reporting is scheduled to begin Q3 of 2016-2017. An overview of the monitoring process will be shared with the NHSPC.
6. ENHANCED DRILL REQUIREMENTS
Members were provided with an update on the revised Enhanced Drill Requirements (EDR) strategy following approval by the Agency Management Committee (AMC) in February 2016.
Under the revised strategy, all high rise buildings will conduct the required minimum of four drills per year, including one non-fire drill. Low rise buildings will conduct the minimum of one legislated full fire evacuation per year, with the addition of one non-fire drill. Local security and emergency stakeholders will have the flexibility to select non-fire drills from a list of exercise options (i.e. lockdown, shelter in place or silent evacuation). This approach will ensure compliance with legislative requirements and is consistent with current federal emergency response requirements and direction.
The revised EDR is scheduled to launch April 1, 2016. Targeted communications will be sent to security and emergency management stakeholders to inform them of the revised requirements moving forward. Finance and Administration Branch (FAB) will continue to monitor and report on drill requirements to both the NHSPC and AMC.
7. SEVERE WEATHER – OFFICE CLOSURE GUIDANCE
Members reviewed the final draft of the office closure tool which was developed following consultation with key stakeholders. The final version of the tool was distributed to all Responsible Building Authorities (RBA). FAB will also include the document in the toolkit being developed to support RBAs in their emergency management responsibilities.
In response to a question from the employee representatives, Ms. Hills agreed to look into whether a reference to this tool will be added to the RBA training course.
Statistics for Health and Safety Training
As of January 26, 2016, the number of untrained employees has remained constant since November 2015, and continues to represent 3% of employees nationally.
Atlantic, Pacific and Prairie regions had slight increases in the number of untrained employees, while Ontario had an increase of 149 untrained employees since the last report. Quebec region had an improvement in the number of untrained employees, while Headquarters decreased the number of untrained employees by 163.
As of January 26, 2016 the number of untrained managers has decreased nationally from 10% to 9%. All regions have had slight improvements in the number of untrained managers, while Headquarters saw a 3% reduction in the number of untrained managers.
Following discussion, it was agreed that the National OHS Section would review and confirm the accuracy of the data for the Legal Services Branch.
Work Place Violence Prevention Training
At a national level, the number of employees and managers trained in workplace violence prevention continues to improve and is currently at 96%.
Atlantic and Quebec regions had a reduction in the number of untrained employees and managers, while Headquarters reduced by 399 since November 2015. The Pacific and Prairie regions had small increases in the number of employees and managers untrained, while Ontario had an increase of 122.
Occupational Health and Safety Communication Plan
The committee was provided with an update on the national OHS communication plan for 2015-2016. OHS messaging related to heart month, environmental sensitivities, protective footwear, and repetitive strain awareness day were issued between December 2015 and March 2016. It was also confirmed that the communications calendar was shared with the regional directors of human resources.
The employee representatives thanked the committee for agreeing to place a priority on issuing the National Day of Mourning communications in a timely manner.
Quarterly Security Incident Reports
The committee was provided with the Quarterly Security Incident Report for October 2015 to December 2015. Ms. Hills confirmed that following the incident which occurred in April 2015 in the Pacific region, “protest” was added as a new reporting category.
Prior to closing the meeting, it was agreed that in the future, the agenda would be reviewed by the employee co-chairs to ensure adequate time for discussion. It was also agreed that future meetings would be extended by a half hour. Both co-chairs thanked members for their contributions.