Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee

May 26, 2016

DATE:                    May 26, 2016                                TIME: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

LOCATION:          8th Floor Boardroom, 395 Terminal Avenue, Room 8070

ATTENDEES:
Employer Representatives
Employee Representatives

Members

Claude Tremblay
Johanne Bernard
Robert Allen
Dana-Lynne Hills

Doug Mason
(Employee Co-Chair)         
Harry Walker (PIPSC)
Debbie Ferguson (UTE)
Shane O’Brien (UTE)
Mathieu Juneau (UTE)

Guest Jeremy Hebert  
Secretary Jaime Robinson  
Observers David Walsh
Farah Florestant
Simon Ferrand (PIPSC)
Absent Diane Lorenzato
(Employer Co-Chair)
Doug Gaetz (UTE)
Marc Brière (UTE)

OPENING REMARKS

Mr. Claude Tremblay, acting as the replacement for Ms. Diane Lorenzato, opened the meeting by welcoming Ms. Farah Florestant, Public Services and Procurement Canada National Capital Region Asset and Facility Manager for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as a first-time observer.

Mr. Tremblay also thanked Ms. Johanne Bernard for her contribution to the committee and wished her well in her new role as the Assistant Deputy Minister, Management and Chief Financial Officer Sector, Department of Justice.

Before passing the floor to Mr. Doug Mason to chair the meeting, Mr. Tremblay highlighted the Government of Canada’s announcement of its intent to move forward with a ban on the use of asbestos in Crown-owned buildings.

Mr. Mason noted that it is good to finally see the Federal Government taking action on asbestos. Mr. Mason requested that workplace violence prevention be added to the agenda as a standing item going forward. Mr. Mason also requested that items remain on the action item report until they are completed as the committee has an oversight role to ensure that issues are resolved.

1. Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) AND Directions

The National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) was provided with the following updates:

Eastern Quebec Tax Services Office
Following the update provided to the committee at the last meeting, indoor air quality (IAQ) testing took place on March 15 and 16, 2016. The results of the testing were shared with the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Health and Safety Officer (HSO) and management is currently awaiting confirmation that no other action is required. It was agreed that the results would also be shared with the committee after the meeting.

Paul Martin Building façade repair
On March 9, 2016, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) announced that Scarborough-based company Colonial Restoration was awarded the contract for façade repairs. Work is expected to be completed within 36 weeks. Local management, PSPC and the Finance and Administration Branch (FAB) have worked to develop a communications protocol to ensure that employees, the local Health and Safety Committee, (HSC) and local management are informed as the project progresses. As a follow up to the AVC received on September 23, 2015, management provided the ESDC HSO with a copy of the local hazard assessment on April 22, 2016. The employee representatives asked for confirmation of the move-in date for 441 University Avenue and also requested that asbestos be removed from the site prior to that move. Management took both requests under advisement.

875 Heron Road
Following the March 3, 2016, NHSPC meeting, the ESDC HSO provided the CRA with a copy of the complaint which lead to an inspection of records for the facility located at 875 Heron Road. A copy of the complaint was shared with the NHSPC on March 23, 2016. The CRA was informed by the ESDC HSO that a second complaint had been received and was subsequently rejected.

2. ASBESTOS

The committee was advised that the 2015 CRA listing of buildings where asbestos containing materials (ACM) are known to be present will be posted on InfoZone in the near future and that the 2016 update from PSPC is expected to be received in July 2016.  

Since the last update in March 2016, the NHSPC was informed that the listing was updated to show that the CRA has moved out of 10 sites, 3 of which contained ACM. It was also confirmed that the CRA had moved into 1 site (471 Queensway, Kelowna, BC) which contains ACM. For this site, during the fit-up, an abatement project was completed and all related information, including airborne asbestos fibre test results, was shared with the local health and safety committee (HSC).

Since the last update, there was also a change in status for two sites. The facility located at 201 Weston in Winnipeg was changed from a “yes” to a “no” due to an initial error in compiling the information. The Billings Bridge Office Tower was changed to a “yes” due to an abatement project in the rooftop penthouse mechanical space. The committee was advised that PSPC and local management continue to engage all relevant stakeholders to ensure that they remain informed on the various stages of the project.

The committee was also advised that PSPC has recently indicated that the Place de Ville complex may contain ACM in some locations outside of CRA space. The landlord has indicated that there are no ACM in CRA-occupied space, but FAB continues to follow up and agreed to keep the local committee, management and the NHSPC informed as information becomes available.

As of April 1, 2016, PSPC has banned the use of ACM in PSPC-led new building construction and in any major renovations of buildings they own. This change applies to Crown-owned buildings, and not buildings or space leased by PSPC.  PSPC is reviewing their related policies and practices around lease management to identify any potential enhancements to their support of client departments occupying PSPC leased space.

The NHSPC was also informed that the PSPC ACM center of expertise will be coordinating the testing for airborne asbestos fibres in CRA sites known to contain ACM. Local management and HSCs will be engaged and participate throughout the process. It is expected that testing will be completed in the fall of 2016 and progress reports will be provided as part of the quarterly update to the NHSPC.

PSPC has also issued direction to their regional operations to ensure that at CRA sites with ACMs, the most recent ACM re-assessments and project activity lists are shared with local CRA management, who will in turn share this information with the local HSC for tabling and discussion. FAB will monitor this to ensure completion at all sites, and will include updates on progress in future quarterly updates to the NHSPC.

Finally, the committee was advised that work continues on the Asbestos Communication Guidelines and related procedures. Drafts were shared with Human Resources Branch (HRB) and Unions on April 29, 2016. Feedback is currently being reviewed and the draft procedures are being updated where appropriate. It is anticipated that these procedures will be completed in the fall.

Mr. Walker asked about asbestos at Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) locations where CRA employees report to work and management replied that they would look into it.

3. CANADA REVENUE AGENCY OHS PROGRAM

Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) Working Group
The Physical Work Environment Issue Resolution Procedure was approved by the Finance and Administration Branch on February 25, 2016. The revised Use and Occupancy of Real Property Directive was shared with the employee representatives and is currently moving through translation and final consultations prior to approval.

Regarding the issue of voice damage/acoustic shock, following research into the subject by the National Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Section, potentially impacted branches were consulted on May 3, 2016, and the feedback is currently being reviewed.

Workplace Violence Prevention
The workplace violence prevention working group met on April 12 and May 25, 2016. At those meetings, members reviewed the competent person skill set, training and report. Members also took the opportunity to review the draft workplace violence form. Following the May 25, 2016 meeting, members were also provided with a revised draft of the procedures for their feedback.

The committee was advised that Treasury Board Secretariat has not confirmed the release date of the pending Interpretation, Policies and Guidance document being developed by Employment and Social Development Canada.

The employee representatives reiterated their desire to have the role of observer and/or representative included in the process and confirmed that they would not be providing feedback on the procedures until that time. Following discussion by members, it was agreed that the issue should be tabled for further consideration.

Workplace Violence Prevention Re-Training
On April 29, 2016, a message was sent to the Agency Management Committee (AMC) advising them of the requirement to re-train employees on the Workplace Violence Prevention course. Following the launch of the message, the National OHS Section received feedback that the new completion date is not being reflected in the employee’s training history in ESS. However, it has been confirmed that the new certification date is automatically captured and is reflected when reports are generated.

The Learning and Development Directorate has updated KnowHow, the Directory of Learning Products, and ESS with this information so that employees are aware.

The National OHS Section has also received the list of employees requiring re‑training which is available to be shared by office.

The NHSPC will be provided with an update on completion status at the next meeting in September 2016.

Psychological Standard
A draft of the respectful workplace and well-being strategy was shared with the national union representatives for feedback on April 28, 2016. Working group members met on May 25, 2016, and were provided with an update on the draft strategy feedback and discussion. Members were also advised that the draft strategy will be presented to the Human Resources Committee (HRC) and the AMC in June 2016.

The committee was also advised that on April 18, 2016, the Commissioner announced the appointment of Ms. Maureen Phelan, Assistant Commissioner of the Pacific Region, as the new Agency-level champion for Respectful Workplace and Well-being.

North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week
NAOSH Week took place the week of May 1 to 7, 2016. Messages targeting all employees, and HSC members were shared and can be seen on the NAOSH Week portion of the OHS website. This year’s communications highlighted the release of the new standard operating procedures and safe work procedures and also thanked committee members for their contributions.

OHS Monitoring
An overview of the OHS monitoring process was shared with the HRC on March 15, 2016, and was subsequently approved by the AMC on March 23, 2016. On May 10, 2016, a communication was shared with the AMC officially advising them of the start of the monitoring process and the locations to be visited during 2016-2017. A copy of the communication as well as an overview of the monitoring process was shared with the employee representatives on May 10, 2016.

Site visits are scheduled to begin in June 2016 with all sites to be visited over a two year cycle. OHS Officers will be providing local senior management with results of their review. An annual roll-up of results will be shared with the Agency Management Committee and the Board of Management as well as the NHSPC.

Other Items
It was confirmed that the small appliances information bulletin had been posted and it was agreed that a copy would be shared with the employee representatives. It was also agreed that an adhoc discussion regarding the Sudbury business case for removing employee names from taxpayer letters for certain programs would take place with Mr. Gaetz prior to the next NHSPC meeting in September 2016.

4. workplace health and safety committee effectiveness

Workplace Committee Training Initiative
The learning material has been updated following the pilot for the in-class portion of the Health and Safety Training for Committee Members. The updated documents were shared with the employee representatives for feedback throughout March and April 2016. Once feedback has been incorporated, the course material will be sent to translation, final technical review, and then launched.

Health and Safety Committee Minutes Template
The updated minutes template was posted to InfoZone and now includes “Asbestos” as a standing agenda item. It has also been revised to align with the new standard operating procedures and regulatory changes. The changes were highlighted in the spring newsletter.

Year-End Scorecard Results
The year-end scorecard results for 2015 have been finalized and were shared with committee members on April 28, 2016. 100% of committees have held the nine meetings required annually and 95% of committees have performed their monthly inspections. The inspection completion rate has increased from 73% in 2012, when the scorecard was first introduced.

At the regional level, Pacific and Quebec achieved 100% completion, while Atlantic, Ontario, and Prairie were over 90%. Headquarters had a completion rate of 88%. Health and safety representatives working in CBSA locations were not included in this year-end report, but will be contained in the mid and year-end reports in 2016.

It was confirmed that in the case of an umbrella committee, both locations are required to complete mandatory inspections. It was recommended that committees be advised to schedule inspections early in the month and to designate alternates in the event of absences.

Mandatory Training
Given the success of the scorecard process, the National OHS Section is looking at options to incorporate reporting on mandatory training going forward. It was agreed that the committee would be consulted on the proposed approach. It was confirmed that the NHSPC will also continue to receive regular updates.

Newsletter
The spring edition of the newsletter provided information on overcoming an impasse in a meeting, investigating slips, trips, and falls, and updates on the asbestos inventory. Also included were upcoming changes to the OHS reports tool, updated minutes template, and the NAOSH week reminder. The next newsletter is scheduled for July 2016.

5. FIRE AND EMERGENCY DRILLS

The Security and Internal Affairs Directorate (SIAD) monitors CRA’s Emergency Response and Fire Safety (ERFS) compliance against legislative and policy requirements. Requirements include one full scale evacuation drill across all buildings (i.e. the annual fire drill) and three additional drills (partial drills involving groups of adjoining floors, tabletop or other exercises) for high-rise buildings.

The CRA is the major tenant in 21 high-rise and 68 low rise buildings, for a total of 89 buildings for which the Agency is responsible for ERFS activities. Of these buildings, 100% of CRA buildings have an approved emergency response and fire safety plan and 98% have completed their annual full scale fire drill.

Of the two buildings that were non-compliant, one building within the Prairie region (9700 Jasper Avenue) did not complete their planned annual fire drill because of ongoing testing of the fire alarm system by the property manager. Throughout the year, building occupants had experienced six false fire alarms that required either a full-scale or a partial evacuation.

The other building, within the Ontario region (1475 John Counter Boulevard), did not yet complete their annual fire drill as they moved into this new location in December 2015. As a newly occupied building, the annual fire drill will need to be conducted before December 13, 2016, as per the Kingston Fire Department.

In addition, of the 21 high-rise buildings, one building did not complete all three additional partial drills. At 150 Slater Street in Ottawa, the CRA has 18 employees and is the only federal tenant sub leasing space from Export Development Canada (EDC). EDC and the property manager have been leading the fire safety activities for the building this year and were compliant with provincial requirements. Compliance to federal requirements will begin in Q1 2016-2017 to be in line with the CRA’s emergency drill requirements.

The implementation of the CRA Emergency Drill Requirements (EDR), previously called Enhanced Drill Requirements, was launched April 1, 2016. Targeted communications, along with planning documents and tools were sent to security and emergency management stakeholders to support them in meeting their requirements. SIAD, in collaboration with regional security organizations, remain responsible for the implementation, oversight, and reporting activities related to EDR, and will continue to report to the NHSPC on an annual basis.

Employee Threat and Violence Mitigation working group
The first meeting of the working group took place in January 2016. Following that meeting, a survey was distributed to members for input. The NHSPC will be provided with an update on the results and next steps at the next meeting in September 2016.

WRITTEN UPDATES

Statistics for Health and Safety Training
As of April 19, 2016, the percentage of employees requiring health and safety training remains at 3%, while the percentage of managers requiring training is 9% nationally.

The employee representatives acknowledged the various efforts being taken to ensure that all employees complete the required training.

Workplace Violence Prevention Training
At a national level, the number of employees and managers trained in workplace violence prevention continues to improve. Overall, 97% of employees and managers have been trained in this course.

Occupational Health and Safety Communication Plan
In accordance with the national OHS communication plan for 2015-2016, messaging related to the National Day of Mourning, National Occupational Health and Safety Week were issued between March 2016 and May 2016.

Quarterly Security Incident Reports
The committee was provided with the Quarterly Security Incident Report for January 2016 to March 2016. Following discussion of the report, management noted that they would be reviewing the various reporting categories and that it was possible that the format may be changed in the future.

CLOSING REMARKS

Both co-chairs thanked members for their contributions. Before closing the meeting, the employee representatives reiterated their request to have an abatement completed at 441 University Avenue in Windsor and also requested that management re-consider their request to have an observer role included in the draft Procedures in Response to Workplace Violence. It was confirmed that the next meeting will take place on September 15, 2016.

Diane Lorenzato
Employer Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

Doug Mason
Employee Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

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