Health and Safety Committee

Minutes of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee

April 6, 2017

DATE:                  April 6, 2017                                     TIME: 1:00 p.m.
LOCATION:         8th Floor Boardroom, 395 Terminal Avenue, Room 8070

ATTENDEES:

Employer Representatives

Employee Representatives

Members

Dan Couture
(Employer Co-Chair)
Maggie Trudel-Maggiore
Robert Allen
Dana-Lynne Hills

Doug Mason
(Employee Co-Chair)
Marc Brière (UTE)
Allaudin Alibhai (PIPSC)
Debbie Ferguson (UTE)
Shane O’Brien (UTE)
(Alternate for Doug Gaetz)

Guests

Jeremy Hebert
Myriam Pierre-Louis

 

Secretary

Jaime Robinson

 

Observers

Ann Marie Hume
Lauren Jolly

Mathieu Juneau (UTE)
Eric Langlais (PIPSC)

Absent

Janique Caron

Doug Gaetz (UTE)

OPENING REMARKS

Mr. Dan Couture opened by welcoming everyone to the first National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) meeting of the year and expressed hope that the committee could continue to work together to address the health and safety interests and concerns of employees. Mr. Couture welcomed Ms. Ann Marie Hume to her first meeting as an observer since being appointed as the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Human Resources Branch (HRB) in January 2017.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Doug Mason welcomed Mr. Eric Langlais as an observer from the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) support staff who has replaced Mr. Simon Ferrand. Mr. Mason also noted the decline in mandatory occupational health and safety training completion rates and recommended placing additional emphasis on improving the training numbers.

1. Action Item Report

Members reviewed the summary of deliverables and status updates since the last meeting. It was noted that combining the scorecards for emergency drill requirements and the health and safety committees (HSC) would not be possible due to opposing reporting periods. Ms. Dana-Lynne Hills confirmed and advised that the emergency drill requirements will be presented at the next NHSPC meeting in June.

Mr. Mason requested a copy of all the HSC newsletters produced to date in order to post them on the union website so they would remain available, as intranet rules now dictate that only the most recent version can be made available on InfoZone. Ms. Jaime Robinson advised that the National Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Section would look into making the newsletters available elsewhere, such as a Wiki or on GcConnex. Mr. Mason also asked whether information had been added to the HSC scorecard to monitor asbestos containing materials. Ms. Robinson confirmed that this feature is already live on the HSC reports.

Finally, Mr. Mason raised that there is the perception that the offline T4009 report is difficult to obtain, as it must be requested through the HR Service Centre. Ms. Robinson explained to the Committee that the form was taken offline to prevent the automatic notification to the manager and HSC to protect the confidentiality of parties in the case of workplace violence. It also ensures that an occupational health and safety officer is linked into the process to provide support. It was noted that the T4009 form is designed to report an injury in the workplace, including one resulting from workplace violence. An employee should notify a manager to report an incident of workplace violence so that the manager may first assess any threat or risk of harm to employees and then attempt to resolve the issue with the parties involved.

2.  Assurances of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) AND Directions

It was confirmed that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) had not received any AVCs or Directions since the last committee meeting on December 1, 2016.

Members were provided with an update on the Paul Martin Building in Windsor. The committee was informed that the façade work had been completed and the contractor had done the necessary touch-ups as a result of their work.

The employee representatives questioned if there were any updates on asbestos being removed from 441 University Avenue in Windsor. Management agreed to follow-up and report back to the committee.

3.  ASBESTOS

The committee was informed that the InfoZone listing continues to be kept up to date with the latest information from Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). CRA currently has 46 sites known to house asbestos containing materials (ACM), with three changes since the December 2016 meeting:

  • 100 Metcalfe St. in Ottawa was added. The building is being used as temporary swing space for the Minto Workplace 2.0 project.
  • 1783 Hamilton St. in Regina was removed. The building was released from CRA inventory on March 31, 2017.
  • 1955 Smith St. in Regina was added. A recent re-assessment identified ACM in some flooring tile and fiber cement board. The responsible building authority (RBA) and HSC have been advised, and the site had already been tested as part of the national testing initiative for airborne asbestos fibres.

The national testing initiative is coming to a close, with testing completed at all sites known to contain ACM. Results have been received at over 75% of the sites tested and have been well below the applicable limits. Results are being communicated at the local level to the RBA, HSC, and employees, and InfoZone will be updated to include the results.

Finally, with respect to provision and communication of ACM-related information, CRA will continue to work with PSPC to ensure the information is received and shared at the local level. This includes information on the most recent assessment/reassessment of ACM condition, as well as upcoming project activity that has the potential to disturb ACM.

As reported at the December 2016 meeting, the CRA Asbestos Communication Procedures were completed and communicated, and front-line Finance and Administration Branch (FAB) personnel in the regions are being trained via WebEx over the next two months. A communiqué was sent to the health and safety committees on January 6, 2017, advising them of the launch of the procedures.

4.  OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAM

The NHSPC was provided with updates on the following elements of the OHS Program:

Multiple Environment Job Hazard Analysis (MEJHA) Working Group

The National OHS Section continues to work with the Learning and Development Directorate (LDD) to provide employees with access to the videos from SafetyCare, which will be used to provide job-specific training. LDD is currently assessing the videos for accessibility and is reviewing the sample quizzes developed to accompany the videos. The National OHS Section is expected to receive a mock-up of the video and quiz in the spring 2017 for review.

The standard operating procedures (SOP), safe work procedures (SWP), and supporting documentation that were reviewed by the Working Group on November 15, 2016, have been revised and were sent to the members for review in March 2017. The new SWPs that were previously identified will be completed for the working group meeting in the fall 2017.

OHS Directive

As a result of direction received from the Board of Management, HRB has reviewed its suite of corporate policy instruments to ensure that all mandatory requirements are clearly articulated within the documents. As part of that review, the Directive on OHS was updated to reinforce SOPs and SWPs as mandatory components of the Agency’s OHS program and to strengthen their link to the directive.

In addition, based on direction from the Corporate Secretariat, the SOP template will be updated to align with the OHS Directive and standard CPI language and formatting will be removed. The updated SOPs will be shared with the MEJHA working group for review once these updates have been made.

Ergonomics Strategy

As discussed at the last meeting in December 2016, the National OHS Section is planning to roll out updates to the Ergonomics Strategy in the coming months. Changes include revisions to the Office Ergonomics SOP, with a renewed focus on prevention through the use of internal tools and resources. Managers will be directed to the appropriate resources to ensure that the services of the external ergonomics service provider are only used once a need has been substantiated and to align potential medical ergonomics issues with the Early Intervention and Return to Work Approach.

Feedback received from the employee representatives in February and March 2017 on the draft Office Ergonomics SOP and selection guide has been incorporated and work is underway to update online content, including InfoZone and KnowHow. Once approved, the final SOP and selection guide will be shared with the employee representatives.

Upon launching the updates to KnowHow and InfoZone, the National OHS Section will inform the HSCs, conduct webinars with the ergonomics coach community, and host lunch and learn sessions on ergonomics. A communiqué will also be sent to the Agency Management Committee announcing the updated document and website, which are anticipated for launch in May 2017.

OHS Monitoring

Further to the update provided at the October 6, 2016 meeting, all of the OHS program monitoring activities planned for the first year have been completed. The results of the OHS monitoring activities will be presented to the Board of Management and to the NHSPC in September 2017.

5. health and safety committee effectiveness

Year-End Scorecard Results

Members were provided with an update on the 2016 scorecard, which measures whether HSCs have held the required number of meetings for the calendar year and conducted an inspection each month. Overall, results for both categories continue to be positive in 2016.

HSCs in all regions have satisfied the requirement to meet nine times per year and while overall results for inspections are good, they do show a decline in the number of locations meeting the requirement for monthly inspections from last year.

Taking a closer look at the completion rates for monthly inspection, the Atlantic region is at 100%, Pacific is at 94%, while Prairie and Quebec are at 93% and 92% respectively. Ontario and Headquarters showed 84% and 67% completions, while 22% of health and safety representatives (HSR) met the requirement to hold monthly inspections.

The National OHS Section took a number of actions throughout the year in an effort to support committees and representatives and educate them on the importance of meeting their requirements, including:

  • launching the online portion of the Health and Safety Training for Committee Members in January 2016 and in-class portion in October 2016;
  • sending an information bulletin to the HSRs in June 2016 to inform them of their duties; and
  • conducting webinars and conference calls with HSRs, explaining the inspection process.

In the year ahead, several steps will be taken to ensure committees and representatives are well-supported and are meeting inspection requirements:

  • OHS officers will continue to monitor the activities of each HSC and HSR and will provide support to ensure legislative requirements are met, and specific areas of improvement are addressed.
  • OHS officers will work with HSCs and HSRs to ensure that they have established plans to provide coverage during peak holiday periods so that inspections and meetings can be held as required.
  • The National OHS Section will communicate directly with the Information Technology Branch (ITB) to ensure that HSRs in Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) locations fulfill their duties.

Health and Safety Committee Training

Progress is continuing on the delivery of in-class training for HSC members. Training sessions were held in Ottawa on January 24 and 25, St. John’s on February 28 and March 1, and Shawinigan on March 1 and 2, 2017.

Moving forward, in-class sessions will be held across the country in the spring and fall, with additional dates added as needed. Locations will vary to limit travel and sessions will be provided by an employee and employer trainer. The National OHS Section will be responsible for organizing the sessions, in conjunction with regional learning coordinators, and will continue to be responsible for all train-the-trainer sessions. A train-the-trainer session is also being planned this year in Ottawa.

Newsletter

The winter newsletter was published on February 6, 2017, and included articles on year-end annual reports, planning, quorum, slips, trips and falls, and mental health resources.

The spring edition is scheduled for release in April 2017 and will feature articles on the role of the HSC during workplace changes and service renewal, OHS reports spring cleanup, National Day of Mourning, and first aid/AED network maintenance.

Umbrella Committees

The NHSPC was consulted on requests to establish umbrella committees in the Pacific and Prairie regions. Under the proposed requests, EPCOR Tower in Edmonton would be under the umbrella of the Edmonton Tax Services Office’s HSC, while Business Renewal Division (BRD) Newton would fall under the umbrella of the Surrey Tax Centre. Both requests were forwarded to Employment and Social Development Canada and are pending approval. 

6. workplace Violence Prevention

Procedures in Response to Workplace Violence

Following the December 2016 NHSPC meeting, the National OHS Section reviewed and consolidated feedback from internal stakeholders and revised the procedures to include additional context and clarity. Key changes included:

  • refocusing of the introduction;
  • clarifying the proper process for addressing employee misconduct;
  • adding key definitions;
  • re-ordering and renaming of process steps to align more closely with legislation;
  • adding context to clarify the intended outcome of each step of the process; and
  • simplifying the consultation and documentation requirements.

On February 13, 2017, the working group met to discuss the results of the consultation process and review member’s feedback on the updated document. At that meeting, it was agreed that the National OHS Section would review the procedures based on members’ input and would consult its Legal Services on potential confidentiality issues with sharing the competent person report with the parties to an alleged incident.

Following the meeting, the procedures were revised and the final draft was shared with the working group members on April 5, 2017.

At the NHSPC meeting on April 6, 2017, the employee representatives objected to management moving forward with the approval process, given that the working group had not had a chance to review the updated procedures. It was agreed that the employee representatives would share a summary of their feedback for management’s review, and a working group meeting would be held. It was also agreed that the National OHS Section would prepare a document highlighting changes to the procedures in response to the employee representative’s feedback.

Other Items

The employee representatives expressed their overall concern with the consultative process on matters with a potential OHS impact. The role of the union in the Early Intervention and Return to Work process and the shift of focus from the psychological standard and occupational health and safety to overall well-being were highlighted as recent examples.

Following a discussion of these issues, members agreed to set aside the remaining agenda items and instead exchange ideas on how to move the NHSPC’s agenda forward in the most productive way. Members agreed to review the Terms of Reference to ensure the committee consults on all OHS-related matters under its purview and that expectations around items for consultation are understood by all.

7. WRITTEN UPDATES

The following written updates were provided to the committee, though not discussed at the meeting.

Statistics for Health and Safety Training

As of March 14, 2017, 3% of employees required OHS training. Small increases in the number of untrained employees were noted in all regions, with an overall increase of 1% nationally since the last report in November 2016.

The number of untrained managers in OHS as of March 14, 2017, increased from 11% to 14% for this report; whereas the number of untrained employees and managers in workplace violence prevention (WVP) has remained constant at 2% since September 2016.

WVP re-training statistics are now also included in the report, which detail the number of employees and managers who have not completed the WVP course within the last 3 years. As of March 14, 2017, 23% have not completed the course, which is an increase of 5% since the last report in January 2017.

Occupational Health and Safety Communication Plan

Members received the OHS communications plan for 2017-2018. Messaging released since the last update in December 2016 included the committee newsletter, as well as the heart month and repetitive strain injury awareness day news sliders.

Quarterly Security Incident Reports

The committee received the Quarterly Security Incident Report for October to December 2016.

8.  CLOSING REMARKS

Mr. Couture closed the meeting by thanking everyone for their participation. The next meeting will be held June 1, 2017.

Original signed by

Original signed by

Dan Couture
Employer Co-Chair
National Health and Safety
Policy Committee

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

Date

Date