Report of the Atlantic Council Health & Safety Committee, October 2013

Present:              Jody LaPierre

                        Jim Hondas

                        Anne Fagan-Wood

                        Chris DiLiberatore

                        Brian Oldford, Chairperson

                        Nancy MacLean, Staff Advisor


1.  Up-date – Regulatory Review of NL Workplace Compensation Act

The Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador are still working to complete the legislative/regulatory review of the Compensation Act.  Sister Nancy MacLean presented a submission on behalf of the Public Service Alliance of Canada on April 2, 2013 in St. John’s at the public meetings.  A copy of the submission was distributed to all Locals in Newfoundland and Labrador and the document has been posted on the website.  The Review Committee are still in the process of reviewing all the submissions, information gathered from the public meeting as to be able to make recommendations for legislative amendment.  It is anticipated that the process will be complete in early 2014.  We will continue to monitor and advise the membership all developments.


2.  Up-date – Government Employee’s Compensation Act (GECA) Review

As presented in the last report, the Government Employee’s Compensation Act (GECA) is currently under review.  The Union Stakeholders consisting of the PSAC, CUPW and PIPCS have jointly produced a submission document outlining a number of legislative amendments.  A meeting of the representatives of HRSDC’s Federal Workers’ Compensation Service (FWCS) was held on July 25, 2013.  A number of items were discussed including the current provincial reviews.  A follow-up meeting scheduled for September was postponed.  We will continue to provide up-dates as they are received.


The Atlantic Council Health & Safety Committee is recommending that all Locals and Workplace Health & Safety Committees continue to communicate and inform grassroots members on the progress of the review and that they keep it as a standing agenda item on their workplace committee meetings. 





3.  Up-Date – Advance Duty to Accommodate Training (Atlantic Region)

This was a recommendation from the Atlantic Council Health & Safety Committee that this training be delivered or made available in all Atlantic Regions.  The training was delivered in Nova Scotia on June 25 – 16, in NL on September 28 – 29 and it will be delivered in NB for members from NB and PE on November 30 – December 1, 2013.


4.  CCOHS Webpage

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has a fantastic website.  The website contains a lot very valuable Health & Safety resources and tools. Some of the resources include training on mental health, office temperate, and workplace committee education.  The Committee would like to encourage Locals to utilize the website for education and resource tools.  The website is


5.  Stress in the Workplace Training

The UTE Component has come up with several swag items to promote the Union and to deal with stress in the workplace.  The Atlantic Council Health & Safety Committee and the Education Committee has been promoting Mental Health Training.  This Committee will continue to push to have chronic stress covered as a compensable injury in all workers’ compensation legislation.  This Committee is also aware of the secondary issues associated with chronic workplace stress such as bullying and harassment in the workplace and other forms of mental illness(es).  The Committee is recommending that stress balls with the message, “Stressed: Your Union is There for You” be purchased and provided in the Health & Safety Conference kit bags.  The Health & Safety Committee is recommending to the Education Committee that the PSAC course on Mental Health in the Workplace continue to be offered as a weekend course. 


6.  WCB Training – NL

The PSAC was pleased to have hosted Workers Compensation Training delivered in Newfoundland on October 9 – 10, 2013.  There were 10 participants in the training.  This was a basic course for members working with Worker’s Compensation files for employees under Federal jurisdiction.  The course gave participants a basic understanding of Worker’s Compensation policies, appeal process and benefits as well as an overview of re-integration into the workplace.  The Health & Safety Committee would like to extend a heartfelt to Judy Vanta, NLFL Worker Advisor, for delivering the training. 


The Committee recommends that PSAC put forth a resolution to all the Federations of Labour conventions that Worker’s Compensation Training be delivered in all Atlantic Provinces and that the training also include a module on GECA.  It is further recommended that this training be delivered on an annual basis. 



7.  Atlantic Health & Safety Conference

The Atlantic Health & Safety Conference is scheduled for November 1 – 3, 2013 at the Dartmouth Holiday Inn, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  The deadline for registration was September 27 and all accepted delegates and observers have been notified.  There are currently a total of 80 participants accepted for the conference.  The agenda is finalized and will be posted on the Atlantic website. This is a bilingual conference.  The conference will begin with a presentation on Mental Health by the Canadian Mental Health Association.  All conference participants will participate in two 3-hour workshops:  Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace and Mental Health.  On Sunday, we are very pleased to have a presentation on the National Standard on Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace and will focus on how our Workplace Health & Safety Committees can adopt and utilize the Standard at the workplace level.  One of the highlights of the conference is Special Guest Speaker, Stephane Grenier who is a former member of the Canadian Military.  Having served over 29 years, he faced his own undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) upon his return from Rwanda.  He will account his personal journey to recovery and how he dealt with mental health issues.  This portion of the conference will be open to all PSAC members who are interested in attending and not just the conference attendees.  A poster has been distributed to the membership in the Halifax Regional Municipality.


8.  Convention Committee Report 2014

A copy of the last Health & Safety Committee Convention Report was distributed. The next Atlantic Health & Safety Committee Convention Committee Report will be due in early 2014.  Brother Oldford will complete a call-out to the Committee for in-put in January.  A draft report will be prepared and presented for review at the next Committee meeting. 


This report is respectfully submitted on behalf of the Committee




Brian Oldford

Council Director