On September 7th, 2022, a National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) was held in hybrid format. Our representatives Frédérick Lebeau, National Vice-President, James Bloomfield, President of the Prairie Region, and Charlie Arsenault-Jacques, CSN Union Advisor, attended the meeting. This was a shorter meeting than usual, but we discussed a few items of interest for our members.
Prison Needle Exchange Program (PNEP)
Following the last committee in June, the employer was to provide data to the committee to compare the PNEP and the Overdose Prevention Site models. Without surprise, no data as such was presented to the NHSPC in September. However, the employer stated again that further discussions would be held at the committee before any further roll out of the PNEP program. UCCO-SACC-CSN acknowledged that commitment and maintains the pressure to obtain accurate data about the OPS model.
Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Policy
The employer presented a draft version of the updated policy. UCCO-SACC-CSN will look closely at the proposed modifications and submit comments to make sure that, despite all legislative shortcomings, the policy can be useful for our members.
OHS Training for Managers
After the heated discussion at the last meeting regarding the abysmal OHS training for managers at most sites, we see some movement. The employer and three union representatives (including one from UCCO-SACC-CSN) will work to establish the content of a future joint OHS training. They will also look at different ways to deliver the training. Our goal is to make sure managers understand their obligations under the Canada Labour Code and the non-adversarial nature of the OHS committee, and can fully cooperate, aiming for the elimination of danger and the reduction of danger (in that order!).
Removal of Unresponsive Inmate From Top Bunk
The employer has been working with L&D on a video and a procedure on how to remove an unresponsive inmate from a top bunk. UCCO-SACC-CSN has been involved in discussions about the procedure, and also the memo to be sent. All members of the committee agreed that the procedure is to be discussed at the local level, since the infrastructure, design, etc. vary widely. There is no cookie-cutter procedure. The procedure is to be altered to tailor-fit the local infrastructure and reality.
UCCO-SACC-CSN reiterated that removing the bunk beds that are no longer used would be a better way to eliminate the danger in many situations. Indeed, it is more efficient – and in the spirit of the Code – to remove the bunk beds and therefore the danger than to create videos about the removal of an unresponsive inmate from a top bed.
The next NHSPC meeting is to take place early December. We anticipate more in-depth discussion about the PNEP/OPS models and roll out. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, contact your local OHS representative.