Official Website for OPSEU Local 415

Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) COVID-19 Update

Dear Colleagues,

As Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) representatives, we have continued to participate on the COVID-19 Coordinating and Workplace Return Planning committees throughout the spring and summer. By way of clarification, the COVID-19 Coordinating Committee has members representing all areas of the college. On the other hand, the Workplace Return Planning Committee has fewer members, whose contributions are more specifically related to logistics, including a sub-committee for on-campus inspections and planning. 

The college has prioritized its initial focus and July pilot program for “stranded” students (Woodroffe Campus – Welding, Automotive, and some Health Services; Pembroke Campus – Forestry). We have participated in on-campus inspections and the rollout of the pilot with positive feedback from faculty. Now that two weeks have passed since the pilot start, there is a review of pilot program strategies in order to plan for the next phase of class offerings. These might include “winter teach outs” to start in August, but those have yet to be confirmed or approved.  

The inspections and planning for college-approved, on-campus, fall classes (with a September start) have also started, with plans for a safe return still based on physical distancing. There is no assumption that the use of masks replaces other health and safety protocols (like hand washing) and class sizes will be limited to a number that can accommodate the two-metre distance. Upon entering campus, the requirement is for everyone to wear a mask and the college will have masks to hand out, if needed. There are some exceptions to mask use and we have asked Human Resources to provide details on the best way for faculty to have these documented. A college policy is being drafted and should be available for the end of July.

The college COVID-19 Training, which must be completed by any employee returning to work on campus, can be accessed through this link. Documentation is essential for anything related to health and safety, so it is important that you keep a copy of the certificate of completion for your own records and submit a copy to your Chair before returning to work. While all of the information in the COVID-19 training is essential, some particularly noteworthy slides include: 

  • Are employees covered by WSIB for Covid-19 infections?
  • Work Refusals
  • Mental Health and Stress
  • Stay away if you are sick
  • Exposure outside of the Workplace
  • Exposure to Covid-19 in the Workplace
  • Accident/Injury/Illness Reporting
  • Accident/Injury/Illness Exposure Reporting

Please note that when notifying your Chair about any concerns or illness/injury we recommend that you do so in writing and keep copies of all communications. We also encourage you to fill out this OPSEU questionnaire if you believe or know that you have been exposed to COVID-19, in addition to reporting to the college.

It is important to note that program plans are only approved after inspections have been completed and Risk Management reviews the strategies that will be set in place. If you have any questions or concerns about health and safety or regarding information you are receiving within the department, please contact us at wymanl@algonquincollege.com or lamarcj1@algonquincollege.com. Also, messages sent through COMMS@locallines.org will be forwarded to us. We will take action to ensure the planning meets all health and safety concerns.

Stay safe,

Leslie Wyman & JP Lamarche
JOHSC Representatives (Woodroffe Campus)

Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace

As a member of the Algonquin College Taskforce for Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace, I wanted to invite you to register to attend the keynote address at this year’s Kaleidoscope conference on Wednesday May 15th from 9-10 am at our Woodroffe Campus (livestream available). Our speaker is Dr. Bill Howatt, Chief of Research, for The Conference Board of Canada who has over 25 years’ experience in mental health and addictions, and leadership. Dr. Howatt will be speaking on Mastering Mental Health Through Resiliency and Coping Skills.  

Please visit the Kaleidoscope website to learn more: https://www.algonquincollege.com/kaleidoscope/keynotes/#howatt

You can register to attend here: https://www.algonquincollege.com/kaleidoscope/registration/

I hope to see you there!

Landyn Blais, Steward

OPSEU Local 415

New updates from the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Faculty Reps

Did you know there is a new OHS Standard related to children on campus? 

A recommendation was sent from the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee to the college to establish the OHS Standard. The policy is not in reference to “bring your child to work day”, or other college sanctioned events, but is related to a situation where a student brings a child to sit in on the class. 

A Faculty member is NOT required to allow the child in the class. BUT if you do allow, then it is essential that you contact your Manager in the moment to request their agreement. If the Manager agrees, then according to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Manager is considered the “supervisor” in that situation. If the Manager does not agree then the Faculty member is considered the “supervisor” in that situation. NOTE that the definition of “supervisor” at the college and  “supervisor” in the Occupational Health and Safety Act are not the same. A person who has met the definition of a supervisor within the meaning of the OHSA assumes the legal responsibilities of a supervisor under the Act. It is strongly suggested that you get your Manager’s agreement in writing.” 

Did you know that personal vehicle use for work-related duties might cost you? 

As posted on the Risk Management site: “If you are using your personal vehicle for work related duties, your personal insurance policy would respond for accidents in involving injury or damage. In Ontario, insurance follows the vehicle regardless of the driver or legitimate activities of the vehicle. The Ontario insurance act requires any accident involving damage or injury to be reported to your insurance company within 7 days. It would be beneficial to consult with your insurer if you are using your vehicle for work purposes to ensure you meet the proper declaration requirements of your policy. Algonquin College holds additional liability insurance that may be applied if your personal limits have been exceeded. This policy does not cover physical damage or your vehicle.” 

Don’t want to use your own vehicle? Then speak to your Manager about the options for rentals or college vehicles or other modes of transportation. Is your Manager’s response that you have to use your own vehicle? Depending on if you agreed on a contract to use your own vehicle, then that could be a Labour Relations issue. Contact Human Resources for information.  

Questions or concerns about Health and Safety at Algonquin College? Contact a JOHSC rep or Risk Management  (x5357).

 

Judy Flieler (flielej@algonquincollege.com )& Leslie Wyman (wymanl@algonquincollege.com)

JOHSC Faculty Reps

Algonquin College