Maintaining a healthy workplace environment

Measuring our impact and reporting on the associated statistics is only one aspect of our environmental program. As a socially responsible organization, we implement prevention strategies to minimize the environmental risks related to our activities while protecting the health and safety of our employees.

Environmental Management System

An electronic tool used to automate work systems and increase process efficiencies, our Environmental Management System (EMS), used actively by various groups in the Corporation, particularly Real Estate Solutions and the Transmission Division, targets compliance-based reporting and inspections, while managing environmental risks.

The functionality of the system was maintained in 2017-2018, while exploring ways by which we can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our overall program. A large component of this is related to the ability to report incidents on a mobile device, as well as offline access in remote locations for our Transmission employees. We anticipate the opportunity to update the system to provide this service in the next fiscal year.

Water and Indoor Air Quality

Providing potable water to Canadian citizens, including our employees, is the responsibility of the local city or municipality as per the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. CBC/Radio-Canada completes preventative water quality testing to verify that these standards are being met within our owned or leased facilities.

Indoor air quality tests are also completed at our sites to ensure compliance with legislative requirements. Some of the assessments conducted are part of a preventative maintenance schedule, while others are completed as concerns are raised by employees.

In 2017-2018, the Transmission Division completed one indoor air quality test at our Mount Seymour BC site. At the same time, water and air quality tests were conducted by our Real Estate Solutions in Toronto, Montreal, Thunder Bay and Sherbrooke. No significant non-compliance issues were identified.


Gases used primarily in solvents, pesticides, refrigerants, sealants and electrical coatings, halocarbons are known greenhouse gases offenders that have a significant impact on the environment. Halocarbons are currently used in the majority of Real Estate and Transmission-owned equipment, from HVAC systems to water coolers or refrigerators.

In response to changes in the Ozone Depleting Substances Regulations that comply with the Montreal Protocol, CBC/Radio-Canada has been working diligently to inventory all locations where R22 is used and identify an alternative. Specifically, our Transmission Division has developed an R22 transition plan, identifying sites for R22 conversion, removal and free-cooling. An exercise was completed at our Halifax Transmission site where one R22 unit was decommissioned and replaced with MO99. The intention of this pilot is to examine how the refrigerant will perform in the system. It is anticipated that the full implementation will begin in fiscal year 2018-2019. At the same time, our Real Estate Solutions team has implemented a five-year phase out plan with a gradual reduction in the use of R22 every year. One large unit was decommissioned in Fredericton in 2017-2018, along with several smaller units in various locations across the country.

One incident exceeding 100 kg was reported this past fiscal year at our Montreal site. The leak was reported on the seal of a valve. Repairs were made, and the unit was retested prior to being put into regular service. The release was reported to Environment and Climate Change Canada within the required reporting period.

Environmental Site Assessments

Preventative Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are conducted to determine risk levels (and restoration costs, as needed) associated with potential contamination on our properties.

In 2017-2018, four Phase II assessments were completed by Real Estate Solutions. The assessments in Calgary, Halifax and Windsor were related to the sale of our sites and, in Montreal, an archaeological site assessment was completed prior to the construction of our new Maison de Radio-Canada site. A Hazmat survey was also completed in Toronto and recommendations were implemented.

The Transmission Division completed several different assessments this past fiscal year. In Saskatoon AM-F, a Phase I ESA was completed along with emergency soil and water sampling and reporting. The results of the assessment revealed there was no contamination. A Phase I was also completed in Calgary Bowness AB. Hazmat surveys were done in Steveston AM BC, Revelstoke BC and Penetanguishene ON, as was an Environmental Effects Analysis following tower removals in Steveston AM BC. We continue to report and monitor our performance remediating Mont Logan QC for the third year in a row.


Asbestos-containing materials (ACM), such as pipe insulation, tiles and drywall, were commonly used in building construction prior to the 1980s. Due to the health and environmental risks associated with the presence of asbestos, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Asbestos Management Program (AMP) ensures there is a process in place to regularly evaluate Corporation-owned sites with known asbestos. These reassessments help ensure that asbestos-containing materials are in good condition and help identify areas requiring removal or remediation, thus ensuring proper management of the hazardous material.

Reassessments were completed in five Real Estate facilities and four Transmission sites in 2017-2018. Remediation was recommended in three of our sites, where minor work was required to repair drywall and elbow joints.

Our infrastructure strategy has been central to reducing the number of facilities with ACMs as we continue to reduce our property portfolio. Reassessment documentation and other key information was provided to prospective buyers as part of the conditions of sale. As part of the building removal at Prince Rupert BC, all asbestos was removed and properly disposed of.

Species at Risk

The vast majority of our Transmission Division infrastructure is found outside urban settings, in inaccessible and remote areas of the country. These locations have the potential to be home to different species, including ones that may be classified as “at risk” on provincial or federal lists. CBC/Radio-Canada takes our responsibilities seriously when it comes to dealing with this issue. We recognize that we are responsible for evaluating and analyzing the impact our activities have on local wildlife or other species at risk living in the local environment. As such, we conduct assessments to identify at-risk species and make recommendations to take appropriate actions to protect the species and their natural habitats through the adoption of mitigation measures, and to ensure our compliance with the Species at Risk Act. In 2017-2018, species at risk were considered as part of the Environmental Effects Analysis conducted for the Steveston BC reconfiguration project. We also conducted a review of potential habitats for white bark pine trees for BC and AB Transmission sites. Results of the review led to the need for signage that was posted at four sites.

Internal Compliance Reviews

In accordance with our internal audit plan, we regularly undertake internal compliance reviews to identify building- and/or process-related environmental risks. This process allows us to determine how compliant our facilities are with existing procedures and the applicable regulations, while allowing us to improve our programs, leading to a stronger, more robust system.

Fifteen internal compliance reviews were completed in 2017-2018. Using methodology established as part of our EMS, action items identified as part of the reviews were tracked in the EMS.

The following reviews were completed:

  • The fuel delivery process and emergency response procedures at product transfer areas were evaluated at CBC Vancouver.

  • An environmental review of our waste program was completed in Vancouver.

  • Thirteen reviews were completed at various Transmission sites, resulting in the upgrade of spill containment for product transfer areas.

As part of these reviews, minor issues were identified and addressed.

Training and Communication

Employee engagement is a core functionality of our environmental program. The Corporation strives to provide employees with opportunities to participate in sustainable programs, such as the ones described in this report. Part of this includes the ongoing training of our employees.

In 2017-2018, training was provided to CBC/Radio-Canada employees and contractors on various environmental topics, including:

  • Bee workshops related to our biodiversity program

  • Fuel storage tanks, fuel delivery and transfer area training

  • Spill response, both general and specific to petroleum storage tanks

  • Environmental emergency response procedures (EERP)

  • Electronic waste procedures

  • Asbestos and halocarbon management and awareness

  • Storage tank awareness and storage tank environmental emergency response plan

  • PCBs management and transportation of dangerous goods

  • Eco-friendly drivers’ training in collaboration with drivers’ safety training

  • Environmental stewardship

  • LEED training (in anticipation of new projects)

  • EMS training on incident reporting

Other events of note in which we participated included:

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