Maintaining a healthy workplace environment
As a socially responsible organization, we implement prevention strategies to protect the health and safety of our employees and minimize the environmental risks related to our activities.
Water and Indoor Air Quality
Preventative water quality and indoor air-quality assessments are completed in our owned and leased buildings to identify potential issues and implement corrective actions as needed. As indicated in the “Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality,” providing potable water is the responsibility of the local city or municipality. Any testing completed by CBC/Radio-Canada is verification that these standards are being met within our owned or leased facilities.
In 2014-2015, four water-quality and indoor air-quality tests were conducted in Winnipeg, St. Boniface, Calgary and Edmonton. No major non-compliance issues were identified.
Commonly used in building construction prior to the 1980s, asbestos-containing materials, such as pipe insulation, tiles and drywall, are found in many CBC/Radio-Canada sites. Due to the health and environmental risks associated with the use of asbestos, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Asbestos Management Program (AMP) ensures there is a process in place to regularly reassess sites with known asbestos owned by the Corporation.
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.
Six assessments in Real Estate buildings were completed in 2014-2015. As per the established schedule, no Transmission sites were evaluated in the last fiscal year. Minor remediation is required at two locations. All information was provided to prospective buyers, and the two locations were sold in “as-is” condition.
Minor abatement identified in the 2013-2014 reassessments at two Transmission sites was completed in 2014-2015.
A National Radon Testing Program was established by Health Canada in 2007 to evaluate the levels of radon in federal buildings. The purpose was to identify federal workplaces with radon levels above the Canadian Radon Guideline of 200 Bq/m3.
Led and managed by the government agency, radon detectors and instructions were provided by Health Canada, who were also responsible for the laboratory analysis and results. All radon tests are conducted over a three-month period. Recent cuts to the Health Canada program has resulted in delays in ongoing testing and analysis.
All testing completed in CBC/Radio-Canada facilities since 2007 found radon levels significantly below Health Canada’s limits for radon detection in buildings, except for the Caraquet (NB) site. As reported in the 2013-2014 report, an action plan was developed and all corrective measures were implemented.
Species at Risk
CBC/Radio-Canada carries out assessments to identify at-risk species that may be affected by our operations
Most of our Transmission Division infrastructure is found outside of urban areas and in other inaccessible and remote areas of the country. As these locations have the potential to be home to different species at risk, 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. Recommendations made as part of these completed assessments are used to take appropriate corrective measures to protect the species and their natural habitats.
Although no assessments were completed in 2014-2015, the purpose of these evaluations are to identify potential species at risk and prevent harm through the adoption of mitigation measures, and to ensure our compliance with the Species at Risk Act.
Halocarbons, in the form of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), are currently used in the majority of Real Estate- and Transmission-owned equipment, from HVAC systems to water coolers or refrigerators. HCFCs are also used in the roof-top air conditioning systems of our fleet vehicles and mobile units.
Being phased out progressively from now until 2020, the management of halocarbons and compliance with the regulations is critical. As per the Federal Halocarbon Regulations, no chiller can be operated or maintained in Canada if they use halocarbons as outlined in Schedule 1, items one through nine of the legislation. CBC/Radio-Canada Real Estate and Transmission departments verified that the halocarbons listed in the Schedule are not used in our chillers.
In addition, fiscal year 2014-2015 saw the decommissioning of a halocarbon unit in one of our mobiles. All requirements under the regulations were met and a copy of all records was retained on file.
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 the last year, a total of eight Transmission properties were assessed through ESAs and nine building hazardous material surveys were completed. In addition, three soil remediation programs were implemented and two soil sampling surveys were conducted; the latter did not require future work. These activities were mainly related to the preparation required for the sale of property or site decommissioning.
Within the Real Estate Services portfolio, two ESAs (a Phase 2 in Halifax TV and Gander) and two groundwater assessment (in Winnipeg and Regina) were assessed and completed. There were no building hazardous-material surveys completed, nor were there any soil removal programs required. As with the Transmission Division, these activities were mainly related to the preparation required for the sale of property or site decommissioning.
Internal Compliance Reviews
In accordance with our internal audit plan, we regularly undertake internal compliance reviews to identify building-related environmental risks and to determine how compliant our facilities are with existing procedures and the applicable regulations.
Three internal compliance reviews were completed In 2014-2015. Using methodology established as part of our electronic management system, action items identified as part of the reviews were tracked in the EMS.
The following are three general findings:
- The fuel delivery process and emergency response procedures at product transfer areas was evaluated at the Radio-Canada Montreal building.
- An environmental review of fleet services, with particular focus on incident reporting, halocarbons and green initiatives, was completed in Toronto and Montreal.
- A compliance review was completed at CBC/Radio-Canada Moncton. No major compliance issues were identified.
Training and Communication
In 2014-2015, training was provided to CBC/Radio-Canada employees and contractors on various environmental topics, including:
- Spill response, both general and specific to petroleum storage tanks
- Fuel storage tanks, fuel delivery and transfer area training
- Environmental emergency response procedures (EERP)
- Asbestos, halocarbon and mould awareness
- Storage tank awareness and storage tank environmental emergency response plan
- PCBs awareness and transportation of dangerous goods
- Eco-friendly drivers’ training in collaboration with drivers’ safety training
- Electronic reporting of environmental incidents
- How to use the EMS
We also participated in various annual environmental events and activities, including:
- Earth Day
- Clean Air Commuting
- Canadian Environment Week
- Bike to Work Day/Month
- Earth Hour
- National Waste Reduction Week
Additional training is being explored for 2015-2016.