Maintaining a healthy workplace environment
Measuring our impact and reporting on the associated statistics is only one piece 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 Services and the Transmission Division, targets compliance-based reporting and inspections, while managing environmental risks.
The growth of our EMS continued in 2015-2016. With a focus on the continuous improvement of our environmental program, additional applications and functionalities were examined to identify opportunities to improve the system and program as a whole. The review resulted in the designation of funds in fiscal year 2016-2017 to make the system available on mobile devices and off-line for remote locations, such as our Transmission bases. These changes will improve how the data is entered into the database.
This investment will continue to provide CBC/Radio-Canada with cost-saving opportunities and improved operational performance as it relates to our legislative requirements.
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 2015-2016, four water quality tests were conducted in Montreal, Vancouver, Whitehorse and Toronto. No major non-compliance issues were identified. In a study completed in 2014-2015, where issues were identified with the ventilation system of our Toronto makeup studio, corrective measures were implemented and all issues were rectified. A new studio was created and retested and was found to exceed ventilation standards. No other issues were identified from the assessments conducted.
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 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.
Reassessments were completed in five Real Estate facilities and three Transmission sites in 2015-2016. Remediation was recommended in one location, as part of the proactive removal of ACM and/or ACM repair. A small quantity of asbestos was removed from a generator building in Newfoundland and at the old Matane facility.
It should be noted that the number of facilities with ACM has decreased over the last few years, as we continue towards implementing our infrastructure strategy and reducing our total space holdings. Due to the decommissioning or sale of sites in “as-is” condition, the following locations are no longer part of the CBC/Radio-Canada holdings and will no longer be assessed for ACM: Rimouski, Corner Brook, Halifax Radio, Rankin Inlet, Sydney, Gander, Grand Falls, Sudbury, Moncton, Windsor and Iqaluit. Reassessment documentation and other key information was provided to prospective buyers as part of the conditions of sale.
The National Radon Testing Program, which was established by Health Canada in 2007, was unofficially disbanded by the government due to budgetary reasons in 2014-2015. The program was implemented by the federal agency to evaluate compliance of radon levels in federal buildings with the Canadian radon limit of 200 Bq/m3. Radon detectors, instructions for use, laboratory analysis and results were provided by Health Canada to federal entities as part of this program.
Since the dissolution of the program, CBC/Radio-Canada has continued to evaluate radon levels at our sites. As indicated in prior Environmental Performance Reports, radon levels for our buildings are significantly below allowable exposure limits, except for one site at Caraquet, New Brunswick. In response, corrective measures have been implemented and resampling was completed. Results obtained from resampling verified compliance with allowable exposure limits.
Halocarbons are currently used in the majority of Real Estate and Transmission owned equipment, from HVAC systems to water coolers or refrigerators, as well as in the roof-top air conditioning systems of our fleet vehicles.
Environment Canada has proposed changes to the Ozone Depleting Substances Regulations intended to comply with the phase out schedule for the consumption and production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2020 in accordance with the Montreal Protocol. In response, we at CBC/Radio-Canada have developed our own plan to phase out the use of R22, an HCFC used within our service. An inventory of R22-containing units was partially completed in 2015-2016 and will continue into the next fiscal year, when we will also examine the physical requirements of each site and their accompanying system. The purpose of this exercise is to identify where R22 can be replaced, where it can be converted for an alternative hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) or where the halocarbon can be decommissioned. Our plan recognizes that the management of halocarbons and compliance with the regulations is critical.
In preparation for the proposed changes and decreased availability of R22, training was provided to Project Managers and Supervising Technicians to not only raise awareness but to also identify if halocarbon-based cooling is needed and to optimize the use of the system.
In addition, fiscal year 2015-2016 saw the decommissioning of a halocarbon unit at one of our Transmission sites and a replacement of another at our Vancouver real estate building. 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 preparation for site decommissioning and/or the potential sale of a property, a total of eight Transmission properties were assessed through Phase I ESAs in 2015-2016. In addition, four soil remediations were completed and twenty-eight hazardous material surveys were conducted. Within the Real Estate Services’ portfolio, two Phase II ESAs (in Fredericton and Charlottetown) and one risk assessment (Phase III in Halifax Bell Rd) were completed.
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. There were no assessments completed in 2015-2016.
Internal Compliance Reviews
Internal compliance reviews are regularly completed in accordance with our internal audit plan. Building- and/or process-related environmental risks are identified through these reviews and are used to evaluate compliance with existing procedures and applicable regulations.
Four internal compliance reviews were completed in 2015-2016. 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 reviews were completed:
- The fuel delivery process and emergency response procedures at product transfer areas was evaluated at the Camp Fortune, Quebec, Transmission site.
- An environmental review of our e-waste program in Vancouver and Ottawa was completed and identified compliance with existing procedures.
- In Toronto, an examination was completed of the hazardous materials storage and handling.
- A site environmental compliance audit was completed in Vancouver.
Minor issues identified as part of these reviews 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 above. Part of this includes ongoing training to our employees.
In 2015-2016, training was provided to CBC/Radio-Canada employees and contractors on various environmental topics, including:
- 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
A new approach was used to engage employees, keeping in line with the introduction of our biodiversity program. Centred around the importance of bees in food production and in the environment in general, employee workshops were organized in Montreal and Toronto, teaching staff about the inner workings of the hive, the role of bees in our community and the extraction of honey. Other engagement activities include the “bee cam” installation in Toronto, competitions to name their queen bee and donations given to local charities following the sale of honey produced by the hive.
Other events of note in which we participated included: