Maintaining a healthy workplace environment
Like any management system, we at CBC/Radio-Canada believe in the plan, do, check, act model. To this end, we have successfully implemented and continue to maintain an electronic environmental management system (EMS). This system allows us to track our overall objectives, report any environmental incidents and analyze results for continuous improvement of our environmental performance.
Our EMS quantifies our progress and allows for greater proactive control of our long-term sustainability, creating a safer and healthier workplace for our employees.
Environmental Management System
Our EMS by its very nature is totally environmentally friendly in that it is paperless and can be accessed online from any location across the Corporation. The electronic system and data are live and reflective of current practices within CBC/Radio-Canada, covering both Transmission and Real Estate Services. The system is user-friendly and allows various employees access to review all the relevant environmental aspects/impacts, objectives, legislation, reporting tools and tasks. The compliance-based reporting aspect allows users to log in and record any environmental incident, which can then be tracked and actioned. Environmental datasets from the electronic system play an integral role in shaping future environmental aims and objectives for the Corporation. This feedback into the system is the key element to a successful system.
In 2016-2017 we improved the functionality of the system regarding capturing data and keeping user access details current. With the modern technological age, it is necessary to have a mobile EMS. CBC/Radio-Canada is working alongside our software provider to tailor the most user-friendly mobile system for the Corporation. The software will not be available until 2018, but we have already identified the system requirements.
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 2016-2017, five water and air quality tests were conducted in Regina, St John’s, Fredericton, Charlottetown and Rimouski. No major non-compliance issues were identified.
Throughout Canada asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) can be found in various public and private buildings as, prior to the 1980s, it was a common construction material. Commonly found in pipe insulation, tiles and drywall, this material poses a health and environmental risk for building occupants.
CBC/Radio-Canada’s Asbestos Management Program (AMP) is in place as both a reactive and proactive mechanism of asbestos management and treatment.
Annual assessments are conducted across the Corporation to identify ACM requiring removal or remediation, thus ensuring proper management of the hazardous material.
Reassessments were completed in five Real Estate facilities in 2016-2017. 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 Fredericton, St John’s and Vancouver. Transmission did not complete any reassessments in 2016-2017; however, it was involved in an asbestos removal project in St. Boniface, MB in order to prepare for the relocation of the Winnipeg Maintenance base.
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.
Halocarbons are human-made gases used primarily in solvents, pesticides, refrigerants, sealants and electrical coatings. Many hydrochlorofluorocarbons are notorious greenhouse gases and deplete the earth’s ozone. As such, they have significant environmental impacts. Within CBC/Radio-Canada, 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 on our fleet vehicles.
CBC/Radio-Canada has taken the proactive approach to removing R22 by beginning to compile an inventory of R22-containing units with the hope of examining alternatives for relevant sites. We want to assess how R22 can be removed, replaced or decommissioned in order to go above and beyond compliance.
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 optimize the use of the system
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 Montreal, in preparation for the Maison Radio-Canada construction project, we developed a soil management program to ensure compliance with regulatory/contractual requirements.
In preparation for site decommissioning and/or the potential sale of a property, in 2016-2017 a total of two Transmission properties were assessed through Phase I ESAs and another two through enhanced Phase I ESAs. In addition, five hazardous material surveys were conducted.
Within the Real Estate Services’ portfolio, we started a remedial action plan for CBC Halifax.
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 2016-2017, Transmission undertook an Environmental Effects Analysis on the impacts of extending guy anchor fencing at our Camp Fortune, QC site. Mitigation measures were developed and implemented; these measures factored in potential species at risk that could be present on site. This process also satisfied the requirements for The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 (CEAA 2012).
Internal Compliance Reviews
In order to determine if our EMS is functioning correctly we must “check” it and feed our findings back into the system as part of the continuous improvement process.
We perform annual internal audits of the system to ascertain compliance. Potential environmental risks and recommendations are identified during these audits that can be used as a learning process for all involved and, over time, can lead to a stronger, more robust system. Audits allow us to evaluate the adherence to our environmental procedures and applicable regulations, which is key to a dynamic and current EMS.
Six internal compliance reviews were completed in 2016-2017. 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 the Mont Royal Transmission site in Montreal.
- In Transmission we completed an environmental review at the following sites: Sudbury-Kingsway, ON; Little Current, ON; Sherwood Park, AB; Red Deer, AB; and Leduc AB.
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 ongoing training to our employees.
In 2016-2017, 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: