Category Archives: Uncategorized

Projects to help workers survive helicopter ditching

The Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) is investing $350,000 in two projects to help workers survive helicopter ditching or abandonment in water. These projects, related to escape exits and survival skills, are being undertaken by Falck Safety Services Canada, with funding from RDC, Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador and Falck. The total value of the projects is approximately $700,000.

The announcement, on Jan. 20, came nearly six years after a Cougar Helicopters’ Sikorsky S-92A attempted to land off the coast of St. John’s, claiming the lives of 17 of the 18 passengers on board.

The first project seeks to identify the specific human factor requirements to open a Sikorsky S-92 push-out emergency escape exit, said a press release from the RDC, noting that the findings from the project could provide critical health and safety components necessary for future training guidance. The second project will investigate the effect of wave patterns on optimal training conditions, and how escape and survival skills are acquired.

“This research will provide valuable incremental information to trainers, safety and survival manufacturers and regulatory bodies,” said Glenn Janes, CEO of RDC, in the release. “The outcomes could also be applicable globally, in terms of future underwater escape training and exit design.”

Dr. Michael Taber, a senior research scientist with Falck Safety Services Canada in Dartmouth, N.S., told COHSN that the projects will be completed by March 31, 2016. When asked about the specific “human factor requirements” for opening a Sikorsky S-92 push-out emergency exit, Dr. Taber said that researchers would be collecting 3D motion capture, electromyography data, real-time biometrics (such as heart rate, breathing rate and axial rotation) and difficulty ratings from 50 participants who would be completing egress trials in both a wet and dry environment.

“We will be conducting a detailed observational task analysis of the 3D motion capture data, as well as syncing additional video footage and muscle activation input signals from the triceps, forearm and shoulder,” he added.

RDC is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador’s research and development performance, the release said. The corporation works with research and development stakeholders, including business, academia and government agencies and departments to make strategic investments in people, R&D opportunities, and infrastructure.

Police officer shot at Alberta casino dies

An RCMP officer has died four days after he was shot at a casino in Alberta.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 17, 34-year-old Shawn Rehn shot and wounded two uniformed officers inside the casino in southeast St. Albert. An Alberta RCMP spokesperson said that 42-year-old Const. David Wynn, who joined the RCMP in 2009, had remained in grave condition for four days, but never regained consciousness and passed away in an Edmonton hospital on Jan. 21.

Auxiliary Const. Derek Bond, 49, who has worked with the RCMP in a volunteer capacity since 2008, was in serious but stable condition for a short time, but was released from hospital later in the evening. He will require ongoing medical care, the Alberta RCMP added in a media statement.

The spokesperson said that Rehn, who was from the greater Edmonton area and known to police, was found dead in an unoccupied private residence in a rural area east of St. Albert, where it appeared that the residence had been broken into and an alarm had been set off. Police tracked Rehn to the residence earlier in the day and contained the scene prior to attempting an arrest. However, when officers entered the residence, he was found dead. An autopsy was scheduled for Jan. 19.

“I can tell you that Shawn Rehn was known to police and had a long, extensive criminal record that included acts of violence,” RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson added in the statement.

But the RCMP noted that “at no time during police efforts to arrest the suspect at this residence did officers speak with the suspect or fire their weapons. However, this incident is considered an in-custody death, because police had established containment of the scene where the suspect was found deceased.”

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has initiated an independent review of the circumstances of Rehn’s death.

A press release from the Nova Scotia Premier’s Office said that Const. Wynn had been shot while confronting a suspected car thief. Reportedly among the first responders to the Swissair Flight 111 airplane crash in 1998, Const. Wynn had also worked as a paramedic in Bridgewater, N.S. for years.

Supreme Court: law banning RCMP from bargaining was unconstitutional

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has overturned an old law that prevented the RCMP from forming independent labour organizations, stating that the rule was contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In the landmark decision, delivered in Ottawa on Jan. 16, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote that the Charter’s guarantee of freedom of association gives all Canadian workers, including RCMP members, sufficient choice and independence to pursue their interests via collective bargaining.

“The current RCMP labour relations regime denies RCMP members that choice,” McLachlin concluded, “and imposes on them a scheme that does not permit them to identify and advance their workplace concerns free from management’s influence.”

Canadian law implemented collective bargaining in federal public service with the Public Service Staff Relations Act in 1967, but the act excluded RCMP members from bargaining. The current Public Service Labour Relations Act, enacted in 2003, also excluded the RCMP from the process. The only form of employee representation that RCMP management recognized was the Staff Relations Representative Program (SRRP), a non-unionized labour relations system in which workers could raise any issues except wages.

“This is not a case of a complete denial of the constitutional right to associate,” wrote McLachlin. “Rather, it is a case of substantial interference with the right to associate for the purpose of addressing workplace goals through a meaningful process of collective bargaining, free from employer control.”

Jason Tamming, spokesperson for the federal Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, told COHSN that the ministry was in the process of reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision. The ministry is in charge of the RCMP and other national security services. “We thank RCMP officers who work hard every day to keep Canadians and their communities safe,” Tamming added.

Rob Creasser, media representative with the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, described his reaction to the SCC verdict as “over-the-moon happy.”

He said that the decision would give RCMP officers a much stronger voice in determining their work conditions, including salary and benefits. “The court made a really strong statement in their ruling,” he added. “I’m hopeful that with the Government of Canada, we can draft legislation that will allow RCMP members to do pretty much everything that every other Canadian police officer in Canada does.”

Creasser noted that the SRRP had shown no interest in changing the status quo in terms of collective bargaining. “The association that I joined in 1994 has been working steadily over the last 21 years to get where we are today.” Volunteer associations in Ontario and Quebec helped to pave the way, he explained.

Under the new rules, RCMP employees are now free to form their own independent associations without management interference. But the judgement stopped short of specifying that the RCMP could form its own union.

“The search is not for an ‘ideal’ model of collective bargaining, but rather for a model which provides sufficient employee choice and independence to permit the formulation and pursuit of employee interests in the particular workplace context at issue,” McLachlin wrote. “Choice and independence do not require adversarial labour relations; nothing in the Charter prevents an employee association from engaging willingly with an employer in different, less adversarial and more cooperative ways.

“This said, genuine collective bargaining cannot be based on the suppression of employees’ interests, where these diverge from those of their employer, in the name of a ‘non‑adversarial’ process.”

The SCC’s judgement is available online at

Unigold president/CEO steps down

Toronto-based Unigold Inc. announced on Jan. 13 that Andrew Cheatle will step down as president and CEO and as a member of the board of directors, effective Jan. 31, to accept a new position. The board has appointed Joseph Del Campo as interm president and CEO to ensure a smooth transition. Del Campo has played a leadership role at the company since 2004 as former chief financial officer, as a director and as chair of the audit committee, Unigold said in a media statement. Cheatle was appointed president and CEO in 2011 and led the company in raising “over $20 million in financing during some of the toughest years the mineral industry has known,” the statement said.

New Day Underwriting names new account manager

New Day Underwriting Managers LLC, a specialty intermediary of environmental and construction-related professional liability insurance coverage, has named Kim Johns as account manager within the company’s Construction Group. She is responsible for providing detailed risk management and insurance information to New Day’s agents throughout the U.S., the company said in a press release on Jan. 12. Johns has more than a decade of financial services and insurance experience. Prior to New Day, she served as a commercial account manager with the Martin Financial Group and held positions with several major providers and insurers, including Plymouth Rock Assurance, Palisades and Liberty Mutual Insurance. A resident of Freehold, N.J., she can be contacted at 609-298-3516 ext. 108 or

N.S. WCB preparing 2016-2020 strategic plan

HALIFAX, N.S. — The Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB) is developing a new strategic plan for 2016 to 2020 and has received feedback from hundreds of Nova Scotians representing organizations and individuals. A summary of the feedback is available at The WCB said in a release that it would develop a draft strategic plan “over the next few months.” Once it is complete, there will be an opportunity for a stakeholder review before the draft plan is finalized. “More details on this aspect of the consultation process will be provided in the coming months,” the release said.

Quebec company votes to join UFCW union

LACHUTE, Que. — More than 80 workers at Les Aliments Lebel in Lachute, Que. have joined Local 501 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW), after voting to join the union late last year. The company manufactures ice cream, frozen yogurt and other frozen foods at a production facility northwest of Montreal, the UFCW said in a Jan. 12 press release. The UFCW reported that the newest Local 501 members decided to join the union to obtain improved wages and recall conditions and to have their rights and seniority respected at work.

Hydro One fined $325,000 after workplace fatality

TOWNSHIP OF CENTRAL FRONTENAC, Ont. — Hydro One Networks Inc. was fined $325,000 on Jan. 13, in connection with the death of a worker on March 5, 2013. That day, a crew of five workers at the power company’s distribution station in the Township of Central Frontenac was engaged in replacing a voltage regulator, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour (MOL) said in a press release. The crew used a method called “jack and roll,” which involved moving the regulator on wooden rollers. As the 15-ton replacement regulator was being moved across wooden planking between two concrete pads, it stopped because the rollers were not fitting properly beneath the regulator, the MOL explained. One worker mounted a jack, but as the regulator was being raised, the jack slipped out of its position, tipping over and fatally crushing the worker. An MOL investigation found that no written procedure existed for the “jack and roll” process and during other such procedures, workers had used equipment that stabilized movement; this equipment was not used in this case. Hydro One was fined after pleading guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that materials or equipment at a project was stored and moved in a manner that did not endanger a worker, as required by the Construction Projects Regulation.

Company fined, directors jailed

BRAMPTON, Ont. — An Ontario company has been fined and two of its directors jailed, after pleading guilty on Jan. 13 to safety violations that led to the death of a warehouse worker. New Mex Canada Inc., an importer and retailer of furniture and accessories, was fined $250,000, and directors Baldev Purba and Rajinder Saini were each jailed for 25 days, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour (MOL) said in a statement. On Jan. 18, 2013, a worker was moving merchandise at the company’s warehouse using a combination forklift/platform called an order picker, the ministry explained. The order picker had been modified and had an additional platform supported by the forks that had been tack-welded to the manufacturer-equipper operator platform, but the added platform did not have a guardrail and the worker was not wearing fall protection or safety shoes. The worker was found dead on the floor; the cause of death was later determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. New Mex Canada Inc. was fined after pleading guilty to failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker regarding fall protection and/or working from heights, the statement said. Purba and Saina pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Industrial Establishments Regulation. Each director was ordered to served 25 days in jail, to be served on the weekends, and to take an oh&s course within two months.

Liquor store worker uninjured in robbery attempt

NANAIMO, B.C. — An employee of a liquor store in Nanaimo, B.C. was not injured in a robbery attempt at the store in Terminal Park. The incident occurred at about 10:25 p.m. on Jan. 10, when three men entered the store and one fired a round into the ceiling from a sawed-off shotgun. The suspects then left the store — possibly with several bottles of wine — and discharged two bursts of bear spray at the worker, the Nanaimo RCMP said in a release. “The employees, while not physically harmed, were left shaken by the ordeal and have been offered police victim services,” the release said, adding that no customers were in the store at the time.