Staff Report #9
August 30, 2023
To All Commissioners
Re: 2023 Work Program – Human Resources – Second Quarter Update
The report be NOTED and FILED.
The following report is provided as an update on significant projects as set out in the 2023 Work Program that were scheduled to commence and/or be completed in the second quarter, with the lead on same being the primary responsibility of Human Resources.
5.2 – Occupational Health and Safety Work Program – The following provides an update on activities scheduled and/or completed from the Occupational Health and Safety Work Program for the second quarter of 2023:
Dispatch and Inspector Communications Training
Inspectors and Dispatchers are vital in keeping Operators safe on the road. Each strives to provide customer service and support to their fellow employees and customers while honouring their commitment to safety. In 2022, the Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) recommended developing an annual training program to focus on best practices and enhance communications between the two groups. In 2023, the new program was designed and rolled out to the two groups. The program’s key aspects include ensuring clear and concise communications, emphasizing supporting Operators in service, determining what questions and answers are essential, and determining what radio protocols are most effective and efficient when dealing with high-priority issues such as distress calls and workplace violence.
Managing Passenger Mental Health Challenges as an Inspector
As noted in Staff Report #2 dated January 25, 2023, there has been a notable increase in calls of a volatile nature that Inspectors attend. The calls range from assisting someone under the influence, dealing with banned passengers, being placed in dangerous situations, passenger disturbances, sleepers, workplace violence incidents, etc. Since 2019, these types of calls have increased by 40%. To address this significant increase, and through the JHSC, Human Resources, with the assistance of Nancy Gowan from Gowan and Associates in late 2022/2023, developed a new one-day training module that focuses on ensuring Inspectors have the skills to manage challenges faced when they come upon passengers who are in distress, aggressive or dangerous. The module provides approaches for Inspectors to ensure they have the tools to keep themselves, the Operator and the passengers safe. All Inspectors received the training in the second quarter of 2023. This training program is being shared with other Ontario Transit systems as a best practice at an upcoming provincial meeting.
Training in biohazards on buses was updated to reflect the current environment and to ensure ongoing Operator safety. Refresher communications were rolled out through quarterly updates to Operators via brochures, internal screens and postings, and will occur annually. In addition, the New Operator Training Program was updated accordingly.
Job Hazards Analysis
In 2023, through the JHSC, a Working Group was formed to update the job hazards analysis for two primary positions within the Fleet and Facilities department. The Working Group was comprised of JHSC members with significant knowledge of the positions and external expertise from Taylor’d Ergonomics. The two positions completed were Hoist Mechanic and General Service (Wonderland). With the current policies and programs in place, there were no findings of a significant hazard. For the General Service position, it was recommended that the parties review the body posture when performing specific duties, and this will be addressed in the coming months.
6.3 – Re-Introduction of London Transit’s Attendance Management Program – Given the uncertainties associated with the global pandemic which began in 2020, including its impacts on the ability of employees to attend work, London Transit’s Attendance Management Program had been paused.
In 2023, with a better understanding of how the virus spreads, the steps that can be taken to protect an individual, coupled with the availability of vaccines, there are many options available to help mitigate the chances of contracting the virus and or the severity of the symptoms should an employee contract it.
As such, effective January 1, 2023, London Transit re-introduced the Attendance Management Program. As always, the management team will continue to focus on how to assist employees in their ability to attend work on a regular and consistent basis and ensure employees have the supports and resources they need while at the same time maintaining attendance standards.
6.6 – Driver Certification Program / Ministry of Transportation – The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) allows employers to certify licenses in-house, provided they comply with their Driver Certification Program (DCP). The DCP outlines what level of training is required concerning upgrading licenses, for example, from a G license to a C license and license renewals. In 2015, MTO approved London Transit’s New Operator Training and the teachings fully comply with the requisite requirement. Through the DCP, an audit must be completed once every three years. The 2023 audit was completed with one finding relating to a missing piece of documentation in the employee file. This finding does not impact London Transit’s ability to train or conduct license upgrades or renewals. HR has taken the necessary steps to ensure full compliance on a go-forward basis.
6.9 (b) – Implementation of Third Party Review Recommendations – Additional Management Training – As noted in Staff Report #2 dated September 25, 2019, a recommendation from the Rubin Thomlinson Summary Report was in regards to providing the management team with additional training targeted at the use of respectful language within a diverse workplace, as well as components on communication in general, managing difficult conversations and respectful leadership. The training and development was delayed as the result of the global pandemic.
A three-part training program has been developed, the key highlights address:
- Challenges as a Manager
- Managing Yourself
- Delivering Feedback
- Building Trust
- Dealing with Challenging Employee Behaviours
- Conflict Resolution
- Employee Engagement
The program will be rolled out in September 2023. Further, all new management joining London Transit on a go-forward basis will participate in the program as part of their onboarding.
6.10 – Employee Benefits Program Renewal – Effective April 1, 2023, London Transit approved the employee benefits program renewal. The overall renewal was positive, and premiums remained status quo as there has been a return to pre-pandemic overall usage levels. Based on the renewal and the overall working relations with the insurance carrier, London Transit has continued its working relationship with both HUB International and Desjardins (DFS), as the parties have been able to work well together to address issues as they arise.
As background, the employee benefits program includes life insurance, short-term disability (STD), long-term disability (LTD), and extended health care (EHC), including drug coverage, vision care and dental coverage. London Transit pays 100% of the related premium cost for the respective benefits except for group life insurance, which is shared 50/50 between the London Transit and the employee. Life insurance, STD and LTD are all premium-related benefits for which the premiums are set annually and the proposed increases for Life, STD and LTD are based primarily on London Transit’s performance over the previous year and changes to the group demographic as well as the insurers’ overall performance on their entire book of business. STD is slightly different in that it is accounted for as refund-based, meaning reserves are established and premium deficits flow through year over year. EHC and Dental are slightly different in that they are “Administrative Services Only” (ASO), meaning a budgeted rate is set and charged to London Transit, with actual claims (plus an administrative charge by DFS to manage the claims process) flowing through a reserve. London Transit can pull from or add to the reserve, with DFS requiring it to be at a level sufficient to cover the monthly premiums.
6.12 – Collective Agreement – Management and ATU Local 741’s negotiation teams worked collectively to ratify the 2023 Collective Agreement. Work is currently underway on implementation of the changes included in the new contract which is anticipated to continue through the remainder of the year.
The following provides updates on programs/initiatives not specifically identified in the annual work program.
In early 2023, a call for new members for London Transit’s Diversity Committee was initiated, and the response was positive. The new membership brings valuable learned experiences and applicable knowledge to contribute positively to new Committee goals and initiatives.
As we move forward from the pandemic, a major initiative the Committee will undertake will be to provide feedback on the updated Human Rights and Diversity training programs. Furthermore, additional focus will be placed on improving awareness, understanding, and compliance with London Transit’s Human Rights and Diversity policies and procedures.
Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager