Health & Safety Committee –
Terms of Reference
Role & Responsibilities
The YUSAPUY Health and Safety Committee is a standing Committee of YUSAPUY and is entrenched in the YUSAPUY Constitution. Article V, Section 1, of the YUSAPUY Constitution speaks directly to the YUSAPUY Health and Safety Committee. The current language does not accurately reflect the growth and development of the Committee over the last several years, and it is the expectation that in the near future, the language of the Constitution shall be amended for this purpose.
The Health and Safety Committee is comprised of YUSAPUY Members who have been appointed to the Committee by the YUSAPUY Executive Board. Members interested in participating in this Committee shall contact the Chair of the Committee, who will provide information about the Committee, the work of the Committee, time commitments, etc. Interested Members will provide a written statement of interest that will be shared with the YUSAPUY Executive Board, and the YUSAPUY Executive Board will make a determination of appointment.
Members who are appointed to the Committee are appointed for an indefinite term, and represent all YUSAPUY Members, including YUSAPUY Unit 1 and Unit 2 Members. The YUSAPUY Executive Board has authority to de-appoint Committee Members per Article VI, Section 4 of the YUSAPUY Constitution.
The Health and Safety Committee shall:
- provide information to, and educate, the general membership about occupational health and safety issues, including rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as related legislations and regulations;
- examine legislation, policies, programs and procedures and their effect on Union members;
- inspect the workplace on a monthly basis;
- investigate incidents and accidents that occur in the workplace involving YUSAPUY Members;
- advocate for changes in the workplace to support a healthy and safe environment;
- to respond to queries from the general membership respecting occupational health and safety;
- be available to meet with Ontario Ministry of Labour Inspectors as necessary; and
- collaborate with colleagues across the University to address occupational health and safety concerns.
Members & Composition
The Health and Safety Committee is comprised of YUSAPUY Members who have been appointed to the Committee by the YUSAPUY Executive Board. Several Committee Members will participate in the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee as Worker Members, while others will serve as Worker Member Alternates according to the Terms of Reference of the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee.
Worker Members of the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee are deemed to be at work and thus continue to be paid according to their salary for time spent completing their roles and responsibilities. Worker Member Alternates are provided with union duty leave to attend scheduled meetings of the Committee, and are deemed to be at work and thus continue to be paid according to their salary for time spent completing monthly inspections of the workplace, participating in the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee as substitutes for absent Worker Members and meeting with Ministry of Labour Inspectors.
Committee Members must sign confidentiality waivers.
Full-Time Officers of YUSAPUY are ex-officio, non-voting members of the Committee (see Constitution IV, Section 2). The YUSAPUY President shall participate as a Worker Member on the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee during their term(s) of office. When their term of office has ended, the former Presidential incumbent shall remove themselves from the Health and Safety Committee and the Joint Health and Safety Committee so as to enable the next President elect to participate. Former Presidential incumbents who are interested in participating in the Committee shall put forward their name to the YUSAPUY Executive Board to be appointed to the Committee.
Committee Members are assigned to available positions on the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee according to the date of their appointment to the Health and Safety Committee.
Members of the Health and Safety Committee are appointed to the Committee for an indefinite term. The YUSAPUY Executive Board has authority to de-appoint Committee Members per Article VI, Section 4 of the YUSAPUY Constitution.
Committee Members who resign from the Committee or retire from York University cease to be members of the Committee.
Upon appointment to the Committee, Members are provided with an initial Orientation by the Chair of the Committee. The Orientation will include a structured and detailed review of the expectations of the Committee, such as:
- the roles and responsibilities of the Committee;
- the term of membership;
- the relationship of the Committee to the YUSAPUY Executive Board;
- the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee and that Member’s position relative to the Joint Health and Safety Committee;
- crucial principles practiced by the Committee;
- safely maintaining records, i.e., hard copy and electronic, associated with the work of the Committee;
- various legislations that impact occupational health and safety; and
- key players in workplace health and safety at the University.
Normally within the first year of joining the Committee, Members will complete a two-part Certification program. Members appointed to the Committee after June 30, 2017 must also complete Refresher Training every three (3) years in order to maintain their certification.
Training of the Health and Safety Committee shall be at the expense of the Union and/or the Employer, and by approval of the YUSAPUY Executive Board. The Chair will arrange training for the Committee as appropriate under the YUSAPUY Collective Agreement.
In accordance with the YUSAPUY Policy for the Role and Selection of Chairs and Co-chair Alternates, the Committee shall:
- elect annually from among its members a Chair and Co-Chair Alternate for a one (1) year term. The Chair shall represent the Committee as a voting member on the YUSAPUY Executive Board, and
- shall elect annually from among its members a Labour Co-Chair of the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee for a one (1) year term.
The term of Members of the YUSAPUY Health and Safety Committee is indefinite. A Committee member who does not uphold their responsibilities or misses a significant number of meetings without a reasonable explanation may be asked by the YUSAPUY Executive Board to resign from the Committee. If the Member refuses to resign, de-appointment action may be taken by the YUSAPUY Executive Board to remove the member from the Committee (see Article VI, Sections 3 and 4). Committee Members who must be absent from the Committee for an extended period, shall take a leave from the Committee by contacting the Chair.
The Chair of the Committee, and Co-Chair Alternate, will be members of the Committee, elected annually by the Committee (see Constitution Article V, Section 1).
The Chair will:
- Coordinate meetings of the Committee;
- Prepare agendas and Chair meetings of the Committee;
- Draft communications on behalf of the Committee related to the Committee’s work;
- Report to the YUSAPUY Executive Board on the work of the Committee and any issues related to the Committee;
- Provide initial orientation and training to new Committee Members;
- Act as a liaison between the Committee and the YUSAPUY Executive Board;
- Coordinate training for the Committee;
- Maintain the Committee’s listserve (YUSAHS) ;
- Represent the Committee as a voting member on the YUSAPUY Executive Board
The Co-Chair Alternate of the Committee will act in the absence of the Chair.
The Labour Co-Chair shall co-chair with the Management Co-Chair of the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee.
Communication & Meetings
The Health and Safety Committee normally meets in-person for three (3) hours on the first Tuesday of each month, with the exception of the months of January and September. Additional meetings are scheduled as necessary.
Additionally, at meetings scheduled directly after Committee meetings, Worker Members of the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee normally meets in-person with Management Members of the YUSAPUY Joint Health and Safety Committee for two (2) hours on the first Tuesday of each month, with the exception of the months of January and September. Additional meetings are scheduled as necessary.
If a Member is not able to participate in a meeting, that Member may speak with the Chair in advance so that the Chair can include that Member’s perspective at the meeting. That Member may also circulate comments, documents and provide feedback via the Committee listserve (YUSAHS). Other communications between Committee Members can occur via email and telephone as needed.
Reports about the work of the Committee, as well as any concerns that may arise in the Committee, are made to the YUSAPUY Executive Board by the Chair of the Committee or the Co-Chair Alternate in the Chair’s absence. Decisions determined by the YUSAPUY Executive Board relating to the Committee are communicated to Committee Members through the Committee Chair or the Co-Chair Alternate in the Chair’s absence.
Per Article XVI, Section 2 of the YUSAPUY Constitution, all meetings shall be governed by the Constitution. In cases where this is inadequate, Bourinot’s Rules of Order shall govern.
Minutes should be taken at all meetings. The minutes should be provided to the YUSAPUY office for record-keeping and archiving as soon as practicable but within thirty (30) days.
Attendance by fifty percent of the Committee members, or their predesignated alternates, shall constitute a quorum.
Wherever possible, decision-making by consensus is preferred. If consensus cannot be achieved, the Committee members must agree on how to deal with the outstanding issue (i.e., vote; continue the discussion; table the issue for another meeting; take the issue to the Executive Board.) There shall be no proxy voting or email voting unless explicitly determined by the Committee in advance of the vote.
Accountability & Governance
According to the Constitution (Article V, Section 1) all Committees are responsible to the Executive Board, and according to Section 2 of the same Article, all Committees are required at minimum, to prepare and present semi-annual reports, during the months of May and October, to the Executive Board. The reports will be made available to the membership after having been presented at the Executive Board. Normally the reports will be drafted by the Committee Chair and agreed upon by the Committee members prior to being presented at the Executive Board. The Committee cannot commit the use of YUSAPUY financial or human resources without prior approval from the Executive Board.