There have been few threats over the years that have impacted our members as greatly as the fentanyl crisis. As Canada’s first line of defense, there is perhaps no greater testament to their jobs’ importance than the lives saved by intercepting these substances. We have seen members exposed and sadly, their health has been affected. Our work makes coming into contact with highly toxic substances inevitable and as such, is of great concern to us all.
Your Policy Health and Safety committee has been working diligently with the CBSA to develop mandatory safety procedures, controls, training, first aid and personal protective equipment. These were posted on Atlas on July 13, 2017. The many concerns and recommendations we received from the field are included in what’s been produced and we are confident that these measures will keep our members safe. This is the culmination of months of work, countless drafts and consultation with experts in both the scientific and law enforcement communities. We continue to work on these procedures with the CBSA and you’ll surely see additions to what’s currently available.
We urge all of our members to remind one another of the importance of following these safety procedures. While it is unquestionably Management’s responsibility to ensure that all health and safety measures are being followed, it is our duty to do all we can to keep our Sisters and Brothers safe. Synthetic opioids have fundamentally changed how we must act and how we must think. The idea of ‘safety first’ has always been present, the potential consequences of not consistently making this so in practice could be disastrous.
Please review the documents available through Atlas in the Policy Suite for Examination of Highly Toxic Substances and ensure that you take all of the mandatory training.