Tag Archives: opioïdes

Synthetic Opioids: Safety Procedures and Policies

Opioid Crisis

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.

Opioid Crisis: CIU and CBSA Working Together

Opioid Crisis

As front-line officers, Border Services Officers (BSOs) face potential threats on a daily basis. The ongoing opioid crisis, involving deadly substances such as fentanyl and carfentanil, is no different. This growing issue is affecting communities coast-to-coast and represents a major health and safety issue for BSOs who, as part of the country’s first line of defence, play a crucial role in detecting harmful substances before they enter Canada.

Following two recent opioid-related incidents in Montreal and Fort Erie, the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) is working closely with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to review and create health and safety policies aimed at keeping our members safe.

“Being a BSO is a dangerous job,” said Jean-Pierre Fortin, CIU National President. “Protecting front-line officers is top priority – making sure that they have access to proper protective equipment in an environment where they are at risk of being in contact with harmful substances is one of the main reasons we exist as a union.”

President Fortin explained that both the union and the employer were looking at a wide range of solutions to complement existing ones. While BSOs already have some access to equipment such as gloves, face masks, and naloxone (a medication which acts quickly to counteract the effects of opioids), the union hopes that new, up-to-date protective measures will help officers continue to perform their much-needed yet dangerous duties in a safer work environment.