Unsafe buildings threaten government workers' health and safety, says PSAC

    OTTAWA, May 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The federal government is failing to ensure
the safety of thousands of workers and the public by not properly enforcing
fire safety rules and regulations, says the Public Service Alliance of Canada
(PSAC), the union representing more than 100,000 federal public sector
    PSAC is sounding the alarm in response to the release of the 2009 Spring
Report of the Auditor General. The report highlights the government's
widespread failure to comply with key requirements of the Treasury Board's
Standard for Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organization.
    "The Auditor General has issued a very troublesome report," says Patty
Ducharme, PSAC's National Executive Vice-President.
    Auditor General Sheila Fraser points out that less than 20 per cent of
government buildings' fire safety plans comply with Treasury Board's fire
safety requirements. This means that more than 80 per cent of federal
government workplaces have either no fire safety plans or are relying on plans
that have not been approved by Labour Canada - putting thousands of PSAC
members and the public at risk.
    In addition, Fraser notes that although all federal departments are
required to conduct annual fire drills, one-third of the 54 buildings that
were examined for her report did not comply with this basic requirement.
    Fraser is also critical of the lack of enforcement and the government's
reliance on voluntary compliance: "In our view, this is not sufficient to
administer and enforce the Standard," says Fraser.
    "PSAC agrees with the Auditor General's assertion that voluntary
compliance doesn't work when it comes to protecting the safety of people
working in and accessing government buildings," says Ducharme. "We demand that
the federal government take action now and not wait for a major catastrophe or
loss of life before it starts enforcing its own rules and regulations
regarding the safety of its employees and members of the public."

For further information:

For further information: Ariel Troster, PSAC Communications, (613)
292-8363 (cell)

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