Occupational Health Inspections: An Update from the Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces

Ombudsman Message | 9 January 2019


In March 2015, my predecessor conducted a constituent engagement visit to 12 Wing Shearwater. During that visit, Royal Canadian Air Force personnel raised concerns related to occupational health inspections that were specific to the timeliness and completion of the testing of potential health hazards. As a result, this Office committed to reviewing this important issue and providing an update once in possession of the departmental response.

Occupational health inspections are an essential component in the prevention of workplace health incidents. Untimely workplace inspections can have adverse effects on both members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the civilian employees who work alongside them.  

Since that visit, my staff worked diligently to discover whether the mandated frequency for workplace health inspections was being met on bases and wings across Canada. This preliminary review identified several deficiencies, including a shortage of trained and qualified personnel to conduct these inspections.

In light of these findings, this Office requested information from senior leadership within the Canadian Armed Forces to better understand how they intend to address the identified concerns. The Canadian Armed Forces have implemented changes in the execution and management of the Occupational Health Program to target staffing issues. In addition, a number of initiatives and proposals are under development to further relieve pressures in the delivery of the occupational health program. Leadership is committing to 100 per cent inspections.

This Office will continue to closely monitor the progress of these activities and initiatives. I look forward to continuing our constructive dialogue with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure occupational health inspections are completed in a timely manner.

In addition to your occupational health obligations, I encourage all employees and members of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to contact this Office with any questions about occupational health inspections in your workplace, or about any other issue affecting your care or compensation.

We are ready to help.


Gregory A. Lick

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