This policy applies at all City-owned or leased buildings or parts of buildings regularly occupied by City staff in offices or other non-industrial work spaces (e.g. homes for the aged, child care facilities, hostels, shelters, living quarters in firehalls, community centres). It does not incorporate other requirements specific to these environments that may also apply [e.g. Ministry of Health standards governing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system design requirements for infection control purposes].
City facilities where there is an industrial process or use/generation of chemicals (e.g. water filtration/treatment facilities, transfer stations, pools, arenas, print shops) are addressed in the Industrial Air Quality Policy.
All City divisions, supervisors and contractors engaged in IAQ management services at buildings occupied by City staff, as well as City occupants of these buildings, will implement the provisions of this policy.
It is not within this policy to address the concerns of individuals who report adverse health effects and/or symptoms of discomfort even when generally accepted industry standards are met. Concerns of individuals with medically documented conditions must be addressed on a case by case basis through the City’s employment accommodation process. Guidelines to assist such accommodations are developed, as required.
The City’s senior management team will ensure that:
- Responsibility for IAQ management in each City building is clearly defined.
- Acceptable indoor air quality is achieved and maintained in buildings occupied by City staff.
Senior management of the division with responsibilities for maintenance of acceptable IAQ (Facilities Management) will ensure that the steps outlined below are implemented:
Senior Management of all divisions that occupy buildings will ensure that the steps outlined below are implemented:
- When considering relocating to a City-owned or leased building or when acquiring a building, advise City division with responsibilities for maintenance of acceptable IAQ or landlord, as appropriate, of operational issues that may impact indoor air quality, including anticipated number of occupants and the types and locations of equipment to be installed.
- In the case of acquiring a building with identified HVAC system deficiencies (as identified in information provided by the landlord), develop a plan for addressing identified deficiencies within a reasonable period of time, and, preferably prior to occupancy. Ensure that this plan is identified in report prepared for Council/CAO as appropriate.
- When relocating to a City-owned building where the HVAC system will not meet identified needs and a decision is made to nevertheless proceed with the move, develop a plan with City division with responsibilities for indoor air quality management for addressing deficiencies within a reasonable time period, and, preferably, prior to occupancy.
- After occupancy, when it is necessary to add extra persons, equipment or products to the space, consult with City division with responsibilities for maintenance of acceptable IAQ, building owner, own qualified staff or external service provider, as appropriate to confirm whether IAQ guidelines will be maintained after addition. If IAQ will be adversely impacted, identify who is responsible for upgrades and follow-up to ensure necessary changes made to HVAC system to compensate for space changes made.
- Ensure that IAQ concerns are promptly investigated, City division with responsibilities for maintenance of acceptable IAQ, building owner, own qualified staff or external service provider are notified of the nature of concerns, requesting corrective action, if required.
- Ensure that a logging system (i.e. record of employee IAQ complaints and any follow-up action taken) is maintained.
- Where concerns remain unresolved, background information as outlined in the IAQ Testing Request is collected and provided to occupational health and safety staff to facilitate IAQ investigation.
- Employees and the joint health and safety committee/representative are advised of any scheduled or emergency renovation or repair work that could negatively impact occupant air quality.
- A copy of any indoor air quality monitoring reports is provided to the joint health and safety committee/representative and workers are notified of results.
- Consult with City division with responsibilities for maintenance of acceptable IAQ, building owner, own qualified staff or external service provider on appropriate means of addressing identified IAQ deficiencies and the procedures for addressing the same.
Occupational Health, Safety and Workers’ Compensation Unit’s occupational hygiene staff will:
- Upon request of Facilities Management staff or occupant divisions, review information on HVAC system capabilities of building being considered for occupancy under proposed occupancy conditions to determine whether it is capable of providing acceptable air quality.
- Lead in the development of procedures, guidelines and training programs to facilitate compliance with this policy.
- Assist in addressing employee IAQ-related concerns.
- Upon receipt of background information on concerns collected on the IAQ Testing Request, initiate IAQ testing as appropriate, report to appropriate parties (i.e. building management, service area management, joint health and safety committees) and make recommendations for corrective action, as appropriate based on test results.
- Provide IAQ test information identifying non-compliance with indoor air quality provisions of the leasing agreement to party responsible for the lease, for use when contacting the landlord for follow-up.
Health and safety staff will:
- Provide consultation to members of the JHSC as they prepare and recommend appropriate remedial actions or seek an occupational hygiene assessment.
- Consult regarding the provision of training and development of safe work procedures.
- Assist management or JHSC’s of divisions that occupy buildings in collecting background information on occupant concerns as outlined in the IAQ referral form.
Joint Health and Safety Committees representing building employees:
- Include evidence of any indications of potential IAQ problems (e.g. water stains, musty odours, indoor air quality complaints) as part of their routine workplace inspections.
- Bring deficiencies, if any, to the attention of area supervisors with a copy of the notice forwarded to occupational health and safety staff.
- Advise their supervisors of any IAQ-related occupational health and safety issues or concerns.
- Not take any actions that adversely impacts HVAC system performance (e.g. blocking air intakes) or circumvents HVAC system normal operation (e.g. opening windows or doors will adversely impact operation of the mechanical system).
The Occupational Health and Safety Co-ordinating Committee will:
- Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of this policy