Health and safety

Health and safety logo

Agriculture Union National Policy Health and Safety Committees

As many health and safety issues go beyond a single work place, there is a need for a more strategic or global approach for their resolution. Employers who employ 300 or more employees are legally required to establish a Policy Health and Safety Committee. The purpose of the Policy Committee is to handle issues that are organization-wide in nature.

List of employer-specific Committees and their members

Employers who employ 300 or more employees are required under the provisions of the Canada Labour Code to establish a policy health and safety committee. The purpose of the policy committee is to handle issues that are organization-wide in nature. As, these types of issues go beyond a single work place, there is a need for a more strategic or global approach for their resolution. Current Committees and their Agriculture Union members are listed below in alphabetical order:

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

  • Co-Chair:  Milton Dyck
  • Members:  Pat St-Georges, Dean Babuin, Jane McDonald
  • Alternates:  Jeff Griffith, Michelle Hambly, Jean Cloutier, Fabian Murphy

 Canadian Food Inspection Agency

  • Co-Chair:  Marlene O’Neil
  • Members:  Randy Olynyk, Terri Lee, Rob MacDonald
  • Alternates:  Karen Zoller, Dorothy McRae, Audrey St-Germain

Canada School of Public Service

  • Co-Chair:  Milton Dyck (Alternate: Fabian Murphy)
  • Members:  Pat St-Georges, Renelle Chalifoux

Canadian Grain Commission

  • Co-Chair:  Fabian Murphy
  • Members:  Aaron Swerdlyk, Kristin Bowler, Randy Morawski, Komi Agboli, Kun Wang

 Department of National Defence

  • Co-Chair:  Fabian Murphy
  • Alternates:  Pat St-Georges, Milton Dyck

Public Service Commission

  • Co-Chair:  Fabian Murphy
  • Member:  Philip Lillies


Mental Health:


National Occupational Safety and Health Policy Committees, with representation from both the Agriculture Union and the employer, meet regularly to deal with a wide range of safety and health issues.


National Joint Council and Treasury Board Health and Safety Directives.


Due to its insulation and fire-retardant properties, asbestos was and is used for insulation in buildings and as an ingredient in such products as roofing shingles, water supply lines, fire blankets, plastic fillers, and medical packing, as well as clutches and brake linings, gaskets and pads for automobiles. All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans. Globally, more than 100,000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis resulting from occupational exposure.

Information on the important issue of asbestos in the workplace

A Hidden Workplace Killer

Photo of asbestos
Photo of asbestos
Photo of asbestos

The Agriculture Union is most concerned with the possible health impacts of asbestos in federal government workplaces. Howard Willems, a former Agriculture Union national officer and long-time health and safety activist, was himself diagnosed in 2010 with mesothelioma, a once-rare lung cancer linked to workplace exposure to asbestos. Howard was instrumental in establishing the Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. This group is actively working to establish a public registry reporting the condition of asbestos in schools, public and commercial buildings, and providing information to victims of asbestos-related diseases. The following links provide an excellent introduction to the dangers posed by asbestos in the workplace:

Health and Safety bulletin

The Agriculture Union produces periodic issues of Health and Safety, a bulletin containing information of specific concern and interest to all or parts of our membership. The bulletin is printed and sent to all Locals for distribution to the membership.

Download editions of Health and Safety

As Health and Safety is published, electronic copies are listed for downloading by clicking on the appropriate PDF file below. Where an issue contains more than one topic, all are listed.