Occupational Health & Safety Committee
Definition of "General Public"
June 14, 2011
The purpose of this Communiqué is to provide clarification on eligibility for the first aid allowance under section 5.1 of the above-noted directive and specifically on the meaning of the term "general public" set out in the second criterion. This has been a recurring issue dealt with by the Committee in recent grievances (see NJC grievance decisions 20.4.231 & 20.4.232).
The Communiqué was developed in partnership by the employer and bargaining agent representatives of NJC Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Committee.
The intent of this directive is to provide an allowance to certain employees required to provide, in addition to their regular duties, first aid to the general public. The intent of this directive is not to provide an allowance to employees voluntarily rendering first aid to fellow employees or when the provision of first aid to the general public is an inherent requirement of the position.
Section 5.1 of the first aid allowance directive establishes four requirements to qualify for the allowance:
5.1 Eligible employees
- be Public Service employees within the meaning of the Public Service Labour Relations Act; (revised August 2, 2005)
- be formally required by the department to be available on a regular basis to provide, in addition to their regular duties, first aid to the general public;
- be employed at a location where there is a lack of readily available emergency medical treatment facilities in the immediate area (a radius of 10 kilometres); and
- be required by, and at the expense of, the department to undertake and complete first aid training (St-John Ambulance Standard Certificate); and maintain such level of first aid capability.
The intent of this directive is that all four (4) criteria must be met.
For the purpose of the first aid allowance directive:
- If an employee is "formally required by the department to be available on a regular basis to provide, in addition to their regular duties, first aid to the general public", the following requirements should be clearly stated in official documents such as operating procedures, training manuals, work descriptions, etc…
- there should be clear indications as to when and under what circumstances is first aid expected from the employee; and
- there should be clear indications to whom the employee is expected to provide first aid.
The requirement to provide first aid to the general public cannot be a major key activity of the position in order to be eligible for the allowance under this directive.
- The term "general public" has a broad meaning. It refers to the population in general. A duty to provide first aid to persons who make up only part of that population is different. The scope of the duty is not the same. Therefore, entitlement to the first aid allowance is conditional on having a duty to provide first aid to the general public and not to a limited part of that public.
- Departments should also address any inconsistencies or contradictions with regard to the requirements to provide first aid in various official documents such as standard operating procedures, training manuals or policies established by the Department.
- The directive does not apply in the circumstances outlined in section 5.2 "Excluded personnel".
PSLRB Citation: 2009 PSLRB 57 (RIOUX et al v. Treasury Board – Department of Environment)