Safety Background of Lisa Houle

Working with First Nations to Increase Worker Safety

Front Page McColl Magazine


Who We Are

We are a Health and Safety Association (HSA) operating in BC to facilitate First Nations oversight in all aspects of Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental management.

Our Mission is to support BC First Nation and Aboriginal workers, communities and enterprises in achieving the highest standard of occupational health, safety and environment management by building internal capacity to manage sustainable step-change and create a legacy of safety leadership and environmental oversight.

We will accomplish this by:

Promoting sustainable step-change while honouring traditions and cultures;

Developing a competent and confident workforce where workers are well trained and empowered to complete work in a safe and healthy manner;

Ensuring Companies operating on First Nation’s land have functioning safety programs and policies that meet and exceed regulatory requirements and that they are accountable to operational oversight by the FNSC members;

Establishing relationships with industry, governments, educational institutions and other associations to support research and develop strategic action plans addressing First Nations concerns specific to occupational safety and health.

Why FNSC Research has shown that significant  disparities and challenges exist for First Nations people, communities and enterprises when aligning HSE activities to cultural needs and traditions.

Senator Murray Sinclair, says, "The First Nations Safety Council of British Columbia is a wonderful example of what can be done when we bridge the gap between traditional knowledge and industry's best practices. I am encouraged that there is an organization that has been established by, for and to serve First Nations individuals, communities and enterprises in achieving the highest standard of occupational health, safety and environmental management."

The Senator continues, "Although none of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) report touch directly on health and safety regulation, the calls provide a roadmap that that can be used by anyone wanting to reconciliation efforts to improve the relationship with Indigenous Peoples.

"The TRC Call to Action# 92 is closely linked with mission statement of the First Nations Safety Council of British Columbia." It states:

We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their land and resources:

i. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.

ii. Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.

iii. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and antiracism.

The First Nations Safety Council has been formed to support oversight by First Nations concerning occupational health, safety and environmental management for all workers and organizations engaged on First Nations’ lands or in partnership with First Nations enterprises.

2018 First Nations Safety Conference, Nanaimo, B.C.

Fisheries and Aquaculture news and feature stories

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Lisa Houle gave a presentation on behalf of WorksafeBC at the First Nations Safety Conference Oct, 22, 2018, at the Nanaimo Convention Centre. WorksafeBC is the injury insurance program for employers and employees on worksites in all industries across the province. "We work at the industry-level with partnerships in collaboration with the employers and the workforce," says Houle.

In the past few years, "We have developed a history of visiting First Nations schools to provide education resources to non-graduated students. We've been working together with First Nations to create greater awareness of safety on the job," no matter where the work is found, in the commercial fisheries, Indigenous agriculture, First Nations forestry, these are a few examples.

Houle describes a few of the many WorksafeBC initiatives and provides links to the WorksafeBC website for further information: "We have a Young Worker Campaign because work can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the job or don’t have a lot of experience in the industry. You want to make a good first impression by showing your co-workers and your boss that you know what you’re doing.

"That’s why, while talking about safety at work, asking for training, or bringing up concerns can be hard, it’s important. Employers are responsible for providing adequate training before you start work. Proper training and orientation helps to ensure that everyone stays safe on the job. 

"If you get a gut feeling that something isn’t safe, or you don’t know how to do your job safely, listen to your instincts and talk to your manager about it. It could save your life or the life of your co-worker."

Houle says WorksafeBC runs a First Responders Mental Health Committee that provides an effective website interface for initiating contact and services like Self-Assessment "Sometimes it’s helpful to take a personal mental health check, to see how you’re managing with the stress and pressure of work (and life!)."

The website supplies a contact reference on "Ways To Help":  "Is someone you work with struggling with their mental health? Do they seem stressed? Are they acting differently—or is there something a little “off” in the way they’re behaving? Here are things you can do to offer support." Learn more about valuable mental health resources  

Houle explains, "At WorksafeBC we have 3000-plus resources with an industry-related focus covering the entire spectrum of job-related safety." She rolled a film about one of the higher-risk careers in B.C., the commercial fishery, "There have been 26 work-related deaths from 2007 to 2017 in the commercial fishery." The injuries come every year and FishSafeBC was an organization  launched in order to reduce the risk associated with employment in this valuable workplace sector.

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First Nations Safety Conference, October 22, 2018
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