Canadian Government Entities Under Scrutiny for Lax Cybersecurity

Canada’s government sector is increasingly coming under scrutiny for both lagging privacy and security both in legislation and in practice

 

In a sign of the times, figures released in February to the House of Commons reveal that the personal information of at least 144,000 Canadians was mishandled by Federal department and agencies, including the Security Intelligence Service and Department of National Defense.  The breaches were widespread, impacting over 10 separate departments and agencies, with evidence indicating that these figures are being underreported due to inadequate reporting requirements.  The Canada Revenue Agency led the pack with 3,020 identified breaches over the last two years impacting at least 59,065 Canadians. 

 

Helical’s offerings meet the “Baseline Cyber Security Controls for Small and Medium Organizations” published by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and can be scaled up according to need.  You can learn more about how we meet these requirements here or for more information about Helical, visit our website.  

Share

SDS Breakdown: What, When, Why & How?

What is an SDS?

SDS stands for Safety Data Sheet (previously called MSDS • Material Safety Data Sheet)

When do you need an SDS?

Safety Data Sheets are created for any product that is “classified as a “hazardous product” under WHMIS that is intended for use, handling or storage in a workplace in Canada.”

Hazardous product means any product, mixture, material or substance that is classified in accordance with the regulations made under subsection 15(1) in a category or subcategory of a hazard class listed in Schedule 2 Source

Safety Data Sheets are to be provided by the manufacturer or supplier. They can be a hard copy given in-person or mailed, or a digital copy on a USB, a disc or sent via email.  It is required that workplaces in Canada maintain an SDS library, whether hard copy or digital, and that it be readily available to all employees.

Metal worker wearing PPE at work with fumes surrounding him

What is on an SDS?

A Safety Data Sheet is separated into 16 sections, below is a brief outline of what information goes into each section.

SECTION 1 – Identification

SECTION 2 – Hazard Identification

SECTION 3 – Composition/Ingredients

SECTION 4 – First Aid Measures

SECTION 5 – Fire-fighting Measures

SECTION 6 – Accidental Release Measures

SECTION 7 – Handling and Storage

SECTION 8 – Exposure Controls / PPE

SECTION 9 – Physical and Chemical Properties

SECTION 10 – Stability and Reactivity

SECTION 11 – Toxicological Info.

SECTION 12 – Ecological Info.

SECTION 13 – Disposal Considerations

SECTION 14 – Transportation Info.

SECTION 15 – Regulatory Info.

SECTION 16 – Other Info. (Dates, etc.)

How can you manage your SDS library?

Depending on the number of hazardous materials in your workplace, maintaining your SDS library can often end up being a full-time job! Because Safety Data Sheets are not always provided as easily or up-to-date as they are required, locating the correct copy often takes research, correspondence with the manufacturer and more.

Why do you need help managing your Safety Data Sheets?

Instead of taking up the time of a valuable employee in your company, hiring professionals for your SDS Management is the best way to go. We hire a lawyer to assist with our legal matters, and a plumber to assist with our plumbing, so why not leave this to the professionals as well. Managing your Safety Data Sheets is a matter of not only compliance with legal requirements, but they also provide the needed information to keep your workplace as safe as possible.

MySDS.ca can build and maintain your SDS library which can give you peace of mind, save you money and keep you compliant!

Share

3 Potentially Deadly Injuries to Avoid this Winter Season

  With the cold weather here and only getting colder, it is important to remember some safety tips around the workplace for the changing seasons. Below we outline some of the increased risks that come with the winter weather, how to prevent them, and what to do if you suspect them in yourself or a co-worker.

1. Slip and Falls

 although this may seem obvious, slip and falls are still a major cause of workplace accidents in the winter. In Canada over 42,000 workers get injured annually due to fall incidents. With around 17,000 of them resulting in lost-time injuries. With 67% of these being falls “on the same level” (with the remaining 30% being falls from heights). Source It is clear that ice and snow will increase the likelihood of these incidents.

Preventative Measures:

  • It is crucial that snow be removed from walkways and areas used by workers, and that ice be treated with some form of anti-slip coverage – whether it be sand, rock salt or something of the sort.
  • Non-slip footwear – many workers will have to work with slippery surfaces while out on the job. The right footwear choices can help prevent slipping on icy surfaces, such as work boots with a heavy tread, or even a removable tread can be placed over your footwear for added traction (please ensure your winter footwear meets your workplace standards prior to purchasing)

Protect your body – with the cold temperatures it is imperative that workers wear the appropriate clothing to stay protected. Layering your clothing allows you to remove and add layers as you begin to warm up or cool down. Wool is an excellent material to include in layering as it stays warm even when it gets wet. It is easy for workers to forget the potential dangers of working in cold temperatures when they are working hard, and their body has warmed up from physical labour but Hypothermia and Frostbite are very real dangers.

2. Hypothermia

– caused from a dangerous drop in body temperature. Hypothermia accounts for approximately 8000 deaths per year in Canada “Normal body temperature averages 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. With hypothermia, core temperature drops below 95 degrees. In severe hypothermia, core body temperature can drop to 82 degrees or lower.” Source

Warning signs:

  • Shivering, one of the first warning signs that your body is getting too cold and you should seek warmer shelter, when shivering becomes violent or stops, cause for worry increases
  • Grogginess, inability to pay attention or think clearly
  • Slow, shallow breathing leading to little or no breathing as severity increases
  • Slow, weak pulse leading to weak, irregular or non-existent pulse

What should you do:

If you suspect yourself or someone is suffering from hypothermia get them to a warmer/dry location as soon as possible and call for emergency help. Keep the person in a horizontal position and warm them with blankets or skin to skin body heat. If they are conscious give them something warm to drink. When hypothermia is severe people can actually appear to be dead so it is important to keep warming them until help arrives! Source

3. Frostbite

– is caused by the freezing of your skin and the underlying tissues. Source Frostbite most commonly occurs on hands, feet, noses and ears. Frostbite can range in severity but it is never something to be taken lightly. In severe cases nerve damage, blackening of skin and skin infections can occur.

Warning signs:

  • a prickly burning sensation, leading to numbness
  • discolouration of skin – blueish/white or grayish/yellow, hard or waxy-looking skin
  • clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness
  • blistering after rewarming, in severe cases Source

What should you do: (as recommended by the Government of Canada)

Passive warming – move to a warm room, wrap yourself in blankets or reheat your body by skin-to-skin contact with another person

Active warming – this can be done along with passive warming. Add heat directly to the frostbitten area. The idea is to thaw the injured skin as quickly as possible without burning yourself. Thawing frostbitten skin is very painful so the injured skin should be placed in water that is just above body temperature. Do not rub, massage or shake the injured skin because that can cause more damage.

Severe frostbite requires immediate medical attention. While you are waiting for help to arrive begin treating it with passive and active warming. Source

The Ontario Government's legal requirements for employers to train staff of hazards specific to weather conditiions

Winter weather brings the fun of many winter activities but also the risk of the injuries listed above. It is important to remember these safety tips while at work and at home this winter. With the proper care taken all three causes of injury can be greatly prevented.

Stay WARM and SAFE this winter season.

Sources:

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/environment/extreme-cold.html

https://canadasafetycouncil.org/the-cold-facts-on-hypothermia/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/frostbite/symptoms-causes/syc-20372656

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-hypothermia#1

https://www.wsps.ca/Information-Resources/Topics/Slips,-Trips-and-Falls.aspx

Share

EPA Reg. 347 C-12 Waste Transportation Driver Training

As described in Regulation 347, the transportation of municipal waste, liquid industrial waste or hazardous waste requires driver training in order to “ensure that wastes are effectively managed from the point of their generation to where they are ultimately processed or disposed of. To provide this necessary control, the regulation includes definitions for different waste types and detailed requirements for a range of waste management activities.” Source

 

Men standing beside spill totes on side of road with truck in distance   If you have a waste management system that has an ECA (Environmental Compliance Approval) or registered EASR (Environmental Activity and Sector Registry), you will typically have a requirement for a certificate to be held in the waste transportation vehicle, indicating that the driver has received this training. The certificate must have specific information such as the driver’s name, the name of the business, the ECA or EASR number, it will also contain information such as the date the training was completed as well as the name and organization of the trainer that provided this training. The certificate should remain with the driver at all times while on-duty, as any regulatory officer can ask the driver to produce this card . Should the driver not have a compliant card or not have the card in his or her possession, fines can and will occur. It is also imperative that your company contacts the local municipality to find out what they consider hauled liquid waste, as this can vary from site to site.

In May of 2012, on the Trans-Canada highway, a septic tank truck caught the ditch and lost control, more than 3000 liters of raw sewage, seeped into a nearby creek, creating algae build-up and causing fish and other wildlife to suffer. Environmental impacts of this nature are incredibly difficult to rectify. The ongoing cost of water filtration, wildlife reintroduction, and forest rehabilitation can reach into the millions of dollars. Knowing how to respond to any type of spill you may have and reacting accordingly is imperative and can greatly reduce a chance of any environmental impact.

This government required training is put in place for the betterment of the employee(s), the environment and to reduce adverse affects to human health and the environment.

Article written by Liisa Punkari for MySDS Inc.

At MySDS Inc. we offer an online C-12 course, as well as an in-person instructor-led customized course (recommended for groups of 15+).  

C-12 COURSE REGISTRY

CONTACT US

 

Share

Chemical Inventory & Safety Audit : What You Need to Know

Setting up and managing a Chemical Inventory can be a difficult task, even when you think you have done your research or have prepared yourself with a spreadsheet or list to follow. The difficulty comes when you begin attempting to cross-reference Chemicals with the Vendor SDS, which may create significant problems if you are unable to do so.

A man conducting a chemical inventory in a MySDS vest

Tracking chemicals in the workplace requires detailed knowledge of all possible “hiding places”. Chemicals can be found in the strangest places –and they can be easily overlooked.

MySDS and Green Lights Logos with Did you know and hazardous materials Insulation bat and Brick

It is not always obvious that certain items can also be considered “chemicals” – did you know that welding rods and certain building materials (IE. insulation batts, bricks) may be hazardous if exposure to by-products occurs? As a result, you may not be able to perform risk assessments for the whole site. Chemicals often interact explosively with other chemicals, so storage location may be a problem if you need to have multiple chemicals with a certain distance between them. The Inventory must identify the distance between chemicals so that appropriate incompatibilities reporting can take place.

 

Chemical Inventory and Safety Audit made easy…

 

Green Lights and MySDS will work with you to determine which procedures and information are necessary for your business.

 

We will conduct a physical inventory of all hazardous chemicals including *consumer products.

 

*Consumer products are products that do not require a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) when purchased by a consumer in a retail setting, however, some of these products do require an SDS when they are brought into the workplace (example: paints, hand soaps, inks)

 

 We will compile a list including:

• Chemical name (i.e Acetone)

• Amount – unit of measure (i.e 1 litre)

• Container type (i.e Glass bottle)

• Manufacturer (i.e Aldrich)

• Exact location (i.e Building C, Warehouse Office, Shelf A)

 

Shelf full of chemicals do you know every nook and cranny with MySDS information

 

We will also update the chemical inventory database when you:

1) Move to a new location

2) Acquire a new hazardous chemical

3) Your inventory volumes change more than 10%

4) You remove a chemical from your inventory

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

A company must declare their inventory status even if there are zero chemicals in stock when their inventory is conducted.

 

Other areas that may need to be reviewed during a Chemical inventory or Safety Audit:

· Placarding

· Designated Substances

· CAS Numbers

· Hot-Spot Identification

· Chemicals Incompatibility reporting

· Hazardous Substances reporting

· Dangerous Goods reporting

· Radioactive materials, biological materials (or etiological agents), or controlled substances;

are maintained in separate tracking systems.

 

We do ALL the work. We keep you compliant!

 

Green Lights Environmental Logo with green globe ball and arrow        MySDS inc. logo with hexagons

Green Lights Environmental is the sister company of MySDS inc.

www.greenlightsinc.ca  |  www.mysds.ca

Share

What is the difference between LEADERSHIP and MANAGEMENT?

In short: leaders create risk, and managers reduce it.

LEADERSHIP ANTICIPATES THE BEST OUT OF PEOPLE, AND MANAGEMENT ANTICIPATES THE WORST. While leadership invites others to follow, management ensures the followers are following.

Leadership is the act of inviting others to a new and better future.  A leader inspires and creates change by casting a vision of a destination that is different, better, and achievable.

Management is the ensuring things happen by creating, communicating, and monitoring expectations.  It tracks individual people to see that they perform as expected, as opposed to inspiring a number of them. 

Leadership skills can be summarized as those skills relevant to interacting with large groups of people, and to inspiring and creating vision. Conversely, management skills are those which are relevant to interacting with individual people, and to specifying and monitoring performance.

Many of the skills required to lead people are also the ones used to manage people. However, the expression of these skills can be significantly different.  For instance, a leader needs to effectively communicate to be compelling and inspirational, and a manager needs to effectively communicate to be precise and personal.

Because of the skillset overlaps between management and leadership, it is quite possible that a single person assumes either of these roles.

 

Want to learn more about leadership?  Check out EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LEADERSHIP.

Share

5 Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss

Dealing with a bad boss

Bad bosses can be deadly. One 15-year study found that when employees had a difficult relationship with their boss, they were 30% more likely to suffer from heart disease. Perhaps really bad bosses have lower coronary disease because their hearts are seldom used!

If you have ever said, “My boss makes me sick!” you might be right. A British study found that stress induced by a bad boss lowers immune response, and participants were more susceptible to a cold virus.

As with much in life, it’s not what happens to us, but what we do about it. A bad boss might victimize you, but you choose whether to be a victim. Strong leaders don’t wait, they initiate. If you have a bad boss, you can decide that he or she’s not unbearable and live with your situation, fire your boss by leaving, or practice upward leadership with some boss management.

Boss management or leading upward is one of the most popular topics on our website. Recently The Globe & Mail published my column on Five Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss in their Leadership Labs section. I condensed years of writing and coaching on this topic into five steps:

  1. Strengthen your credibility and relationship
  2. Check your timing and approach
  3. Don’t wait, initiate
  4. Speak up
  5. Fire a bully boss

Click here to read the column for a brief description of each step.

A reporter once asked the Dalai Lama why he didn’t hate the Chinese Communists. Now they have some bad bosses! The Dalai Lama replied, “They have taken over Tibet, destroyed our temples, burned our sacred texts, ruined our communities, and taken away our freedom. They have taken so much. Why should I let them also take my peace of mind?”

Share

Smiling is Contagious. Try it!

It has been a spring that many will say there was nothing to smile about. It was cold, rainy and dark. From all the rain we have beautiful green lawns and flowers starting to bloom. Again there are many people in parts of the world that are not smiling with all the rain causing flooding and destruction. I wanted to take this opportunity to write about smiling and how contagious it may be in our workplace and for our clients.

Some people are always smiling, cheerful, and they seem to brighten up a room. Their positive attitude and gusto are identified by those they come in contact with. Moreover, we have all encountered those have the opposite effect on people-the “doom and gloom effect.” we often refer to one’s attitude and yet what is that? It is your mental state or the position you take regarding life.

Zig Ziglar once said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”  If you take the word “OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE,” some people see the “no where” while others see “now here.” So is the glass half empty or half full? Often the difference between success and failure is not linked to how we look, how we dress, or how much education we have; it is based on how we think!

Great leaders share the same thought; knowing that a positive attitude is contagious. As leaders, it is vital that we display a positive mindset daily. After all, if we expect our employees to express positive attitudes, we should model such behaviours for them to see.

Each day we have a choice of whether we elect to display a positive or negative attitude. Daily, we encounter negative attitudes at work and in our personal lives. If you remain positive amongst pessimism, you can be contagious.

Some times it is not that easy. I have found some tips I would like to share to help you be positive from “Attitudes are Contagious. Is Yours Worth Catching” by Patti Wanamaker.

  • Be enthusiastic – people love to be around enthusiastic people. Enthusiasm is contagious and draws others to you like a magnet.
  • Associate with positive people – if you want to stay positive, stay away from people that drag you down. Associate yourself around like-minded people.
  • Smile – smiling makes it all better. Smiling releases endorphins and serotonin, which are known as the feel-good hormones. It is a lot easier to adopt a positive attitude when you feel good!
  • Change your thoughts – positive thoughts lead to a positive attitude, while negative thoughts lead to an adverse reaction.
  • Stop complaining – limit your complaints. Whining and griping about anything and everything will not create a positive attitude. When you are complaining, you are spreading negativity.

·        If you want more success in your leadership role and to have a positive impact on your employees, then make sure your attitude is worth catching.

Many of you are thinking, what is there to smile about, and why maintain a positive attitude when there are doom and gloom around us? Research has shown that there are health benefits of smiling in the workplace. We are dealing with conflict, mental health issues and have difficult situations arising every day as we manage our workplace. Interestingly many years ago, it was declared that “the smile is the best medicine for the happiness of humanity.” Later scientific research explained the effects and physiological benefits of smiling for a healthier life. Smiling can be beneficial, in dealing with illness, pressures of everyday life, stress at work, and smiling can even substantially change the quality and forecasts of our lives.

Would life not be better if people smile regularly? I think smiling every day would keep you away from the doctor and feeling self-confident. Try these:

  • By smiling, we can reduce the level of stress hormones. Smiling helps us to increase the number of antibody-producing cells and improve the effectiveness of other cells.
  • Smiling is good for our general health. Smiling 100 times is equivalent to ten minutes of rowing or cycling in fifteen minutes.
  • Sometimes we just want to laugh or cry. That means you want to release all the pent feelings in your head, making you feel both physically and mentally better. So to reduce anxiety smile often, even when you are not happy. Smiling at others will, in turn, help them be happy.
  • Smiling can take you from being angry, stressed, feeling guilty, and negative to putting you in a more favourable frame of mind. Smiling will make you change yourself and improve the attitudes and thinking to other people to the better.
  • When people can view an event that may be frightening as funny, they may be able to feel more content and see the events occurred just merely as a “challenge” in life, rather than a threat.

There are times when smiling, and laughter can be contagious. If you smile more than you can make other people around you also smile more. So by smiling yourself, you can reduce the stress levels of people around you and change their moods. Maybe even improve the quality of social interaction, and reduce your stress level as well.

They say that optimists have a stronger immune system and can fight disease better than the pessimists. There is a link between a positive attitude and good health, which is measured in many different ways. In general, researchers have discovered that optimistic people are more healthy, and they have a stronger immune system.

According to the British Organization of Dental Health, a smile has the level of stimulation as eating 2000 chocolate bars.

A smile does not cost you a cent, and it is easy to spread. A recent study showed that preschool children laugh 400 times a day, but the time we reach adulthood, we just laugh an average of 17 times per day.

So take the challenge and smile more often and find things in your lives that you can laugh about.

Stay great and healthy.

 

Monika B. Jensen PhD is Principal of the Aviary Group and can be contacted by email at [email protected]

 

Share

Cyber Attacks & Municipalities: A Tale of Two Communities

“There are only two types of companies: Those that have been hacked, and those that will be.”, 

Robert Mueller, FBI Director, 2012

Executive Summary

In 2018, many municipalities in North America fell victim to cyber-attacks, and in particular ransomware. This study reviews two municipalities, Atlanta, Georgia, and Wasaga Beach, ON whom both were impacted as a result of a malicious attack on their networks.

Atlanta

Atlanta (pop. 486 000) was hit in March 2018 with a cyber-attack through ransomware. A ransom of $51 000USD was demanded but not paid. Over the next few days, critical systems and activities were taken offline as city staff struggled to regain access to systems. Impact included:

·       Public Wi-Fi disabled

·       30 mission critical applications disabled

·       8 000 employees were unable to access their email or networks for days

·       Citizens were unable to pay fines or parking tickets

·       Forms had to be completed by hand as systems restored

·       Many official documents were not recoverable

Final tally was close to $10 Million, including costs for additional contractors, system upgrades, new technology and computer replacement.

Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Beach (pop. 21 000) was hit in April 2018 with a similar type of ransomware attack. Initial demand for close to $150000 was reduced to  $35 000 and paid by the municipality. Despite this, the town was impacted for weeks even with recovery efforts. 

Impacts included:

  • Government data inaccessible for weeks
  • Systems had to be re-imaged and rebuilt
  • Payroll systems hampered

Final tally close to $252 000, including $50 000 for consulting,  $160 000 for lost productivity and overtime, system upgrades, new technology and computer replacement. Some costs carried into 2019 Budget Year.

How to be Prepared in Your Municipality

While Atlanta and Wasaga Beach are different sizes, they both suffered similar negative impacts due to a malicious attack, and having inadequate preparation for the type of attack that hit each separately.

Being prepared begins with a proper security risk assessment and review of the security practices and processes currently in place. Assessments should typically review such areas as:

  • Technology in place for security controls
  • Policies and standards related to Information Security
  • Training and awareness in place with staff
  • Incident Response plans
  • Disaster Recovery Plans 

Municipalities should also consider:

  • Training for IT staff on cybersecurity
  • Cyber Insurance
  • Testing and training of staff on cybersecurity issues
  • Use of third parties with cyber specialization to complement skillset of internal team.

Conclusion

Cyber Attacks can be indiscriminate and attack all levels of companies including municipalities large and small. However they can also target municipalities, due to limited IT budgets, strained technical resources and small if any dedicated security personnel.

Municipalities should take proactive measures to prepare for cyber-attacks and reduce the impact and likelihood of financial costs and loss of services.

“The effectiveness of one’s security program belongs to those who see the possibilities
before they become obvious.”, 
Michael Castro, 2018

RiskAware is a boutique Cybersecurity firm, specializing in Security Governance and Strategy, assisting organizations of all sizes with security and risk advisory services and security-on-demand capabilities.

RiskAware can be contacted at [email protected] or visited at www.riskaware.ca

 

Share