CAPE calls on Translation Bureau to take immediate action after interpreter sent to hospital following workplace injury

Ottawa, Friday, October 21, 2022 - The Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) calls on the Translation Bureau to immediately interrupt all parliamentary meetings deemed unsafe to interpreters after a freelance interpreter had to be transported to hospital by ambulance following exposure to dangerous levels of toxic sound during a meeting yesterday. 

CAPE also demands that the Translation Bureau conduct an independent investigation on the incident and for the report be made public. CAPE also demands that all meetings be suspended if the health and safety of its members cannot be guaranteed.

This incident is not only outrageous but could have been prevented. For the last two years, CAPE has been relentless in appealing to the Translation Bureau asking that it takes measures to remove all known health and safety risks to which our members, federal interpreters, continue to be exposed.

“We are baffled at the fact that despite repeated appeals from CAPE regarding the use of proper parliamentary headsets by all meeting participants, this incident involved a witness who appeared remotely without wearing an approved headset, and yet, was allowed to participate which may have led to the tragic incident,” said Greg Phillips, president of CAPE. “Furthermore, we were shocked to learn that the meeting was allowed to continue despite the injury; the lack of care for the other interpreters exposed to the same risk is difficult to digest.”

The health and safety of federal interpreters should be the government’s priority.  Yet, the current level of negligence points to the contrary.

CAPE appealed to Translation Bureau earlier today to get answers and prompt its leadership into action. CAPE has also informed the Minister of Public Service and Procurement, the shadow minister and relevant opposition critics.

While the injured freelance interpreter is not a CAPE member, CAPE recognized that many of its members were also at risk since they use the same room, the same equipment and report to the same senior staff as the injured interpreter, hence the call for answers.

About the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE)

CAPE represents over 23,000 federal public sector employees across Canada and is the third-largest federal public sector union in the country. CAPE represents economists, policy analysts, researchers in the Library of Parliament, analysts in the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, statisticians, translators, interpreters, and terminologists.

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Katia Theriault
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