Bedbugs in federal buildings

October 30, 2019

Recently, there have been a number of bedbugs detected in federal offices. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is taking this issue very seriously and has been working closely with facility managers in affected departments to address detections as quickly as possible.

When bedbugs are reported, pest management experts are brought in to confirm the presence of bedbugs with an initial inspection. Then, if required, they perform canine inspections and install monitoring traps. If bedbugs are confirmed, a full treatment of the affected area is completed. Elements of the treatment could include vacuuming, steaming and the application of a treatment spray. Whenever possible, treatments are done afterhours to minimize the impact on employees.

Bedbugs can be difficult to eliminate, so post-treatment monitoring is conducted. It is not uncommon to require multiple treatments in localized areas to ensure bedbugs are effectively addressed.

Government actions to manage bedbugs are being guided by expert advice. PSPC is working with Dr. Murray Isman, an expert from the University of British Columbia, to validate existing pest management efforts. In his initial assessment, Dr. Isman supported the actions that PSPC is taking to deal with bedbug detections, which are not uncommon in high-occupancy buildings.

That said, with the increase in reports of bedbugs, PSPC is taking additional proactive measures, such as conducting random testing of high-traffic buildings and educating cleaning staff and employees on what to look for to support early detection and reporting.

As well, real property representatives from across government have met to discuss opportunities to further enhance the prevention, detection and management of bedbugs in the workplace.

Consultation is also underway with federal public sector unions so we can work together to address this issue.

Early reporting remains the cornerstone of effective management of any pest. If employees suspect that there are bedbugs in their workplace, they should notify their manager and call the National Service Call Centre at 1-800-463-1850 so an investigation and treatment can take place.

Additional information about bedbugs is available on the Health Canada website. For information on preventing the spread of bedbugs, including the role of the employer, please consult the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

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