President's Report - July 2017
All the Provinces which have adopted CoR have now irrefutable statistical information showing CoR works and improves safety and efficiency when used. These statistics are unquestionable, yet some here in Ontario continue to push back, despite many prominent owners adopting the program. False claims that this was only for the large firms and will hurt small business are not borne out in every other location where CoR has been introduced and adopted.
Are there issues with CoR? No, but there are issues on how CoR has been operated here in Ontario. These, in our opinion, are two distinct and separate issues.
Last year, after hearing numerous complaints from our members, we met with IHSA to discuss addressing these issues. We invited other associations who had concerns to join us in collaborating in finding solutions to improve the delivery of CoR in Ontario, to make it more user-friendly, cost-effective, eliminate duplication, look at a Precor program, etc. While OGCA has continued to work towards these goals, others have chosen to question the value of CoR and not work to find a solution which, to us, is short-sighted. As stated, the evidence is irrefutable on the successes of the CoR program and it is recognized by owners as the high standard they are looking for in health and safety accreditation. Provincial Accreditation will not eliminate an owner’s preference to have firms CoR certified so we must work to make the delivery of CoR better.
OGCA has continued to work with IHSA and the MOL to make recommendations on ways to improve the program. A number of changes have already been made, including recent changes to how the third party auditor system works. Here is a brief rundown:
- IHSA has implemented improvements to how we communicate with firms participating in COR. Both the management representative and the workplace internal auditor are copied on all correspondence regarding findings, desk audit results, and COR audit results
- IHSA has held the cost of desk audits as requested
- IHSA has completed the pilot of the COR Seminars May 2017. The seminar series has been reduced to 5 days from the 6 days required during the pilot. Program materials have been finalized and are being transferred to selected IHSA Consultant/Trainers this August. IHSA has committed to delivering 5 of these seminars in the 2017/18 business year. IHSA will promote this program to business and trade associations across Ontario.
- Pre-COR audit and guidelines have been drafted as of June 2017. IHSA is currently in the process of developing a marketing and evaluation plan to solicit participation in a pilot to test the usefulness and value of Pre-COR. During the fall 2017 and the winter 2018, IHSA plans to pilot this product with interested firms.
- IHSA launched a 12 months Associate Auditor pilot in October 2016 in order to meet the growing demands for COR audits. Currently, IHSA has agreements with 10 Associate Auditors who meet IHSA’s auditor standard. COR workplaces which are assigned Associate Auditors are surveyed post audit for feedback. IHSA introduced new guidelines regarding length of audits as well as thresholds for expenses in June 2017. IHSA Lead Auditors review all audit plans and audit reports of the Associate Auditors.
- The efficiency review of the administration of COR is ongoing. IHSA has made significant improvements to our desk audit process and has been able to exceed turnaround times and is currently up-to-date with all audit submissions. IHSA is committed to reduce the number of program elements once the MOL is completed its consultation on Accreditation. IHSA is cautious to reduce current elements until the requirements of Accreditation are announced in 2018. IHSA will continue to network with other jurisdictions offering COR as a means to assist with continuous improvement.
As well as these positive initiatives, talks have been very positive with WSIB and MOL on the need to have a recognition system for CoR certified firms. Such programs exist in the other Provinces and have proven to be effective. They can mitigate the cost of CoR for firms by recognizing them through reduced rates and other incentives.
CoR is not perfect and it is expensive and difficult to obtain. One has to be committed to the program and recognize this is not a cost, but an effort for an industry to rise above the current levels of health and safety where workers are still being injured and killed.
Firms that have achieved CoR all reported improved site safety, greater production, and efficiency in their firms.
As I stated, the issue is not "Is CoR the right system?" Of that, there can be no argument. Rather the challenge is, can we do better in how it is implemented in Ontario? To that, there, again, is no argument. Of course we can.
We urge Government and our industry partners not to be swayed by misinterpretation of the facts but stay the course. But more importantly, to step up and support efforts to make CoR more effective, affordable and efficient in Ontario.