Month: April 2014

ILO Global OSH Network Steering Committee Initiative

Date Issued:

ILO Global OSH Network Steering Committee Initiative

I am going to have to start referring to these submissions as “Blogging from 30,000 ft.” as so many of my recent thoughts came in an airplane as I am returning energized from meetings with institutions with established histories of success in influencing health and safety direction and promoting positive change.

In this case, it is always an honour to be associated with any initiative from the International Labour Organization (ILO) on occupational health and safety, but it was particularly gratifying to be appointed to chair a steering committee of leaders representing all regions of the globe and oversee a stakeholder-driven process for a global prevention initiative.

We came together with a common vision of reforming the ILO OSH global network of institutions and professionals while recognizing the evolving internal and external environments and the need to establish a framework that is supportive of the strategic direction of the ILO. We have the opportunity to achieve something meaningful and sustainable to the benefit of the ILO network and workplaces everywhere.

We are relying on networks and partnerships with both individuals and institutions grounded in a common understanding of the critical role prevention plays in the OHS continuum. There is a mutual recognition that an institutionalized prevention program capacity and progressive OSH policies supported by enforcement systems are the foundations for regulating risks in all workplaces, and are integral to development agendas.

I believe knowledge enables prevention and bringing together leaders to define and support the ILO’s role in a global network active in disseminating timely and reliable OSH information is key to building sustainable OSH capacities at regional and national levels – particularly in low to middle income countries. This serves as an opportunity to establish a framework to harness the successes of informal networks, particularly community-based organizations that have brought about change at the local level, and leverage them at a global level for OSH awareness and prevention knowledge programs.

Our work continues following consensus on strategic direction and framework issues.

Premier’s Roundtable Meeting on Mental Health in the Workplace

Date Issued:

It was my privilege to have CCOHS invited to a roundtable discussion, chaired by Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, along with the ministers of health from the provinces and territories, to share experiences and perspectives on the issue of mental health in the workplace. Also present were senior executives from key stakeholder organizations representing employers, labour and NGOs. The willingness of the ministers to lead by example with these cooperative efforts, and to take a leadership role in this critical workplace issue, provides a framework for the success of a national initiative on mental health.

At the roundtable, I shared CCOHS’ first-hand experience as an employer implementing the Standard (the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace) in our own workplace. I also highlighted both the challenges and opportunities for workplaces across Canada, particularly small- to medium-sized organizations, based on our role as a solutions provider and promoter of the Standard. Presentations were also made by Mike Schwartz from Great-West Life, who presented some compelling data on the scope of mental health issues in Canadian workplaces, and George Cope of Bell Canada, who shared the successes of Bell’s “Let’s Talk” anti-stigma campaign.

The ministers were engaged throughout and receptive to the thoughts and recommendations from the various parties. Being able to bring together the different jurisdictions to look at opportunities to collaborate nationally and to leverage all the initiatives promoting workplace mental health makes this process transformational. I am confident that through these types of efforts we will build consensus across all jurisdictions, and that a national solution will be found.