As 2011 draws to a close, and we all become consumed by the bustle of the season, I would like to extend – on behalf of everyone here at CCOHS – my best wishes for the holidays to all of you who have supported us so thoughtfully throughout the year. I hope it is a time for relaxing with family and friends and reflecting on our many blessings.
This is also an ideal time to reflect on the past year, while looking forward to the dawn of a new year – the “pause before the climb”, so to speak.
2011 was a significant year for CCOHS. We’ve seen the retirement of key members, including our three most senior executives. Our past president retired and, most recently, our Vice-President and Director General, Dr. P.K. Abeytunga, who has been the visionary cornerstone of the organization since its creation over 32 years ago. We appreciate their leadership, dedication, and passion.
During 2011 CCOHS made key contributions to preventing and eliminating injury and illness across Canada and globally in 2011. Some of the highlights include the release of the Musculoskeletal Disorders Prevention Manual, Canadian Employment Legislation, and online hazard prevention tools such as OSH Essentials. We produced many webinars, podcasts and e-learning courses and created several web portals, such as the Young Workers Zone, the Healthy Minds at Work website and the Canadian School Boards Safety Zone.
We’ve also strengthened our connections with key stakeholders – global and national partners such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mental Health Commission of Canada, World Health Organization and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to name a few.
We’ve worked with many organizations across all jurisdictions in Canada, including Simon Fraser University, the Association of Restoration Contractors of British Columbia, the Yukon on developing a program on mine safety, and Manitoba’s Workplace Safety and Health Division on a customized version of our OSH Works program.
We’re also gearing up for our national Forum to be held in Halifax on October 29-30, 2012. This conference will bring experts, employers, workers and governments from across Canada together for a discussion on worker health, safety and well-being.
I’m proud of our organization’s commitment to health and safety, and what our team has been able to accomplish this year. I look forward to 2012 with great anticipation and expectation. Some of our new initiatives that I’m most excited about focus on helping vulnerable workers and small employers. Every worker, at the end of every working day, should return home healthy and safe. That is our vision, and that is what drives our effort to create an energetic and vital safety culture throughout all organizations in Canada.