It has been a productive couple of days in sunny St. John, New Brunswick. I have been attending the meetings of the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada’s (AWCBC) Prevention Committee, where I discussed leading indicators and certification programs. This gathering is a great opportunity for the provincial occupational health and safety leaders from the various compensation boards to learn about what is going on in all of the jurisdictions, what’s working, and what needs to be improved. Plus, it offers a good glimpse into the future as we discussed our goals and plans.
Running concurrently with our meetings in the same location is this year’s AWCBC Learning Symposium. The Symposium celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Chief Justice William Meredith’s final report to the Ontario legislature that created the first Workers’ Compensation Board. The “Meredith Principles” have had a profound effect on Canadian society and have survived a great deal of cultural and technological change over a century. Justice Meredith’s five cornerstones of workers’ compensation boards continue to be relevant to this day. His five principles are:
No fault compensation – Workplace injuries are compensated regardless of fault.
Collective liability – Total cost of the compensation system is shared by all employers.
Security of payment – A fund is established to guarantee that compensation will be available.
Exclusive jurisdiction – All workplace compensation claims are directed solely to the compensation board.
Independent Board – The governing board is both autonomous and non-political.
Last week I was in Singapore as part of a panel of experts to prepare a framework and global guidelines on the “Duty of Care for employers”. Several countries were represented around the table, and we exchanged information from the perspectives of our own national experiences. After much dialogue, we completed a consensus report that will provide a framework for employers to establish policies, procedures and best practices towards improving management systems.
In the afternoon, four of us went on to speak at the Workplace Health & Safety Institute conference as part of a panel discussion on Singapore’s “Vision Zero” campaign to eliminate workplace injuries and illness. It was a lively two-way dialogue with insightful questions from an engaged, multi-disciplinary audience, all of whom had a concern for health and safety and were interested to hear about future initiatives in that area.
Kudos to our Communications team for organizing a very successful “Showcase” event the past week that provided an opportunity for our various project and product development teams to showcase to all CCOHS staff, in an informal setting, their plans and achievements to date. More importantly, it was an opportunity for direct and open dialogue between the staff and project team members about the goals, scope and direction of many of our initiatives. Booths were set up by each team with “5 key points” cards at available at each station and the Healthy Workplace team provided nutritious snacks and healthy eating tips for everyone.
All the project team members and I were impressed with the insightful questions that were being asked and the positive nature of the discussions that were taking place. All parties walked away with new ideas and knowledge. I think this is truly a reflection of the compassion and pride our staff has in our own organization.
I am hopeful that this inaugural event, coupled with the general staff meeting, held earlier that week, where we discussed organization-wide, strategic planning and direction, will provide clarity for all staff about the role of CCOHS in the present and future.
Thank you again to all involved in making our first Showcase event such a success.
Minister Leitch serving it up with CCOHS Occupational Health and Safety Specialist Emma Nicolson at the staff barbecue event.
The Honourable Kellie Leitch visited CCOHS in Hamilton this past Friday afternoon, taking the opportunity to tour our facility and to learn about the work we do at the centre. From offering to serve refreshments during our annual Hot Dog Day barbecue event to holding free-flowing conversations with individual staff, Minister Leitch was gracious, approachable and open throughout. The visit was informal, yet informative. Her candour and support of CCOHS were greatly appreciated by staff.
I must say that in my tenure with CCOHS so far, our organization has had the good fortune to report to two exceptional people, first Minister Raitt and now Minister Leitch. Both have been very supportive of us, generous with their time, and have championed occupational injury and illness prevention – and for that we are grateful.