I’ve spent several days in Dresden, Germany assisting DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance) organize the Symposium on Education and Learning for the XXth World Congress on Safety and Health at Work. The World Congress occurs every three years and brings approximately 10,000 delegates from around the world to exchange ideas about occupational health and safety.
I am honoured to be a co-coordinator of one of the Symposia along with the Russian Federation and the DGUV, and am excited by the possibilities from working with such a committed group. The organizers at the DGUV were not only prepared to listen, but actively encouraged new ideas and looked for ways for us to go outside the boundaries.
CCOHS’ role is one of innovator and leader in our field. We are recognized for bringing a fresh perspective to the table when discussing change in organizational culture and needs, because we are strongly connected to the workplace and institutions through our collaborations and relationships. Thus, we are able to adapt the delivery of the message of prevention to the new realities of our stakeholders.
These were long days and late nights that I believe would not have occurred had we simply remained with the old standard of providing a forum for exchanging technical information with speeches and workshops. We had an enthusiastic group willing to go beyond convention in order to get a meaningful message across and make a clear impact on workplaces. CCOHS has made a commitment to achieving something transformational, something sustainable that will be a catalyst for change in all workplaces. We have always promoted a vision of occupational health and safety that is inclusive and embraces change in response to the evolving work environment. The DGUV has a similar vision for the World Congress in Frankfurt. It will go beyond the boundaries to provide solutions, promote dialogue and be inspirational. We share this common vision, and that is why I was prepared to commit this kind of time and energy to help make this a success – it is important and will make a difference in the workplace.
January 16, 2014 marked the first anniversary of the launch of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard). A media event was held in Toronto to recognize the progress to date and to encourage continued adoption of the Standard by workplaces across Canada. I was pleased to see Minister Leitch champion mental health by kicking off the event with a personal discussion of the need to remove the stigma and how adoption of the Standard can help in doing that.
At the ceremony I was heartened to see CCOHS featured in one of the videos showcasing organizations that are currently adopting the Standard. CCOHS has been promoting the holistic approach to workplace health and safety for many years, so we were greatly appreciative of having our own internal efforts to “practice what we preach” recognized on a national platform. In the video, Emma Nicolson, the lead of CCOHS’ Mental Health @ Work team, discussed how we have used the new Standard as a framework for implementing our own mental health strategy at our workplace.
I also had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion that was organized by the Mental Health Commission of Canada that included a number of key stakeholders and organizations promoting mental health. It was a dynamic discussion about enabling and encouraging workplaces to adopt the new Standard, and the various roles our organizations could play towards achieving that goal. I was pleased with the consensus that was established and the willingness to collaborate.
This is always an energizing time of year for me. With the advent of a new year before us, we are permitted to take a long breath and look ahead to what the future might hold for CCOHS in the coming year. This is our opportunity to build on the successes of the past year and to welcome new initiatives and directions for our organization.
Our focus in the past year was on collaboration, leadership and outreach. Building on these pillars will be the key to achieving our strategic goals in the coming year.
We have succeeded in significant collaborations with organizations and provinces throughout the year. Of recent note, CCOHS entered into an agreement with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). This partnership evolved from several key factors that, to me, define a successful collaboration. Aside from the fact that we both have a national scope and many common stakeholders, what is important to me is that both our organizations are focused on offering high quality solutions, and developing strong relationships with our client base. Our compatible competencies will create synergies between our organizations. And most importantly, we share a common set of values. Bonnie Rose, President of CSA Standards, and I share a vision of the critical role that prevention plays in the Canadian health and safety landscape.
It is with this same set of principles to finding value-creating collaborations that we also signed an MOU the past month with the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada. In discussions with the Institute’s president, Steve Mahoney, I know it will be another excellent opportunity for synergies between two organizations with a common purpose.
Common vision, shared values and complementary capacities comprise our formula for success and sustainability with our partners.