This year marks the fortieth anniversary of CCOHS serving as a source of reliable information, guidance, and tools to create safe and healthy workplaces in Canada. The world and work have changed greatly over the past four decades and CCOHS has evolved right along with them to remain relevant and responsive.
We were pleased in 2018 to launch our new strategic plan that will set the course for and establish the key priorities that will inform and shape the work of CCOHS over the next five years. We will continue to develop national leadership on emerging issues and focus on priority sectors such healthcare, construction, agriculture and fishery, and Indigenous enterprises, as well as further develop our capacity as a national repository of health and safety information, research and statistics.
As we look back on the work of CCOHS this past year, we can see how the organization, through partnerships and collaborations, addressed current workplace concerns such as workplace mental health, impairment, harassment and violence, occupational disease, and harmonization of safety legislation in Canada.
Mental health remains at the forefront of our work. In partnership with Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, CCOHS helped develop the Psychologically Safe Leader Assessment to help workplace leaders evaluate their strengths related to psychological health and safety. We also began work on a project with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to develop two mental health tools: one for healthcare organizations to assess and promote workplace psychological health and safety, and another to address the specific needs of the paramedic services community that will also help them implement the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Paramedic Service Organization. These will be launched early in the upcoming year.
CCOHS continued efforts to address workplace harassment and violence, once again partnering with the Government of Canada on a national social media campaign to promote civility and respect, and encourage employees to speak up when they witness or experience harassing or violent behaviours. The campaign reached more than three million people in Canada, and visits to CCOHS’ violence and harassment resource page doubled during the campaign period.
CCOHS forged new relationships with Indigenous communities, participating in several conferences and roundtables to discuss mental health, impairment in the workplace, and occupational health and safety as well exchange knowledge, and learn from their strategies and programs. We also leveraged previous work (for example, construction apps, portals and customized e-courses), and expanded existing services across several jurisdictions. As we say, we can’t do it alone and we are always better together.
Most importantly, this year CCOHS served more people than ever before: 8.5 million users accessed our online fact sheets; more than 8,000 people had their health and safety questions answered by our Safety Infoline; and in e-course enrolments, CCOHS saw more than 50% increase (over 300,000). CCOHS delivered prevention messages at a record number of workshops, presentations and events and engaged approximately 31,000 people around the country in the process.
In March 2019 CCOHS welcomed 152 leaders and change makers from labour, employers and governments to our ever-popular forum, The Changing World of Work. We explored how the changing demographics, needs and nature of work will impact occupational health and safety issues that the Canadian workforce is facing.
During the year we had several changes to the Council of Governors. We welcomed new appointee Joseph Bajzath, representing employers, as well as returning governor Phil Germain of Saskatchewan. We also would like to thank the outgoing Council members for their commitment and service to CCOHS: John Beckett and Marcel Pouliot (employer groups), Dave Grundy (Northwest Territories) and Trevor Alexander (British Columbia). Sadly, we also lost our dear colleague and governor Chad Bradley who passed away in August, 2018. In the upcoming year we will commemorate Chad’s contributions to occupational health and safety by establishing a new annual student scholarship award in her name.
Finally, we would like to extend our appreciation to the Council of Governors for their invaluable support of, and guidance to, the organization as well as to the CCOHS staff whose contributions and commitment help create positive change to ultimately make Canada the safest country in which to work.