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April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear, the world in which we live and work is constantly changing. However, the need to keep workers safe, healthy and protected on the job has not. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) supports the fundamental rights of all workers in Canada to healthy and safe working environments. For more than 40 years, CCOHS has engaged and shared information with employers, workers, and stakeholders across the country, providing a national perspective on current and emerging issues that affect workers. Our commitment to knowledge sharing and collaboration and our continued efforts to partner and engage with like-minded organizations has allowed us to move closer to our vision of a country where all workers are physically and mentally safe, well, and protected on the job.
CCOHS is a federal departmental corporation reporting to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Labour, and is governed by a Council of Governors representing governments (federal, provincial and territorial), employers, and workers; a structure that ensures a balanced, impartial approach.
As the Chair of the Council of Governors and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), we are happy to share a report of the work of CCOHS for the year, and our contributions on advancing healthy and safe workplaces in Canada.
We can all agree that 2020 was a difficult year for many as the COVID-19 pandemic pressed on, making it difficult for workplaces to stay functional. In April 2020, as workplaces continued to shut down, remote work became a new reality for many, and essential service workers answered the call to serve. CCOHS was ready to provide support with guidance and information to help prevent the spread of infection and protect workers, however we didn't do it alone. Through partnerships and collaborations with national, regional, and provincial health and safety networks, we were able to put COVID-19 resources for safe work into the hands of employers and workers across Canada, and around the world. We partnered with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other stakeholders to develop COVID-19 guidance documents and online tool kits, safety tip sheets and new websites (such as Pandemic Info Share). We received funding from the Labour Program to develop business resumption materials such as e-courses and infographics as well as knowledge transfer initiatives, with the goal of helping as many sectors and industries as possible.
While COVID-19 may have been our primary focus of 2020-21, we also continued to promote safe work practices around priority sectors such as agriculture and healthcare and address topics of concern including harassment and violence, mental health, and occupational disease. With the help of like-minded organizations across Canada, we collaborated and partnered to create e-courses, bolstered our topic-specific microsites, created apps, produced informational podcasts, and hosted virtual events to spread prevention messages and good practices to workplaces and workers alike.
We continued our partnership with the Government of Canada on a national social marketing campaign to promote harassment and violence prevention and mental health in Canadian workplaces. The campaign: Taking Action Against Violence, Harassment and Mental Health in the Workplace, addressed the essential elements of a workplace harassment and violence prevention policy, as well as the procedures that must be in place to respond to incidents of harassment and violence when they do occur. Additionally, CCOHS developed three new e-courses to help employers, managers, and employees in federally regulated work places understand their specific roles and responsibilities in accordance with the Canada Labour Code, Part II, including the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations that came into force on January 1, 2021. In support of the federal Labour Program, we are hosting a roster of investigators that have been reviewed by an expert working group to investigate complaints under these regulations.
During the year we had several changes to the Council of Governors. We welcomed new appointees Kurt Dieckmann (Yukon), Cheryl Paynter (Prince Edward Island), Daniel Strand (British Columbia), and Candace DiCresce (Rogers Communications). We said farewell to and thanked our outgoing Council members for their commitment and service to CCOHS: Shari Nurse (Canada Post Corporation), Denis St-Jean (Public Service Alliance of Canada), Sari Sairanen (Unifor), Shelly Dauphinee (New Brunswick), Susanna Zagar (Ontario), and Shelley Rowan (Nova Scotia). Finally, we would like to recognize the members of our Council of Governors for their commitment, guidance and leadership during these trying times. To our staff, your unyielding dedication and efforts this year has helped CCOHS advance its mandate, reach more people than ever before, and most importantly, helped make Canadian workplaces safer. It is a testament to the efforts of both Council and staff that CCOHS not only survived a year like no other, but thrived, answering the call, and working with a purpose to serve. We thank you all.
CCOHS, into the third year of the five year strategic plan, continued to explore the impacts of changing work on worker safety and health, and identify sectors and issues that deserved our focus. Enabled by the power of partnerships and collaboration, CCOHS continued to focus on three key strategic priorities that informed and shaped the work of CCOHS this year as well as over the coming years through to 2023.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way Canadians work, and the start of the CCOHS fiscal year on April 1, 2020, was like no other in its 42-year history. Close to 10,000 people in Canada were infected with COVID-19, and most jurisdictions across the country had entered into a lockdown or stay-at-home order, with many people working remotely and only essential services in operation.
Having ended the previous fiscal year with the development of COVID-19 guidance, CCOHS continued to produce and promote information and resources to help workplaces safely stay operational during the ongoing pandemic. The free courses and publications that CCOHS had made available in March 2020 continued to be widely shared to support workplaces struggling to define a new normal with remote work, as well as for those working on the front lines, risking their health to serve.
A total of 18 courses were unlocked for free access, on topics such as pandemic planning, mental health, ergonomics, and musculoskeletal disorders. Uptake was strong with 63,763 seats accessed between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Additionally, two publications, the Emergency Response Planning Guide and the Telework and Home Office Health and Safety Guide, were made available as free PDFs (5,847 total downloads), and the Flu and Infectious Disease Outbreaks Business Continuity Plan was updated and downloaded 5,725 times.
The established Infectious Disease Outbreaks/Pandemics website became a central online repository of credible information that helped businesses and their workers stay healthy and safe during COVID-19. The website was updated to offer more than 900 resources from provincial, territorial, and federal jurisdictions. Overall, the website generated 131,100 page views over the course of the year.
In May 2020, CCOHS partnered with the Public Health Agency of Canada to develop a series of pandemic-related tip sheets for higher-risk occupations, industries, and essential services. The guidance documents offered good practices both employers and workers could use to help protect themselves from the spread of infection. The initial batch of tip sheets were released in early April 2020 and over the year, over 60 guidance documents have been published. The uptake of these resources has been strong with 33,507 tip sheets having been downloaded from the CCOHS website.
Through the partnership, CCOHS produced additional COVID-19 related products that have all been made available through the COVID-19 Health and Safety Resources Tool Kit. The tool kit is anchored by the COVID‐19: Workplace Health and Safety Guide, which includes information on the responsibilities of employers, and workers, and what workplaces should do to control risks. Topics covered include how the coronavirus spreads, employers' duties, handling work refusals, hazard and risk assessment identification for COVID‐19, and how to control the risk and apply the hierarchy of controls in the workplace. Workplaces can download the guide on its own or bundle other industry and workplace-specific tip sheets, infographics, and posters to create a customized and comprehensive COVID-19 tool kit tailored to their needs. Another resource available from the tool kit is the COVID‐19 Health and Safety Planning for Employers series, designed to help workplaces establish strong health and safety foundations (updating or implementing policies and programs) to help address COVID‐19 and respond to ongoing impacts from the virus. The COVID-19 Prevention for Workers series, also available from the tool kit page, answers common questions from the employee perspective and provides succinct and user‐friendly guidance on how workers can protect themselves and others. Since its launch on October 8, 2020, the tool kit has been downloaded 3,226 times.
In December 2020 CCOHS was awarded $2.5 million dollars from the Labour Program to be used over 2 years to staff the development and execution of a comprehensive business resumption program. The program provides credible information and clear language resources, guidance, knowledge transfer documents and e-learning materials to enable Canadians to safely return to work during an active and, or, post-pandemic environment, with minimal risk. As part of the work of this funding, training courses, videos and infographics were produced for temporary foreign workers around worker rights and responsibilities, safe masking, and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These materials were made freely available in English, French and Spanish languages. CCOHS also produced comprehensive court reopening guidance in English and French. Development of training and knowledge transfer materials will continue throughout the coming year.
To enable businesses and organizations to easily share their pandemic-related good practices and resources, CCOHS created the Pandemic Info Share (http://pandemic.ccohs.ca) website. The website is free, bilingual, and helps employers accelerate the development and uptake of processes to develop their COVID-19 safety plans. At year-end, 56 resources had been submitted by workplaces across Canada in construction, mining, transportation, health care, manufacturing, policing, and forestry. Resources range from checklists, infographics, webinars, health promotion tools, handbooks, and other resource guides.
CCOHS continued to focus its efforts on key sectors and health and safety issues outlined in the five-year strategic plan. These higher-risk priority sectors include healthcare, construction, agriculture and fishery, and Indigenous enterprises. This year, in addition to COVID-19 guidance, the work of CCOHS addressed harassment and violence, mental health, agriculture, healthcare, and occupational disease.
In 2018, a Canadian survey revealed that 19% of women and 13% of men experienced harassment in their workplace*. When it comes to workplace harassment and violence, employees, managers, health and safety committee members, and employers all have important roles to play. To support each of these groups as they work towards creating environments that are free from harassment and violence, CCOHS developed resources that explain their specific responsibilities and duties along with preventative measures.
*Source: Statistics Canada - Insights on Canadian Society, Harassment in Canadian Workplaces
This year, CCOHS developed three online courses to help employers, managers, and employees in federally regulated work places understand their specific roles and responsibilities in accordance with the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations that came into force on January 1, 2021. More information about these courses can be found in the "Educating Workers" section.
The Labour Program, in consultation with a tripartite expert group of federally regulated employers and labour representatives, established the Roster of Investigators, a list of qualified, professional investigators, to support the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations. CCOHS maintains the roster on its website making it readily available to organization and individuals across Canada who may need to investigate and address occurrences of workplace harassment and violence to be compliant with the regulations. The 2020-2021 Roster consists of 73 harassment and violence prevention investigators distributed across Canada, with language profiles in both English and French.
Together, with the Addressing Domestic Violence in the Workplace through Collaboration team (consisting of lawyers, professors, doctors, and researchers), CCOHS hosted a free virtual educational session that highlighted what workplaces are legally required to do under the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations. Participants learned when domestic violence becomes a workplace issue and how to assess their own organization's readiness to address domestic violence in the workplace. The session also covered prevention and policy development strategies and offered guidance on how to recognize and respond to domestic violence incidents in the workplace. The event took place in February 2021, with 59 participants.
In January 2021, CCOHS developed an infographic to help spread awareness of workers' rights to a safe workplace that is free of harassment and violence. The free downloadable resource highlights worker rights, employer responsibilities, and examples of harassment and violence, including those of a sexual nature. This infographic also provides tips on committing to, and creating, a workplace that is free of harassment and violence.
In February 2021, the CCOHS podcast team interviewed Kathaleen Nicholson, Senior Policy Analyst, and Ana-Maria Iliescu-Stieghelbauer, Policy Officer, from Employment and Social Development Canada; and Amy Campbell, CCOHS Health and Safety Program Manager, to unpack some of the major components of the new harassment legislation including supports for workers and tips for employers as they take action to protect their employees.
Historically speaking, worker health and safety has been largely viewed through a lens focused on physical safety. However, we now know that the key to a healthy workplace includes taking a comprehensive and holistic approach that includes mental health. To support organizations in fostering a total healthy workplace, CCOHS offers an extensive collection of resources including e-courses, fact sheets, podcasts, websites, and apps developed in partnership with credible organizations and industry leaders across Canada.
This year, CCOHS undertook a mental health jurisdictional scan and review of workplace mental health tools currently offered by various organizations, for the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation (CAALL)'s Strategic Labour Policy Committee on behalf of the Ministry of Labour Deputy Ministers across Canada.
The goal of the cross-country legislative scan and interview study was to identify tools that provide tangible improvements in workplace mental health that, if used across Canada, could lead to improvements to workplace mental health.
In partnership with Canada Life, CCOHS hosts and supports users of Guarding Minds at Work, an online survey tool for organizations to assess and address psychological health and safety in their workplace. The tool serves as a key resource for those implementing the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. In July 2020, CCOHS completed its fourth major overhaul of the website. Guarding Minds at Work was updated to ensure that it remained current with emerging employer and organizational needs, research, practice, and regulatory developments. Updates included changes to both the survey questions and resources, new benchmark data collected in collaboration with Queen's University, and functionality and report improvements to facilitate ease of use. CCOHS will continue to maintain the third iteration of the website until September 2021 to assist organizations who are still completing ongoing assessments.
The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace requires leaders to be competent to manage employees in a psychologically safe way. CCOHS collaborated with Canada Life to rebuild and enhance the Psychologically Safe Leader Assessment tool, which allows individuals and organizations to identify and strengthen their psychological health and safety leadership strategies. CCOHS continues to provide support for the tool and plans are underway to enhance the content, functionality, and layout for a better user experience for all users. Work is expected to start in Spring 2021.
In Canada, temporary foreign workers play an important role in the economy, making up 15.5% of the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries' job force*. While it is a fact that every temporary foreign worker is protected by Canada's labour laws, their rights may not always be communicated by the employers or understood by the workers themselves. Through partnerships and collaborations, CCOHS developed e-courses, fact sheets, infographics and other guidance materials for the agriculture industry and temporary foreign workers, with the goal of protecting all agriculture workers.
*Source: Statistics Canada
To help temporary foreign workers and their employers navigate the changing landscape of working safely through the COVID-19 pandemic, CCOHS created a hub of free online resources including guidance documents, online courses, infographics, tip sheets, and videos on mask safety and worker rights and responsibilities, for temporary foreign workers. The resources were widely shared across all of the CCOHS communications channels, including newsletters and social media.
This free online course provides temporary foreign workers and their employers with guidance on how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 at work. The course explains factors that significantly contribute to the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, the control measures to take to protect against the virus while working, living and travelling to and from work, and what to do if they become sick with COVID-19. The course is available in English, French, and Spanish and was launched on February 23, 2021.
Created in collaboration with the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) and Farm Credit Canada Ag Safety Fund (FCC), this e-course provides new agricultural workers with important information to work safely, outlining their health and safety rights and responsibilities, important legislation, hazards, and safe work principles. While CCOHS has offered this course for many years, it was recently updated and features an improved look and enhanced user functionality to enrich the learning experience.
In 2020, healthcare workers across the world answered the call to serve and support those infected with COVID-19. Combine that unprecedented situation with ongoing factors such as extended workdays, periods of intense trauma, and exposure to violent situations, and it’s clear that healthcare workers face many issues day in, day out, all within a challenging environment. Throughout it all, CCOHS was ready to support with guidance, tools, and resources to help keep these essential workers safe and healthy.
In 2019, CCOHS partnered with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to develop two free online assessment tools (Caring for Healthcare Workers and Caring for the Paramedic Community) to specifically address the psychological stressors faced by healthcare and paramedic workers. Each tool consists of an organizational self-assessment review plus a confidential survey for workers to provide their perspectives on psychosocial health and safety within their workplace. Healthcare and paramedic service organizations can use the results to determine the critical areas of strength and concern for follow-up. Links to resources are also provided to help organizations take action to improve the health and well-being of their workers and develop a culture of psychological safety. Since the launch of these websites, CCOHS has continued to host, maintain, and provide user support for each tool.
Workers are regularly exposed to chemicals and hazards while at work and since people spend roughly one-third of their waking lives at work, this can have a significant impact on their long-term health. Many of these exposures can cause cancers and other diseases, and to help protect Canadians from occupational diseases, CCOHS has partnered with organizations to create tools and resources that promote awareness of these hazardous risks.
A collaborative project between CCOHS and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), the Prevent Occupational Disease website (www.preventoccdisease.ca) provides employers, supervisors, safety and health practitioners, and workers with an increased understanding of occupational diseases and how to prevent them. CCOHS continues to host and maintain the website. The most recent updates included an enhancement to the search engine and an expansion of the Physician/Clinician's Toolkit section of the website. Overall, the website received 9,387 page views.
CCOHS partnered with the Occupational Cancer Research Centre on a two-year project to build a database and tool to effectively disseminate and share research and statistics related to occupational disease with stakeholders in Ontario as well as nationally. The website, Ontario Occupational Disease Statistics (www.occdiseasestats.ca/) launched on November 23, 2020, with data and supporting infographics and resources on five occupational groups. To date, there have been 1,125 users (76.8% from Canada) and 3,677 page views. The project continues as data on additional occupations, sectors and exposures are released to the website, and a comprehensive knowledge translation plan is developed and executed.
As one of Canada's largest employers, the construction industry employs over 1.4 million* workers. While these workers contribute significantly to Canada's economy each year, they also represent some of the most vulnerable, or at risk. Workers in construction are typically exposed to high-risk situations and hazards such as working at heights and with substances that can cause occupational diseases that could lead to long-term illnesses and deaths. This past year, they, like many others, were faced with the unprecedented challenge of how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the year CCOHS was ready to offer support and guidance to this group. From media interviews and trade magazine articles to creating a specific tip sheet for construction workers, the messages recommended physical distancing and ventilation, and focused on how to keep worksites sanitized and safely manage crews and projects on job sites.
*Source: Canadian Construction Association
This free tip sheet on COVID-19 health and safety guidance specifically for workers and employers in the construction industry was created in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada. Topics include on-site sanitation, site and crew management, personal protective equipment, physical distancing measures, and training workers on COVID-19 safety protocols.
CCOHS has made it a priority to collaborate with provincial and territorial health and safety agencies to develop web tools and mobile apps to help workers access health and safety legislation. The apps provide users with easy-to-access information about their legislative authority as well as resources available to address specific safety hazards to which their workforce is exposed. CCOHS continues to work with the Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island, Construction Safety Nova Scotia, and WorkplaceNL to host and maintain these tools. More information about each of these projects can be found in the “Partnering for Impact” section.
CCOHS continues to foster and develop relationships with Indigenous communities across the country, learning about their needs and challenges so that we can better serve them. This year, CCOHS worked with Indigenous Services Canada to provide a customized e-course on the transportation of dangerous goods, which is scheduled for completion in April 2021.
CCOHS also strengthened its working relationship with members of the Nokiiwin Tribal Council, participating in the Nokiiwin Tribal Council Education Week in December 2020 by hosting a harassment and violence prevention workshop and delivering the co-presentation, Grandfather Teachings and Recognize, Assess, Control and Evaluate Health and Safety in Action. CCOHS was also invited to participate in the Nokiiwin Tribal Council Education Week again in March 2021 where representatives from the Centre engaged participants in a presentation about communications, civility, and respect.
CCOHS will continue to provide support to Indigenous enterprises during the next fiscal year.
Since the sale and use of recreational cannabis became legal across Canada in 2018, CCOHS has made guidance documents, e-courses, infographics, fact sheets, podcasts and newsletter articles readily available to help employers address concerns of impairment in the workplace.
This year CCOHS supported the Canadian Standards Association by participating on the CSA Z1008 Impairment in the Workplace technical committee. The committee was tasked with developing a new standard (Z1008 Management of Impairment in the Workplace) and implementation guide that will provide guidance to small, medium, and large organizations on how to best apply CSA Z1008. The Standard and companion implementation guide were released in March 2021.
Having reliable information is essential to keeping workers in Canada healthy and safe on the job. CCOHS plays a role in both developing and sharing credible tools and resources, in a variety of accessible formats, freely available, to make sure that everyone has the information they need to participate in the health, safety and wellbeing of their workplace.
Written by the team of CCOHS occupational health and safety specialists, the OSH Answers online fact sheet collection is the Centre’s most widely used public service. The fact sheets serve people around the world with reliable and credible information to improve worker health, safety, and well-being. The collection has grown to 674 topics this year, providing accessible guidance on emerging health and safety issues. This year, the team made updates to 89 documents ensuring the most up-to-date information is available to users. Additionally, thirteen new fact sheets were added on topics surrounding harassment and violence in the workplace (legislation), fall protection, transportation of dangerous goods, carer-friendly workplaces and occupational profiles (nail salons, teachers, call centers, and underground miners).
OSH Answers grew in popularity again this year, as 10.6 million users (15% year over year increase) made over 13.1 million visits to the fact sheets, an increase of 13% over the previous year. Canadian usage increased as well with 2.9 million users (7% increase) accessing the fact sheets almost 4 million times. Additionally, the OSH Answers mobile app was downloaded 7,871 times. Next year, the online fact sheets will undergo some updates including a freshened-up home page, and a new search bar function to enhance the overall user experience.
For more in-depth information and support, the Safety InfoLine service connects users to the CCOHS team of occupational health and safety technical specialists. The team researches and responds to incoming inquiries by phone and e-mail to help people make informed decisions about health and safety issues in their workplaces.
This year Safety InfoLine responded to 7,699 inquiries - 1,375 of which were coronavirus-related. Other areas of concern for users of the service included biological hazards, chemicals in the workplace (WHMIS), mental health, workplace harassment and violence in the workplace. The service was accessed most frequently by employers (47.5%), followed by labour (38.7%), the general public (11.4%), and governments (2.4%).
Users of the service are surveyed to monitor the quality and effectiveness of the service. This year’s survey results revealed that 80.6% of users were very satisfied with the information they received, and 58.3% indicated they would use the information received to make changes in their workplace. The survey also asked users if they would share the information with their peers. The results also revealed that the information shared had a potential reach of more than 1.2 million people.
The CCOHS website serves as the main entry point for its products, services, and resources. From fact sheets, e-courses, podcasts, management systems, micro websites/portals, infographics and topic pages, the website is a comprehensive repository of credible, reliable, and accessible information.
The CCOHS website is the core vehicle used to deliver all our information, resources, tools, apps, microsites, programs, and services. This year the website was updated almost daily with new information (podcast episodes, fact sheets, COVID-19 tip sheets, e-courses, infographics) to help Canadians work safer. To help users find information quicker and more efficiently, a new search engine was implemented in June 2020.
These enhancements contributed positively to overall website usage. This year, the website received over 14.8 million visits (up 12% over the previous year), from 11.4 million users (a 15% increase over the previous year). Of these visits, 31% of the users were Canadian (79% of visits were to the English website, and 21% were to the French website). To help measure the impact of the website, CCOHS continued to deploy pop-up web surveys throughout the year. The increase in traffic yielded an increase in responses to 18,953, up 11% from the previous year. Most notably, 81% of users said they would use the information obtained from the website to make changes in their workplace.
The CCOHS topic-specific websites offer users streamlined access to information and resources on specific health and safety issues. These websites are heavily relied upon to provide users with credible safety information, tools, and resources from Canada and around the world on current, critical, and emerging topics such as infectious disease outbreaks and mental health.
The Infectious Disease Outbreaks/Pandemics website proved to be a focal point this year as the world grappled with how to live, work, and thrive safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The site was updated to include CCOHS’ COVID-19 Tool Kit, e-courses, tip sheets, posters, infographics and resources on public health measures, infection prevention and control measures, and workplace health and safety guidance. Resources were added from numerous credible sources including the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Government of Canada (including a link to the COVID Alert App), provincial and territorial authorities, professional associations (such as the Mental Health Commission of Canada) and international organizations (such as the World Health Organization). The website also links to the CCOHS Pandemic Info Share website, which enables businesses to share their pandemic‐related good practices and resources that other workplaces may find helpful when developing their own business continuity plans.
Over the year, the website grew to house more than 900 English and French resources and was widely shared and promoted as a one-stop-shop for pandemic and business continuity planning. Overall, the website generated 131,100 page views over the course of the year.
The Healthy Minds at Work website is a robust website filled with tools and resources to help both workers and employers implement strategies to improve their mental health at work. Healthy Minds at Work hosts five online tools and web apps that were created in partnership with organizations across Canada and include Guarding Minds at Work, Caring for Healthcare Workers, Psychologically Safe Leader Assessment, Caring for the Paramedic Community, and StressAssess. This year the website was enhanced with new resources on topics such as domestic violence, the Carer-Friendly Workplace Standard, workplace violence and harassment, and palliative care. Overall website usage increased by 27% this year bringing the total page views to 58,513.
The Healthy Workplaces website brings together information, tools and resources to help employers, workers and practitioners participate in making their workplaces healthy and safe. Users will find resources on issues that can have an impact on the physical and mental well-being of workers, including stress, harassment and violence, work-life balance, and organizational culture. This year the website was updated to include additional resources about harassment and violence in the workplace, domestic violence, and carer-friendly workplaces. Healthy Workplaces was used as the source for many of the Centre’s organic social media campaigns, and as a result the website received 47,208 page views this year, a 37% increase from last year.
In 2019, the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) reported 925 workplace fatalities in Canada - 29 of them were young workers aged 15 to 24. To help young workers understand their rights and responsibilities and give them access to tools and resources to help them work safely, CCOHS hosts the Young Workers Zone website. The website also helps teachers, employers, parents, and youth groups create awareness of and promote prevention practices for workplace safety. Overall, the website had 45,526 page views, and the Health and Safety Teaching Tools saw a small increase in traffic with 141,831 page views.
The Gender, Work, and Health website provides information and resources from credible sources that provide a gender lens to help employers understand how the physical differences and psychosocial factors influence the rate of injury and illness among men, women, and non-binary people working identical jobs. This year a new section on caregiving was added to the website, and several new resources were added. The website saw a 7% increase in views this year, with 7,362 visits.
CCOHS knows that for the greatest reach and impact, prevention messages must directly reach workplaces and workers, in addition to professionals in occupational health and safety. To help workplaces from all industries and sectors enhance their safety programs, CCOHS packages information in ways that are easy to access, presented in plain language, and at no charge.
Now in its seventh year, the CCOHS infographics program continues to be a popular health and safety resource. By presenting guidance in an easy-to-read, visually appealing, and accessible way, these free infographics are widely shared and talked about on social media. CCOHS added three new infographics this year, bringing the overall number to 33: Controlling COVID-19 in the Workplace, Incident Investigations, and Workplace Harassment and Violence. The web page was viewed 537,062 times, and the infographics were downloaded 33,341 times (87% English, 13% French).
The most popular infographics are adapted into fast fact cards and handouts to highlight key safety tips. Their portable size is ideal for use as educational material for new worker orientations, as handouts in health and safety seminars, and as visual reminders to workers on how to stay healthy and safe. The fast fact cards and handouts web page had 25,877 page views this year, and the most popular titles were Psychologically Healthy and Safe Workplaces, Musculoskeletal Disorders, and WHMIS 2015.
To help promote awareness of safe work practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, CCOHS released three free downloadable posters, Prevent the Spread of Infections, Take the Time to Wash Your Hands, and How to Use Hand Sanitizer, with tips on hand hygiene and physical distancing. And in time for Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day, CCOHS updated the How to Lift Safely and Prevent the Pain of Repetitive Strain Injuries posters. Overall, the posters received 36,671 downloads (84% English, 16% French), with the top three comprising of Handwashing, Prevent the Spread, and WHMIS 2015.
Available from a range of platforms including the CCOHS website, iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, the podcast program offers listeners a variety of health and safety information using two engaging formats: quick tips and advice, and in-depth interviews with industry experts.
The quick tip format episodes provide workers with timely information on topics such as preventing repetitive strain injuries, mental health support in these trying times, and how to complete workplace inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic. This on-the-go format has proven to be ideal for listeners who are seeking high-level advice or insight on issues related to occupational health and safety, equipping them with an overview of each topic, and prompting them to learn more through our online programs and services.
As the podcast program has evolved in listenership, so too has its format. This year, CCOHS further developed the interview podcast style. With longer episodes, this format offers listeners the chance to dive into topics like compassionate workplaces, women leaders in health and safety, and Canada's new federal harassment and violence legislation. Experts in their respective fields take the audience on a journey of learning, answering questions that span from how to mindfully take your earned breaks all the way to leadership advice for building safe, healthy, and inclusive workplaces.
This year the podcasts accumulated a total of 65,979 listens, with the most popular episode being Workplace Inspections During the COVID-19 Pandemic which generated 2,458 unique listens since its release in May 2020. CCOHS will continue to experiment and refine the podcast program to engage listeners and provide content that they find helpful and relevant.
The monthly Health and Safety Report newsletter provides timely and relevant information on emerging workplace health and safety issues and is delivered to 25,155 email subscribers* each month. The readership ranges from health and safety and human resources professionals, committee members, workers, and employers from Canada (47%) and around the world. About 10% are French language subscribers.
This year the newsletter covered vulnerable workers, temporary foreign workers, emotional intelligence, preventing harassment and violence in the workplace, workplace support for carers, staying safe during the pandemic, returning to work after injury, and the importance of mask safety.
To gauge the newsletter's relevance and usefulness, readers are invited to respond to an annual survey. This year, results confirmed that readers value the newsletter as a high-quality information source with a 98.4% satisfaction rating. Additionally, 95% of subscribers indicated the newsletter provides value to their organization, and 68% (up 2% from the previous year) revealed they use its information to help make significant health and safety changes in their workplace.
*This 68% increase from last year's number was largely due to a technical correction within the e-mail service provider software.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day (February 29 or February 28 in non-leap years) is a day devoted to raising awareness of repetitive strain injuries, also known as musculoskeletal disorders. These injuries affect tendons, muscles, nerves and joints in the neck, upper and lower back, chest, shoulders, arms, and hands and can be quite painful. To inspire workplaces to spread prevention messages about these workplace injuries, CCOHS ran an organic social media campaign encouraging Canadians to share the collection of free images using the hashtag #PreventRSI on social media to help spread the word about repetitive strain injuries. Organizations were also encouraged to provide workers with information about RSI Day by downloading and posting a website badge that linked to CCOHS' free resources and tools on musculoskeletal disorders and other ergonomic concerns. As a result of the campaign, the RSI Day web page had 5,072 views.
The CCOHS Council of Governors established two scholarship awards to honour the memory of past governors Dick Martin and Chad Bradley who were pioneers in health and safety.
The Dick Martin Scholarship Award is offered annually to students pursuing a career in the field of occupational health and safety. The scholarship was started in 2002 and is offered to two post-secondary students enrolled in a degree or diploma-granting occupational health and safety-related program in Canada. Each year, two scholarships of $3,000 each are awarded to a university and college student and $500 is granted to each winner’s institution. This year, the winning students were Dave Elniski (University of Alberta), and Annissa Chau (Fanshawe College in London, Ontario).
The Chad Bradley Scholarship Award is offered annually to women pursuing careers in the field of occupational health and safety. Created in memory of the late Chad Bradley, a former CCOHS governor, the Council established this scholarship in recognition of her efforts as a pioneer in health and safety, with the hope to inspire and encourage more women to pursue careers in the field. Each year, the $3,000 scholarship award is offered to one student enrolled either full-time or part-time, in an occupational health and safety related course or program leading to an occupational health and safety certificate, diploma or degree at an accredited college or university in Canada. The scholarship program launched in the Summer of 2020, with Nicole Boeder (University of Fredericton) announced as the inaugural winner in December 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic made it more challenging for CCOHS to physically connect with its stakeholders across the country. CCOHS traditionally engaged with stakeholders in several ways. From crossing the country to attend conference exhibits and participate in speaking events, to engaging workers on social media, we ensure that CCOHS always has a presence in each corner of the country to connect, listen, and learn about each province, territory, or industry sector-specific issues and priorities. With COVID-19, CCOHS had to quickly reinvent the outreach program in order to have an ear to the ground and understand what information and resources workplaces needed.
Events, including conferences, trade shows, speaking engagements and workshops are important outreach and awareness activities to fulfill CCOHS' mandate. Traditionally, in an average year, CCOHS exhibits, speaks or facilitates at more than 55 in-person events. But when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March 2020, CCOHS had to quickly shift its plans. The outreach team had to revisit the speaking engagement strategy, pivoting quickly to find virtual options to participate in as well as virtual events to host. In a spirit of cooperation and with a dedication to providing prevention information and tools to industries and organizations throughout Canada, CCOHS forged ahead and completed 22 events during the year. These activities included 21 speaking opportunities, of which two were CCOHS-hosted live Zoom events: Women in Health and Safety Leadership and Addressing Domestic Violence in the Workplace.
As CCOHS established a new outreach program, getting up to speed with emerging virtual, online technologies and addressing ongoing remote-work technical considerations, we made sure that challenges were balanced with establishing important, new relationships and partnerships.
In terms of geographic reach and impact, many of our events were national and some remained regionalized, with notable examples from Labrador, Singapore, and Nokiiwin Tribal Council in Thunder Bay, Ontario, all whom requested invitation-only meetings for live dialogue with CCOHS representatives.
The conference and speakers bureau program this year was both meaningful and purposeful, helping groups that aligned with our strategic plan, including agriculture enterprises, Indigenous communities, the transportation sector, and federal government groups throughout Canada - both in regional centres and nationally. CCOHS co-developed many new presentation topics to help support industries and organizations, including remote flexible work design and healthy workplaces for virtual environments; domestic/family violence prevention; harassment and violence prevention combined with civility and respect for general audiences and Indigenous communities; plus, mental health and well-being combined with COVID-19 pandemic information for both virtual work and essential work environments, including agriculture and transportation.
CCOHS learned from these experiences and has documented their efficiencies and challenges with the aim to continue to improve and learn new formats and delivery methods to meet public health needs and realities as they evolve. For instance, next year the team plans to record its live virtual events and share the recordings via its podcast and video programs.
Social media continues to be an important vehicle for providing timely and topical updates on workplace health and safety. The CCOHS accounts across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube have continued their steady growth in follower size, further extending the reach and potential engagement and impact of the messages to stakeholders across the country.
By cross-posting to multiple channels in English and French nearly every single working day (a yearly total of 1,978 posts across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn), CCOHS is able to reach Canadians on their preferred networks. Facebook remains the most widely used social media platform in Canada, with 77% of its users visiting daily*, but activity is also significant on the other channels.
The strengths of social media, in particular its immediacy, responsiveness and reputation as a go-to resource for users seeking information, were aptly demonstrated during the continued COVID-19 pandemic, where employers and workers shared and applied timely information posted on CCOHS' platforms. The single most popular post among all social media networks, which communicated availability of COVID-19 workplace-specific tip sheets, garnered over 41,117 impressions and 1,724 engagements (likes, comments, shares, and link clicks) on Facebook.
As always, posts on all channels are kept open and monitored for comments and questions so CCOHS can better address health and safety challenges and gain an understanding from different perspectives.
*Source: Source: Gruzd & Mai. (2020). The State of Social Media in Canada 2020. Ryerson University Social Media Lab. Version 5. DOI: 10.5683/SP2/XIW8EW
Workplace mental health continues to be a priority for both CCOHS and the Government of Canada. CCOHS received $100,000 in funding to work in partnership with the Government of Canada to raise awareness about harassment and violence prevention, and mental health in Canadian workplaces. Running in two phases, the campaign promoted positive messaging that models a productive response and approach to factors affecting mental health, including harassment and violence, within a healthy workplace context. The campaign also addressed the essential elements of a workplace harassment and violence prevention policy, as well as the procedures that must be in place to respond to incidents of harassment and violence when they do occur.
The campaign ran on CCOHS' Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn social channels and resulted in 10.2 million impressions, 274,800 video views and over 42,500 clicks to CCOHS' mental health and violence prevention topic pages.
The media relations program was buzzing this year as the team fielded requests related to COVID-19, harassment and violence, home office ergonomics, remote work, and mental health. Overall, CCOHS media presence increased by 27% to 1,218 media sightings* (43% of those centered around COVID-19) generating over 1.4 billion impressions in English and French news outlets across Canada and around the world (up 1.2% over previous year). News outlets sharing information from CCOHS included Global News, Canadian Manufacturing Magazine, COS Magazine, PLANT Magazine, Turf and Rec Magazine, Hospital News, OHS Canada Magazine, Today's Trucking Magazine, Winnipeg Sun, Canadian Pizza Magazine, Comptables professionnels agréés du Canada (CPA Canada), Electrical Industry News Week, Forbes.com, CBC News, Huffington Post UK, and The New York Times.
*A media sighting is when a CCOHS subject specialist is quoted, the Centre is mentioned as an information source, or when other publications repurpose CCOHS' content or resources.
Employers in Canada must take every reasonable precaution to ensure the workplace is safe, and that includes training employees on any potential hazards. To support workplaces in developing a positive safety culture and empower workers with the knowledge they need to their jobs safely, CCOHS offers a comprehensive inventory of online courses and publications.
The CCOHS collection of online courses offers a convenient and accessible way to learn about many aspects of workplace health and safety. Employers and workers can educate themselves on a variety of topics using tablets, mobile phones, and desktop computers.
This year, CCOHS launched three new courses to help employers, managers, and employees in federally regulated work places understand their specific roles and responsibilities in accordance with the Canada Labour Code, Part II, including the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations that came into force on January 1, 2021.
Harassment and Violence Prevention for Employees provides employees in federally regulated work places with the definition of work place harassment and violence, and ways to minimize and prevent it. It provides an overview of the uncertainty, fear and stigma around witnessing or experiencing such incidents, and reviews reporting and supportive measures.
Harassment and Violence Prevention for Managers and Committees/Representatives provides supervisors, managers, and committee members a deeper understanding of the roles and legal responsibilities of the employer. The course covers the steps involved in implementing a properly developed work place harassment and violence prevention program in compliance with the current legislation, and the duties required of employer representatives, the power and role of the committee (right of participation), and legislative aspects.
Harassment and Violence Prevention for Designated Recipients and Employers discusses the duties of the employer in relation to work place harassment and violence including policy development, investigation techniques, processes, program evaluation and the role of the designated recipient. The course prepares employers in preventing and responding to harassment and violence in their work place and shares guidance on how to carry out required responsibilities.
Additionally, CCOHS added new titles to its collection of free awareness courses: Pandemic Planning: Reopening for Business and Prevent the Spread of COVID-19: Guidance for Temporary Foreign Workers which was translated and launched as a Spanish course (Prevenir la propagación de la COVID-19 : Guía para trabajadores extranjeros temporales). Collectively, these new courses have been accessed over 4,200 times.
CCOHS continued to upgrade its online courses to an improved look and feel and to enhance the user experience. This year nine courses were refreshed with new content and converted into the new format. In total, 227,190 e-course seats were purchased, and the free awareness courses were accessed 109,086 times. From over 5,000 user satisfaction surveys, 87.5% of respondents were strongly satisfied with the course they took, and 85.4% said they would recommend the course to someone else.
CCOHS produces a wide variety of publications on workplace health and safety. The guides, offered in electronic format, cover topics from emergency response planning, health and safety for human resources professionals, food service safety, indoor air quality, and violence prevention. CCOHS traditionally had produced publications in print formats however due to COVID-19 restrictions, the production and shipping of all printed materials was suspended indefinitely.
In March 2020, to support workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, CCOHS made two health and safety guides available as free downloads. The guides (Emergency Response Planning Guide and Telework and Home Office Health and Safety Guide) were downloaded 5,847 times this fiscal year, bringing the total to over 8,400 since they were unlocked for free in March 2020. Additionally, the Flu and Infectious Disease Outbreaks Business Continuity Plan guidance document had 5,725 downloads.
The WHMIS 2015 Instructor's Toolkit, comprised of an instructor's guide, participants' guide and PowerPoint slides, continues to be a valuable resource amongst Canadian workplaces. The toolkit was updated in February 2021 and 457 kits were purchased (a 34% increase over last year). Overall, 8,098 publications were purchased and/or downloaded this year.
When it comes to spreading awareness on topical health and safety issues, joining forces with like-minded partners can have a much greater impact. CCOHS is always looking to make information from around the country and the world available to workplaces in Canada, and packages this in various ways, from websites, e-courses, special projects, publications, research and more. Work with international partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Union, has helped to advance global workplace health and safety. These partnerships, in addition to its position as one of the Collaborating Centres of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Pan American Health Organization - World Health Organization, allow CCOHS to provide Canadians with information from highly reputable international sources via websites, e-courses, and publications, and to share its knowledge and expertise in return.
CCOHS partnered with the Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island (PEI) to develop the PEI Guide to OHS Legislation, a web tool and mobile app for regulatory compliance. With an initial focus on construction, the tool serves as a one-stop access point for occupational health and safety legislation, consisting of clear language summaries of health and safety requirements under PEI legislation, links to the legislation itself, and links to resource documents and websites. A total of 20 new topics were created and uploaded to the site in October 2020 including workplace harassment, supervision, ventilation, asbestos and new worker safety orientation. Additional topics are being planned for release in the summer of 2021.
In the summer of 2020 CCOHS collaborated with Construction Safety Nova Scotia to launch Construction Safety Nova Scotia Guide to OHS Legislation a web tool and mobile app focusing on compliance in the construction industry in Nova Scotia. The tool includes fact sheets and information on 20 subjects relating to construction hazards such as working in confined spaces, fall protection, ladder safety, excavating and trenching and personal protective equipment.
In December 2020, CCOHS partnered with WorkplaceNL and ServiceNL to launch Guide to OHS Legislation Newfoundland and Labrador a legislation-related web tool and mobile app. The tool covers 20 occupational health and safety-related topics such as working alone, noise, traffic control, chemical management, notification and reporting, psychological health and safety, and occupational health and safety responsibilities.
The New Brunswick Guide to OSH Legislation, developed in collaboration with WorkSafeNB, is an easy-to-use, bilingual website and mobile app for New Brunswick users that features construction-related topics with links to resources, including interpretations, summaries, legislation, hazard alerts, and safety talks. This year, over 50 topics were updated, including air quality, confined spaces, conveyer safety, electrical safety and fall protection. CCOHS continues to maintain and host the website and mobile app, and additional topics will be added next year.
Through a collaboration with the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) Northwest Territories and Nunavut, this bilingual website and mobile app WSCC OHS App - Guide to OHS Legislation, helps stakeholders access occupational health and safety legislation from a single access point. Once a user has downloaded the app, it can be used without Internet or mobile data, ensuring that users in remote areas with limited or no Internet are still able to access important safety information. The tool provides workers with a clear language summary on 29 occupational health and safety-related topics, along with applicable legislation and useful resources. CCOHS continues to host and maintain this service, while first aid topics were updated this year.
CCOHS collaborated with the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), to develop the Prevent Occupational Disease website. CCOHS continues to host and maintain the website and recently enhanced the search engine and expanded the Physician/ Clinician’s Toolkit section of the website. Overall, the website received 9,387 page views.
CCOHS partnered with the Occupational Cancer Research Centre to build a database and tool to effectively disseminate and share research and statistics related to occupational disease with stakeholders in Ontario, as well as nationally. The Ontario Occupational Disease Statistics website launched in November 2020, with data and supporting infographics and resources on occupational groups. The project continues as data on occupations, sectors and exposures are added, and a knowledge translation plan is developed and executed to raise awareness of this important tool.
WHMIS.org is an online information hub for Canadians who need access to information and resources related to WHMIS 2015. The website is a collaborative project between CCOHS and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau of Health Canada, as well as each federal, provincial, and territorial occupational health and safety regulatory jurisdiction across Canada.
This year a number of resources were added to the online hub, including three Health Canada policy documents related to COVID-19: COVID-19 Cleaning Products for Use, Handling or Storage in Workplaces; List of Forms Received for Cleaning Products for Use, Handling or Storage in Workplaces; and Health Canada Form for Importation of Cleaning Products for Use, Handling or Storage in Workplaces.
Additionally, the Safety Data Sheet Compliance Tool was launched on the website. The new tool helps suppliers with the preparation of a safety data sheet for a hazardous product by providing key information about specific regulatory requirements and best practices to address the most common safety data sheet non-compliances identified by Health Canada.
New links to Manitoba's Communication and Resources pages were also added, and the Health Canada Consultation on the Consumer Product Exclusion in the Hazardous Products Act Survey was included. The survey closed on March 31, 2021.
In the first quarter of the year, WHMIS.org surpassed 500,000 users since its launch in December 2014. Overall, this year the website had 92,335 visits (78,475 originating in Canada) from every province and territory, with the top three being Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.
Every year, CCOHS, along with the provinces and territories, invite youth across Canada to use their creativity to develop an original video to illustrate to younger workers the importance of working safely on the job. The Focus on Safety National Youth Video Contest offers contestants and their institutions a chance to win cash prizes and provincial/territorial, regional and national recognition. To offer youth from provinces that were not holding a youth video contest an opportunity to participate, CCOHS runs a Regional Qualifier Contest. The winning individual or team receives $1,000 and the winning video is entered in the national contest, along with the other provincial/territorial winners.
COVID-19 delayed the judging of the nine entries for the 2020 contest however the winners of the 2020 National Focus on Safety Youth Video Contest were finally announced in July, 2020.
Just as the 2020 contest wound down, preparations began for the 2021 contest. The panel of national judges was established consisting of Shirley Hickman, Executive Director, Threads of Life; Audrey Gilbeau, Executive Director/Governance Advisor, Nokiiwin Tribal Council; and Troy Winters, Senior Health and Safety Officer, Health & Safety, Research, and Job Evaluation, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The 2021 contest closes April 15, 2021 with the winners to be announced during Safety and Health Week in May, 2021.
Held annually in May across North America, Safety and Health Week is a time for employers, workers, and the public to focus collectively on injury and illness prevention. CCOHS hosts and maintains the Safety and Health Week website which acts as a hub of information and tools to help increase engagement and promote awareness about the week and related events. This year Safety and Health Week was celebrated a little differently. With physical distancing measures in place during the pandemic, CCOHS encouraged workplaces to turn to virtual activities and events. To help workplaces develop their own virtual events, a collection of podcasts and several e-courses were made available for all to use.
On April 28 each year, workplaces in Canada remember, renew, and commit to making workplaces safer for all. To help raise awareness of this National Day of Mourning and share its value, CCOHS maintains a permanent Day of Mourning page on its website with updated fatality and injury statistics from the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), podcast interviews with family members and workers impacted by workplace tragedies, posters, and shareable social media cards. This year the poster and social media cards were updated and heavily promoted in CCOHS newsletters and social media channels to help spread awareness of the day and remind workplaces to renew their commitment to preventing future injuries and deaths. Traditionally, employers, unions and workers have observed the National Day of Mourning by lighting candles, laying wreaths, or wearing commemorative pins, ribbons, or black armbands. This year, due to the pandemic and stay-at-home orders in several provinces, CCOHS encouraged Canadians to host, attend or support virtual ceremonies, and pause for a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. Uptake of the website and free resource tools increased this year as the web page had 35,691 page views (up 10% over last year).
A care gap is emerging and worker-carers are having to pitch in and care for loved ones. Approximately 5.6 million of 8.1 million Canadians who provide unpaid caregiving are also juggling paid work (the majority on a full-time basis). Many working families are experiencing new challenges during COVID-19, as they must manage both work and an increase in child and adult caregiving responsibilities. This unpaid work falls primarily onto women’s shoulders. In alignment with the CCOHS strategic priority to apply a gender-based lens to health and safety, it is important to recognize these gendered inequities in caregiving and how they potentially impact workers.
Without effective workplace supports, employees who must balance work and care responsibilities are more likely to experience reduced performance, burnout, and increased absenteeism, or decide to retire early or quit their jobs. This year, McMaster University developed the Quick Start Implementation Guide to help organizations apply the Carer-Inclusive and Accommodating Organizations Workplace Standard (CSA B701-17) that helps employers create practical and effective workplace accommodations that address the stigma and challenges of worker-carers. This guide is for all organizations, regardless of employer size or industry sector.
Having made the resources free, McMaster University partnered with CCOHS to help create a heightened awareness of the issue and to drive downloads of the standard and guide via an integrated organic and paid social media campaign. From December 2020 to January 2021, the campaign garnered 2,399,965 impressions, 23,644 engagements, and 36 guide downloads. CCOHS continues to serve on the advisory and technical committees related to this standard and grant work.
CCOHS continued to collaborate with the Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau (WHMB) of Health Canada and completed year two of the three-year agreement to support stakeholders complying with WHMIS 2015. This year CCOHS drafted 24 charts for WHMIS classification, which will be added to WHMIS.org when completed. Several web tools and databases were also hosted and maintained that, when released, will further support WHMIS 2015. CCOHS issues a quarterly report to update stakeholders about WHMIS.org and WHMIS 2015 for Workers e-learning activity in their jurisdiction, as well as information about new WHMIS 2015 resources and tools.
CCOHS is a member of the WHMIS Current Issues Committee (CIC) which facilitates information and knowledge-sharing between government regulators and affected stakeholders (workers, employers, and suppliers). CCOHS developed secure portals to provide committee members access to documents and resources. CCOHS also joined the Compliance Promotion Subcommittee in 2019 to review documents and to participate in the development of a tool that will assist suppliers to better comply with the Hazardous Products Act and Regulations. In collaboration with Health Canada, CCOHS developed three draft documents to support workplace safety. Also, CCOHS is an observer of the Intergovernmental WHMIS Co-ordinating Committee (IWCC), a forum for regulators from federal, provincial and territorial governments to exchange information and ideas related to the implementation of the Hazardous Products Act and Regulations. The members of the IWCC participated in a review of the updated WHMIS 2015 for Workers course prior to its launch. CCOHS is also an observer of the Canadian WHMIS Coordinators Committee (CWC), a forum for regulators from federal, provincial, and territorial governments to exchange information and ideas related to the implementation of WHMIS 2015 in their individual jurisdictions.
To help Canadians work safely with hazardous products, CCOHS partnered with the Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau of Health Canada to create the WHMIS 2015 for Workers e-course. This year the course was updated to a more user-friendly format and the course content was refreshed. Overall, 62,707 seats were sold this year bringing the total amount sold since its inception to 550,993. The top three provinces accessing the course continue to be Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.
CCOHS is a long-standing member of the Society of Chemical Hazard Communications (SCHC), an organization that strives to promote awareness and knowledge in all areas of chemical hazard communication. This year, CCOHS participated in their Fall virtual conference.
In its role as a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)-World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre, CCOHS contributes to the advancement of global workplace health and safety through its involvement in several projects. In turn, the relationships forged as a Collaborating Centre provide CCOHS with a global perspective on health and safety that helps to inform its efforts serving workplaces in Canada. One of the most notable, ongoing contributions made by CCOHS as a Collaborating Centre is the IPCS INCHEM database, a critical chemical information service for the sound management of chemicals that affect the environment and human health. In September 2020, CCOHS was re-designated as a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for the next four years. CCOHS will continue to maintain the IPCS INCHEM database and will work towards updating its occupational and environmental cancer prevention e-course to include occupational exposures to carcinogens in the workplace. CCOHS will also support PAHO/WHO in the development of a violence in the workplace database as well as the creation of violence prevention pamphlets in Spanish for Latin American workplaces.
Would electronic shipping documents - as opposed to printed documents that can get lost or destroyed - for the transport of dangerous goods be beneficial? That's the question being studied in Transport Canada's Regulatory Sandbox project, and the answer depends on input from stakeholders. Last year Transport Canada partnered with CCOHS to launch the TDG Regulatory Sandbox on Electronic Shipping Documents to serve as an online repository for informational updates and collection of user feedback. From September to November 2020, CCOHS ran an introductory promotional campaign to disseminate messaging to the first responder community and signed a second ILA to complete additional promotional activities through to March 2022. Included are newsletter articles, social media outreach, and multimedia assets geared towards first responders and the road transport industry.
Making sure that workers are healthy and safe is essential to running a successful business. CCOHS helps support employers in meeting their specific industry and sector needs, whether that involves safety data sheet management, compliance with the law, or working safely with potential hazards.
The CCOHS CANWriteTM authoring tool helps workplaces across Canada meet the challenges of producing accurate and compliant safety data sheets. Users can produce safety data sheets that meet the requirements of the legislation in both Canada and the United States, helping workplaces stay compliant with the Canadian Hazardous Products Act and Regulations (WHMIS 2015) and the U.S.Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012).
To help small businesses who need to author WHMIS 2015 compliant data sheets, CCOHS offers a free template that provides the minimum information elements required by WHMIS 2015. Available in English and French, the template was downloaded 514 times (91% of these were from Canada).
CANManage is an online service designed to help workplaces manage and maintain their safety data sheets. CCOHS builds customized online collections to provide businesses with seamless access to the safety data sheets for the products they use. The service supports small to medium-sized companies in meeting their WHMIS compliance obligations by ensuring that their safety data sheet collections are accessible, current, and complete.
In August 2020, a new user interface featuring faster and more reliable searching for clients was launched to enhance the overall experience. CCOHS also deployed a multi-pronged social media promotional campaign that ran from October to November. The campaign was well received, attracting 355,000 social media impressions and over 800 clicks through on the ad, which resulted in 87 leads as well as several viable sales opportunities. To date, the service has 235 clients.
Plans for upgrades and new features are in place for release next year and include an interactive interface to increase communication channels with clients, providing a chat function, self-serve options, and a dashboard status report. A new mobile app will also be launched to provide offline access to safety data sheets and hazard information.
Organizations with a need to access legislation and referenced standards to identify and understand their rights and responsibilities under the law rely on the CCOHS Canadian enviroOSH Legislation plus Standards service. The service has 229 clients.
CCOHS maintains and hosts the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) INCHEM database, a collection of international peer-reviewed information on chemicals commonly used throughout the world, which may also occur as contaminants in the environment and food. INCHEM consolidates information from several intergovernmental organizations which also assist in the sound management of chemicals.
This year 1,700 International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSCs) were replaced, and an additional 10 documents from various collections were added bringing the total number of documents up to 8,426. INCHEM.org continued to be popular, having over 1.1 million visits (up 7% over last year), with over 50,000 of those visits from users in Canada. The top three provincial users of the service this year were Ontario (54%), Nova Scotia (24%), and British Columbia (12%).
The CHEMINFO database, developed and hosted by CCOHS, provides important chemical health and safety information to help identify hazards, control workplace exposures, and prevent accidents on 1,845 workplace chemicals. This year, CHEMINFO users accessed 41,595 online records. CCOHS also maintains two CHEMINFO spin-offs: Chemical Profiles, and the WHMIS 1988 Classification Database, both of which are offered as free public services.
Putting our values in action this past year has meant that the health, safety, and wellness of all our workers remained a top priority.
To minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission, CCOHS rapidly virtualized the most critical of the organization’s work processes. The rapid deployment of our staff to remote work resulted in a number of ergonomic injuries. We responded by providing appropriate equipment for employee use and conducting virtual ergonomic assessments and coaching sessions to help optimize home-office setups and prevent further injuries.
We recognized that each employee experienced the pandemic in a unique way. For this reason, we adopted a flexible work arrangement to minimize stress, particularly aimed at supporting those in caregiving roles.
With remote work in full effect, CCOHS planned virtual activities and events to help keep everyone engaged and connected with one another. With support from the Workplace Health and Safety Committee, Healthy Workplace Team, and Social Committee, a virtual employee wellness campaign was implemented and deployed in early July 2020. Wellness Wednesdays offered staff an opportunity to connect, socialize and participate in activities that supported their well-being. While participation was voluntary, all activities were aimed at maintaining social cohesion and work-life balance.
Employees participated in bingo, a peer-led book club, guided meditation sessions, fitness challenges, fundraisers, holiday trivia and other social gatherings. These initiatives complemented our existing Fitness Lunch program, employee assistance services, and benefit programs.
Engagement by employees through participation in surveys, virtual town hall meetings and wellness activities remained strong throughout the year.
Add in the support of the United Way Committee, and CCOHS continued to foster a workplace culture that emphasized community involvement, social connections and a positive environment from which we could continue to serve Canadians.
Responsibility for the integrity and objectivity of the accompanying financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2021, and all information contained in these financial statements rests with the management of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety ("CCOHS" or the "Centre"). These financial statements have been prepared by management in accordance with the Government's accounting policies, which follow Canadian public sector accounting standards.
Management seeks to ensure the integrity and objectivity of the information in its financial statements. Some of the information in the financial statements is based on management's best estimates and judgment, and gives due consideration to materiality. To fulfill its accounting and reporting responsibilities, management maintains a set of accounts that provides a centralized record of the Centre's financial transactions. Financial information submitted in the preparation of the Public Accounts of Canada, and included in CCOHS' Annual Report and Departmental Results Report, is consistent with these financial statements.
An Audit Committee appointed by the Council of Governors of CCOHS has reviewed these financial statements with management and the auditors, and has reported to the Council of Governors. The Council of Governors has approved the financial statements.
Management is also responsible for maintaining an effective system of internal control over financial reporting (ICFR) designed to provide reasonable assurance that financial information is reliable, that assets are safeguarded and that transactions are properly authorized and recorded in accordance with the Financial Administration Act and other applicable legislation, regulations, authorities and policies.
Management seeks to ensure the objectivity and integrity of data in its financial statements through careful selection, training, and development of qualified staff; through organizational arrangements that provide appropriate divisions of responsibility; through communication programs aimed at ensuring that regulations, policies, standards, and managerial authorities are understood throughout CCOHS and through conducting an annual risk-based assessment of the effectiveness of the system of internal control over financial reporting (ICFR).
The system of ICFR is designed to mitigate risks to a reasonable level based on an on-going process to identify key risks, to assess effectiveness of associated key controls, and to make any necessary adjustments.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety is subject to periodic Core Control Audits performed by the Office of the Comptroller General and uses the results of such audits to comply with the Treasury Board Policy on Financial Management.
A Core Control Audit was performed in 2014-2015 by the Office of the Comptroller General of Canada (OCG). The Audit Report and related Management Action Plan are posted on the departmental web site.
KPMG LLP, the independent auditors for CCOHS, have expressed an opinion on the fair presentation of the financial statements of CCOHS which does not include an audit opinion on the annual assessment of the effectiveness of CCOHS’ internal controls over financial reporting.
June 23, 2021
To the Administrators of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety:
We have audited the financial statements of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (the Entity), which comprise:
(Hereinafter referred to as the "financial statements").
In our opinion the accompanying financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Entity as at March 31, 2021 and the results of operations, change in net debt and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards.
We conducted our audit in accordance with Canadian generally accepted auditing standards. Our responsibilities under those standards are further described in the "Auditors' Responsibilities for the Audit of the Financial Statements" section of our auditors' report.
We are independent of the Entity in accordance with the ethical requirements that are relevant to our audit of the financial statements in Canada and we have fulfilled our other ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements.
We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion.
Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards and for such internal control as management determines is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
In preparing the financial statements, management is responsible for assessing the Entity's ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless management either intends to liquidate the Entity or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.
Those charged with governance are responsible for overseeing the Entity's financial reporting process.
Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditors' report that includes our opinion.
Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with Canadian generally accepted auditing standards will always detect a material misstatement when it exists.
Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of the financial statements.
As part of an audit in accordance with Canadian generally accepted auditing standards, we exercise professional judgment and maintain professional skepticism throughout the audit.
Chartered Professional Accountants, Licensed Public Accountants
June 23, 2021
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities (note 4)
Deferred revenues - web based subscriptions
Vacation pay and compensated leave
Employee severance benefits (note 5 b)
Deferred revenues - donations (note 6)
Due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, without interest
Accounts receivable (note 7)
|Total financial assets||2,209,184||2,309,909|
|Net debt (note 8)||(1,690,833)||(1,515,029)|
Tangible capital assets (note 9)
|Total non-financial assets||380,881||423,798|
Contractual obligations (note 11)
The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.
Salaries and employee benefits
Professional and special services
Transportation and communications
Purchased repair and upkeep
Utilities, materials and supplies
Salaries and employee benefits
Governors and committees
Professional and special services
Other expenses - non cash
Employer's contribution to health and dental Insurance plans (note 12)
Accommodation (note 12)
Amortization of tangible capital assets
|Revenues (note 10)|
Projects and collaborative agreements
Spending of cash revenues pursuant to section 6(1)(g) of the CCOHS Act (note 14)
|Not applicable||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Net cost of operations before government funding
Net cash provided by government
Change in due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund
Services provided without charge from other government departments (note 12)
Total government funding
Net revenue (cost) of operations after government funding
Accumulated deficit at beginning of year
Net revenue (cost) of operations after government funding
Accumulated deficit at end of year
The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.
|Net revenue (cost) of operations after government funding||193,559||(218,721)||310,252|
|Changes in tangible capital assets|
|Acquisitions of tangible capital assets (note 9)||(365,000)||(74,277)||(169,321)|
|Amortization of tangible capital assets (note 9)||171,441||139,728||121,561|
|Total change in tangible capital assets||65,451||(47,760)|
|Increase in prepaid expenses||not applicable||(41,396)||(31,577)|
|Decrease in inventory||not applicable||18,862||9,642|
|Net (increase) decrease in net debt||not applicable||(175,804)||240,557|
|Net debt at beginning of year||(1,515,029)||(1,515,029)||(1,755,586)|
|Net decrease in net debt||not applicable||(175,804)||240,557|
|Net debt at end of year (notes 8 and 14)||(1,515,029)||(1,690,833)||(1,515,029)|
The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.
Net revenue of operations before government funding
Amortization of tangible capital assets (note 9)
Services received without charge from other government departments (note 12)
|Changes in Statement of Financial Position:|
|Increase in accounts payable & accrued liabilities||70,040||(2,685)|
Decrease in deferred revenue
Decrease in vacation pay and compensatory leave
Decrease in employee severance benefits
Increase in deferred revenues - donations
(Decrease) increase in accounts receivable
Increase (decrease) in prepaid expenses
Decrease in inventory for resale
|Cash used in or provided by operating activities||5,108,947||5,017,667|
|Capital investing activities|
Acquisition of tangible capital assets
|Net cash provided by Government of Canada||5,183,224||5,186,988|
The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.
|Asset Class||Amortization Period|
|Computer equipment||5 - 10 years|
|Furniture and equipment||5 - 10 years|
|Leasehold improvements||lesser of the remaining term of the lease or useful life of the improvement|
|Net cost of operations before Government funding||6,735,278||6,249,946|
|Adjustments for items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting authorities:|
|Revenue collected under 6(1)(g) of the CCOHS Act||6,442,648||5,951,904|
|Amortization of tangible capital assets (note 9)||(139,728)||(121,561)|
|Services provided without charge from other Government departments (note 12)||(1,398,403)||(1,375,193)|
|Refunds received in the current year for prior year expenditures||16,112||not applicable|
|Other working capital adjustments||9,492|
|Decrease in employee severance benefits||183,048||262,414|
|Decrease in vacation pay and compensatory leave||(230,112)||13,683|
|Bad debts||not applicable||(951)|
|Total items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting authorities:||4,873,565||4,739,788|
|Adjustments for items not affecting net cost of operations but affecting authorities:|
|Add (deduct) change in:|
|Increase (Decrease) in Prepaid Expenses||41,396||31,577|
|Decrease in inventory||(18,862)||(9,642)|
|Acquisition of tangible capital assets||74,277||169,321|
|Total items not affecting net cost of operations but affecting authorities:||96,811||191,256|
|Current year authorities used||11,705,654||11,180,990|
|Human Resources Social Development Canada - Vote 1||6,227,480||4,117,347|
|Human Resources Social Development Canada - Statutory||1,279,977||1,139,284|
|Treasury Board - Vote 15 - economic allocations||not applicable||not applicable|
|Treasury Board - Vote 30 - paylist shortfalls||1,242,044||473,316|
|Treasury Board - COVID-19 business redemption shorfalls||not applicable||not applicable|
|Authorities available for use in subsequent years from prior year||5,433,795||4,722,046|
|Authorities available for use in subsequent years from current year||2,857,462||711,749|
|Spending of cash revenues pursuant to section 6(1)(g) of the CCOHS Act||3,867,982||5,451,043|
|Total current year authorities provided||20,908,740||16,614,785|
|Lapsed authorities reallocated to FY2021-22 - operating||(911,829)||not applicable|
|CCOHS Respendable / Reinvestment Authorities available for use in subsequent years (note 14)||(8,291,257)||(5,433,795)|
|Current year authorities used||11,705,654||11,180,990|
|Accrued benefit obligation - opening balance||486,529||748,943|
|Expense for the year||1,920||16,292|
|Benefits paid during the year||(184,968)||(278,706)|
|Accrued benefit obligation, end of year||303,481||486,529|
The nature of CCOHS' activities can result in multi-year contracts and obligations whereby CCOHS will be obligated to make future payments when the goods and services are received. Significant contractual obligations that can be reasonably estimated are summarized as follows:
CCOHS has a multi-year lease contract with related parties for $676,937 annually that expires during fiscal year 2024. Costs for operating leases during 2024, 2025 and 2026 has been estimated at $700,000. As per note 12, this accommodation is provided without charge by the Government of Canada.
CCOHS is related as a result of common ownership to all Government departments, agencies, and Crown Corporations. CCOHS enters into transactions with these entities in the normal course of business and on normal trade terms. The transactions are measured at the exchange amount agreed to by the related parties. During the year, CCOHS received common services, which were obtained without charge from other Government departments as disclosed below.
|Accounts receivable from other government departments (note 7)||not applicable||4,968|
|Accounts payable to other government departments and agencies (note 4)||702,494||547,734|
|Expenses-Other Government departments and agencies||300,111||189,159|
|Revenue-Other government departments and agencies||1,927,113||789,193|
Presentation by segment is based on CCOHS' program activity architecture. The presentation by segment is based on the same accounting policies as described in summary of significant accounting policies in note 2. The following table presents the expenses incurred and revenues generated for the main program activities, by major object of expense and by major type of revenues. The segment results for the year are as follows:
|Internal Services||Health and Safety||2021||2020|
|Salaries and employee benefits||3,931,812||6,687,667||10,619,479||9,516,529|
|Professional and special services (incl. Governors and committees)||165,687||715,788||881,475||1,083,693|
|Transport and communications||24,830||113,532||138,362||271,314|
|Purchased repair and upkeep||47,906||258,758||306,664||268,145|
|Utilities, materials and supplies||96,461||75,355||171,816||159,238|
|Other expenditures||not applicable||139,728||139,728||121,561|
|Revenues||not applicable||not applicable||6,442,648||5,951,904|
|Cost from continuing operations||6,735,278||6,249,946|
In 2015-16, the Treasury Board Secretariat facilitated a change in the funding structure for CCOHS. As a result, CCOHS was given unrestricted authority (pursuant to section 6 (1) (g) of the CCOHS Act) to spend revenue from fees charged for its products and services within the fiscal year in which the revenue was received or in subsequent fiscal years.
The purpose of CCOHS' respendable / reinvestment authorities are to provide CCOHS with funding to facilitate one-time expenditures, reinvestment in capital equipment or program development in accordance with CCOHS' strategic plan.
|Balance, beginning of year||5,433,795|
|Annual operating surplus(cost)||(218,721)|
|Tangible capital assets purchased with internal funds||(74,277)|
|Amortization of internally funded tangible capital assets||139,728|
|Other working capital changes||not applicable|
|Internal revenue carried forward to subsequent year pursuant to section 6(1)(g) of the CCOHS Act||3,010,732|
|Balance, end of year||8,291,257|
|Allocated respendable / reinvestment authorities|
|Deferred revenues for projects in 2020-2021||(1,109,797)|
|Deferred revenues - donations (note 6)||(113,452)|
|Net debt funded by CCOHS (note 8)||(601,449)|
|Planned operational and capital investments - 2020 to 2025||(3,046,555)|
|Total allocated respendable / reinvestment authorities||(4,871,253)|
|Unallocated respendable / reinvestment authorities||3,420,004|
The Government of Canada implemented salary payments in arrears in 2014-15. As a result, a onetime payment was issued to employees and will be recovered from the government in the future. The transition to salary payments in arrears forms part of the transformation initiative that replaces the pay system and also streamlines and modernizes the pay process. This change to the pay system had no impact on the expenses of CCOHS. Prior to year-ended March 31, 2021, the transition payments for implementing salary payments in arrears were transferred to a central account administered by Public Works and Government Services Canada, who is responsible for the administration of the Government pay system.