2015 Annual Report
The 2015 annual report, Ahead of the Curve…in tandem, provides a snapshot of the work that WSPS is doing with customers, communities, partners, and stakeholders to fulfill our mission of activating knowledge, sustaining life.
It features stories of collaboration with Ontario businesses and communities to help them get Ahead of the Curve, a progress report on our strategic goals, an update on our health and safety performance and metrics for the agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors, and a look at our financial results for the year.
About the theme: Ahead of the Curve… in tandem
"Staying Ahead of the curve is an imperative for our organization and a commitment to customers, employees, volunteers, partners and community stakeholders.
It is a journey of constant discovery fuelled by courage, collaboration, dynamism, anticipation and innovation. It is about listening and leading in tandem to ensure everyone goes home safe today, tomorrow and every day after."
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Our ISO 9001:2008 certification sets us apart and signifies our commitment to quality across all our processes, from identifying customer needs to developing and delivering targeted solutions.
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Meeting the Standard.
Beating the Stigma.
In its Community Impact Agenda, United Way London & Middlesex made a commitment to mobilize diverse people and resources through unique approaches and partnerships to address significant problems in their community: poverty, beginnings and transitions, and mental health. When they identified the opportunity to create a pilot program to engage other community partners and help businesses get ahead of the curve in creating psychologically healthy and safe workplaces, United Way London & Middlesex asked Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) to facilitate.
Meeting the Standard, which started in October 2014, brought together 12 local businesses of various types and sizes, including United Way London & Middlesex. They met monthly to set goals and advance their work, listen to guest speakers, and exchange ideas and experiences. One year later, each participant left with an implementation plan based on the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (Standard), tailored to the specific needs of their organization.
Christine Gouthro, Executive Administration and Human Resources with United Way London & Middlesex, thought the group's diversity contributed to the success of the pilot program.
"We all had a vested interest in the topic and wanted to make a difference in our workplaces. It was good to have large organizations, not-for profits, and smaller organizations sharing ideas. Strategies may not always work for every participant, depending on the size and capacity of their organization, but they could be adapted."
The ripple effect of this pilot program is significant. It will help reduce stigma and discrimination, and increase understanding and response to the needs of individuals dealing with mental health issues among the nearly 20,000 employees who work for the participating organizations.
Andrew Harkness, Strategic Advisor, Organizational Health Initiatives at WSPS, says the pilot program demonstrates that the Standard can be translated into meaningful action plans for businesses of all sizes. Gouthro agrees, "When you read the Standard, it is overwhelming, but it can be tailored accordingly. Each organization can implement it based on what works for them."
"WSPS staff are subject matter experts on the Standard as they helped develop it. WSPS increased our knowledge and shared their expertise so we could create an implementation plan that is relevant for our organization."
Christine Gouthro, Executive Administration & Human Resources, United Way London & Middlesex
In June 2015, the Nokiiwin Tribal Council, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), and Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA) launched the G'min-oo-maadoz-imin (We Are Living Well) Initiative to promote health and safety culture in alignment with First Nations cultural values.
The Initiative, funded by the Ministry of Labour, has a steering committee comprised of partners and community representatives; educational events, including an Annual Aboriginal Health and Safety Conference; and a health and safety toolkit, which will reflect Seven Grandfather teachings and the Medicine Wheel.
"Health and safety compliance and knowledge transfer is a strategic priority for our board of directors," says Audrey Gilbeau, Executive Director of the Nokiiwin Tribal Council. However, she points out that it must start with the community. "We are driven by the community's needs and priorities, not the other way around. They self-determine the pace of change."
Norm Jaehrling, CEO of PIC Mobert First Nation and a member of the steering committee, says his community was introduced to the importance of health and safety years ago through economic development.
"We have the expertise and systems in place, and we need to bring them in-house. This isn't something other communities have necessarily thought of before, but just as we have a duty to protect economic, financial and political rights, we must protect the health and safety rights of our people."
Joe Donio, President of the Nokiiwin Tribal Council, agrees. He is working to create partnerships between the community and industry, and an important first step is asking the right questions. "Now we are asking employers about their health and safety track record."
Gilbeau and Donio both believe community champions are the key to the Initiative's success. Donio explains, “Our young champions are embracing health and safety and see the importance to the community. No one ever spoke to them about health and safety before, and now they are leading discussions around prevention. They will create momentum, and that's where we'll see real change happen."
"WSPS is a positive and respectful contributor to what we are trying to do, and they understand the various stages of development of our communities. They are building our capacity to provide knowledge transfer opportunities within our Nokiiwin member communities and beyond. They are facilitators, encourages, and educators. WSPS is more than just a resource; they have become one of us."
Joe Donio, President of Nokiiwin Tribal Council - Norm Jaehrling, CEO of Pic Mobert First Nation - Audrey Gilbeau, Executive Director of Nokiiwin Tribal Council
When the WSPS Advisory Committees first came together in 2010, they weren't sure where they could deliver the greatest value. That didn't last long. With a slew of legislative changes and a challenging economy to contend with, their work was cut out for them, and it’s been full steam ahead ever since.
Over 100 individuals, representing 10 sub-sectors, volunteer on WSPS advisory committees. Richard Coleman, Chair of the WSPS Executive Advisory Committee and General Manager of Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions explains, "Now our meetings are chock-full and there often isn’t enough time to get to everything. There is so much we want to do and influence."
Tom Baker, Manager of Human Resources at Bayview Flowers, and a member of the WSPS Agriculture and Horticulture Advisory Committee agrees with Coleman.
"We used to just identify issues. Now we translate concepts into specific tools and information that can be applied in the workplace."
In 2015, Baker participated in the Ministry of Labour's risk assessment survey for greenhouses, an opportunity he knows came to him because of his involvement with the advisory committee. The survey provided a list of top hazards for greenhouses and perceptions about those hazards, which will feed into a province-wide prevention strategy being developed, with advisory committee input, to address unique risks and challenges in the agriculture and horticulture sector.
Last year, advisory committees undertook more than 25 different initiatives and consultation activities, including collaborating with various government ministries and research partners, as well as participating in WSIB's rate framework consultations, the Ministry of Labour's program review, and the WSPS value-for money audit. They also developed a toolbox of new solutions specifically for small and medium-sized businesses.
Coleman says representing the needs of small businesses is an area of focus for the committees. To support this, every committee member has made the commitment to reach out personally to at least one small business. "Large organizations have more resources available to help them navigate legislation and implementation. Now we are working to bring small businesses that need our support into the fold."
"Our involvement and influence are causing second thoughts before changes are implemented. We provide a reality check to reflect the needs of industry so we can avoid unnecessary fumbling, rightsizing and realignment."
Richard Coleman, Chair WSPS Executive Advisory Committee