Below is a letter from Alberta Labour’s Executive Director, Rob Feagan, on the collaboration with CP’s on initiatives to modernize and improve the COR Program.

The Certificate of Recognition (COR) program continues to benefit Alberta employers, as it has since its
inception in 1989. Alberta Labour and Immigration Occupational Health and Safety, in collaboration
with Alberta Association for Safety Partnerships and other Certifying Partners (CPs), is exploring
initiatives to modernize and improve the COR program, driving improvements in health and safety
outcomes for Alberta employers and workers. I would like to provide the following summary and update
in order that you can share it with your membership/stakeholders if you so choose.

These initiatives are the result of an extensive evaluation of the COR program in 2018, including two
external studies, which concluded that the COR program must evolve. Key recommendations
implemented to date include:

  • Establishing a Strategic Steering Committee (SSC) with representation from CPs, labour and the
    Workers’ Compensation Board. Led by government, the SSC sets the direction for the COR program
    including the development of a strategic plan.
  • Clarifying key roles, including the Alberta government focusing on program policy to ensure the
    system operates as intended; and CPs focusing on program delivery to ensure employers and auditors
    meet provincial COR standards.
  • Creating COR eligibility for employers holding certification from the International Organization for
    Standardization (ISO 45001:2018) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Z45001).

Three CP-led working groups were established to develop the most critical components of the COR
strategic plan and despite being slowed by the advent of COVID they have made considerable progress.
The working groups are engaged in the following topic areas.

  • Complexity Based and Scalable Audit (CBSA) – the working group is designing new provincial audit
    criteria and an audit instrument, with the intent that they will eventually replace the current COR
    audit instruments, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the audit process.
    – To date, the working group has developed a detailed project plan, identified the criteria to
    determine employer complexity, and developed a communication plan. The group is now
    focused on developing the content criteria for the audit tool.
  • Auditor Qualification, Training and Certification (AQTC) – the working group is updating
    standardized requirements for auditor qualifications, training and certification for all CPs. This will
    improve consistency by establishing a common set of auditor competencies.
    – The working group has developed a competency profile for safety management system auditors,
    and participated in the development of the communication plan with the CBSA working group.
    The work on this topic area was paused in April, to allow members to join the CBSA working
    group to add resources to develop the CBSA audit criteria.
  • COR Harmonization and Measurement – the working group is developing standard COR metrics for
    program measurement, and looking beyond Alberta’s borders to work towards COR harmonization
    between the provinces.
    – The working group has developed a set of metrics for the program, and the WCB is currently
    working on developing the reports.
    – To further interprovincial COR harmonization, the department participates on the National COR
    Working Group facilitated through the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada
    (AWCBC).

I would like to thank Alberta Association for Safety Partnerships for their participation on these working
groups and look forward to reviewing the recommendations they will develop. I have attached copies of
the two external studies that were conducted, more details about the resulting seven recommendations,
and a copy of the COR Strategic Plan.

Sincerely,

Rob Feagan
Executive Director
OHS Prevention Services

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