To assist you in making a decision to join us we have included here answers to some common questions you may have.These questions will be updated with questions we receive from interested parties. If you wish to ask a question or raise an issue, please visit our Contact Page.
What is our Focus?
The Association has a singular focus on improving public policy on occupational health & safety and on supporting our members in their efforts to become performance leaders and examples to other organizations.
What’s Expected of Members
Members are expected to:
• Pay the annual fee upon receipt of the invoice,
• Participate in six meetings per year,
• Participate in surveys or respond to member questions about issues or programs,
• Contribute individual perspectives and ideas, and
• Participate in working committees.
What Must OHS Regulation Do?
Ontario’s overall system for regulation and administration of OH&S must:
- Reflect potential impacts of prevailing risks
- Be integrated with related policy areas
- Be consistent with sound management practice
- Support economic prosperity
- Be progressive in outlook
- Reflect an underlying commitment to doing what is right and necessary to protect individuals and the public good
How Should Regulatory Instruments be Justified?
Legislation, regulation and policy interventions must be justified:
- Data or sound reasoning should show that the policy reduces risk rate or severity of illness or injury
- The chosen policy alternatives should optimize benefits and distribute costs fairly
- Policy should enhance cooperation among employers, workers and government
- Key stakeholders must be consulted throughout the policy process but government remains accountable, and must safeguard the public interest.
- Impacts of OH&S policy must be measured by government.
What Must Employers Do?
To bring about improvements in public policy employers must:
- Better understand policy process and driving forces
- Better understand key stakeholders
- Become involved at the ‘front-end”, and help shape the government agenda
- Evaluate policy options against a set of key principles
- Develop and advocate creative alternatives
- Act as a coalition
- Respond to government policy initiatives constructively and in a way that promotes better policy
- Adopt responsible OH&S practices within their organizations and demonstrate unequivocal commitment to the goal of eliminating work place injuries and illnesses
What Does BCOHS Believe?
It would be naive to believe the solutions to occupational health & safety problems are simple, and we do not pretend to have easy solutions. To the extent that public policy directs or compels employers to act on real risks, allocates resources to provide appropriate supports, and creates a fair and balanced system of injury compensation, public policy will bring about genuine reductions in human suffering and economic loss.
To the extent that public policy encourages or compels employers to take actions that are largely symbolic or unrelated to ‘real risk,’ or creates a context in which political agendas drive public spending, or leads to misallocation of resources; then public policy actually works to the detriment of employee health and safety.
Health and safety starts at the workplace. As in all areas of business, some organizations perform better than average, many are “just average”, and some are below average. Good performance in health and safety rests fundamentally on the management approach adopted by the individual organization.
However, the regulatory and governmental context plays an equally important role. Public policy on occupational health and safety can encourage, or hinder the development and operation of truly effective workplace health and safety programs. We believe that in the past, the agenda for health and safety has failed to adequately improve accident rates and costs because it has been driven as strongly by myths, misconceptions, and political interests, as by concern for employee protection. Members of BCOHS work together to establish a credible agenda that will bring about real change.
To improve health and safety for workers in Ontario, public policy approaches must continue to be subjected to open and objective examination.
The Bottom Line?
Management commitment, a sensible regulatory environment, and labour participation are essential for improvement in health and safety performance.
In the past two decades, the costs to employers of compliance activities and government administration have continued to grow with minimal impact on workers’ compensation costs or accident rates. Ineffective public policy continues to waste resources, increase the cost of operation, and reduce our competitiveness as a province. While much has been accomplished over the past few years, we have a very long way to go.