July 2016 – Article – There’s No Such Thing As Being Too Safe


LMG_0716-iOA1-FLATLast year, the Ontario Construction Secretariat released research findings which showed a “union safety effect” exists in the Province.  Statistics showed that Ontario’s unionized ICI construction industry is 23% safer when compared to non-union firms.  In the period between 2006 and 2012, there was a 23% lower rate of injuries requiring time off work, a reported 17% lower rate of musculoskeletal injuries and a reported 29% lower rate of critical injuries that put workers’ lives in jeopardy.

Certainly, these numbers represent information the unionized ICI construction industry can be proud of.  However, more can always be done to ensure safety in the workplace, and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) is doing just that.

IO is taking steps to enhance performance requirements on all of its major infrastructure projects – both Alternative Finance and Procurement (AFP) projects and traditionally delivered real estate projects (Direct Delivery).

Effective September 1, the Certificate of Recognition (COR) occupational health and safety accreditation program is being implemented for all AFP projects in Ontario.  It is a mandatory requirement for general contractors/constructors participating in the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process.

Mandatory independent safety inspections on project sites have also been implemented on all AFP projects.  Reports are tabled at regular meetings with the contractor, IO and building owner representatives for each project as an obligation in the Project Agreement.

For Direct Delivery projects, IO has expanded the use of COR certification with a construction cost over $10 million.  This is being phased in with the intention of ensuring there is adequate time for firms bidding on the projects to begin and complete the application process for COR.  Beginning in the Spring of 2017, companies will be required to have applied for COR certification to be eligible to bid on IO’s Direct Delivery projects, and as of spring 2018, COR will become a requirement for the RFP’s.

“Safety should never be taken lightly,” says Sean Strickland, CEO of the OCS.  “We recognize the importance of safety in the workplace, as does Infrastructure Ontario, and anything we can do, any research we can provide to help bring focus and attention to this ongoing discussion, we are pleased to do”.




Fred Lehmann
Communications Coordinator,


Katherine Jacobs
Director of Research,

Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
180 Attwell Drive, Suite 360, Toronto, ON M9W 6A9
P 416.620.5210 ext. 222
F 416.620.5310