Chair's Message March 2021

David Johnston, CRSP, EP Governing Board Chair

By the time you are reading this most of Canada will be entering its second year of responding to the pandemic. I don’t know if any of us foresaw the severity of the virus. Fortunately, many of you are in positions where your competence in applying principles of OHS have created a much safer world than it would have been without you. You will never know the lives you saved – thank you.

Unfortunately, some certificants have lost their jobs because of COVID’s negative impact on the economy - despite the demand for OHS practitioners being high. If you are able to help a CRSP or CRST certificant find and secure work that would be greatly appreciated. One way you can help them is by highlighting the benefits of certification to employers and trade associations.

In early February BCRSP Board member, Peter Sturm CRSP, advised me that he was stepping down from the BCRSP Board for personal reasons. Peter is well known and highly respected in the safety community across Canada and his wise counsel will be missed. Wishing Peter all the best in his future endeavors and thanking him for his past service on the BCRSP Board.  

The Board and the Executive have been meeting virtually since the Annual General Meeting on June 29 2020. Despite the challenge of meeting virtually I am pleased to report that the execution of the strategic plan is on schedule and the threats and risks to BCRSP are being well managed by the Board of Governors.

Key to this success is the input of the many volunteers (over 300) who work on committees and task forces in support of the Board’s strategic plan. The Board recognizes that part of the benefit of volunteering may involve travel and networking with like-minded people which is difficult to replicate while meeting virtually. In response the Board has approved reasonable expenses to be claimed while participating in a volunteer activity for committee meetings over 4 hours in length. The Board also recognizes that some employers value their employees participating in volunteer work and for those certificants who desire it, a letter to your organization acknowledging your volunteer role in BCRSP will be provided. Emails are being sent to all volunteers allowing them to opt into this activity. A big thank you to all volunteers for your continued support and commitment.

Below are highlights of the Board’s activities since my last report.

Advocacy and Outreach. We continue to be cautiously optimistic in the progress being made towards achieving title protection in Alberta and Ontario.  When we are provided the opportunity to make the case for title protection to politicians, government officials, and business leaders, the discussion has always ended in agreement that what is being proposed makes sense and should proceed. Simultaneously, we continued to build on strengthening our relationships with other like-minded organizations, notably the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), Women in Occupational Health and Safety Society (WOHSS), Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists (CRBOH), Alberta Society of Health and Safety Professionals (ASHSP), Conference Board of Canada, Minerva Canada, and the International Network of Safety and Health Professional Organizations (INSHPO) to name a few. Through continued dialogue the safety profession will speak with one voice and achieve greater credibility with our stakeholders.

National Framework for OHS Practice in Canada. Work continues with CSSE in pursuit of implementation of the “National Framework”.  The pace of work was not at the rate we had planned on but we expect that to be behind us following the recent changes at CSSE. 

Accreditation of Educational Institutions. At the last board meeting, the Board voted to approve recommendations made by the Accreditation Task Force in the selection of an external subject matter expert for developing the protocols for the accreditation of educational institutions – a major component of the National Framework. Kudos to Robin Angel CRSP, Vice-Chair BCRSP, and the team of volunteers that has worked so diligently on this project for many years. This significant step will be presented and discussed at the National Education Symposium (NES) scheduled for early May. 

Diversity and Inclusion. The Board is working with an external consultant and subject matter expert on the subject of diversity and inclusion. To date this includes a workshop and two immersion sessions so that the board has the required background and knowledge to advance D&I within the BCRSP. The Board is fully committed to making real and sustainable change in everything it does to ensure D&I is fully integrated in all that we do and continually improves. It is a complex subject and we are open to ideas and comments from certificants that may open our eyes and minds to things we don’t see or know.

INSHPO Singapore Accord. BCRSP is a signatory to the Singapore Accord, “a commitment to improving OHS professional and practitioner capabilities so they may more effectively guide and lead the creation of healthier and safer workplaces”. To this end, BCRSP has created the CRST designation and has updated the CRSP blueprint and item bank to differentiate between the CRST and CRSP consistent with the INSHPO Professional Capability Framework. These developments will also be shared at the NES in May so that educational institutions can make changes to their course curriculums in parallel to these changes.

45th Anniversary. Did you know that BCRSP was created in 1976, the same year that the Ham Commission Report was issued? The safety profession has advanced and progressed significantly during those 45 years and much due to the professionalism introduced by BCRSP. We had hoped to have something of a shindig at the 2021 CSSE annual conference but due to the ongoing threat of COVID we will be celebrating virtually. Stay tuned for more information.

Thank you for your continued commitment to supporting the BCRSP’s Mission, Vision, and Values and strict adherence to the Code of Ethics. Wishing you all the best and looking forward to the day when we can meet in person.