40th Anniversary Feature: A Celebration to Remember: 40 Years of Excellence

This is the final installment in a series of articles that were published throughout 2016 in commemoration of the BCRSP’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, 1976-2016

On September 20-21, 2016, CRSPs, colleagues and guests from across Canada met in Vancouver, BC to celebrate the BCRSP’s 40th anniversary. The celebration took place in conjunction with the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering’s (CSSE) Professional Development Conference (PDC).

Over 150 participants attended the two-day event that kicked off with a networking dinner cruise around the Vancouver harbour. With the beautiful city skyline line and the mountains as a backdrop, CRSPs and guests joined the BCRSP in celebrating its 40th anniversary. The BCRSP Governing Board welcomed all participants to the event.


To view a photo slideshow of the BCRSP 40th Anniversary Event Photos click here.

Conversations centered around work, life, family and 40 years of continuous growth and excellence in occupational health and safety. 

The following morning attendees were up early ready for a complete day of sessions scheduled at the Westin Bayshore Hotel. The day began with breakfast in conjunction with the CSSE’s Annual General Meeting where CRSP Kathy Tull was appointed as the new President of the CSSE. 

Following breakfast, the much anticipated panel discussion on the future of the occupational health and safety profession took place to a standing room only audience. Panelists included Tom Cecich, CSP, CIH, President, American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), Jim Hopkins, CRSP, CHSC, President, Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), Treasa M. Turnbeaugh, PhD, CSP, ASP, CET, IOM, Chief Executive Officer, Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), Dave Turner, MBA, PEng, CMSP, CRSP, Chair, Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP), Karen McDonnell, CFIOSH, President, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), and moderator Peter Sturm, BA, CHSC, CRSP, BCRSP 40th Anniversary Committee Chair. 

The panel discussion was informative and interactive with technology supporting participant interaction. Panelists discussed global issues surrounding the profession and the challenges that exist in various sectors and regions across Canada, the United States and Europe. Each panelist gave their perspective on the future of the profession, changing workforce demographics, and the importance of higher levels of education and accredited certifications for the profession.  

The next session was in conjunction with the CSSE PDC, and featured keynote speaker, David Chilton. The former ‘Dragon’ on CBC TV’s Dragon’s Den and Bestselling author of The Wealthy Barber, gave an inspiring address on achieving your goals, working hard for the things you want and making your vision a reality. He shared experiences in business and everyday life and emphasized that a positive attitude is the key to happiness, urging the audience to always remain positive in all circumstances. 

With a full morning behind them, participants joined the Board of Governors for the luncheon. During the lunch, Tony Pasteris from Minerva Canada provided insight into the work of Minerva and congratulated the BCRSP on its 40-year milestone. Special recognition was given to all former Board Chairs, and former Governors in attendance. CSSE’s President Kathy Tull also re-presented the talking stick that had been presented by CSSE to BCRSP during the CSSE’s conference the previous day. 

Following lunch, the 40th Anniversary Thought Leader Session featured three ‘Ted Talk’ style speakers. The speakers each presented a different perspective on OHS and the impact and opportunities for the profession.

The first presenter was CRSP Troy Winters, Senior Officer of Health and Safety at The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Troy gave insight on health and safety from the union’s perspective. His emphasis was on empowering workers and promoting health and safety in all workplaces, throughout all the sectors by providing educational materials and staff assistance. 

Dennis Hudson, Executive Director of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) spoke of need for all organizations to consider the safety, health and well-being of workers, customers and the community as part of their sustainable business practice. Dennis discussed how the corporate reporting landscape has dramatically changed over the last several years in which investors and other key stakeholders are demanding more and better information on corporate performance - including OHS performance and the opportunity that this presents for the profession to increase it’s influence and impact within organizations. 

Catherine Roome, President and CEO of the BC Safety Authority (BCSA) presented the senior manager’s perspective on health and safety and put an emphasis on trusting and leaning on your team. Catherine learned a tough lesson following an accident that occurred at one of her plants, involving a valve that should have been shut off. Two workers were performing repairs and the valve accidently turned on and as a result they nearly lost their lives. Faced with the scenario Catherine shut all production down and took the time to stop, listen, assess and proceed. Although the company lost money, she trusted her team and the people she put in place and knew that she was doing the right thing. Catherine also put an emphasis on values, and being aware of how your values as an employee fits into the values of your company. 

The closing keynote address was given by Robyn Benincasa, World Champion Adventure Racer, San Diego Firefighter, and New York Times Best Selling Author.  Robyn shared tips and tools she used to help her become a world champion and push her past her fears; which allowed her to flourish. Some key points were: 

  • You must learn how to work as a team and get to know each others strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage for the success of the team 
  • Always have the main goal in mind of getting to the finish line together. 
  • Assess the situation and always remember everyone needs to go home at the end of the day. 

Robyn challenged the audience to make both personal and professionals goals and hold yourself accountable. 

With a few closing remarks from BCRSP Chair Dave Turner, the 40th Anniversary celebration came to a close.

Attendees shared these thoughts with us:

“Achieving 40 years for any organization is a great accomplishment. The BCRSP has been a significant contributor to the growth and development of the safety profession. The celebration held in Vancouver was an example of targeted learning, fellowship, member engagement and an all around fun time. Thank you for allowing the membership and our significant others to be a part of this occasion.”   Corey Papp, CRSP, CSP, Regional Operations Director-Alberta, Ledcor Technical Services-Field Operations

“In my view, BCRSP is a committed and consistent leader in the advancement of the safety profession in Canada and globally. Qualifications, competencies and standards required of safety professionals will significantly change and BCRSP is a champion advocate for this change.”  Paul Carolan, MSc, CRSP, CMIOSH, Chartered Safety Professional

“I had the pleasure of attending the BCRSP’s 40th Anniversary in Vancouver this year. Likely the best value for my money of any event I’ve attended in recent years. The dinner cruise was magnificent as we sailed off into the sunset with gourmet hors d’oeuvres, great bar-tending and awesome company! The sessions on Wednesday were jam packed with advanced, professional level training. I took a lot out of each session and was able to bring that back to my workplace. I was grateful that it was paired with the CSSE PDC in Vancouver, this made it an easy sell to my employer. I cannot wait for the next BCRSP event, I will be going for sure! A huge thanks to all who worked hard to organize a world class event!”  Jason Duchak, CRSP, OHS Coordinator, City of Nanaimo

“The 40th Anniversary celebration of the BCRSP in collaboration with the 2016 CSSE PDC in Vancouver was very well organized, relevant, and interesting. The great food and company on the cruise created an excellent opportunity for networking. A big thank you to the organizers who made this event happen!”  Anna Matheson, MSc Tech, CRSP, Safety Consultant/Exposure Prevention Specialist, Workplace Health, Fraser Health Authority

“It was a pleasure to attend the 40th Anniversary celebrations of the BCRSP which was held in conjunction with the CSSE’s annual Professional Development Conference.  As a conference committee member and member of BCRSP I was delighted how the two events were managed to create a seamless interaction. From the Tuesday night dinner cruise to the Wednesday workshops, the anniversary celebrations were as the English say, “top-drawer.” No detail was too small to be overlooked by the organizing committee. From Wednesday’s superb lunch to the fact all board members were available to receive the delegates as they boarded and disembarked the cruise, event planning was front and centre. As a member of both the CSSE and BCRSP it was a pleasure to have had shared in this unique and wonderful experience.  Special recognition must be paid to Peter Sturm and Nikki Wright for their hard work and dedication to making this event so successful and meaningful.”  Brian Fisher-Smith, CRSP, OHS Consultant

“The opportunity to spend quality time learning about BCRSP during the 40th Anniversary event in Vancouver was invaluable, both from a social perspective and on a professional level. I believe that events such as this are necessary and warranted as our professional lives continually get busier. During this event, I was able to meet many individuals that were involved at various levels within the organization, learn about the goals of the upcoming years and how they are moving towards the future. In all, the event was extremely enjoyable and very informative. Thank you for the opportunity to participate.”  Ian Allen, M.Ed., Executive Director, UNB College of Extended Learning   

The opportunity to share the challenges faced by the OHS profession with like-minded people was hugely valuable. I believe it is fundamentally important to strengthen the connections between OSH professional bodies globally, because it is through 'real' proactive partnership working, as demonstrated during the BCRSP 40th Anniversary event, that we can make a difference. Dr. Karen McDonnell, CFIOSH, Chartered FCIPD, MRSB, PIEMA, MSP

Share your thoughts and memories from the 40th anniversary in the comments below.  You can also now download the 40th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet here, with articles from the founding years, quotes from 40 CRSPs and more.