The Certificate of Recognition (COR™) program is often required for contracts with both public- and private-sector construction projects in Ontario. For example, some municipalities expect their contractors to be registered with the COR™ program in order for them to qualify for bidding purposes.
An audit is a comprehensive and detailed review of the employer’s health and safety management system. The audit will typically cover the basic elements of a health and safety management system and will include interviews, documentation review and observation techniques.
A health and safety management system (HSMS) is a framework put in place by employers to manage risks, establish controls, and minimize the incidence of injury and illness to their workers. This is accomplished through identifying, assessing, and controlling risks to workers in all workplaces. The scope and complexity of the management system vary according to the type of workplace and the nature of business.
A representative from senior management and one designated full-time permanent employee must take prescribed training offered by IHSA. The training is conducted to help the employer understand and commit to the program, and for the full-time employee to become the designated Internal Auditor.
Once the training is complete, the employer is required to conduct an internal audit of their HSMS using IHSA’s COR™ Audit Tool. The internal audit is reviewed by IHSA, and is then followed up with an external audit from IHSA staff. Upon successful completion of the internal and external audits, the employer is issued the Certificate of Recognition. The employer is required to conduct and successfully complete annual internal audits for each of the next two years using IHSA’s COR™ Audit Tool in order to receive a Letter of Good Standing for years two and three.
There are 19 elements in the COR™ Audit Tool. Thirteen are common to all of the provinces that participate in COR™. Six supplemental elements are specific to Ontario.
The length of time required depends upon the state of your existing health and safety management system. Many employers are currently meeting all the COR™ requirements, while others may require up to 18 months to successfully implement all elements of the program.
The COR™ certification is valid for three years from the date of certification, provided the employer performs and successfully completes internal maintenance audits in the second and third years and complies with the terms and conditions of the COR™ program. All internal audit results must be approved by IHSA. A Letter of Good Standing issued each year verifies that the training elements and auditing standards are maintained. In year four, the employer must reapply to the COR™ program and start the process over again.
All employers who are entitled to use the audit system must have an active Ontario WSIB account, and be in good standing. To obtain a Certificate of Recognition, each applicable WSIB account (employer number) held by an employer must independently achieve its own COR™.
In order to participate in COR™, the employer should have a functioning health and safety program in place for at least one year. The program must contain the 19 elements required for the COR™ audit, although the elements may be listed under other headings. The auditor will take this into consideration when reviewing the audit.
In addition to the prescribed training, employers (Senior Management Representatives) have the following obligations.
The training certification belongs to the individual who completed the training. To continue to perform the maintenance audits internally, you must send another representative to attend the training and have them assigned as your “Full-Time Permanent Employee”.
The COR™ certificate belongs to the employer.
Each WSIB account (firm number) held by an employer can independently achieve its own COR™.
COR™ must be achieved in the province where your office is located. Therefore, if you have an office in Ontario and work in this province, you must achieve COR™ through IHSA.
Employers that have attained an out-of-province COR™ and do not have a permanent office in Ontario may apply for interim equivalency to the IHSA by providing an email to email@example.com, containing:
Should the request be successful, IHSA will provide to the employer an interim Letter of Good Standing. This document can then be used to accompany the employer’s tender for the respective job bid.
If the employer is successful in bidding on the job, they must enter into the process of an Internal Audit, then an External Audit, for the additional six elements in IHSA’s COR™ program.
All complaints regarding the auditor, audit process, employer dissatisfaction, or the employer must be directed in writing to IHSA within two weeks of the occurrence.
Audit appeals must be filed within two weeks of the formal notification of audit results.
Information provided and available at www.ihsa.ca.