Modernization of COR

The Certificate of Recognition (COR) program continues to benefit Alberta employers, as it has since its inception in 1989. Alberta Labour and Immigration Occupational Health and Safety, in collaboration with AMHSA and other Certifying Partners (CPs), is exploring initiatives to modernize and improve the COR program, driving improvements in health and safety outcomes for Alberta employers and workers

The following initiatives are the result of an extensive evaluation of the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program in 2018, including two external studies, which concluded that the COR program must evolve. Key recommendations implemented to date include:

  • Establishing a Strategic Steering Committee (SSC) with representation from Certifying Partners (CPs), Labour and the Workers’ Compensation Board. Led by government, the SSC sets the direction for the COR program including the development of a strategic plan.

  • Clarifying key roles, including the Alberta government focusing on program policy to ensure the system operates as intended; and CPs focusing on program delivery to ensure employers and auditors meet provincial COR standards.

  • Creating COR eligibility for employers holding certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 45001:2018) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Z45001).

Three CP-led working groups were established to develop the most critical components of the COR strategic plan and despite being slowed by the advent of COVID they have made considerable progress. The working groups are engaged in the following topic areas.

Complexity Based and Scalable Audit (CBSA) – the working group is designing new provincial audit criteria and an audit instrument, with the intent that they will eventually replace the current COR audit instruments, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the audit process.

  • To date, the working group has developed a detailed project plan, identified the criteria to determine employer complexity, and developed a communication plan. The group is now focused on developing the content criteria for the audit tool.

Auditor Qualification, Training and Certification (AQTC) – the working group is updating standardized requirements for auditor qualifications, training and certification for all CPs. This will improve consistency by establishing a common set of auditor competencies.

  • The working group has developed a competency profile for safety management system auditors, and participated in the development of the communication plan with the CBSA working group. The work on this topic area was paused in April, to allow members to join the CBSA working group to add resources to develop the CBSA audit criteria.

COR Harmonization and Measurement – the working group is developing standard COR metrics for program measurement, and looking beyond Alberta’s borders to work towards COR harmonization between the provinces.

  • The working group has developed a set of metrics for the program, and the WCB is currently working on developing the reports.
  • To further interprovincial COR harmonization, the department participates on the National COR Working Group facilitated through the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC).

AMHSA is participating on each of the three working groups and is committed to keeping you informed about progress and impacts to the COR program. The June 2022 Auditor Update details the Partnerships in Injury Reduction Standards that have recently been updated and the resulting key changes to the large employer COR audit criteria, effective January 1, 2023. 

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