Infrastructure Ontario drafting CoR-use guidelines

In consultation with the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) and the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA), Infrastructure Ontario (IO) is drafting guidelines for implementation of the Certificate of Recognition (CoR) program in conjunction with alternatively financed and procured projects.

Steve Dyck, IO’s vice-president of communications and stakeholder relations, said the Crown corporation will be proceeding with utilization of CoR as its primary prequalification standard on such projects.

Contractors would be required to obtain certification within a certain time frame.

“We’re currently circling the wagons in terms of the details of the when and the how,” he said.

The program provides employers with a nationally recognized tool to assess their health and safety management systems.

The aim is to reduce the human and financial costs of workplace incidents, injuries and illness. In Ontario, accreditation is granted by IHSA.

So far, three OGCA members have achieved certification, another 20 are about to do so and an additional 45 are in the process of gaining certification

OGCA president Clive Thurston said the move by Infrastructure Ontario is aligned with new requirements in IO’s request for qualifications documents to help promote local knowledge and content on alternatively financed and procured projects.

Under local construction knowledge category requirements, bidders must provide narratives in four key areas.

In part, bidders must outline their intended approach to health and safety, including a description of key safety policy approaches, principles and commitment to construction safety.

Going forward, local knowledge is to be formally recognized as part of the RFP process by becoming a scored requirement in bidders’ RFQ submissions.

Thurston, whose association has been promoting CoR certification for the past year, said Infrastructure Ontario “obviously” is not in the business of overseeing health and safety.

Thus, it would be difficult for the corporation to assess the programs that are out there, he said.

“We felt that implementation of the CoR program would more than meet their requirements,” he said.

“It is industry-driven, it is recognized across the country, it is built from the ground up. We wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Several months ago, the OGCA and IHSA made a joint presentation to IO. Suggestions have been made on how the program could be adopted in Ontario. “We have just sent them some information on how the program is being implemented in Manitoba, which is over a two-year period,” Thurston said.

Thurston added that the move by Infrastructure Ontario “is a tremendous step forward” and one that demonstrates leadership by one of the largest owners of construction in the province.

“It shows that we are not standing still when it comes to health and safety and particularly prevention of accidents, which is a major component of CoR.”

Thurston said implementation of the program will also ensure that “everybody plays by the same rules when bidding IO work and that everyone is striving for the same level of excellence when it comes to health and safety on job sites.”

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