Toronto to make COR certification mandatory for larger projects

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The City of Toronto is preparing to make the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association’s (IHSA) Certificate of Recognition (COR) certification mandatory for larger construction projects beginning in 2017.

“This is clearly going to affect many hundreds, possibly up to 1,000 contractors bidding on city projects,” said David Frame, the Ontario General Contractors Association’s (OGCA) director of government relations.

The city plans to require COR for as a pre-qualification requirement for general contractors on jobs greater than $25 million beginning in January 2017, $10 million in 2018 and $5 million in 2019.

Bill De Angelis, Toronto’s director of engineering and construction services, said in a statement he could not say specifically how many contractors or how much work volume would be affected by the new rules “as our programs are still being finalized.”

“Suffice it to say, the city’s capital works program is significant today and is expected to increase in the coming years to address state-of-good-repair and growth needs,” he said.

De Angelis said municipal officials communicated the city’s plans to its Broader Construction Associations Consultation Group (BCACG) at a Sept. 28 meeting. He said the announcement has been made well in advance to allow contractors time to comply – a reasonable decision, considering that COR certification is quite rigorous and requires a significant amount of preparation for contractors without structured health and safety programs and systems.

“COR is a client-driven process, and as such its implementation is determined by the client, in this case the city,” De Angelis said. “It is recognized that not all contractors will qualify for COR certification immediately; those with well developed safety programs will do so earlier, and those with less structured programs will take longer to complete the process.

“The financial thresholds proposed by the city take into account the fact that large dollar projects will be awarded to larger contracting firms, many of which are already COR certified or in the registration process,” he said.

“For the initial rollout, it is envisaged that only the general contractors (GCs) would require certification and not specifically sub-contractors to the GCs. Over time, it is our expectation that all firms working for the city will require COR certification.

“At this time, we contract with the GC, and the contractual obligations to maintain safe work practices fall on that GC. The GC needs to manage its sub-contractors and gain its own assurances that subs are working safely,” he said.

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