TTC to require CoR certification for all contractors

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The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has decided to require all construction contractors to have the Certificate of Recognition (CoR) safety recognition.

TTC has required CoR certification for projects valued at $25 million or more since July 1, 2014. However, it is stiffening the requirements for mandatory CoR, effective:

  • 1, 2016 for contracts estimated at greater than $5 million; and
  • 1, 2017, for all contracts irrespective of value.

The CoR, administered by the Infrastructure Health and Safety Administration (IHSA), “will supplement TTC’s current safety requirements, such as WSIB clearance certification and corporate and site-specific safety plans” and “will be required before any construction work,” the TTC said in its notice.

“Construction contractors bidding on future TTC projects will be required to have CoR in order to be considered for any award and, further, must maintain certification in good standing for the duration of any awarded contract.”

Paul Casey, vice-president programs and strategic development with the IHSA said in an earlier interview that some contractors, on learning that they cannot bid on work because they lack its qualifications, discover that it isn’t a quick fix – they will need to through a challenging six-month to one-year process to achieve the certification, but once the certification is achieved, the overall advantages are well worth the effort.

In part because an increasing number of valuable clients are requiring CoR as a prerequisite, the IHSA has reported a surge in CoR applications.

The program has moved beyond early adaptors and these businesses – often smaller and medium-sized contractors with a single person responsible for health and safety administration – have discovered that CoR requirements for verifiable systems go beyond simple regulatory compliance, and require time and effort to implement properly.

“CoR is an extensive program with a very high standard,” said David Frame, the Ontario General Contractors’ Association (OGCA) director of government relations. “When you have achieved CoR you haven’t just put a safety program in place, but safety is integrated into all aspects of how you do business.”

“You don’t just plug that in and take a few course and make a few changes and it’s done,” Frame said. “For most companies it’s a big change. It’s going to take a while for some companies to change their culture and recognize the extent of change CoR represents before they are going to get there.”

This suggests that contractors wishing to handle TTC projects – even very small ones – will want to start preparing now for CoR certification to avoid being shut out of future bidding opportunities.

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