York regional municipality has agreed to recognize the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association’s COR (Certificate of Recognition) program as an alternative to the ISNetworld third party verification service, resolving a crucial bone of contention from the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA).
The decision last year by York to require contractors to subscribe to ISNetworld to access opportunities caused consternation and complaints about fees and bureaucratic compliance processes, which the OGCA and several contractors say don’t truly validate actual health and safety practices.
OGCA president Clive Thurston said in a news release that York Region “was looking for a better way to manage safety on their projects through the pre-qualification process.
“They decided on using a Third Party Safety Verification Company (TPSVC), a process which is not supported by the industry.
“On behalf of a number of those organizations, the OGCA wrote to the region and requested a meeting,” he wrote.
“The OGCA has a very successful and collaborative relationship with the Region and they quickly agreed to meet with us,” Thurston wrote. “Members of the industry representing OGCA, ORBA, MCAO, ECAO, and IHSA met with the region’s staff where we informed them of our concerns regarding the decision to use a TPSVC.
“We stressed that there need be only one standard accreditation level across the province and that many of us support the Certificate of Recognition Program (COR) used across the country and administered by the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA).
“The region agreed to take our concerns under consideration and discuss with the region’s senior management team.
“On Dec. 2, 2014, the OGCA was very pleased to receive confirmation that as a result of these discussions, the Region of York was prepared to implement the COR program as an alternative to registering with a TPSVC.
“Beginning in 2015, firms tendering on high risk work for the region will be required to be either:
(1) Must be subscribed to ISNetworld and must have a minimum grade of ‘B’ under the work type(s) specified by the region; or
(2) Must be COR certified or enrolled in the COR program.
“As with other organizations who have adopted the COR program, the region intends to utilize a phased approach to implement COR during this period.”