Certificate of Recognition
What is COR?
A Certificate of Recognition (COR) is awarded to employers who develop health and safety programs for their workplace of 10 or more employees. COR is issued by the Alberta Government and co-signed by Certifying Partners like the CCSA.
Benefits of COR/PIR Programs
When an organization achieves COR, WCB is able to offer financial incentives through its Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) program. The PIR program recognizes facilities that value employee safety, and offer financial incentives as encouragement. These incentives are available as long as the COR is maintained.
*After earning a COR, you are eligible for a 10% industry rate refund for the first year and then 5% every year you maintain the COR.
*Holding a COR is necessary for receiving Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) status.
How to obtain COR
Here’s how you can get there and how the CCSA can help:
Implement or enhance your Health & Safety Management System (as a Certifying Partner and your safety association, the CCSA will help you take these steps).
Get an external certifying audit (the CCSA has a bank of certified External Auditors).
- Although not required by Partnerships, the CCSA highly recommends getting a baseline audit before the external audit is done when first obtaining COR. This baseline audit can help your organization save resources (time, money) on an external audit that you may not be fully prepared for. In most cases, the CCSA can perform a baseline audit at no direct cost to you.
Once the External Auditor has completed the certifying audit, a written report will be sent to your Certifying Partner for review. If your audit passes CCSA Quality Assurance standards, and PIR standards, you will receive your COR!
How to maintain COR
The COR audit cycle is based on a 3-year schedule, meaning:
To obtain a Certificate of Recognition (COR), your organization must first pass an external (COR Certification) audit.
Once the external (COR Certification) audit is passed, assuming all program requirements are met, the COR certificate is valid for 3 years.
During the two years following COR certification, internal (COR maintenance) audits must be conducted. These maintenance audits are a good opportunity to evaluate your progress.
In the third year, an external (COR certification) audit must be conducted and passed to renew the COR certificate.
- *The CCSA recommends that you to have at least one full-time employee certified as an internal auditor to complete maintenance audits. Learn more about becoming an Internal Auditor.
Performing an action plan in lieu of a maintenance audit is an option for some organizations. Action plans allow employers to focus on recommendations from the last certification audit while maintaining COR and continuing to enhance workplace safety.
For an organization to be eligible to use an action plan in lieu of maintenance audits, the following criteria must be met:
Timelines and Dates
Auditors have up to 45 days for on-site auditing. Once they’re done on-site, they’ll write and submit the report to your Certifying Partner within another 45 days. When audit reports require correction, auditors are allowed 30 days to make them before they can be released to the employer.
All audit activities must be completed by December 31 of the calendar year.
WCB rebate cheques are processed in April; cheques are issued to COR holders in June.
When going through the audit process, please keep in mind:
- if you don’t have a health and safety management system, it may take 12 months or more to complete the whole process; the CCSA can help with this
- October to December is the busiest time for auditors, so an audit may take longer during this time
- if corrections are needed by the auditor, this will add more time to the process
- if the auditor does not meet the deadlines for completing or submitting the audit report, or if the auditor’s report doesn’t pass quality assurance standards your COR status may be impacted. In these scenarios, the audit won’t be accepted which means you will have to have a new audit performed and your COR could expire while you are waiting for the new audit to be completed
What can the employer do to speed up this process?
Consider planning to have your audit completed as early in the year as possible. As fall and winter tend to be the “busy seasons” for audits, having an audit performed at these times can place higher demand on auditors and employers – it could mean you are not able to contract the external auditor that you want, or it could even impact the quality of the audit report as auditors may have rush to meet prescribed timelines.
Help to facilitate the audit process. Make sure that auditors have what they need to perform audits. Records should be organized and accessible, staff should be readily available for their interviews, and auditors must have dedicated blocks of time for gathering audit data.
Try to make sure that Internal Auditors are given dedicated and ample time to compile results and to write the audit report. If an audit report takes 8 to 12 hours to compile and write, the report could be written in as little as a few days. If Internal Auditors are busy performing other tasks, the process can take much longer. If the audit is returned by the Certifying Partner for corrections, dedicated time for this too should be provided to auditors to revise the audit report.