WSPS’ centenary: keeping you safe for 100 years

May 15, 2017

anniversary imageOver the last 100 years incredible strides have taken place in workplace health and safety. In that time, WSPS has been an active agent of change - as a provider of innovative, impactful solutions, and as an advocate on behalf of our member firms in Ontario's agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors.

On July 17, 2017, we celebrate our 100th anniversary as a health and safety leader dedicated to helping Ontario workplaces achieve new heights in health, safety and organizational performance. While our name has changed over the years, our commitment has not. WSPS remains resolute in its mission to eliminate all work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities among Ontario workers.

To help us achieve our mission, explains Sandra Miller, WSPS' vice president, government relations, "our health and safety experts work closely with ground breaking research organizations and other prevention system partners to develop practical, implementable solutions to issues facing our stakeholders."

We also create opportunities for thousands of member firms to interact directly with prevention system partners and others at forums like our National and Regional Partners in Prevention health and safety conferences and trade shows.

A strong voice

WSPS' rich history dates back to the founding on July 17, 1917 of one of WSPS' three legacy organizations, the Industrial Accident Prevention Association. In 2010 IAPA joined forces with the Farm Safety Association (FSA), founded in 1973, and the Ontario Service Safety Alliance (OSSA), founded in 1997, to create an even stronger organization focused on the health and safety needs of Ontario businesses in the manufacturing, service and agriculture sectors.

As Ontario's largest and longest serving health and safety association, WSPS has long advocated for legislative change to protect workers. This advocacy can be traced back to various pieces of legislation that were passed throughout the 1900s to spell out the duties of employers in different sectors to protect workers. In the latter half of the century WSPS' legacy organizations participated in regulatory consultations that led to laws being passed in rapid succession to govern the duties of supervisors, the Internal Responsibility System, workers' rights, and the formation of joint health and safety committees. For a complete list of legislative changes, go to The Ministry of Labour and Its Role: FAQs: Health and Safety page.

One of the most memorable opportunities in recent history arose in 2010, when Sandra Miller was seconded to work with the province's Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety. The recommendations in the report, says Miller, "raised the bar for protecting all workers in Ontario, with elements such as mandatory worker and supervisor training, more rigorous training for workers involved in high hazard activities, and understanding the needs of small business and the vulnerability of new and young workers."

More recently, WSPS played an important role in the creation of CSA Standard Z1003, Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.

As each opportunity arises, WSPS responds. From anticipating the implications for member firms and developing multi-modal awareness and training solutions, growing our roster of experienced consultants, forming partnerships to teach health and safety in schools, and focusing on young and new workers, WSPS relies on its depth and breadth of its health and safety expertise to deliver solutions that meet the needs of our customers.

"Key to this are WSPS' 10 advisory committees and over 800 volunteers," says Miller. "This network is a robust way for us to acquire the voice of the workplace and integrate it into our planning and our conversations with policy makers and regulators."

WSPS also works with prevention system partners to develop evidence-based solutions and launch new initiatives, such as Canada's Best Health + Safety Culture Award and the CEO Leadership Network.

WSPS today and tomorrow

WSPS today serves 165,000 member firms representing four million employees.

WSPS' formula for success? "We support our firms moving forward by refreshing the design of both our structure and business model and developing innovative solutions informed by evidence based research and stakeholder insights," says Miller. "We continue collaborating across the prevention system to mature our relationships, leverage and amplify the work that’s going on, and identify gaps and needs that we can work on together."

It's a formula that's helping us fulfil our mission. Since 2002, lost-time injury rates in Ontario declined across all WSPS sectors: agriculture by 48%, manufacturing by 68%, and services by 59%. This formula will also carry WSPS and our clients into the future as we celebrate 100 years of keeping Ontario safe.

How WSPS can help

If you have questions about specific compliance requirements and are looking for unbiased, objective information, call WSPS Customer Care at 1-877 494 WSPS (9777), or visit our online resource section.