Eastern Ontario workers, their representatives and workplaces will now benefit from the trusted occupational health services others have come to depend upon.
To help celebrate, many from Ontario’s health and safety community gathered last week in Ottawa for the official opening of the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers’ (OHCOW) newest clinic.
Denis Boileau, director of OHCOW’s Sudbury Clinic will also serve as the director for the Ottawa clinic. He remarked at the opening, “This is a great day for workers and our partners in the Ottawa region. People in this area had to travel to Toronto or Sudbury for service, but no longer. It’s been 27 years since the first clinic opened in Hamilton, this was well overdue.”
OHCOW was first established in 1989 by the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) to provide effective diagnosis of work-related health issues and to help develop prevention strategies to improve workers health and safety. Early successes in Hamilton and then Toronto convinced the government to fund additional clinics in Windsor, Sudbury, Sarnia, Thunder Bay and now Ottawa. Today, like the Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC), OHCOW is led by an autonomous board of directors and funded through employer assessments paid to the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board and transferred to the Ministry of Labour, who are responsible for health and safety prevention in Ontario.
Addressing those gathered, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn observed, “This was not a difficult decision, with just one opening we increase the service capacity by 20 per cent. When you get this much value for the money, you take the opportunity to invest. With their innovative approach to prevention OHCOW is a valuable partner to MOL and to the occupational health and safety system.”
Dave Chezzi, OHCOW’s president and chair of the board, added, “A physical presence is the best way to serve the community and work with our partners including unions, the local labour council, injured workers groups, employers and of course the Workers Health & Safety Centre – we are here and not serving by remote control.”
Tom Parkin, WHSC managing director was also on hand for the opening. Of this milestone he remarked, “Ours is a long-standing partnership with OHCOW. WHSC also has a physical presence in Ottawa. As the province’s two worker-oriented health and safety organizations there is much we can achieve together, throughout the province and
in this region.
OHCOW clinics offer a unique interdisciplinary service model. Teams of doctors, nurses, hygienists and ergonomists provide medical, hygiene, ergonomic and health assessments of workplaces free-of-charge. Along with the critical input of occupational health practitioners OHCOW’s model also includes a role for workers and their representatives to participate in assessing and addressing workplace hazards. With this same end in mind, several of OHCOW’s assessment tools are also embedded in WHSC training programs.
The clinic, serving Eastern Ontario, will be housed at 101-1535 Carling Avenue, Ottawa later this spring, but for now a temporary location has been set up in the building next door at 1565 Carling Avenue.
To view pictures from the event be sure to visit us on FaceBook.
Learn more about OHCOW’s
many invaluable services.
For our part WHSC offers a complete suite of information and training programs to support workplace prevention efforts. Check out our online information resources
and complete training catalogue
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