What Is COR?

The COR Program is a voluntary program for employers in many Canadian provinces. Employers enroll in the COR program voluntarily; however, in many cases it can be a pre-qualification requirement for bidding on projects. With it they can implement extensive management systems which occupational health and safety and return-to-work measures. The measures are checked and verified by means of detailed audits. Compliance to COR program policies can earn businesses the following certificates:

  • Occupational Health and Safety Certificate of Recognition (OHS COR) is the first level of COR certification
  • Injury Management/Return-to-Work Certificate of Recognition (RTW COR) may be earned after or at the same time as qualifying for OHS COR

What are the Principles & Purpose of COR?

COR ensures that there is a continuous improvement system approved by management that systematically reduces risk, resulting in reduced injuries, illnesses, etc. COR assists workers and employers in creating a safety culture by providing guidelines and support services to increase worker awareness of safe working conditions and encourage the reporting of unsafe practices. COR can can lead to major cost savings which can help to provide financial support for present and future workplace safety. Part of the premise is that workers, supervisors, employers all work as part of a partnership to create a culture of workplace health and safety.

The OHS COR gives recognition to employers who have implemented an occupational health and safety management system that goes beyond basic regulatory requirements.

COR’s goal is to prevent workplace injury, death, and illness. It also aims to assist in the rehabilitation of injured workers and promote fair compensation for the loss of wages while recovering from injuries. COR ensures competent financial management for a workers’ compensation system.

COR Return-to-Work (RTW)

The RTW COR is earned by employers who have incorporated injury management and return-to-work programs. Return-to-work programs are a means for employers to help injured workers get back to the job they were doing before injury, or return to another job that they can handle given their work-related injury. The aim is to get employees back to work in a productive and safe workplace as quickly as physically possible. COR RTW principles are based on injured workers being able to return to work and safely perform productive work while still in recovery. Returning to work may speed the rate of recovery and be a productive part of the worker’s therapy—both physically and mentally.

The first step in this process occurs when the injured worker contacts the employer. An early intervention procedure may begin at this point. The purpose is to determine if the worker can be at work performing either his or her normal duties or some form of modified duties while the injury heals.

At-work programs shorten time away from work, as well as the losses in both production and finances while injured, and may be a positive step in the rehabilitation process. The worker has the opportunity to perform meaningful, productive work.

If workers require time away from work, the injury management/return-to-work program can allow the employee to reintegrate into the workforce quicker than this has historically been done.

COR Certification Rewards

In some provinces, employers who achieve COR certification may be ineligible to receive financial incentives. For example: in Alberta and British Columbia, employers who earn the OHS COR may get up to ten percent rebates. Employers who earn the RTW COR can receive an additional five percent rebate each year after COR certification. Please check with your province or territory's legislation to see if incentives are available in your province or territory.

More importantly, companies save significant costs by preventing workplace injury, illness, death, or disease. The successful implementation of the occupational health and safety and the return-to-work systems also contributes to improvement in company culture and safety culture. Employers who demonstrate their commitment to worker health and safety show results in such areas as staff morale, workplace productivity, product quality, and bottom-line profits.

Why COR Financial Rewards?

COR recognizes that implementation costs money. Rebates under the COR program constitute an advance against reduced costs that will eventually come from improved health and safety in the workplace.

COR RTW Long-Range Results

Health and safety management and return-to-work systems prevent or lessen the likelihood of future injury/illness claims and reduce duration of off-work hours.

Down the road, employers benefit from lower assessment rates due to strong health and safety programs in the workplace. Employers in industry sectors such as construction where a significant number of employers participate in the program can anticipate that their base assessment rate will decrease while the industry as a whole benefits from the improved safety in that industry.

Why Have a COR Program?

There are several reasons why core values are important. These include:

  • Increased safety in the workplace
  • Fewer injuries, illnesses and deaths
  • Shortened amount of lost time due to worker injury
  • Improved employer-employee relationships
  • Higher quality and quantity productivity
  • Improved employee morale

Implementing a COR program will not only decrease risk in the workplace while increasing safety culture, but it will also improve buy-in. Employee and customer buy-in is higher when the company shows its dedication to public and employee health and safety. Adding COR to your safety program might be what you need to take things to the next level.