In a world where safety is paramount, the construction industry leaders in Ontario have found themselves grappling with a puzzling issue: the City of Toronto's procurement policy and the apparent confusion it has sown. This blog sheds light on the advocacy efforts of Cobalt Safety and our CEO, Kevin Brown, who is calling upon the city to clear the air regarding safety accreditations. Notably, the city accepts both the Certificate of Recognition (COR) and the ISO 45001 certification, though it isn't explicitly mentioned in their procurement policy.

1. The Heart of the Matter - Understanding the Confusion
There is significant confusion among construction industry leaders in Ontario over the City of Toronto’s procurement policy when it comes to safety accreditation. Toronto accepts both the Certificate of Recognition (COR) certification and the ISO 45001 certification, despite the fact it isn’t explicitly stated in the city’s procurement policy.

2. Advocating for Clarity
At Cobalt Safety, we are calling on the City staff, the Mayor, and the Council to clarify this in the most visible way possible to clear up the confusion caused by the repeated and exclusive use of the COR brand name in their contract language to the exclusion of all others,” says Kevin Brown, CEO of Cobalt Safety, and an industry expert.

3. The Voice of the Industry
As part of our ongoing commitment to improved safety and productivity, we have conducted an online survey, revealing that nearly 80% of CEOs and executives who participated support expanding Toronto's procurement policy to include all companies meeting Ontario Ministry of Labour accredited standards, which includes the ISO 45001.

4. ISO 45001 - A Global Standard
ISO 45001, developed among 168 countries, is widely regarded as a global gold standard for safety practices in construction, technology, management, and manufacturing. COR is just as reputable and successful within Canada.

5. The City’s Response
Respondents were unaware the city does accept the ISO 45001 and leveled criticism that the city’s procurement process is anti-competitive. Brown’s research indicates only about 0.04% of a pool of about 135,000 companies have a COR certification. The City of Toronto responded, stating that ISO 45001 certificates are considered to be equivalent.

6. The Unseen Equivalence
This fact that ISO 45001 is an equivalent seems to be lost on a vast number of CEOs who could have potentially been interested in bidding on a city contract. The statement from the city goes on to say it is not aware of the survey conducted by Brown “and cannot speak to why some construction contractors believe they don’t qualify because they have ISO 45001 and not COR certification.”

7. The Impact of Clarity
Brown says because COR, as a safety brand, is explicitly written into the city’s procurement policy and ISO 45001 is not, it’s too easy of a mistake for CEOs and business leaders to believe they don’t qualify for a city contract when they do.

8. A Simple Solution
“The confusion they are causing is unproductive and punitive towards thousands of companies who either don’t know this or have been misled about it,” says Brown, who claims many of the companies he is advocating on behalf of have been told the opposite by city bureaucrats. A simple solution in their contracts,” explains Brown. “The City of Toronto accepts all Ministry of Labour Accredited Safety Systems with no branding like ISO or COR, as there are multiple Ministry-accredited systems. That makes the system fair, opens the competition, and clarifies it for all companies that want to bid.”

In a world where clarity can make all the difference, the City of Toronto's stance on safety accreditations has come under scrutiny. Cobalt Safety, under the leadership of CEO Kevin Brown, is championing a cause for clarity. The goal of this blog is to inform and encourage the reader to contact Cobalt Safety, a beacon of light in the fog of confusion surrounding safety accreditation in Toronto's construction industry. Clarity is not a luxury; it's a necessity.

If you're one of the industry leaders affected by this confusion or if you seek clarity and equality in safety accreditation, reach out to Cobalt Safety.