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Certificate of Recognition: Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides answers to many of the questions you may have about the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program, ranging from definitions and basic procedures to details about the financial incentive you can earn through certification.

Q. What is COR?

The Certificate of Recognition (COR) program provides financial incentives to employers who go beyond the legal requirements of the Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation by taking the "best practice" approach to implementing health and safety and return-to-work programs. The goal of the COR program is to improve workplace safety and help injured workers return to work in a timely manner.

Q. What is go2HR, and what is its role in the COR program?

go2HR was created by the BC tourism and hospitality industry in 2003, on the recommendation of an 18-month task force involving more than 100 industry representatives and stakeholders throughout British Columbia, to deal with labour shortages and other human resources issues. Through its programs and services, go2HR, which is an independent, non-profit industry association, helps BC’s tourism industry recruit, retain and train employees to support industry growth.

go2HR is the Certifying Partner for the hospitality and tourism industry in BC. In 2009, go2HR signed an agreement with WorkSafeBC to develop an occupational health and safety division to promote safe work practices to all tourism and hospitality industry workplaces in BC. In addition to providing resources on reducing injuries and improving workplace safety, a key component of the agreement includes implementing and administering a Certificate of Recognition program for industry employers.

Q. What is a Certifying Partner?

A certifying partner is an organization that, through agreement with WorkSafeBC, helps guide employers toward a Certificate of Recognition (COR), which certifies that the employer has implemented a safety management system that meets established standards as verified by an audit. Certifying partners are typically safety associations recognized by WorkSafeBC as having in-depth industry knowledge that is used to promote and develop workplace health and safety; there are different certifying partners for different industries. Once an employer registers with a certifying partner, the employer is first helped to implement an effective health and safety management system, then to complete and pass a qualifying audit.

Q. What other industries are involved in the COR program?

Industries such as forestry, oil and gas, construction, food processing and manufacturing, farming and ranching, trucking, as well as municipal and maritime employers, are all currently involved in the COR program and have certifying partner organizations in each sector.

Q. What are the two types of COR certifications available?

The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) COR audit and the Return-to-Work (RTW) / Injury Management COR audit. Successful completion of the OHS COR qualifies employers for a 10 per cent financial incentive on their WorkSafeBC premiums, while successful completion of the RTW COR qualifies employers for an additional five per cent.

Q. Who is eligible to apply for go2HR’s COR program?

All tourism and hospitality employers in British Columbia

Q. What if I have more than one type of operation in my company, for example a bar and restaurant in my hotel?

You can choose to audit all areas of your hotel or perform separate audits on selected departments within your operation. The incentive received for successfully completing the audits will be based on your company's reported assessable payroll for the departments included in the audit.

Q. What do I need to do to qualify for the COR program?

In order to qualify for COR, a certification audit is completed by an external auditor for large employers (20 or more full-time employees) or by an internal auditor for small employers (fewer than 20 full-time employees). To pass this audit, a total score of 80 per cent must be attained, and a minimum of 50 per cent must be scored on each audit element. This certification audit is valid for three years. In the following two years, the same audit process is used for internal or maintenance audits. The main purpose of the internal/maintenance audit is to identify and correct deficiencies in the management system.

Q. Is COR mandatory?

COR is a voluntary program. Participation in the COR program enhances your company’s health and safety program with the goal of reducing injuries and claims costs. Your company will also be eligible for financial incentives.

Q. What are the steps to becoming COR certified?

  • Review program materials on the go2HR website
  • Register with go2HR
  • Complete an internal auditor training course
  • Schedule a complimentary gap analysis of your safety program
  • Develop or modify your health and safety program and return-to-work program
  • Retain an external auditor to perform a certification audit
  • Receive your annual incentive cheque
  • Maintain your certification

For more information on the COR certification process, refer to the How to Participate in COR page of the website.

Q. What if I don't pass my external audit?

If your total score is between 70 and 79 per cent, you have the option of performing a limited-scope audit within 90 days of the original audit date. This limited-scope audit will allow the employer to focus on specific elements that received low scores during the initial audit. If your score is 69 per cent or lower, you must undergo another complete audit at a later date.

Q. If I don't pass, how long must I wait before I can apply again?

You can elect to undergo another audit at any time

Q. How long is my certification valid after successfully completing an audit?

The COR certification is valid for three years from the date of certification, provided the employer performs internal maintenance audits in the second and third years. An external audit is required in year 4 to complete the re-certification audit.

Q. How long does it take to go from registration to certification?

The length of time required depends upon the state of your existing safety management system. Many employers are currently meeting all the COR requirements, while others may require up to 18 months to successfully implement all the various elements of the program.

Q. How do I calculate my incentive?

Assessable Payroll / 100 X CU Base Rate X 10% = incentive available for successful completion of the Occupational Health and Safety COR audit.

Assessable Payroll / 100 X CU Base Rate X 5% = incentive available for successful completion of the Return-to-Work/Injury Management COR audit.

Sample hotel ($3 million payroll), qualifying for both COR incentives: $3 million / 100 X $1.96 (2014 Base Rate  for CU Overnight and Short-Term Accommodation) X 15% = $8,820

Q. Are there any circumstances in which I would not be eligible for an incentive after successfully completing a COR audit?

WorkSafeBC has listed the following circumstances in which a company may not be eligible for an incentive, or in which the incentive may be placed on hold until the issues are resolved:

  • The company has engaged in activity that would cause WorkSafeBC to consider imposing an administrative penalty, or if it has already imposed one.
  • The company has suppressed claims for compensation or has suppressed claims costs.
  • The company has an outstanding balance related to its WorkSafeBC employer account.
  • The company has failed to register with WorkSafeBC.
  • The company has engaged in other misconduct considered by WorkSafeBC to be inconsistent with participation in the COR program.

Q. Will I receive an incentive for each year that I successfully maintain my COR certification?

Yes, as long as your company maintains its COR status, you will receive an annual 10 per cent financial incentive for completing the Occupational Health and Safety COR audit and an annual five per cent for completing the Return-to-Work / Injury Management COR audit .

Q. When will I receive my COR incentive?

Companies will begin receiving their COR incentive cheques in June of the year following their COR certification or maintenance audits. (If you successfully complete the COR audit in December, you will receive your first COR incentive cheque in June of the following year).

Q. How much will it cost to become COR-certified?

The cost of an external audit depends on the size of the company being audited. Due to sampling requirements, the larger the company, the more employees or sites must be interviewed and observed. go2HR has established a maximum $500 per diem fee for external auditor charges. Any fees associated with travel or expenses must be negotiated between the company and the external auditor. The other cost is a $149 fee for internal auditor training if you opt to have a staff member trained and certified.

Q. Who pays for the external audits?

The company seeking certification will pay for a go2HR-certified external auditor to perform an external audit. For a complete list of go2HR’s certified external auditors, please visit: COR External Auditors.

Q. Which auditor should I choose?

While trained and certified by go2HR, external auditors are independent consultants selected and paid for by the companies requesting their services. Review the profiles of go2HR's certified external auditors, then request quotes and references before making a decision. The Auditor Code of Ethics in our Policy and Procedures manual prohibits a safety consultant who helps develop a company’s safety program from acting as its external auditor.

Q. Do I require any training to participate in the COR program?

If you want your company to perform your own internal maintenance audits, a company representative will need to complete go2HR's Internal Auditor Training program. This course will be offered infrequently based on industry needs. Click here for information on upcoming training sessions. If you choose to have an external auditor perform the maintenance audits, you will not require an internal auditor.

Q. Who should take go2HR’s Internal Auditor Training program?

The individual attending the training should be familiar with all aspects of your safety management system.

Q. What if the person who completed the training leaves my company?

The certification belongs to the individual who completed the training. If you wish to continue to perform the maintenance audits internally, you must send another representative to attend the training.

Q. What is the quality assurance process?

Quality assurance is a crucial component of the COR program. In essence, an external auditor will audit your Safety Management System; go2HR audits the external auditors to ensure they are auditing in accordance with go2HR standards; and WorkSafeBC audits go2HR to ensure our COR program meets their standards. For more information, refer to go2HR’s Policies and Procedures manual.

Q. Where do I find resources to help my health and safety and return-to-work programs meet COR requirements?

The go2HR website contains material that will assist with the development of your program, including templates, tools, sample policies, etc.

For more information, contact the go2HR Industry Health & Safety Team.

This article may be republished for non-commercial purposes subject to the provisions of the Website Use Agreement. To republish this article, you must include the following notice along with the article: "Copyright © 2016 go2 Tourism HR Society. All Rights Reserved. Republished under license."