Ensuring the wellbeing of Canada’s retail workforce critical to the continued success of the industry and its people
BY SEAN C. TARRY
RETAIL is Canada’s largest employer, employing more than 2 million Canadians, representing 10.8% of the country’s workforce. With this in mind, most retailers in the country understand that to continue thriving in today’s hyper-competitive retail world they must place the health and safety of their employees at the top of their priorities. To help achieve this goal in Ontario, both Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) provide resources and assistance to each of their members where needed. Each association boasts an excellent track record when it comes to health and safety. And, what’s more for Ontario’s retail employees, RCC and WSPS have developed a robust partnership through the years, combining their expertise and knowledge, working together toward the health and safety of Ontario’s retail workforce.
“It’s an incredible relationship that we’ve been able to cultivate with WSPS,” says Sonny Brar, RCC’s Vice-President, Member Programs & Services. “It’s one that allows our respective associations to pool resources and knowledge, benefitting Ontario’s retail workers with the ability to leverage two extremely strong groups who are always actively identifying areas of opportunity to improve the health and safety of Ontario’s retail workforce.”
WSPS is Canada’s largest health and safety association, operating with more than a century of experience in the area of health and safety and a rich history of commitment to protecting Ontario’s workers and businesses. And because retail is but one of the association’s areas of focus, its partnership with RCC allows it to hone in on retail-specific topics of interest and address them with assurance that the right support is being provided.
“Our partnership with RCC is a very important one,” says Larry Masotti, Director, Strategic Relationships at WSPS. “The way we deliver our services is through training, conferences, e-learning, events and volunteer networks. Because of this approach, we’re constantly learning from each other and the clients we work with. Our partnership with RCC not only directly benefits Ontarians in need of our assistance, it also benefits WSPS as a result of the learnings we acquire from working together to solve the many challenges out there. The work we do with RCC helps us to continually become better, to continue meeting each challenge we face every day.”
One of the challenges faced by each association and health and safety professionals everywhere is the way in which health and safety is evolving. There was once a time when keeping employees healthy and safe meant protecting them from physical injury. However, today the whole person must be considered, mind, body and soul, and how they’re effectively functioning as a contributing member of the staff in an organization. This makes the work done in the area of health and safety more complex and involved. But it also makes it that much more important. A strong health and safety culture is one of the components that can aid in attracting, engaging and retaining productive, passionate staff that in turn are serving the customer. It’s a cornerstone to continuing to grow as a business and a retailer. As a result, it’s paramount to ensure continual development and protection of their health and safety cultures.
Each association offers a plethora of resources to its members in the way of workbooks, fact sheets and guidelines to help do this. And, just recently, they combined their prowess to develop a series of cobranded whitepapers and webinars to further enhance the health and safety culture within retail.
“The way we work is how we measure success,” says John W. Aird, Manager, Strategic Partnerships at WSPS. “It’s not what we do but what’s achieved by customers we work with. It’s all about creating more effective health and safety practices. That’s key. Working with RCC, combining our knowledge with the credibility and strong reputation that RCC has developed, provides us with an outstanding channel to get the message of health and safety out there, helping every workplace become healthier and safer.”
“The way we deliver our services is through training, conferences, e-learning, events and volunteer networks. Because of this approach, we’re constantly learning from each other and the clients we work with.”
Workplace Safety & Prevention Services