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COR FAQs

BCCSA Certification Of Recognition (COR) Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you don’t see the answer to your question here, please contact BCCSA at cor@bccsa.ca or toll free 1-877-860-3675

  1. What is the Certificate of Recognition (COR) Program?
  2. What is a Certifying Partner?
  3. How do we verify who our company’s COR Certifying Partner is?
  4. Who is eligible to participate in the BCCSA COR Program?
  5. What if we have multiple WorkSafeBC Account numbers?
  6. What are the benefits of COR Certification?
  7. Is COR participation mandatory for our company?
  8. What COR programs are available through the BCCSA?
  9. How long is a COR valid once issued?
  10. What types of audits must be performed on our company and submitted to the BCCSA?
  11. What is the deadline for new COR Certification?
  12. How does WorkSafeBC calculate COR incentive payments?
  13. Our company has more than one Classification Unit (CU) number assigned under its WorkSafeBC account.  How do we ensure our company is considered by WorkSafeBC for incentive payment eligibility for each CU?
  14. Our company is a small business.  Is there a minimum COR incentive payment?
  15. When will our company receive its first incentive payment from WorkSafeBC?
  16. Are there any circumstances under which our company may not receive a COR incentive payment from WorkSafeBC?
  17. How long will it take our company to obtain COR Certification?
  18. How much will it cost our company to achieve COR Certification?
  19. Does our company require any training to participate in the BCCSA COR Program?
  20. Who conducts the COR audits on our company?
  21. Who should take the BCCSA’s 2-day COR Internal Auditor Training course?
  22. Can a COR Student Audit Assignment count as our company’s COR audit submission?
  23. What if our company’s qualified COR Internal Auditor leaves?
  24. Does BCCSA offer equivalency to COR Internal Auditors?
  25. Which External Auditor should our company hire?
  26. How can BCCSA help our company develop a Health and Safety and/or Injury Management program that meets the COR program standard?
  27. What if our company fails their COR Certification or Recertification audit?
  28. Our company has undergone (or will be undergoing) operational changes since becoming BCCSA COR certified.  What does our company need to do to ensure our COR status remains in good standing with BCCSA and WorkSafeBC?
  29. Our company holds a Small COR Certificate through the BCCSA and the company has grown in size since achieving COR certification.   Do we need to notify the BCCSA of our company’s change in size?      
  30. What if our company elects to hire an external auditor to conduct an audit which could be performed by an internal auditor?  Will BCCSA count the audit as an early COR Recertification for our company?  
  31. Our company is COR certified through BCCSA and we want to bid on a project in another province that requires a COR certificate.  How can we bid on the project?  
  32. Our company is COR certified in another province and we want to bid on a project that requires a BCCSA COR certificate.  How can we bid on the project?
  33. Our company is COR certified in another province.  Will BCCSA issue our company a BCCSA COR certificate?
  34. Why do we need to submit our COR audits to the BCCSA?
  35. Our company has been identified for a verification audit.  Do we have to participate in the audit?
  36. Why does BCCSA conduct verification audits on their qualified External Auditors?
  37. What is a WorkSafeBC Initiated Verification Audit (WIVA)?
  38. What is Normal Operating Mode and why do I need to know this when planning my audit?
  39. What is the time-frame for conducting and submitting our company's COR Audit?

1. What is the Certificate of Recognition (COR) Program?

The Certificate of Recognition (COR) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes companies who develop and implement health and safety and injury management systems that meet an industry standard. The program rewards employers who take a strategic approach to workplace safety and are committed to reducing the human and financial costs of workplace injuries. COR is offered by WorkSafeBC to a variety of provincial industries, including construction. The program is delivered through Certifying Partners to those industries. BCCSA is the Certifying Partner for the construction industry.

2. What is a Certifying Partner?

A Certifying Partner is an organization that, through contractual agreement with WorkSafeBC, helps guide employers toward earning a Certificate of Recognition (COR). Certifying Partners are typically safety associations recognized by WorkSafeBC as having in-depth industry knowledge used to promote and develop workplace health and safety. There are different Certifying Partners for different industries. Each partner has developed COR Audit documents, most of which can be found on their individual websites.

3. How do we verify who our company’s COR Certifying Partner is?

To participate in the COR Program, employers must register with a Certifying Partner that offers services to their particular industry. To search for the Certifying Partner that serves your industry, please click here . Employers wanting to enter the program in sectors without a Certifying Partner will be aligned with the Certifying Partner that most closely matches their needs, by a process of “natural alignment”.

4. Who is eligible to participate in the BCCSA COR Program?

Companies registered in the construction sector, as well as select aggregate and ready-mixed Classification Unit (CU) numbers are automatically eligible to participate in the BCCSA COR Program.

  • Construction Sector, All CUs (i.e. 72XXXX)
  • Primary Resources (Aggregate Producers), only CU 704008
  • Manufacturing (Ready-Mixed Concrete), only CU 712033

Companies outside of the construction industry who wish to obtain a COR through BCCSA may submit a COR application for review. Participation will be subject to approval from WorkSafeBC.

Note: Each participating company must be registered with WorkSafeBC as an employer prior to submitting a COR Application Form (i.e. must have an active WorkSafeBC Account).

5. What if we have multiple WorkSafeBC Account numbers?

A COR Application Form must be completed and submitted for each company registered with WorkSafeBC that is seeking COR Certification through the BCCSA.

6. What are the benefits of COR Certification?

  • Makes a strong public statement about a company’s commitment to protecting the well-being of
    workers and maintaining a culture of safety on jobsites. A win-win for everyone!
  • Employers who achieve and maintain COR may be eligible to receive up to 15% in annual
    incentive payments (10% for OHS COR; 5% for IM/RTW COR) from WorkSafeBC.
  • Over time, with reduced injuries and lower claim costs, a COR company’s experience-rated WorkSafeBC premiums will reflect additional savings.
  • Many general contractors require subcontractors to have a recognized safety program in place as a prequalification to bid on projects. COR meets that requirement.

7. Is COR participation mandatory for our company?

No, participation in the COR program is voluntary and does not insulate companies from penalties or prosecutions under the Workers Compensation Act (the Act).  Participants are not exempted from compliance with any of the provisions of the Act and regulations.

8. What COR programs are available through the BCCSA?

There are two COR programs offered by the BCCSA, each having different program requirements:

  • SMALL COR: for companies with 19 or less employees
  • LARGE COR: for companies with 20 or more employees

Within each COR program, there are two COR Certifications a company can achieve:

  • OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY (OHS) COR: recipients are eligible for a 10% incentive payment from WorkSafeBC; and
  • INJURY MANAGEMENT /RETURN TO WORK (IM/RTW) COR: recipients are eligible for an additional 5% incentive payment from WorkSafeBC.

IM/RTW COR may be earned concurrently with, or subsequent to OHS COR; however it may not be completed as a stand-alone without achieving OHS COR. A company’s IM/RTW COR certificate will be issued with an expiry date that coincides with the company’s OHS COR certificate expiry date.  Important: Effective January 1, 2013, the issuance of new IM/RTW COR Certifications has been suspended. Please visit www.bccsa.ca for further information.

9. How long is a COR valid once issued?

COR is valid for 3 years, provided requirements of the BCCSA’s COR program standards are met and certification is maintained by submitting annual audits.

10.  What types of audits must be performed on our company and submitted to the BCCSA?

There are three types of COR audits:

  • CERTIFICATION: for companies that are new to COR;
  • MAINTENANCE: interim audits required to maintain COR over the 3 year period; and
  • RECERTIFICATION: for companies who want to renew their COR for another 3-year period (the audit requirements are the same as for the Certification audit).

COR audits must be conducted once per calendar year for a typical 3 year COR cycle, as illustrated in the following table:
*A company has the option of using an External Auditor in place of their Internal Auditor

11.  What is the deadline for new COR Certification?

For new COR applicants, the company’s COR certification audit must be conducted and submitted to the BCCSA by November 30th of the calendar year COR certification and incentive payment eligibility are being sought.  

12.  How does WorkSafeBC calculate COR incentive payments?

Incentive payments are calculated using a company’s assessable payroll and base rate for each Classification Unit (CU) in which the company qualifies for an incentive payment.  

Employers who obtain OHS COR are eligible to receive an incentive payment using the following calculation:
Calculation:  Assessable Payroll x CU Base Rate ÷ 100 x 10% = Incentive payment         
Example:  $2,000,000 x $4.00 ÷ 100 x 10% = $8,000

13. Our company has more than one Classification Unit (CU) number assigned under its WorkSafeBC account. How do we ensure our company is considered by WorkSafeBC for incentive payment eligibility for each CU?

If your company has more than one CU number, it must ensure all CUs for which the company is seeking COR status and incentive payment eligibility are included in the scope of the initial COR Certification Audit (and subsequent annual COR Maintenance Audits).  The company must ensure representative sampling from each CU number in the audit scope. 

14.  Our company is a small business.  Is there a minimum COR incentive payment?

Yes, the minimum incentive payment is the lesser of $500 or 50% of what the employer has paid in premiums for the incentive year being calculated.

15.  When will our company receive its first incentive payment from WorkSafeBC?

Incentive payments are issued by WorkSafeBC in the calendar year following the COR certification year.  For example, a company who achieves COR certification in 2013 will be considered for incentive payment eligibility by WorkSafeBC in 2014. A company will receive an incentive payment for each year they successfully maintain COR.  To be eligible for an incentive payment, a company must be COR certified and be “in good standing” with WorkSafeBC. 

16.  Are there any circumstances under which our company may not receive a COR incentive payment from WorkSafeBC?

Yes, WorkSafeBC has listed the following circumstances in which a company’s incentive payment may be denied or placed on hold:

  • The company has engaged in activity which would cause WorkSafeBC to consider imposing, or has resulted in WorkSafeBC imposing, an administrative penalty
  • The company has suppressed claims for compensation or suppressed claims costs
  • The company has an outstanding balance related to its WorkSafeBC employer account
  • The company has failed to register with WorkSafeBC
  • The employer has not reported payroll to WorkSafeBC
  • The company has engaged in other misconduct considered by WorkSafeBC to be inconsistent with participation in the COR program

17.  How long will it take our company to obtain COR Certification?

The length of time required to achieve COR Certification will depend on the state of your company’s existing safety management system.  Some companies currently have systems in place that meet all of the BCCSA COR program requirements, while others may require up to 18 months to successfully implement all of the COR program elements. 

Sufficient evidence which demonstrates a program has been developed and implemented in your company must be available.  There should be at least 6 months (12 months is recommended) of supporting evidence that the company’s OHS and/or IM/RTW program elements are functioning. 

18.  How much will it cost our company to achieve COR Certification?

The cost to participate will vary, depending on the size and complexity of your company’s operations.  A company who participates in the Large COR program must secure a BCCSA qualified External Auditor to conduct their Large COR Certification Audit. Due to audit sampling requirements, the larger the company, the more employees or sites must be interviewed and observed. Any fees associated with travel or expenses to carry out the audit must be negotiated between the company and the third party external auditor.   

A company who participates in the Small COR program can use a BCCSA qualified Internal Auditor to conduct their Small COR Certification Audit.  

19.  Does our company require any training to participate in the BCCSA COR Program?

If your company wishes to utilize a BCCSA qualified COR Internal Auditor (where applicable), a permanent employee of your company needs to successfully complete the BCCSA’s 2-day COR Internal Auditor Training course. 

BCCSA offers a variety of safety training (optional) throughout the province.  These courses are designed to assist companies of all types and sizes in establishing and maintaining effective health and safety, and injury management programs.  Companies who are registered in the Construction Sector, as well as select Aggregate and Ready-mixed Classification Unit (CU) numbers can take this training at no cost!

20.  Who conducts the COR audits on our company?

An employer who enters the Small COR program may use a BCCSA qualified Internal Auditor or hire a BCCSA qualified External Auditor to conduct their COR audits.

An employer who enters the Large COR program must use a BCCSA qualified External Auditor to conduct their Certification/Recertification Audits and can use a BCCSA qualified Internal Auditor to conduct their Maintenance Year Audits.

Note: A company always has the option to hire an External Auditor in place of using an Internal Auditor.

21.  Who should take the BCCSA’s 2-day COR Internal Auditor Training course?

The employee who attends the training should be familiar with all aspects of your company’s safety management systems (e.g. company designated health and safety representative).  The individual who completes this course must conduct and submit a student audit assignment to the BCCSA within 4 weeks of course completion.  A permanent employee of your company must complete this course in order to be qualified as the company’s COR internal auditor. 

If your company elects to hire and pay for an external auditor for all audit requirements, they are not required to have a trained employee.

22.  Can a COR Student Audit Assignment count as our company’s COR audit submission?

No, a student audit assignment cannot count towards a company’s COR audit requirements. 

23.  What if our company’s qualified COR Internal Auditor leaves?

The internal auditor certification belongs to the individual who completed the course.  Your company will need to send another permanent employee through auditor training or hire and pay for an external auditor for all audit requirements.

24.  Does BCCSA offer equivalency to COR Internal Auditors?

Yes, a COR Internal Auditor trained through another provincial construction safety association may apply for BCCSA COR Internal Auditor equivalency by submitting the following documents to the BCCSA for review:

  • Copy of the valid COR Auditor Certificate issued by a provincial construction safety association
  • Copy of a previously completed COR National Audit Document

25.  Which External Auditor should our company hire?

While certified by the BCCSA, external auditors are independent consultants selected and paid for by the companies requesting their services.   BCCSA recommends your company request quotes and references before making its decision.  The BCCSA’s Auditor Code of Ethics prohibits the consultant from acting as a company’s external auditor if the auditor has engaged in any of the following within the twelve months preceding the company’s COR audit:

  • Provided specific or generic training services that are directly evaluated by the BCCSA audit document.
  • Had any direct contractual relationship with the employer (including the establishment or implementation of a health and safety management system).

26.  How can BCCSA help our company develop a Health and Safety and/or Injury Management program that meets the COR program standard?

BCCSA offers a range of safety training courses which are delivered at various locations throughout the province.  These courses are designed to assist companies of all types and sizes in establishing and maintaining effective health and safety and injury management programs.  Companies who are registered in the Construction Sector, as well as select aggregate and ready-mixed Classification Unit (CU) numbers can take our training at no cost!

We are also pleased to offer safety and injury management advising through our network of Regional Safety Advisers and in-house safety experts.  Their services, including on-site consultations are also available at no cost to companies registered in the Construction Sector.

27.  What if our company fails their COR Certification or Recertification audit?

A company must achieve a minimum score of 80% overall (and at least 50% in each element) for the audit to have passed.  

If the audit has failed, with an overall score of between 70% - 79% (or received less than 50% in any element), the company has the option to request a limited scope audit which will re-audit  the element(s) that contributed to the original low audit score.  BCCSA must be informed of the company’s intention to proceed with a limited scope audit and the limited scope audit must be performed within 90 calendar days of the original audit date.

If the audit has failed, with an overall score of less than 70%, the company must have their entire program re-audited at a later date.  BCCSA recommends the company take sufficient steps to address any program shortcomings before going through the expense of a re-audit.

28.  Our company has undergone (or will be undergoing) operational changes since becoming BCCSA COR Certified.  What does our company need to do to ensure our COR status remains in good standing with BCCSA and WorkSafeBC?

As per WorkSafeBC’s The COR Program: Standard & Guidelines, when an employer changes scope of operations by changing, or adding, a classification unit in which they are registered with WorkSafeBC, merging with, or acquiring, another business, or changing their WorkSafeBC account number, the employer must consult BCCSA to determine whether an additional certification audit is required to maintain COR certification.  Information must be provided to the BCCSA as soon as the changes occur to prevent loss of COR certification and eligibility for incentive payments.

29.  Our company holds a Small COR Certificate through the BCCSA and the company has grown in size since achieving COR certification.   Do we need to notify the BCCSA of our company’s change in size?      

Yes, as BCCSA COR program requirements differ with company size (i.e. under/over 20 employees), participating COR companies must notify the BCCSA immediately of any changes. 

30.  What if our company elects to hire an external auditor to conduct an audit which could be performed by an internal auditor?  Will BCCSA count the audit as an early COR Recertification for our company?  

No, early COR recertification will only be recognized by the BCCSA under specific circumstances (e.g. change in Classification Unit number).  The company must contact the BCCSA if a request for early recertification is being sought and BCCSA will review your company’s particular circumstances with WorkSafeBC.  

31.  Our company is COR certified through BCCSA and we want to bid on a project in another province that requires a COR certificate.  How can we bid on the project? 

As a member of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA), BCCSA has a signed agreement for temporary COR reciprocity between all of the provincial construction safety associations. 

If your firm holds a valid BCCSA COR and is seeking temporary COR reciprocity from another provincial construction safety association, please contact the BCCSA at cor@bccsa.ca or toll free at 1-877-860-3675. BCCSA will complete and submit an application for COR reciprocity on your firm’s behalf to the provincial construction safety association in which COR reciprocity is being sought.

32.  Our company is COR certified in another province and we want to bid on a project that requires a BCCSA COR certificate.  How can we bid on the project?

As a member of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA), BCCSA has a signed agreement for temporary COR reciprocity between all of the provincial construction safety associations. 

The requirements to obtain a Letter of COR Reciprocity from the BCCSA are:

  • The firm must not be currently operating in the province of BC
  • The firm must not have an active WorkSafeBC account 
  • The firm must contact the provincial construction safety association in which they hold a valid COR and request that the association submit an application for COR reciprocity on their behalf to the BCCSA 

If, upon review the application for COR reciprocity is approved, BCCSA will issue the firm a temporary letter of COR reciprocity that is valid for 6 months.  This letter will serve as the documentation for bidding on BC projects requiring COR certification.

Should the company be successful in securing the contract, they will be required to achieve COR Certification through the BCCSA COR Program.

33.  Our company is COR certified in another province.  Will BCCSA issue our company a BCCSA COR certificate?

No, your company must complete the BCCSA COR program requirements to achieve COR status and incentive payment eligibility.

34.  Why do we need to submit our COR audits to the BCCSA?

As a COR Certifying Partner, the BCCSA, in accordance with WorkSafeBC’s The COR Program: Standard & Guidelines, is required to administer quality assurance oversight.  BCCSA must perform a detailed review of all COR audits to ensure any audit process deficiencies are remedied and audits meet an acceptable program standard.  Once BCCSA has reviewed and approved your company’s audit submission, we will notify WorkSafeBC that the company has met their COR program requirements and submit the company for COR incentive payment eligibility.

35.  Our company has been identified for a verification audit.  Do we have to participate in the audit?

By participating in the COR program, a company allows their COR Certifying Partner to conduct verification audits on the participating WorkSafeBC account number.  Verification audits may be selected at random, triggered by internal quality assurance review findings, or at the request of WorkSafeBC to confirm the validity of a company’s COR certification.

36.  Why does BCCSA conduct verification audits on their qualified External Auditors?

As a COR Certifying Partner, the BCCSA, in accordance with the WorkSafeBC’s The COR Program: Standard & Guidelines is required to perform periodic quality assurance audits on our qualified External Auditors to ensure their work is of an acceptable standard.  This type of audit utilizes established practices to evaluate an external auditor’s performance and auditing skills. 

If your company is chosen through the selection process, participation (including audit results) will not have an impact on your company’s COR status or incentive payment eligibility.  These audits are performed at no cost to the company and are conducted by the BCCSA (or an assigned representative).

37.  What is a WorkSafeBC Initiated Verification Audit (WIVA)?

As a COR Certifying Partner, the BCCSA, in accordance with WorkSafeBC’s The COR Program: Standard & Guidelines , may be required to conduct a verification audit on your company’s health and safety management system.  As part of the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program’s on-going quality assurance activities, all COR certified employers are reviewed annually by WorkSafeBC to determine the validity of their COR certification.  Triggers that could result in your company being subject to a verification audit include: high risk violations and program orders, injury rate analysis, and complaints.  If your company is required to undergo a WIVA, it will receive written notification from WorkSafeBC. The audit will be performed at no cost to the company and will be conducted by the BCCSA (or an assigned representative).

38. What is Normal Operating Mode and why do I need to know this when planning my audit?

Normal Operating Mode (NOM) is the average number of employees based on a 12-month period of time.  When planning COR audits, auditors need to ensure the total # of employees at the time of the audit is no less than 80% of their Normal Operating Mode, and the interview sample must be calculated from the Normal Operating Mode number of employees.  The audit must be conducted when the company has a minimum 1 active worksite in addition to their main office for site observations.  Note: Audits are not to be scheduled during a company's slow season (i.e. when staff have been laid off and/or there are no active worksites).

39. What is the time-frame for conducting and submitting our company's COR Audit?

COR audits must be completed and submitted to the BCCSA within a maximum time-frame of 45 days.   The breakdown of this time-frame is as follows:

  1. Audit activities from start to end should be completed within a maximum time-frame of 15 days by the auditor.  The Pre-Audit meeting date will be considered the start of audit activities.  From the start date, the auditor has a maximum of 15 days to complete on-site activities and ensure all necessary documentation, observation, and interview data have been obtained.
  2. From the end date of audit activities (last day on-site), the auditor has a maximum time-frame of 15 days to  review and collate the audit findings, write the audit report, and conduct the Post-Audit meeting with the company.
  3. Once the company has received the final audit report from the auditor (at the Post-Audit meeting) the company will have a maximum time frame of 15 days to review and sign off on the audit results, develop a Corrective Action Plan,  and submit the final audit report to the BCCSA for Quality Assurance.