Get a Certificate of Recognition (COR)

A Certificate of Recognition (COR) is awarded to employers who develop health and safety programs that meet established standards.

Overview

A COR shows that the employer’s health and safety management system has been evaluated by a certified auditor and meets provincial standards. These standards are established by Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).

To get a COR, your business must first have a health and safety management system in place, and then have it successfully audited through a Certifying Partner.

If your business passes the audit, the Certifying Partner will jointly issue a COR with the Government of Alberta.

For more information read Responsibilities of a COR holder

Certifying Partner

A Certifying Partner is an organization that:

  • can help you develop a health and safety system
  • provides health and safety training and services
  • coordinates the audit process
  • provides quality assurance

You will need to choose a Certifying Partner as part of the application process.

Eligibility

There are different types of CORs, based on the number of employees you have.

Small Employer Certificate of Recognition (SECOR)

A SECOR is for businesses with up to 10 employees.

To get a SECOR, you must conduct a self-assessment of your health and safety management system, then have the assessment reviewed by your Certifying Partner.

If a business has a SECOR and may grow beyond 10 employees, it can follow a transition program to get a standard COR

Certificate of Recognition (COR)

A COR is for businesses with 10 or more employees.

To get a COR, you must hire an external auditor to audit your health and safety management system, then have the audit reviewed by your Certifying Partner.

How to get a COR

Before your business can get a COR, you must have a health and safety management system in place that meets provincial standards.

Step 1. Choose a Certifying Partner

There are 13 Certifying Partners authorized to administer the COR program to Alberta employers. Choose a Certifying Partner that has the right fit for your company and industry.

Step 2. Implement a health and safety management system

After you choose a Certifying Partner, they will help you develop a health and safety management system that meets their requirements.

If you already have a health and safety management system in place, your Certifying Partner will give you recommendations and training to meet provincial standards.

Step 3. Get an audit

Once you have a health and safety management system in place, you’ll need to have it reviewed. To get an audit:

  • for small employers with less than 10 employees, arrange with your Certifying Partner to conduct a self-assessment
  • for employers with more than 10 employees, arrange with your Certifying Partner to get an external audit

How to get an external audit

  1. Contact your Certifying Partner for a list of qualified auditors and to discuss all the audit requirements.
  2. Select an auditor with appropriate experience and qualifications for your needs.
  3. Arrange with the auditor for the audit to be completed.

Auditors should submit the completed audit report and instrument to their Certifying Partner for quality assurance review within 21 days after completion of data gathering activities. Certifying Partners may approve additional time (up to 24 days) for audit report submission in extenuating circumstances. Audits reports must be submitted within 45 days of completion of data gathering activities.

If a consultant helped you develop your health and safety management system, that consultant cannot carry out the audit.

Audit instruments

An audit instrument organizes audit procedures into steps and actions for the auditor. Each Certifying Partner develops their own audit instrument, which is approved by the Partnerships in Injury Reduction. All audit instruments will conduct:

  • employee interviews at all levels
  • a review of documentation
  • observations of workplace conditions and practices

The audit will determine how well your health and safety management system is working, and if it complies with your Certifying Partner’s standards.

Step 4. After the audit

Once the auditor has completed the audit, they will send a written report to your Certifying Partner for review. To pass the audit, you must score at least 80% overall, with a minimum score of 50% in each of the audit elements.

If it passes, the Certifying Partner sends a request to the Government of Alberta to issue a COR. The certificate is then signed by both the government and your Certifying Partner, and sent to you.

Timeline

When going through the audit process, keep in mind:

  • if you don’t have a health and safety management system, it may take 12 months or more to complete the whole process
  • October to December is the busiest time for auditors, so an audit will take longer during this time
  • if corrections are needed by the auditor, this will add more time to the process
  • if the auditor does not meet deadlines for completing or submitting the audit, or if the audit doesn’t pass quality assurance, your audit won’t be accepted; you’ll have to get a new one done, and your COR could expire while you’re renewing it

Contact

To contact the Certificate of Recognition program:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-415-8690 (in Alberta)
Toll free: 1-866-415-8690
Email: whs@gov.ab.ca

Ask an Expert