OWHC History

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If you have any questions, please contact the OWHC Secretariat:

E: contact@owhc.ca


The Ontario Workplace Health Coalition has been in development since the beginning of 2005. Many milestones have happened since that time and the OC continues to progress and grow as a provincial coalition.

How did the OWHC get to where it is today? Below is a brief history:

In July 2013: The OWHC released its updated model for comprehensive workplace health (CWH) which aligns better with the model developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) a few years ago. A fourth element "organizational social responsibility" was added to the OWHC's original three key elements - occupational health & safety, health & lifestyle practices, and organizational culture. The new OWHC model also incorporates the evidence-based "Plan-Do-Check-Act" process to operationalize or implement the CWH approach

2012: The Ontario Healthy Workplace Coalition officially becomes the Ontario Workplace Health Coalition.

April 2010: The OWHC releases a Proposal for an Ontario Comprehensive Workplace Health Strategy with the accompanying Healthy Workplace Handbook.

September 2009: The first Annual General Meeting was held in Mississauga.

May 2009: The new Board of Directors were vetted and director roles were determined.

March 2009: The OWHC and THCU held the annual Healthy Workplace Symposium titled "Building Healthy Workplaces: Meeting Challenges, Innovating Change". Highlights included The introduction of the new Board of Directors, the unveiling of the OWHC website an inspirational and informative presentation from Maria Escobar (Frito-Lay) & Rochelle Morandini (Hewitt Associates), excellent feedback from participants on the Advocacy Common Guideline for workplace health, a story told by Vic Pakalnis on a workplace challenge that was met with innovation.

February 2009: Nominations were posted for the new Steering Committee, now termed the Board of Directors.

August 2008: The OWHC officially became an incorporated not-for-profit organization.

March 2008: Once again, the OWHC and THCU partnered to host a Workplace Health Symposium titled "Healthy Workplaces Make Business Cents: Assessment to Action". Highlights included key note speeches from Bill Wilkerson and the Deputy Minister of Labour, Virginia West.

December 2007: The Standing Committees were formed under the OWHC's four core functions; Advocacy, Building Capacity, Communications and Resource Integration.

September 14, 2007: The newly-elected steering committee had its inaugural meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to chart a course for the future, beginning with the confirmation of roles and responsibilities.

July 2007: Subsequent to the Steering Committee election, a transition meeting was held that included the members of the Acting Steering Committee and the incoming steering committee. This meeting served to update and orient the new members, and to establish the operating framework for the OWHC.

May 2007: First election was held to choose the Steering Committee members.

March 2007: The Ontario Workplace Health Coalition Symposium: Taking the First Step Together was held in Toronto with over 100 attendees.

July 2006 - February 2007: The Strategic Plan and Terms of Reference were refined. As well, plans for a March Symposium and Steering Committee May election began.

June 2006: The Ontario Workplace Health Coalition Acting Steering Committee was formed.

March 2006: The Health Communication Unit (THCU) organized a gathering called 'Building a Future for Healthy Workplaces: A Provincial Gathering' to open discussion with workplace health stakeholders to determine interest in forming a coalition. The well-attended gathering sparked much interest, and generated support to move ahead on planning for an independent, not-for-profit body.

February 2005 - February 2006: An Association Planning Committee was formed. A draft Strategic Plan and draft Terms of Reference were developed. As well, plans for a March gathering began to determine interest from a new body.

May 2005: A brief letter was sent to Larry Hershfield, Manager of The Health Communication Unit identifying regional and national gaps within workplace health. In addition to identifying these gaps, recommendations were made to form a provincial association.



OWHC is supported by    Workplace Safety & Prevention Services - A Health & Safety Ontario Partner    and    CCOHS - Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety