Who owns an Ontario ‘Working at Heights’ certification card, employer or employee?
It's the employee. Yet the employer often pays for the training. This is going to fuel the underground economy, Alec Caldwell fears.
By Alec Caldwell
Here in Ontario, after workers successfully complete the (new) required full day Working at Heights course, they are issued a temporary certification card – on the spot. This is supposed to be kept in the possession of the worker until their real card arrives in the mail.
So here’s an interesting question… Who owns the card?
It seems that participants own the cards and NOT the companies who pay for their training. This is a sore spot for many companies, especially those who have high employee turnover like roofing firms. Companies absorb the course costs, yet have no control over these cards. The card does NOT show who the employer is.
In high-turnover trades, some workers may – as we all know – suddenly not show up for work the next morning. The may simply go over to a competitor, just like that. Will employers be tempted to stop sending workers to get their Working at Heights training, if they feel that a particular individual – or a group of them – won’t be around long? Will this drive some companies towards the growing underground economy?
Not to pick on roofing firms, but that particular industry is notorious for having underground operators – some of them using cheap substandard shingles. I can foresee many, many workers continuing to walk around on roofs, without Working at Heights training, simply because their employers don’t think it’s worth the investment for “temporary” workers.
Let’s hope these workers are not “temporarily” alive, eh?
There needs to be answers to these questions and hopefully my article will bring conversation to fixing these issues.
CARAHS is a Ministry of Labour (Ontario) Approved Working at Heights Training Provider (Pro # 34609) www.carahs.org
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