See how Ontario, Alberta and B.C. stack up when it comes to salaries and designations
COS has decided to take a look at how safety careers compare across provinces, starting with Ontario, Alberta and B.C. Over the next few weeks we shall be covering each province and territory to see how each stack up when its comes to factors like salary, education and designations.
The safety profession is as-of-yet unregulated, meaning that pretty much anyone can call themselves a safety professional. But that doesn’t mean that just anyone can get hired. Companies are typically looking for professionals with strong experience and/or education. And because OHS in Canada is regulated on a provincial level, requirements for starting a career in safety may vary.
Talent.com reckons that the median salary for a safety officer is $65,078/year, with entry-level positions starting at $51,617/year and experienced workers earning up to 85,804 per year. Other estimates are even higher. According to the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP), the median salary for OHS professionals in Canada is $80,000/year, and over 50 per cent of certified professionals earn over $100,000 per year (according to a 2019 salary survey).
(Note: Salary estimates can vary depending on which aggregator you use, and can also vary depending on factors such as industry, title, company, seniority, location, etc. The numbers in this article are merely indicative of potential earnings.)
Broadly, to become a safety professional there is some form of post-secondary education required. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a Bachelor’s degree, there are a range of diplomas and certificates to choose from. Designations and certifications such as the Canadian Registered Safety Profession (CRSP) or the Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST) are also highly desirable.
“I would encourage every person working in the health and safety field to work towards a professional designation,” says Paul Belair, Corporate Director – Health & Safety, Equinox Gold Corp. “It sets them up for success.” According to Herzing College, 70 per cent of employers list the CRSP as a requirement for a professional position in occupational health and safety.
Requirements: According to Herzing College, to become a certified occupational health and safety officer in Ontario, you would need some form of post-secondary education. Depending on the employer, a specific number of years of experience may be required, as well as a professional designation.
Depending on more specific roles, you could be asked for additional things. For example, to become an occupational health and safety inspector with the Ministry of Labour, you need a valid Class G Ontario Driver’s Licence.
Salary: Talent.com says that the average salary in Ontario is $70,159/year. A higher estimate from the Economic Research Institute (ERI) says that a health and safety officer in Ontario can make earn on average $92,752/year.
Education: Algonquin College – Occupational Safety and Health Certificate*; Anderson College – OHS Diploma; Cambrian College – Workplace Safety & Prevention Technician Diploma; Canadore College – Occupational Health and Safety Certificate; Conestoga College – Occupational Health and Safety Certificate, Occupational Health, Safety and Wellness Certificate; Fanshawe College – Occupational Health and Safety Certificate; Fleming College – Health, Safety and Environmental Compliance Certificate; Herzing College – OHS Diploma; Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning – Occupational Health and Safety Certificate; Lambton College – Workplace Safety & Prevention Diploma, OHS Management Post Graduate Certificate, Occupational Health and Safety Certificate; Mohawk College – Occupational Health and Safety Certificate; Niagara College – Occupational Health and Safety Certificate; Sault College – Occupational Health and Safety Certificate; Seneca College – Workplace Safety and Prevention Diploma, Occupational Health and Safety Certificate; Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) – BASc in OHS, Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety (+ Certificate in Advanced Safety Management + Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety Leadership); University of Toronto – Master of Health Science in Occupational and Environmental Health; Western University – Post Degree Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Management.
Designations/certifications: CRST, CRSP, Registered Occupational Hygienist (ROH), Certified Health & Safety Consultant (CHSC), Certified Canadian Health and Safety Management System Auditor (CHSMSA), Certified Occupational Health Nurse – Canada (COHN [C]), Gold Seal Certified Construction Safety Coordinator (GSC-CSC) and National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO).
Requirements: According to Alberta ALIS (career, learning and employment information for Albertans), health and safety officers need to have several years of related work experience. They also must have a bachelor’s degree in science, engineering, or a related discipline, or a related post-secondary diploma. Though certification is not a requirement in Alberta, it is certainly an asset.
Salary: ALIS says that an occupational health and safety officer can earn on average $89,167/year. Talent.com places that average lower at around $70,000 per year.
Education: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) – OHS Diploma; University of Alberta – Professional Diploma in OHS, Occupational Health and Safety Certificate; University of Calgary – OHS Diploma, Occupational Health and Safety Advanced Certificate
Designations/certifications: CRST, CRSP, ROH, CHSC, CHSMSA, COHN [C], (GSC-CSC) and NCSO.
Requirements: As always requirements may vary. To become an occupational safety officer at WorkSafeBC for example, you need a minimum of four years’ experience in a qualifying industry, experience as a safety practitioner (not required by preferred), a diploma or certificate in occupational health and safety (preferred), and a professional designation such as the CRSP or Certified Safety Professional (CSP) is an asset.
Salary: According to ERI, a health and safety officer in B.C. can earn on average $99,053/year. As with Ontario, the Talent.com estimate is lower, and says that the average salary for a safety officer in B.C. is around $68,016/year.
Education: British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) – OHS Diploma, Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety (plus the Associate Certificate for OHS Practitioners), Associate Certificate in Foundations of Occupational Health and Safety; Langara College – Health, Safety & Environmental Compliance Diploma; Okanagan College – Occupational Health and Safety Certificate; Simon Fraser University – Occupational Health & Safety Certificate; University of British Columbia – Master of Science in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene; University of Northern British Columbia – Occupational Health and Safety Practitioner Certificate; University of Victoria – Environmental and Occupational Health Post-Graduate Certificate, Environment and Occupational Health Certificate
Designations/certifications: CRST, CRSP, ROH, CHSC, CHSMSA, COHN [C], (GSC-CSC), NCSO and Construction Safety Officer (CSO).
*OHS programs approved by the BCRSP for CRSP and CRST eligibility.