The organization aims to empower the construction industry to improve workers’ health and safety
COS recently spoke with League of Champions (LOC or “League”) leaders Craig Lesurf, David Frame and Dan Fleming about the organization and how they are spreading awareness despite current COVID-19 limitations.
So, what exactly is the League of Champions? Lesurf, current chair of the League and president of Gillam Group, explains that LOC was born out of support for MySafeWork, a non-profit organization aimed at improving the workplace for vulnerable workers, and the idea of growing that safety message in the construction industry in Ontario.
The League was jointly launched by MySafeWork and the Ontario General Contractors’ Association (OGCA) in 2016, and it has grown to have 63 members and 20 patrons in the last four years. LOC uses a hockey jersey as a symbol. Signing the League of Champions Jersey is a commitment on the part of companies, a pledge that workers are going to work safely every day.
Part of the League’s mission is to encourage companies to “embrace safety as a cultural norm”, says Lesurf. Building safety awareness is an integral part of LOC’s mission. “Safety is done because you’re proactive, not because you’re reactive,” he says.
The organization has a big focus on culture, moving it forward and engaging in an ongoing conversation: “We keep talking, we keep networking – it’s one company at a time, it’s one leader at a time,” says Lesurf.
Before the current pandemic, the League was very active in organizing in-person events and live info sessions bringing in speakers from industry players such as WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board), IHSA (Infrastructure Health and Safety Association) and even the ministry of labour. COVID-19 has effectively put a stop to all in-person gatherings (for now). Fleming, Manager of the Greater Toronto Area at NORCAT, explains that LOC came up with the idea of doing webinars as a way to continue to allow people to network together and share their best practices.
LOC has been organizing webinars since April, with sessions focusing on key aspects of fighting the virus and on pandemic recovery. Sessions are recorded and are available on the League’s website, here.
Despite the success of the League’s webinars, the group is looking towards a post-pandemic landscape: “We are keen for social distancing to be relaxed because LOC is a lot about people coming together to talk about safety and share their stories about safety,” says Frame, director of government relations for OGCA, “Zoom has its limitations.”
The League’s next webinar, “Taking Advantage of Ontario’s Safety Program”, will be tomorrow, July 14, at 2pm ET. The featured speakers will be Bill Roy, ministry of labour, training, and skills; Paul Casey, IHSA; and Rod Cook, WSIB. You can register for free here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pco2LDqyQWe9c8I7m_u42w.