Who is ASHSP?
The Alberta Society of Health and Safety Professionals (ASHSP) was incorporated in the Province of Alberta under the Societies Act on November 27, 2017.
Currently, in the field of occupational health and safety (OHS), there is no legal title protection or scope of practice protection. This means anyone can call themselves an OHS professional and claim to be competent in understanding, interpreting, and applying OHS legislation and best practices.
There are a number of OHS practitioners, both certified and uncertified. Though some possess the necessary skills, aptitude, knowledge, and training to do the job well, there are others who do not possess such attributes.
Regulated certification is needed in order to assure the public that those who practice in this vital area are competent to do so. It is essential to the public interest and for the integrity of our profession to have OHS become a fully-recognized profession, protected and regulated by law.
A regulated profession includes the following three elements:
- Title Protection (only members of the “registered association” will be able to use certain title(s), which are protected by law);
- Scope of Practice Protection (only members of the “registered association” can legally perform certain types of work); and
- A regulatory, oversight body (college) to ensure that members adhere to standards of competent and ethical practice.
The ASHSP is pursuing a joint college model, which will bring together many of the sub-disciplines under the OHS profession (e.g., workplace health and safety professionals, occupational hygienists, etc.) to be regulated by one provincial body.
The goal of the ASHSP is to create a “registered association” under the Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act (POARA) and, thereby, establish a self-regulating body for the OHS profession in Alberta.
The sole purpose of a “registered association” is to protect the public interest (as opposed to promoting the profession). Regulatory oversight of the OHS profession is required to protect the public interest. For greater certainty, the public interest includes:
- worker health and safety;
- future workers' health and safety;
- workers' families and loved ones who are also impacted by workplace injuries and illnesses;
- the societal costs of workplace injuries and illnesses (e.g., healthcare, insurance, etc.); and
- the economic costs of workplace injuries and illnesses (e.g., recognizing the fact that occupational health and safety is good for business, preserves the reputation of Alberta industries, and ensures competitive advantages both in Alberta and abroad).