Scheduled Maintenance for Online Services

Online Services will be unavailable due to scheduled maintenance from June 21 at 6 pm until June 24 at 8 am.  

Scheduled Maintenance for Online Services

Online Services will be unavailable due to scheduled maintenance from June 21 at 6 pm until June 24 at 8 am.  

ESG Commitment

Annual State of Safety 2023

Our Environmental, Social and Governance Commitment

As a purpose driven organization, our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting provides an overview of our priorities to help improve the safety system by creating a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future.

Our ESG commitments include:

  1. Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA)
  2. Climate action
  3. Indigenous reconciliation and partnerships

Using elements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework, we will regularly monitor, measure, adjust, and report on our efforts to address the most significant risks and opportunities impacting the safety system in British Columbia.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility

Our 2023 ESG goals focused on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Looking forward, we’ll be incorporating accessibility into our overall equity, diversity, and inclusion statement and drafting internal policies for accessibility. In addition, we have changed our EDI commitment to IDEA, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) are integral parts of our organizational culture. Our IDEA strategy is designed to ensure that our people and programs reflect the population we serve, embracing and encouraging different perspectives, while addressing bias. We know we are made stronger by a unique combination of culture, race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical or mental ability, geography, socio-economic status, and work- life situations.

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Last year, our plan set transparent, measurable activities and targets in key areas to help us reach our goals around IDEA, including:

 
  1. Goal: Employees (and/or consultants) with expertise in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion participate in product and services development assuring language inclusion and accessibility for persons with disabilities is considered.  

    Measure and target: We will comply with the Accessible British Columbia Act by September 2023 and establish an implementation plan, a feedback tool, and an advisory committee with internal and external members. We will implement a road map to identify plans for accessibility and equity considerations and compliance in our products and services to increase broader participation in the safety system.
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  3. Goal: Developing a well-qualified and diverse workforce that is representative of the people of British Columbia.  

    Measure and target: We will continue to grow the diversity of people and leaders across the organization, with a particular focus on increasing the number of Indigenous employees. In 2023, we will invite employees to voluntarily disclose their demographics as a first step in understanding where our employee diversity is compared to that of BC.
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  5. Goal: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) is an essential leadership competency. Leaders promote EDI initiatives as well as actively increase their knowledge and mentor others.  

    Measure and target: In 2023, EDI will be established as an organizational competency. Leadership will be evaluated and held accountable for modelling equitable and inclusive behaviours, promoting EDI initiatives, and ensuring that EDI considerations are incorporated into organizational processes and projects. There will also be EDI courses offered to all employees to build capabilities across the organization.

We successfully achieved these goals by completing the following work:

Accessibility Plan 2023–2026

Technical Safety BC falls under and is now compliant with the Accessible British Columbia Act. We’ve created and continue to maintain an Accessibility Plan, have an accessibility committee, and have a feedback mechanism in place for accessibility improvements. We’ve also made the following changes:

  • Enabled automatic closed captioning on Zoom so all employees have access to closed captioning in any meeting.
  • Switched to hosting internal video content on MS SharePoint, which automatically generates transcripts and closed captions.
  • Updated our new website and branded templates to comply with international accessibility standards.

Last year, our Renfrew Office also underwent an Accessibility Audit. With a few improvements, we will achieve gold status through the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Accessibility Certification.

Technical Safety BC is upgrading many of our legacy software and technology systems. In addition to increased efficiency and a human-centric design, the client portal, implemented in a phased approach, is a universally designed product and WCAG 2.2 compliant. This change will have a direct and positive impact on the accessibility of Technical Safety BC’s processes of certification, licensing, permits, and assessments for our employees and clients.

Establishing Our Diversity Profile

Understanding our diversity profile is an important step in measuring our progress towards being an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace. As part of our commitment, we invited employees to voluntarily share personal information in a safe and secure way. Employees were asked to share how they identify, including:

  • Gender identity;
  • Primary racial group;
  • Whether they are a visible minority;
  • Whether they are an Indigenous person;
  • Whether they are a person with a disability; and/or
  • A member of the 2SLGBTQAI+ community.

Employee participation helps us ensure that we are on the path to being a truly diverse organization. Once the gaps are understood, the learnings will inform leadership in areas such as succession planning, pay equity, and development opportunities. This information will also support an internal review of our policies and procedures to ensure a supportive, inclusive, and equitable environment for all.

We created a new policy that gives flexibility to two paid statutory holiday days. Employees can ‘flex’ Boxing Day and/or Easter Monday, choosing to work these days and using their paid stat for another observance or cultural event of their choosing.

In 2023, we prioritized our employees’ mental health by separating mental health service providers from other non-mental health paramedical services as part of our extended health benefits offerings. We now have a new, separate reimbursement limit for mental health service providers of $1,500 per year, available to all employees eligible for extended health benefits and dependents under their benefits plan. We also launched a free subscription for all employees to the Calm© app to access guided meditations and specialized music playlists to help with stress, focus, and mindfulness.

Internally, we supported active employee resource groups (ERGs):

  • Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Mental Health and Wellness

When ERGs are effectively implemented, they can elevate the company culture by cultivating a productive, diverse, and inclusive work environment.

In addition, we know that to build the strongest possible safety system, we must be able to connect with BC’s diverse population. We have been expanding some of our public safety campaigns with a multi-language component, including advertising in Mandarin and Punjabi for select campaigns, such as increasing awareness of carbon monoxide safety.

Leadership and Employee Development

In 2023, we introduced new competencies for leaders and employees. Competencies are the combination of behaviours, skills, and knowledge that make us successful at our jobs. These competencies are based on our values and were carefully crafted to set everyone up for success in achieving our strategy and building our core capabilities. This year, we asked employees to choose a few to focus on and develop throughout the year. Our year-end performance reviews then invite employees to share what they did to develop these skills and what they learned.

We also celebrated and recognized a wide variety of occasions and learning opportunities, both in our offices and virtually. We hosted celebrations like Diwali and PRIDE and recognized National Indigenous Peoples Day. We also did a film screening of "Returning Home - The Phyllis Webstad Story," and specific teams participated in the Kairos Blanket Exercise and in an Anti-Racism Workshop.

Additionally, we worked to ensure that all employees felt welcome and were treated fairly in the workplace. In our quarterly survey, we were pleased to see strong numbers with continuous improvement in response to the questions regarding diversity. An average of 85% of responding employees said that people of all backgrounds are treated fairly in our workplace, and nearly 89% of respondents said that Technical Safety BC is a diverse workplace.

Climate Action and Sustainability

 

Through our climate action work, we seek to proactively manage safety risks by understanding how climate events like wildfires, heat waves, and cold snaps interact with the technical systems we regulate. We also support BC’s decarbonization goals by enabling the safe adoption of low-carbon technologies. We do this work in partnership with Indigenous communities, utilizing both Western-Eurocentric and Indigenous knowledge systems, and we seek to integrate equitable access to safety into our solutions to improve the wellbeing of everyone.

To continue this work, in 2023, we set three goals accompanied by a measurable set of targets to achieve them:

  1. Goal: Prevent safety incidents and hazards related to climate change for the technical systems and equipment we regulate.  

    Measure and target: Implement a process to identify climate change as a factor in incidents and measure the number of technical safety risks that are caused or made worse by climate change, so that we can reduce this number.
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  3. Goal: Prevent disproportionate technical risks and negative impacts of climate change on Indigenous communities and other underserved communities and groups.  

    Measure and target: Expand our outreach to develop relationships in key communities and report how we are doing this. Implement a process to identify if climate change is a factor in incidents, then report a description and number of incidents to reduce these incidents.
  4.  
  5. Goal: Reduce energy consumption within the organization.  

    Measure and target: Continue to track greenhouse gas emissions produced by our fleet vehicles and energy usage in our facilities to monitor and reduce our energy consumption. Implement and scale a low-emission vehicle pilot and be net-zero by 2050 for emissions from fleet and facilities.

We successfully accomplished these goals through the following work:

Improving Our Climate Hazard Inventory

We continued to integrate relevant safety information into our Climate Hazard Inventory through incident tracking and monitoring, and field observations. The inventory helps us identify technical vulnerabilities and safety hazards that may result when there is a flood, wildfire, heatwave, or other extreme weather event. In addition, climate sensitivity data was integrated into the risk register to better understand interactions between climate events and technologies. Learnings from the inventory were shared at several external events and published in a blog post on our website, highlighting two climate related incidents.

 

Enabling the Safe Adoption of Low-Carbon Technologies

In 2023, we collaborated with external organizations such as BC Housing, BC Hydro, and several municipalities to create consumable and easy to understand content for homeowners on how to manage electrical load in single family homes. We also shared information bulletins with key partners to clarify safety requirements of emerging technologies. These initiatives are intended to build awareness of safety considerations and requirements related to the installation and maintenance of low-carbon technologies.

 

Education and Training to Support Climate Safety

Through our continued partnership with BC Hydro, we provided training opportunities for our safety officers, technical system owners and operators, and the public. This included educational sessions on electric vehicle energy management systems, load management, and heat pumps:

  • 50 electrical safety officers attended an internal training session on electric vehicle energy management systems.
  • Our client-focused heat pump webinar had 43 attendees and 149 views of the recorded session.
  • 53 people attended our public/asset owner focused heat pump webinar, and the recording has been viewed 106 times.
 

Collaborative Research for Community Resiliency

We are researching climate solutions for rural, remote and Indigenous communities in BC through a $1M grant from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) in partnership with Simon Fraser University, BC Housing, First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Council, University of Victoria, and other partners. In the first year of this four-year project, we began community partner outreach – with several potential communities expressing interest in the project. We also hired researchers and started our research on co-development approaches, understanding risk perceptions in remote and Indigenous communities, and climate impact assessment frameworks. Finally, we prepared the project team by workshopping the project’s value and impact vision for communities, and completing OCAP (ownership, control, access, possession) data training.

Pilot to Reduce Energy Consumption within the Organization

In 2023, we launched a low-emissions fleet vehicle pilot by adding five electric vehicles to our fleet, bringing our total to 10 electric fleet vehicles. Through this pilot we are learning about charging infrastructure, maintenance and fuel costs and savings, and vehicle capability. Our safety officers participating in the pilot report that they like their electric vehicles. We avoided 15.5 equivalent tonnes of CO2 emissions by using more electric vehicles. This was calculated by taking the average fuel per kilometre from our fuel-based vehicles times the distance driven by our electric vehicles minus the emissions from charging the electric vehicles.

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Indigenous Reconciliation and Partnerships

As part of our Environmental, Social and Governance commitment we strive to coordinate with our reconciliation approach to develop meaningful and respectful relationship-built programs and initiatives with Indigenous people, organizations, and Nations.

In 2023, we continued to take action towards meaningful reconciliation by focusing on:

  • Increasing internal awareness of Indigenous cultures and reconciliation;
  • reducing internal barriers to reconciliation by examining and improving key organizational processes; and
  • working with Indigenous partners to build a clearer picture of our role in reconciliation as a provincial safety regulator.
 

Boosting Indigenous Visibility

In the spring of 2023, we partnered with the Kitsumkalum and Kitselas Nations to host a cultural ceremony to mark the grand opening of the new Technical Safety BC office in Terrace, BC. The ceremony, which involved Elders from both Nations, was an opportunity for us to honour and acknowledge local Indigenous cultures, deepen our relationships with communities in and around Terrace, and begin our work in a meaningful way.

We also developed signage for all our offices acknowledging the traditional and unceded territories on which we work. This signage also serves as a tool to educate employees, clients, and visitors.

The Indigenous Relations Employee Resource Group (ERG) has been responsible for creating, planning, and implementing communications and events to increase employees’ awareness and understanding of reconciliation and Indigenous cultures. This year the ERG organized many well-attended in-person and virtual events, including guest speakers, film screenings, and the Tears to Hope relay, which brings awareness to the ongoing national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

 

Decolonizing Internal Policies and Practices

To take meaningful action toward reconciliation, we need to make significant changes to who we are as an organization both internally and in the way we interact with Indigenous people and communities. In 2023, we removed a procedural barrier that was preventing our employees from following proper cultural protocol when providing honoraria to Indigenous Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers. This small but impactful change supports us in interacting respectfully with Indigenous partners.

In addition, we collaborated with an Indigenous consultant to review and adjust our engagement protocols to better reflect Indigenous ways of being and knowing in our work.

 

Indigenous Outreach and Partnerships

We continued to connect with Indigenous Nations and organizations to gain a better understanding of our safety system from the perspective of Indigenous communities.

Engagement initiatives in 2023 showed us that some Indigenous communities would appreciate clearer lines of communication with us, easily shareable resource documents outlining key processes and protocols, and a more user-friendly permit search interface to support communities in understanding and managing their own risks.

In May 2023, we presented at the Lytton Rebuilding Symposium, where we shared information about Technical Safety BC’s services, climate resiliency work, and reconciliation goals. In October 2023, we spoke at the BC Assembly of First Nations Housing Forum to provide an update on the Rural Community Resilience Project, a collaborative research project funded by the Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions. This project seeks to partner with rural and remote Indigenous communities on community- led and co-created research towards climate resiliency solutions.

Five Indigenous post-secondary students were awarded Technical Safety BC-funded bursaries in 2023. Three students received $4,000 each through our partnership with the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and two students received $2,000 each through our partnership with the New Relationship Trust Foundation.

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