OHS Canada Magazine

Recognizing Canada’s best in occupational health and safety

Unveiling our inaugural OHS Canada Honours winners


The OHS Canada Honours program recognizes: OH&S Professional of the Year, Community Leader, and Lifetime Achievement. (Sviatlana Barchan/iStock/ Getty Images Plus/Getty images)

If the last year and a half have taught us anything about workplace health and safety professionals, it’s that their work is essential when it comes to the responsibility for workers’ lives.

Through 2020 and 2021, health and safety professionals worked tirelessly to keep their workplaces compliant and their colleagues healthy through the global COVID-19 pandemic.

With this in mind, the team at OHS Canada is very pleased to unveil the winners of our inaugural OHS Canada Honours program. This program receives write-in applications over several months, and nominees are judged by the OHS Canada leadership team.

“This year’s nominees completed some incredible work in the world of health and safety,” said OHS Canada editor Marcel Vander Wier, a member of the judging panel. “But our winners stood out above the rest. We are very pleased to recognize their work in this way.”

The OHS Canada Honours program recognizes: OH&S Professional of the Year, Community Leader, and Lifetime Achievement. Join us as we celebrate the best of our OH&S professionals in Canada.

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OH&S Professional of the Year: Mathur Variem

As Cadillac Fairview Corporation’s director of occupational and life safety, Mathur Variem has had a front-row seat to numerous safety disruptions that the current global pandemic has brought to retail and front-facing workplaces.

The 53-year-old Torontorian is OHS Canada’s inaugural winner of OH&S Professional of the Year, in recognition of his excellent work conducted through COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic, Variem not only helped guide and develop occupational health and safety policies across Canada, but he also did so while navigating individual guidelines put forth by local provinces and municipalities across Canada — which were ever-changing.

Community Leader: Paula Campkin

Paula Campkin is OHS Canada’s inaugural winner of the Community Leader award.

Campkin, 48, is an experienced health and safety leader who has contributed extensively to the broader health and safety community in Canada.

The vice-president of operations and the Safety Centre of Excellence for Energy Safety Canada in Calgary has nurtured a supportive approach to occupational health and safety.

Among Campkin’s most impactful contributions to the occupational health and safety community — both in how she perceives her career and to the industry at large — has been her role in empowering and promoting women in safety through the formation of the Women in Occupational Health and Safety Society, in 2017.

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Lifetime Achievement: Len Bourdin

Len Bourdin, 64, feels as if he’s never worked a day in his life.

OHS Canada’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement winner’s tenure in the occupational health and safety industry has seen him move from the oil and gas industry, to starting his own consulting company, and eventually to Millar Western — a Canadian forest products company where he’s spent the last 28 years.

“I don’t have a job,” said Bourdin, the Edmonton company’s director of health, safety and risk management. “If you wake up in the morning and you enjoy what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. And that’s what this is to me.”

Full profiles of our winners will be published in OHS Canada’s July/August 2021 magazine, and will be shared at ohscanada.com in the coming days and weeks.