OHS Canada Magazine

CSSE: Acknowledging the past with a bold vision for the future


Christl Aggus, president of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE)

For more than seven decades, the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) has been the voice of the safety industry and has played a vital role in shaping and defining the health and safety profession, providing education, and advancing members’ careers.

Shifting employment climates and the global pandemic have changed how people work and engage with each other and put a renewed focus on occupational or workplace heath and safety. As the CSSE approaches its 75th anniversary, we have an opportunity to align our strategies to find new ways to connect with, and support, current and future members, and advance the profession.

Now is the time to forge a bold new path.

New CEO joins CSSE

As with any organization, the primary driver of change starts at the top with its leadership. In November, the CSSE welcomed Christopher Barry as its new CEO. With more than 20 years of strategic leadership experience as a member of senior management teams and a CEO, Barry has earned a reputation in the non-profit sector for developing and executing strategies that grow organizations, elevate fundraising, manage costs, and introduce best practice solutions.

Having led numerous national not-for-profit organizations through complex change, Barry is the perfect leader to build on the momentum we’ve started over the last several months and continue to drive the Society forward for our members.

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I am honored to have the opportunity to help move the CSSE, and the health and safety profession, into the future, working closely with the new and energized board of directors and regional council, along with an experienced management team, as president of the CSSE. As we implement our new bylaws and transition into a self-governance structure, we have committed to investing time to examine internally and consult with members – both past and present – and stakeholders alike, to continuously find ways to innovate, successfully and competitively.

3 important goals

We are executing upon our strategy and delivering on three important goals: improving our service delivery to our membership, revamping, and broadening our education programs, and expanding our membership.

The CSSE is focused on delivering greater value – better engagement and a better value proposition tailored to members.

We recently asked members what they valued most from their CSSE membership and what, if anything, we could do better to support them. The results certainly reinforced things that we knew, but, more importantly, we have also been able to pinpoint what members don’t perceive as a priority. This has provided for an opportunity to adjust offerings and adapt service delivery to accommodate an evolving membership and elevate professional development.

This applies to our education. We are keenly aware of the changing dynamics that safety and health professionals face daily and want to ensure they have access to courses that reflect the new challenges in the workplace. To that end, we are refreshing our programs – broadening our offerings, deepening our instructor cadre, while also providing more flexibility in terms of accessibility.

At the end of the day, our collective growth will be a result of improving service delivery. It is imperative that CSSE membership remains truly reflective of the depth of our profession. This has required honest introspection on our part – with a deep respect for those who served in our past – identifying how we can attract vibrant, new energy and mentor our future leaders.

There’s no time like now to get involved. The CSSE is a proud supporter of health & safety practitioners and professionals alike, we have exciting plans in place and cannot wait to share more. For additional information check out our social media posts and our website – we have chapters from coast to coast to coast.

Christl Aggus is the president of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE). For more information, visit https://www.csse.org/