OHS Canada Magazine

Honouring the next generation of leaders

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August 4, 2020
By Marcel Vander Wier

Health & Safety Young Workers Awards Top 10 Under 40

Shining the spotlight on OHS Canada's Top 10 Under 40

The winners of OHS Canada‘s inaugural Top 10 Under 40 awards program have been unveiled. (OHS Canada)

Many adjectives have been used to describe my generation.

Entitled. Disrespectful. Lazy.

Over the years, millennials have been the bane of many employers’ strategic plans, spurring both frustration and transformation in how the workplace functions.

Today, the team at OHS Canada is pleased to flip the script and shine the spotlight on the next generation of occupational health and safety leaders.

The future of safety


Our inaugural Top 10 Under 40 awards program has uncovered 10 up-and-coming stars in the safety profession. Strong work ethic, leadership by example, and dedication to health and safety are all firmly present in this group.

Our winners crisscross this great nation from coast to coast, assuring me that Canada is in very good hands when it comes to working safely.

I have spent a number of years now writing about the workplace, with subject matter ranging from the future of work to how generational differences are impacting worksites.

With traditionalists, baby boomers, generation Xers and millennials all sharing the workplace, employers have their hands full in ensuring corporate culture serves all ages appropriately.

Definitions vary, but millennials are generally known as those born between 1981 and 1996, meaning this group is made up of 24 to 39 year olds. More importantly, this cohort is expected to make up the bulk of the workforce in five years.

Millennials the present — and future

Say whatever you want about millennials — they are the present, and future, of the workplace.

Millennials are the most highly educated cohort in history, and their impact on workplace culture may be their most defining trait, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia. This group is tech savvy and creative, desiring professional fulfillment alongside a healthy work-life balance.

And even as millennials slowly and surely leave their mark in workplaces across the world, the focus of employers is already shifting towards assimilating the next major group of young staffers — Gen Z. This group is expected to leave its own unique imprint on the world of work.

At present, millennials make up just over one-quarter (27 per cent) of the total health and safety profession, according to data pulled from the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP) salary survey in 2019. Four in 10 safety professionals are over the age of 50.

Moving forward, health and safety will be firmly entrenched in public conversation and organizational philosophy. The fallout from the current COVID-19 pandemic has all but assured that.

Thankfully, an excellent group of young and inspirational safety professionals will be there to lead us forward.

Tanner Konrad, Reza Mehboob, Nadia Edun, Tara Wright, Lance Strong, Kody Messenger, Joël Richer, Evan Edbom, Cody Woolf and Carol Casey — today we salute you for giving your energies and passion to the world of workplace safety.

This editorial was originally published in the July/August 2020 issue of OHS Canada.


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