OHS Canada Magazine

World Congress on Safety and Health at Work connected delegates from 120 countries


From Sept. 20 to 23, Toronto hosted the XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work under the theme of “Prevention in the Connected Age: global solutions to achieve safe and healthy work for all.”

The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) hosted the Congress, together with the International Social Security Association (ISSA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Participants from around the globe virtually attended.

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, high-level government officials, trade unions, workers and their representatives, communicators, representatives of social security organizations, scientists and researchers, filmmakers, journalists, speakers, thought leaders, occupational experts and decision-makers explored critical occupational safety and health issues. The Congress program featured over 200 speakers from over 40 countries.

In addition, the International Media Festival for Prevention took place during the Congress, along with hundreds of virtual poster presentations and an International Safety and Health Exhibition.

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A new way to convene and connect, the Congress provided a forum to exchange knowledge, practices, and experiences to promoting safe and healthy work for all. Objectives achieved included strengthening connections, networks and alliances while laying the groundwork for cooperation and relationships among all concerned, as well as providing a platform for new and emerging knowledge, innovation, and strategic and practical ideas that can be immediately put into use.

A highlight of the keynote speakers that contributed to the Congress’ objectives for building a world of work that is safe, healthy and inclusive of people with disabilities included:

  • Dr. Joachim Breuer – President, International Social Security Association
  • Dr. John Howard – Director of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Cameron Mustard – President, Institute for Work & Health
  • Dr. Elizabeth Nkumbula – Founder and Chairperson, ENVIS Consulting Limited, Zambia
  • Mr. Guy Ryder – Director General, International Labour Organization
  • Hon. Hanna Sarkkinen – Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Finland
  • Mr. Nicolas Schmit – European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights
  • Prof. Atsushi Seike – President, The Promotion and Mutual Aid Corporation for Private Schools of Japan
  • Ms. Anne Tennier – President & CEO, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
  • Ms. Maayan Ziv – CEO & Founder, AccessNow

The Opening Session incorporated typical Canadian flair and featured the sounds of Canada, including avant-garde talent from Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Saskatchewan. The Congress closed with a handover to the organizers of the XXIII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Australia.

The XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work offered a powerful set of tools designed to improve progress towards building a global culture of prevention and improving safety and health at work worldwide.


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