Elizabeth Witmer was appointed Chair of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board in 2012 and is a former Deputy Premier of Ontario. During her tenure as an M.P.P. she made her mark as a respected Cabinet Minister and managed some of the toughest files as Minister of Labour, Health and Long-Term Care, Environment and Education.
As Minister of Labour, Mrs. Witmer was the first Minister to overhaul the Workers’ Compensation Board and renamed it the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. In her various Ministerial positions, Elizabeth introduced the first universal flu vaccine program in the world and directed the closure of the first coal plant in Ontario, earning her the Asthma Society of Canada Innovation in Public Policy Award.
Her leadership has been recognized with many prestigious awards; the Paul Harris Fellowships from the Rotary Club for “service above self”, and most recently, the Ontario General Contractors’ Association recognized Elizabeth with the Doug Chalmers Safety Award for her long-time commitment to occupational health and safety. Throughout her career, Mrs. Witmer’s has been a champion of young worker health and safety. She remains passionate about helping Ontario’s businesses improve their health and safety performance to make Ontario the safest and healthiest place to work.
In this panel, the current and past Chairs of the World Congress International Organizing Committee will join together with social partners to explore the premise that a strong culture of prevention has supported the ability of workplaces to respond effectively to COVID-19. Through the lens of those sectors that were deemed “essential”, the panel will explore what role a culture of prevention played in responding to the COVID-19 emergency, and what new lessons this experience offers about the importance of a prevention culture to occupational health and safety globally.
Mr. John Beckett, Vice-President of Operations, British Columbia Maritime Employers Association, Canada
Ms. Marie Clarke Walker, Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Labour Congress, Canada
Prof. Dr. Walter Eichendorf, Past Chair, International Organizing Committee, XX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, Germany
Er. Ho Siong Hin, Past Chair, International Organizing Committee, XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, Singapore
Prof. Dr. Cameron Mustard, President, Institute for Work & Health and Chair, International Organizing Committee, XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, Canada
Ms. Elizabeth Witmer, Chair, Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Canada
Ms. Anne Tennier, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, Canada
English, French, German, Spanish