On July 6th I attended the Joint Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness meeting in Halifax where they presented their first annual report on plans and direction for the future. This initiative can be best explained by the Premier of Nova Scotia, Hon. Stephen McNeil’s message in the annual report:

“Businesses across the Maritimes have told us that while they support the principles behind regulations-protecting health and safety, the environment, and employee and consumer rights-the systems are costly, complex, duplicative, outdated, and out-of-sync with each other. They also told us that the burden of navigating the many differences in these systems slows business growth. Yet growth is a must if we want to maintain, let alone improve, the public services we rely on.

By taking a regional approach, we can align our systems and remove the unnecessary differences, which will make it easier for businesses to do business throughout our region. This innovative interprovincial vision for regulatory reform goes beyond traditional red-tape reduction initiatives”.

As occupational health and safety professionals who have been focused on creating a positive safety culture (as opposed to the traditional rules, regulations, and compliance approach to managing health and safety), this is a breath of fresh air. By taking a long-term, focused approach on the culture side of safety, we have the opportunity to make a longing impact on our overall performance, while maintaining programs that are not only effective, but also feasible for businesses to deliver on.