Co-op supervisors from around Nunavut were in Rankin Inlet for a supervisor familiarization course this past week.
The two-day course ran on Sept. 27 and 28 and was facilitated by Wes Mazur of Ontario's Grand River Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).
Mazur, a former Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) safety officer who started his own company nine years ago, said the Co-op partnered with Grand River OHS to provide mandatory supervisor training for every Co-op in the North.
He said the participants learned about the Safety Act and Regulations for Nunavut, hazard and risk assessment, supervisor leadership, how to manage contractors and workers rights and responsibilities.
"The supervisor familiarization training is a two-day comprehensive course approved by the WSCC," said Mazur.
"It helps supervisors understand their legal rights and responsibilities under the Nunavut Safety Act and Regulations.
"We had 13 people take the program in Rankin."
Kissarvik retail store manager Glenn Woodward said he took a lot of information away from the course.
He said all the Co-op supervisors who attended left understanding a lot more about their rights and responsibilities than when they arrived.
"The course was eye-opening, informative and enlightening," said Woodford.
"It brought a heightened level of awareness to me, as a supervisor, as to what I'm responsible for when it comes to the safety of my staff and my customers.
"All the participants were engaged in conversations and we participated in some excellent breakout exercises together, so I believe the course was beneficial to everyone sitting at the table.
"Prior to this course taking place, Kissarvik Co-op advertised at the local level that it was coming up and invited employers of Rankin Inlet to attend the course and we only had one external organization take advantage of the opportunity."
Matt Clark, Arctic Co-operatives regional manager in Iqaluit, said it's important for the company to deliver this course and have it done well, because it's now the law in Nunavut.
He said even more importantly, the safety of Arctic Co-operatives employees and their customers is of critical importance.
"Anything that can broaden the understanding of our managers and our supervisors in ensuring safe workplaces and safe stores and operations is critical for our future success," said Clark.
Mazur said one of his goals since leaving the North was to be able to come back and offer good health-and-safety training and services at southern pricing.
"We're doing that now with our partnership with Arctic Co-operatives and not offloading higher costs on the people of the North," said Mazur.
"People have taken advantage of that in the past and that's part of the reason why I started this company so I could be fair and provide good training to folks, especially those in the North."