British Columbia Safety Council

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The British Columbia Safety Council was a provincial, non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to safety, helping business and individuals prevent injury through safety education and awareness throughout British Columbia, Canada. In October, 2009 it went into bankruptcy, halting all business.


The British Columbia Safety Council's mission was to assist the Province's citizens in preventing injuries arising from work, travel, home or leisure activities through safety education and training, and through advocacy efforts for effective policy and regulation.


In December 1945, the B.C. Safety Council was established and also incorporated under the Society Act of British Columbia. Originally focused on industrial safety to support war production, the Council was involved in traffic safety issues by the early 1950s. The Council introduced the Defensive Driving Program to B.C. Fatalities from road accidents were twice what they were in the early 20th century, so driver education became an urgent and top priority for British Columbia citizens. Licensing and monitoring of new drivers was not taken as seriously as it is today, and drinking and driving was not yet recognized as the social epidemic it later became. In the workplace, serious trauma injuries were almost commonplace, stress was thought to be just a part of the job and repetitive strain injuries had not been defined yet in the popular jargon.

In the 1960s the BC Safety Council was concerned with issues such as convincing government and the public that seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws were necessary in order to ensure public safety. During this same period, the Council's Underwater Section provided training for fledgling scuba divers and continued to do so until the industry developed and instituted its own specialized training programs.

The Council's Industrial Section provided programs for supervisors, safety committees and managers. Its Blasting Course, which helped miners learn to properly prepare for blasting operations, was part of this training. Over the years, the Council became heavily involved in workplace safety issues, with training programs and seminars covering a variety of topics, including supervisor training for safety, WHMIS, Safety Committee training, confined space training, and fall protection.

The BC Safety Council Motorcycle Training course was established in 1971, based on support from volunteer instructors and motorcycles supplied by local motorcycle industry representatives.

The Safety Council opened the Professional Driver Centre in 1971, at the unused Locarno beach ex army compound Vancouver British Columbia. Later they moved to Bounadry Bay airport. Their Class 1-3, Air Brake Courses and Motorcycle Rider Training Program provided professional, hands-on training to novice operators of these vehicles.

In the 1990s they moved into construction safety training with Safety Officer and Trade Safety Coordinator programs developed from scratch. In its first 50 years they enjoyed public funding support via grants from the provincial government and the WCB, but that ended in 1995. Like many other not-for-profit groups, they faced a significant funding crisis that year, one that generated a fundamental change in their game plan. They became solely reliant on income from memberships and tuitions, making self-sufficiency essential. At the same time, the business world was now placing a new emphasis on marketing, sales and customer service, issues which became critical for their continued survival.

Council staffing levels, which had peaked at 24 in the early 1980s, went from 19 to 9 almost overnight, and programs that were not monetarily self-sustaining were chopped if they could not be quickly reformed. Their non-fee community safety efforts had to be suspended or drastically cut back. Although the Council was a registered charity, they had to begin thinking like a business. In 1996 it launched the Western Conference on Safety, partnering with Pacific Safety Center Ltd. in this new venture.

From that point on, the British Columbia Safety Council functioned with a highly skilled but relatively small core staff; with the delivery of programs placed mainly in the hands of experienced and knowledgeable contract and part-time instructors. They offer a broad ranges of education and training programs in occupational, traffic and community safety. The Council offered training to its members and clients anywhere in B.C., 24 hours a day, seven days a week.[1]

Without public funding support, and facing a rapidly growing array of independent consultants, private training organizations and a number of industry-specific Safety Councils sponsored by WorkSafe BC, the Council's traditional markets were eroding steadily in the new millennium. Without secure funding, its ability to maintain standards in such a wide variety of programs, and facing large capital needs, the Council's financial resources eroded. The loss of the use of Boundary Bay Airport where its Motorcycle Program had operated so successfully was a major blow. The recession of 2008 was the final obstacle to survival, and the Council was not able to evolve fast enough to reduce overhead and build new revenue streams. (The Council Entered bankruptcy proceedings October 20, 2009)

NOTICE OF BANKRUPTCY AND FIRST MEETING OF CREDITORS (Section 102(4)) IN THE MATTER OF THE BANKRUPTCY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA SAFETY COUNCIL NOTICE is hereby given that the bankruptcy of British Columbia Safety Council, of the City of Richmond, occurred on the 20th day of October, 2009, and that the First Meeting of Creditors will be held on the 9th day of November, 2009, at 10:00 o'clock in the forenoon, at E. Sands & Associates Inc., Suite 410, 1100 Melville Street, in the City of Vancouver, in the Province of British Columbia. DATED at Vancouver, BC, this 22nd day of October, 2009. E. Sands & Associates Inc. an Association of Corporations 410 - 1100 Melville Street Vancouver, B.C., V6E 4A6 Tel: (604) 684-3030

After the dissolution of the BC Safety Council in October 2009, a few of the top instructors from the Motorcycle rider training division, not wishing to see the kind of dedicated, professional training provided at the council disappear, began a new rider training school called RoadCraft Motorcycle Academy [1] With so many schools already in the novice rider training business in BC, RoadCraft chose instead to cater only to already licensed riders, providing much needed further training and skills upgrading to the riding public.

Novice Rider Training Continues with The Justice Institute of BC who purchased the program materials, copyrights and many of the Motorcycle Program assets to continue a Motorcycle Skills Course and a Traffic Skills Course in the spring of 2010. Many of the former BCSC motorcycle instructors were also hired to conduct the training.

Construction Safety Officer (CSO) and Trade Safety Coordinator (TSC) programs of the BCSC continue after ER Plus Risk Management of Richmond BC purchased the Copyrights to these and other programs.

Former BCSC Traffic Training Programs continue under Practical Driving Solutions Ltd. who purchased the materials and copyrights to the very well regarded Hazard Avoidance Tactics family of courses. PDSL is owned and operated by past BCSC instructor and traffic specialist.

Training and education[edit]

The BC Safety Council offered courses for motorcycle riding skills (performance management, hazard awareness and avoidance, maneuvering skills,etc.), occupational safety programs, driver education (air brake training, defensive driving, etc.), instructor training (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, Traffic Control Person Training administered by the Construction Safety Network, etc.), community safety and awareness (mature driver evaluation, swimming, etc.), and forklift operator certification. They also offered awards for recognition of safety, used to promote awareness and encourage morale. Some of the awards included awards of merit and awards of honour and distinction.


  1. ^ "Safety First" Online Newsletter (60th Anniversary), BC Safety Council History, Spring 2006

External links[edit]