A beloved program is back in the fold at the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and for many, its return is a sight for sore eyes.
Building on more than 25 years of success operating as the Occupational Disability Response Team or ODRT, Prevention Link is now Ontario’s only holistic and comprehensive disability prevention program.
“When Patty, Ahmed and I took office, our sisters and brothers from the labour movement make it clear that the services provided by the former ODRT was crucial to ensuring safe and health workplaces for all workers,” said Chris Buckley, OFL President. “Since then, securing funding for Prevention Link has been top of mind and we are proud to once again have a tangible disability prevention program at work.”
Prevention Link, now funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Prevention Office and administered by the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), will continue to offer quality training, mentoring, outreach and advisory services for unionized and non-unionized workers, workplace representatives, and employers – wishing to engage in cost-effective, collaborative and results based outcomes.
“It is a thrill to reinvigorate a respected program that has trained more than 15,000 workplace-based representatives to better understand the nature and causes of workplace injuries and to improve the culture of safety in their workplaces,” said Rob Halpin, Executive Director of Prevention Link. “Moving forward, we will place increased emphasis on the links between primary and secondary prevention of occupational injury, illness and disease in workplaces throughout the province.”
The innovative disability prevention program is supported by three distinct pillars, including:
- Occupational Disability Response Training, formerly the Occupational Disability Response Team, but ODRT all the same. This branch of the new program enables workers to apply their skills, and problem solve on primary and secondary prevention initiatives in their workplaces, and in their communities.
- Return to Work, the consulting branch of Prevention Link, facilitates a strategic fit with workplace return-to-work best practices and all applicable rights, health and safety, accessibility and worker’s compensation legislation.
- The Lighthouse Initiative is the facet of Prevention Link that aims to serve two categories of vulnerable workers:
- those returning to work after an injury; and
- those who may not have been injured, but have limited knowledge of occupational health and safety laws and available resources.
“Prevention Link is a labour of love,” said Halpin. “Everyone involved in this robust program is deeply committed to improving the well-being of Ontario’s most vulnerable workers.”