September 15, 2009
The Safety Groups Program (SGP) is a five-year voluntary program of the WSIB that rewards firms that integrate effective health and safety and return-to-work measures into daily business. The purpose of the program is to help bring companies into compliance with the WSIB safety standards.

Landscape Ontario has sponsored safety groups for a number of years. The groups are made up of firms from the horticultural / agricultural / landscape / grounds maintenance / garden centre and nursery sector.

At the beginning of each year, a firm may select five safety elements that it will initiate, or improve upon from the safety groups’ achievement list. By attending the scheduled meetings during the year, participants learn how to implement the initiatives, share ideas and pool resources. At the end of the year, the members of the safety group can receive a rebate based on the entire group’s success in implementing the selected safety elements. The fee to join a group is $175 per firm for the year.

For more information on the 2010 program, go to

Meeting dates for 2010 are: Jan. 29, Feb. 26, Mar. 26, Aug. 27, Oct. 29, and Nov. 26. All meetings run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the LO home office in Milton. To participate in program, members must:
  • Have a commitment from the owner or senior management to participate in the program.
  • Create and enhance a safety culture in the workplace.
  • In good standing with the WSIB.
  • Committed to participate for at least one full calendar year.
  • Involved in only one safety group at a time.
  • Not a member of the Safe Communities Incentive Program.
  • Complete all of the requirements of the Safety Groups Program such as: participate in at least three safety group meetings throughout the year; complete baseline and year-end assessments of the firm’s health and safety program strengths and weaknesses; develop and implement an action plan of health and safety elements and keep sponsor informed of progress.

How to qualify for a rebate

Every firm in the group must complete a workplace assessment. WSIB provides a generic assessment tool that may be altered to suit the firms in the group. The group decides if the assessments are self-administered, or conducted by a third party. Each firm develops a plan for improving its health and safety programs. The group meets periodically to network, share practical experience and assess progress. After one year, the assessments are repeated. The sponsor then reports the results to the WSIB. If it can be shown that safety and prevention programs have been implemented, or improved upon, rebates will be distributed to the firms. The group must provide evidence that it has made progress in developing health and safety programs in order to receive rebates, which are not guaranteed. The WSIB will spot-check at least 10 per cent of workplaces in a safety group.

If your firm is committed to improving health and safety and interested in Landscape Ontario’s safety group, contact Sally Harvey CLP, CHT, 1-800-265-565, ext. 315,