Several Canadian commercial real estate companies and major commercial tenants have improved contracting and procurement policies to address poor employment practices, but most do not go far enough, according to a new report.
Vancouver, BC: SHARE is marking April 28 – the World Day for Health and Safety at Work – by releasing a guidance report for investors focused on corporate best practices in health and safety.
More than 300,000 workers suffer injuries serious enough to warrant time off work every year in Canada. Mental health problems cost Canadian businesses approximately $33 billion a year, and stress-related absences cost Canadian employers an estimated $3.5 billion a year. Additionally, the cost of absenteeism for Canadian businesses is approximately $5.48 billion a year. Such losses have serious impacts on workers and their families but also on employers, the Canadian economy and by extension, for investors.
“Companies that provide safe and healthy workplaces are also financially safer,” says Sari Sairanen, National Health and Safety Director at the Canadian Auto Workers. “The costs of accidents and workplace illnesses reduces productivity, lowers economic output and resulting investment returns. Paying attention to corporate workplace health and safety is a win-win situation for institutional investors, such as pension funds.”
The SHARE guidance report outlines best practice principles for Canadian companies to provide a safe and healthy workplace for employees, including key questions and recommendations for investors to consider when managing health and safety risks in their portfolios.
April 28 is World Day for Health and Safety at Work, an international day of remembrance recognized by the International Labour Organization to focus attention on the preventable nature of most workplace accidents and occupational disease, as well as the magnitude of global work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
“We are releasing this report as part of our Investing in Decent Work project,” said SHARE Executive Director, Peter Chapman. “The goal of the project is to help build the capacity of pension funds to meet their long-term financial obligations to plan
members in a way that recognizes and promotes the fundamental human rights of workers.”
Read SHARE’s investor guidance on OHS in Canada here: http://www.share.ca/files/12-4-27_Investor_Guidance_on_OHS_-_Final.pdf
For an outline of the risks associated with poor Occupational Health and Safety more generally, please see the report produced by the Global Unions Committee on Workers’ Capital, Investing in Decent Work: Leveraging workers’ capital for healthy and safe workplaces, at www.workerscapital.org
SHARE is a Canadian leader in responsible investment services, education and research for institutional investors. We offer proxy voting, shareholder engagement and consulting services, courses and conferences, policy advocacy and timely research that help investors integrate environmental, social and governance issues into the investment management process. www.share.ca.