Plan looking for more businesses to sign on

The Safe Communities Incentive Plan is paying off for about 140 district businesses but organizers are on the lookout for new recruits as the program enters its third year here.
“The next step, from now to January, will be to accept more registrations,” said SCIP co-ordinator Jeannette Cawston, who noted the program is striving to recruit 25 new members this coming year.
SCIP is an incentive program for employers where the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board pays participants back on an annual basis for having low workplace insurance claims.
Fewer accidents means a larger rebate.
“Rainy River has the largest number of businesses registered in Ontario and we recently received the second-largest rebate,” noted Cawston, referring to the ceremony late last month at La Place Rendez-Vous at which the WSIB paid out $133,024 to 89 businesses for the 1998-99 year.
John Morris, representing the Township of La Vallee, said their municipality went into this the past year-and-a-half.
“Basically, we went into our shop where we have two employees working and cleaned it up a little,” he said.
“We haven’t had a bad safety record so I can’t say there’s a been a big improvement,” he admitted. “But there has been an improvement in the awareness of safety, and we’re quite happy to receive a rebate cheque.”
While a few businesses were disappointed by their rebates, Cawston pointed out the 60-70 percent return figures
were only baseline amounts.
“The businesses themselves and the claims costs they have determine what comes back to them,” she explained.
“There were some that got $15,000, $9,000, and so on,” she added. “Some businesses, say with five employees, haven’t had to pay as much into insurance.”
Overall, Cawston said she was impressed to see the program grow since its beginnings in 1998. “The success that Rainy River saw was phenomenal,” she enthused.
Also on hand for the rebate ceremony was Don Lovisa, manager of the Fort Frances campus of Confederation College, which offered safety training courses to area employees working for businesses both in and out of the SCIP program.
“We’re here to support the program. We have offered several programs for SCIP businesses to participate in, like blowtorch safety and so on, and we’ve always put safety as our first priority in every program we’ve offered,” said Lovisa.
“I only wish we were receiving a cheque,” he chuckled.
Other highlights of the evening included a testimonial by Brian Hagarty of NorFab (a SCIP member), and a speech by Geoff Gillon of the Rainy River Future Development Corp.
Congratulatory remarks also were made by Mayor Glenn Witherspoon, RRFDC chair Bruce Holmlund, WSIB reps Doug Easson and Paul Field, and Doug Anderson, head of the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition.
Those interested in joining SCIP can contact Cawston at 274-3276 or by fax at 274-6989.