Occ-COVID-Science, Solutions & Success Stories

Fri, 20 Aug 2021

Occ-COVID Webinar Series

View upcoming and past sessions in this extensive series below


Save The Date: August 20, 2021


More information about videos and resources from past sessions below.


Wednesday, July 21st at 1:00 PM EDT

Vaccines and Vaccination – Why it matters for our workplaces, our families and our communities. 

* Please complete our short survey following the webinar here.

Featuring guest speaker:

Dr. Raymond Tellier – Microbiologist


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every corner of our lives, changing the way we work and the way we interact with our co-workers, colleagues, family and friends. Now we have new variants impacting our lives. How will the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination help us transition out of the pandemic and assist our workplaces to return to a post-pandemic normal? 

Join us as Dr. Raymond Tellier talks about approved vaccines – principles and side effects; variants of concern and effectiveness of the vaccines; and vaccination and the workplace. 

Video from Canadian session of Global Summit to End Pandemics, here.

Video from this Occ-COVID session coming soon!


June 18 - 1:00 - 3:00 PM EDT

Learning from our Peers: COVID-19 Prevention Approaches and Protections for Essential Workers across the Country and around the World 

UPDATE: Videos now available here!

* Please complete our short survey following the webinar here.

The reluctance of WHO, CDC, and equivalent health authorities globally to recognize aerosol transmission of SARS CoV-2 has often led to inadequate protection of essential workers and marginalized the role of industrial hygienists and other occupational health professionals in the response. How can we take the lessons from the pandemic to influence worker protection from SARS-CoV-2 and prepare for future aerosol infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics? Consideration of a permanent standard that drives both “preparedness” and “prevention” for future variants of concern (VOC) and future pandemics is warranted and will be discussed (building on the July 2020 Occ-COVID session “Assessing the impact of Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standards”).

In addition, this session will leverage leading international practices to “go beyond” public health measures with a focus on essential workers, including the critical role of worker training at every stage of re-opening.


Moderator: Dr. Kevin Hedges CIH, COH. View slides here.

Speakers include Occupational Hygienists and other occupational health scientists from opposite ends of Canada (BC and NS), the US and Australia, sharing solutions that can benefit us all during gradual re-opening, to fend off a 4th wave, and especially towards airborne precaution standards in the future.

  1. Recognizing the Occupational health role in Prevention and ideas for a Canadian national standard on airborne precautions. Marc-Andre Lavoie ROH (Former President and board member Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists CRBOH), Nova Scotia, Canada. View presentation slides here.
  2. US OSHA update plus Building programs to protect workers / an update on US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) training resources including “Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 in the Workplace Jonathan Rosen, MS. CIH, National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training. View presentation slides here.
  3. Lessons from Australia. Kate Cole (President elect of AIOH), Kevin Hedges former President and board member of Workplace Health Without Borders (WHWB) International. Including NSQHS Standards 2021 Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard | Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. 
  4. Canada, lessons from the past and the importance of an elimination strategy. Laurence Svirchev. CIH, American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), International Affairs Committee, Ambassador to China. British Columbia (BC), Canada. With Vivian Danping Sheng. B. Med; American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA); Dipl. OHS, BC Institute of Technology. View presentation slides here.


* Webinar was delivered by Webex and Facebook Live. Video link will be circulated by email to registrants once posted.

Occ-COVID Webinar Series - A Year in Review

Recognizing a full year of the pandemic, and important lessons we continue to learn, our Occ-COVID series continues Fridays.

April 23: 1:00-3:00 PM - Occ-COVID: A Year in Review: Marking Losses and Finding Lessons

UPDATE: Videos now available here!

A COVID frame on the upcoming National Day of Mourning for Injured and Killed Workers, marking lives lost, health impacted, and strategies to improve.

Remembering, Learning, Improving, Protecting

Topics/Speakers include:

The Tragedy of COVID-19 in Canada: A Tale of Hubris, Fatal Choices and Preventable Failures, Mario Possamai, 2003-6 SARS Commission Senior Adviser, 2021 Fatal Choices: COVID-19, Nursing & the Tragedy of Long-term Care author

Counting Counts: The Drive to Mark Losses and Find Lessons, Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition

The Ontario Education Sector Pandemic Response Receives a Failing Grade: Lessons in workplace transmission, Tracie Edward, Health and Safety Coordinator, Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario

Food for Thought: Essential Workers at Highest Risk, Tim Deelstra, Engagement and Media Relations Strategist, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada

Participants will have the opportunity to mark personal and community losses (and lessons found) for shared acknowledgement and joint learning (by naming or describing in the chat) for posting with the slides and video later.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Please complete our short survey following the webinar here.


To accommodate a very important parallel event hosted by the University of Calgary https://events.ucalgary.ca/obrien/#!view/event/event_id/306929 with our cherished attendees, we shifted the timing of this session. The combined speakers bring us full circle, as Dr. John Conly joined us back in July 2020, and we’ve been working to have Dr. David Fisman, also with UofT as a speaker though scheduling has not allowed.

View video from the parallel event hosted by the University of Calgary, "Is airborne transmission an important and mitigatable aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic? – A panel discussion" here.

Please also remember to complete our short survey following today's webinar.

April 9: (New Time) 12:00 - 2:00 PM EDT - A Year in Review - Looking Back and Moving Forward

UPDATE: Video from OHCOW's sesion now available here.

Comparing and contrasting SARS and COVID-19 response and applying learnings to our current situation and future pandemic preparedness.

Speakers and topics include:

John Oudyk , Occupational Hygienist, OHCOW

SARS & COVID-19- Response and Learnings

  • Compare/Contrast SARS & COVID-19 response
  • Issues that arose
  • How can we be more prepared?

Rebecca Hancock-Howard  - University of Toronto

Canada’s Pandemic Response Products: Towards a Self-Sufficient and Sustainable Ecosystem

  • Quality Infrastructure
  • Supply Chain Preparedness
  • Buy Canadian Policies
  • Shifting Communications

Victoria Arrandale – University of Toronto, CSA Research Paper Author

Workplaces and COVID-19 – On the Horizon Research & Standards  

  • CSA Standard Research Occupational Health and Safety Considerations for Reopening and Operating During the Pandemic
  • On the Horizon


March 26: 1:00 3:00PM - A Year in Review - Elastomeric Respirators - Beyond the Mask

Update: Video now available here.

Please complete our short survey following the webinar here.


Continuing from our March 5 Session -Face Coverings & Respirators “Filling the Gap” , this sequel delves into guidance on Elastomeric Respirators and Programs in greater detail. 

Speakers include:

Todd Irick , Occupational Hygienist, OHCOW

Elastomeric Respirators 101

  • What is an elastomeric respirator? Types/nomenclature
  • What key features do they have?
  • Program requirements
  • Exhalation valves
  • Barriers to speech

Margaret Sietsema – University of Illinois at Chicago

Feasibility, Research, and Implementation Guidance

  • Availability of Elastomerics vs N95
  • Latest Science & Research
  • Fit Test/Training
  • Storage/Cleaning 
  • NIOSH Updates
  • Implementation Guidance

Mark Catlin- Industrial Hygiene consultant and retired Workplace Health and Safety Director for the Service Employees International Union, (SEIU)

Paul Sylvestre – Health and Safety Representative , CUPE National

The Frontline Perspective – US and Canada – Myths, Roadblocks and Solutions 

  • Stories from the frontline
  • Key Issues & Solutions
  • Advocacy-Implementation


March 19: 1:30-3:00- Updates from the Medical Perspective

Update: Video now available here, slides below.

Bringing you updated information and answering some of your questions on the fast-changing COVID-19 virus and its ever-evolving medical science, including variants, vaccines, rapid testing and more. 

Speakers include:

Dr Leon Genesove, Occupational Medicine Physician


  • Vaccines and Vaccination
    • Vaccine purpose & effectiveness
    • How vaccines are being rolled out (York Region perspective)
  • Point of Care / Rapid Testing
    • What is this?
    • How this differs from the regular COVID-19 test (PCR or polymerase chain reaction test)
    • Accuracy of these tests

Fatima Tokhmafshan – Geneticist and Researcher


  • Variants of Concern (VOC)
    • What they are and what we know about them
  • Vaccines
    • How vaccines work
    • Approved COVID-19 vaccines and their comparison

Dr. Obed T. Adarkwah – ICU Physician


  • Will reflect on his own first-hand pandemic work experience as an ICU physician and pulmonologist -- from the beginning of the pandemic to current day. 

Moderator: Patricia Phillips, ED, Central Region, OHCOW

Please complete our short survey following the webinar: here


Airing it out: Ventilation Solutions and Tools at a Critical Time

Friday March 12: 1:00-3:00

Building on our “Air” on the Side of Caution session, this sequel offers further guidance around ventilation solutions and tools to help control the COVID-19 virus in workplaces. 

During the pandemic, information about ventilation and air cleaning has become confusing and a point of contention. Most people want to find the best way to protect themselves and others, especially given the rising threat of more transmissable "variants of concern".

Join this interdisciplinary team of scientists and occupational health experts who will provide practical advice and guidance on some of the many questions that are being asked by workplace parties and the public:

1) Dr. Liangzhu (Leon) Wang, Concordia University.

Evaluation, Monitoring and Mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 Airborne Transmission Risks in Cities and Buildings

  • Evaluation, Monitoring and Mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 Airborne Transmission Risks in Cities and Buildings
  • Evaluation – a new “macro” tool for COVID-19 airborne risks and interventions across Canada
  • Monitoring – using CO2 as a surrogate for ventilation conditions and airborne infectious risks
  • Mitigation – strategies for specific building types, e.g., large office

2) Thomas Smith, 3 Flow

Strategic Safety Measures to Mitigate Indoor Risk of Viral Transmission

  • Use of a simple risk assessment tool to identify areas of concern
  • Methods to investigate the capability of ventilation systems to reduce transmission
  • How airflow patterns affect potential for occupant exposure
  • Balancing safety and resources with a multi-faceted risk-based program
  • Collecting ventilation information to support lifecycle management and future resilience

3) Dr. Jeffrey Siegel, University of Toronto.

More Important than Ever: Air Treatment in the Age of COVID-19

  • Making the case for ventilation and filtration
  • Effective use of filters and air cleaners
  • Challenges and opportunities with humidification and emerging technologies
  • Occupational health implications for occupants and maintenance staff

4) Dr. Sarah Addleman, Aerosol Transmission Coalition

Success Story: Putting knowledge into action to get air-purifiers in school

Moderator: Dr. Kevin Hedges, OHCOW 

Video now available here.

Please complete our short survey following the webinar: here.


Face Coverings & Respirators - Filling the Gaps

Friday, March 5 1:00 to 3:00 pm

Addressing the confusion around face coverings, masks, and respirators. Join our interdisciplinary team who will provide guidance on some of the many questions being asked by workplace parties and the public. 

During the pandemic, information about face coverings has become confusing and a point of contention. Most people want to find the best way to protect themselves and others.  There is a lot of  confusion between “masks”, “respirators” and various other types of face coverings.


Dr. Simon Smith, recently retired from career in respiratory protection research but continuing dedication to ISO, CSA and AIHA Respiratory Protection Committees and Working Groups. Slides


Lisa Brosseau, Industrial Hygienist, Speaker, Award-winning professor, researcher, writer, educator. Slides

Amanda Jones, Senior Scientific Evaluator, Health Canada.

Maria Negulescu, P.Eng.  Industrial Technology Advisor, National Research Council Canada.


Stacy Richardson,  Senior Health & Safety Application Professional, 3M. Slides

In this session, an interdisciplinary team will provide guidance on some of the many questions that are being asked by workplace parties and the public:

  • Face Coverings, masks and respirators- how are they different?
  • What works as “source control”, to protect others from us?
  • What is needed to protect us from virus coming from others?
  • How do you know if your face covering really works?  Can you combine?
  • What standards (if any) apply to face coverings, masks (surgical), and respirators? How does a manufacturer get a product certified as meeting a standard?
  • What types face coverings, masks (surgical), and respirators are tested?  What has the testing shown us?
  • Are N95s (or more protective) respirators,  being manufactured in Canada?  Are there any barriers?
  • How do you know if your respirator might be a counterfeit?  
  • How do you assure a good face fit?
  • Do we still need to preserve stocks of N95 (or more protective) respirators for health care and other frontline workers?  
  • What do we know about re-using and cleaning respirators?

Video from this session here


Occ-COVID - “Air” on the side of Caution

Videos now available here.

Friday, January 29 1:00 to 3:00 pm

Recognition of workplace and airborne transmission is rising, plus there is a new variant on the horizon. Join professional staff and guests at OHCOW’s 6th Occ-Covid webinar to learn the latest on SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility, aerosol risks and why they matter, and especially to discuss practical solutions for indoor spaces.

Visit our COVID-19 Resources page for a wide variety of information from around the world, including Airborne Transmission and Control.


Occ-COVID- A Medical Perspective: What We Know about the Long Term Health Effects. 

Friday, January 15th, 2021 from 1:30 to 3:00pm

Update: Video now available here, slides linked below.

With more than 73 million documented infections of COVID-19 and 1.6 million deaths worldwide, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues unabated. The clinical spectrum of SARS-CoV-2 infection ranges from an asymptomatic infection to a life-threatening and fatal disease. Current estimates are that approximately 41 million people globally have “recovered”; however, clinicians are observing patients with persistent symptoms and others who develop complications after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because COVID-19 is a new disease, much about it remains uncertain—in particular, the possible long-term health consequences. 

Join us on January 15 as Dr. Pravesh Jugnundan, Occupational Medicine Physician provides a medical overview of COVID-19 and describes the long-term effects on physical and mental health as we know them today. 

Slides available here.

Followed by Dave Wilken who will discuss the importance of recognizing COVID-19 as an Occupational Disease, including advice on determining work-relatedness, the value of establishing a WSIB claim and how OHCOW can assist.  

Slides available here.


It is time for effective PPE as a Control: Respiratory Protection During COVID Winter

Friday, December 11th, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:00pm

Update: Video now available here, slides linked below.

The current surge in Covid case numbers in Canada is likely to climb throughout winter, particularly given increased time spent - and interactions - indoors, compounded by the difficulty in maintaining natural ventilation at low temperatures. Therefore, every workplace needs to consider and boost alternate controls, including the proper use of effective respiratory protection. This will be critical to protect all frontline workers, in and out of healthcare. Scientific studies have shown properly fitted (and worn) N95 (or better) respirators provide greater protection than surgical masks. Understand the difference, see the impact of making the wrong choice, and learn how judicious use is making a difference in Covid prevention around the world.

  1. International lessons from China and Australia, Kevin Hedges, OHCOW 
  2. Canadian lessons from SARS 1 and now 2, Alec Farquhar (Mario Possamai)
    View slides from Mario Possamai's presentation here.
  3. Elastomeric respirator effectiveness and use, Nicolas Smit  
  4. Respirator Program Considerations for Non-Healthcare Workplaces – Evaluating the Need and Implementation Guidance for COVID-19.  Kevin Hedges (obo Dr. Margaret Sietsema, University of Illinois)
  5. Panel Discussion and Q & A


Transmission Reduction, Ventilation Optimization & Knowledge Activation for effective Workplace Prevention

Friday, November 27, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:00pm

UPDATE: Videos now available here, slides below.

OHCOW’s Occ-COVID series will continue on November 27th with more Science & Solutions including our in-house experts and guests sharing: Latest transmission evidence; Ventilation/Control implications; and other practical approaches to workplace prevention.

In less than a year, COVID-19 has become one of the most significant occupational diseases of our time, with thousands of workers exposed, hundreds seriously ill and an unacceptable number killed in Ontario alone.  

With winter arriving and cases surging in the Province, more needs to be done to control this deadly virus.  Much can be learned and applied from recent transmission, infection risk and exposure control science, but it is also valuable to review critical basic tenets of hazard communication and participatory health and safety to find solutions that work in real life situations.

Get the best COVID-19 prevention advice you can find here, plus the opportunity to dialogue with other interested (and committed) workers, supervisors, managers and owners from the workplaces of Ontario, along with Worker Advocates, Joint Health and Safety Committee members, Health and Safety Professionals; Researchers & Prevention System partners and stakeholders. 


Update: Q&A from past sessions (Session 1: Covid-19 Transmission: Taking Stock of the Science + Session 2: Solutions: The Hierarchy of Prevention/Control Banding) available here:


Part 1: Science & Solutions

Session 1: Covid-19 Transmission: Taking Stock of the Science 

UPDATE: Video now available here.

Date: July 7th

Time: 12:30-2:00 PM

Moderated by Dr. Raymond Tellier- https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/raymond-tellier


Session 2: Solutions: The Hierarchy of Prevention/Control Banding

The Role of Infectious Dose and the Hierarchy of Prevention (Controls) for COVID-19

UPDATE: Video now available here.

July 8th 12:30 -2pm

Moderated by Dr. Kevin Hedges, OHCOW Hygienist.

The role of infectious dose and the hierarchy of prevention (controls) for COVID-19

International experts in infection control, occupational hygiene, and respiratory protection will discuss up to science, controls and methodology related to exposure to coronavirus and prevention of COVID-19. This session will build on the science delivered in session 1, and provide advice on the importance of the hierarchy of controls (HOC) which includes ventilation as a higher order control along with appropriate and effective personal protective equipment (PPE).

  1. Dr. Lisa Brosseau, ScD, CIH – The Role of Infectious Dose in Identifying and Managing COVID-19 Risks (15 mins).
  2. Deborah Gold MPH, CIH - Experience with Cal/OSHA's Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard (15 mins).
  3. Prof. John Cherrie - Ventilated headboards and the need for novel controls for SARS-CoV-2 (15 mins).
  4. Dr. Simon Smith – Selecting effective respiratory protective equipment (RPE) for SARS-CoV-2 (15 mins).
  5. Q&A (30 mins). 


COVID-19 Applying the Hierarchy of Control to a Point of Care Risk Assessment for the protection of Health Care Workers



Part 2 : Success Stories / Innovations - Date TBD

Call for Submissions 

We are looking for Success Stories / Innovations from you for the following Sectors:

  • Healthcare / Dental
  • Transport
  • Construction
  • Food Chain: Agriculture/ Food Processing /Point of Sale 
  • Education
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail 
  • Mining 
  • and any others 

Please email submissions to koconnell@ohcow.on.ca


Talk to us on 1-877-817-0336 toll-free or contact us online