PCU-WHS Benefits from Strong Support

Teck Resources and the Steelworkers

Before PCU-WHS had even opened its doors, Teck Resources had committed $300,000 each year for five years for a total donation of $1.5 million. The PCU-WHS lecture hall is now known as the Teck Global Workplace Health Lecture Theatre.

At the September 6 opening of the university, Teck President and CEO Don Lindsay stressed “the need for investing in research and education to better integrate injured and disabled workers in our workforce.” He added, “The Pacific Coast University will help us make tremendous strides in that regard and having an institute focused on safe work environments and reintegrating disabled workers back into the workforce will create a centre of excellence right here in BC.”

Ken Neumann, who is both Co-Chair of the PCU-WHS Board of Governors and Canadian National Director for the United Steelworkers, which represents many of Teck’s employees across Canada, welcomed the contribution to the new University and provided further commitment from the union he leads. The Steelworkers to date have made contributions from their Canadian national office, their international office, as well as from individual locals across Canada.

The Coulson Group

The Coulson Group of Companies has a 50-year history of working in the logging industry in the Alberni Valley and Central Vancouver Island. Now diversified into an international conglomerate involved in aviation, manufacturing, millworks and transport, the Coulson Group also operates Chances RimRock, a successful community gaming centre in Port Alberni. According to Chief Executive Officer Wayne Coulson, the company’s ties with NIDMAR go back a long way. “We’ve known Wolfgang for 25 some odd years. He is a bit of an icon in Port Alberni. He’s driven to succeed to make it better for people with disabilities in business.”

The Coulson Group of Companies signed an agreement this fall to provide sponsorship funding to PCU-WHS for a five-year period. “When Wolfgang approached us to become involved, we were definitely interested in participating. The university is a community gem, because of what it stands for. It’s a tribute to all the men and women who have worked in the forestry industry and served their time here, and it’s a showcase in this area,” he explains. The partnership is a natural fit for the two organizations. “With such a large work force ourselves, we’re happy to provide a long-term financial commitment to the success of this project.”

Coulson is enthusiastic about what the new university can do for employers. “It will give us new tools to help us be sharper about what we do, and how we create a better quality and safer workplace. Part of entrepreneurship—beyond the idea of money coming in and out—is that the human side of the business is not forgotten, but kept at the forefront and part of keeping scores.”


At the university’s official opening on September 6, 2011, then Minister of Labour for British Columbia Stephanie Cadieux announced a donation to PCU-WHS from WorkSafeBC to establish a new Chair in Workplace Health Sciences.

In her address, Minister Cadieux said, “…we need to educate our employers and our workers of how to be safe in the workplace. Should an injury occur, we also need to ensure that they know how to manage that disability and how not to let that disability stand in the way of a return to work and a return to life. Becoming leaders in this regard is our responsibility as legislators, as regulators and as educators. This university can become the first in the world to take an integrated approach to workplace health sciences.”

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) of Ontario has also agreed to provide sponsorship funding to PCU-WHS in accordance with that province’s strong legislated commitment to disability management and return to work. WSIB Vice President of Work Reintegration Judy Geary explains why. “Countries and organizations around the world are seeking an improved understanding of how to create healthy and safe workplaces, including the reintegration into the workplace of disabled individuals.”

“Our Board of Directors quickly understood the value that PCU-WHS will bring to the field of workplace health through its integrated educational approach and access to experts and educators from around the world. They are happy to provide this grant to assist PCU-WHS to get ready for students.”

Acclaim Ability

Chief Executive Officer Tony Fasulo of Acclaim Ability Management Inc. was one of the first in Canada to earn the Certified Disability Management Professional (CDMP) designation; one year later he became certified through NIDMAR to conduct Consensus Based Disability Management (CBDMA) audits.

Based in Toronto and Sudbury, ON, Acclaim has boutique satellite offices across Canada providing what Fasulo calls a “one-stop shop” to help employees and employers in the areas of early intervention and ability management, medical evaluations, vocational assessment and human resources advisory resources. The company advocates NIDMAR’s collaborative, consensus-based approach, which Fasulo adopted early on as a consultant.

Fasulo’s familiarity with NIDMAR began in 2001 when he took the certificate program offered at Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON, met Wolfgang Zimmermann and stayed involved. “At the time, no one in industry was following any high standard. NIDMAR was providing guidelines to ethical and productive work.”

In keeping with that long-time involvement, Acclaim has committed to providing a set sum of money over ten years to PCU-WHS. The goal, says Fasulo is to serve the school’s focus on research into health and wellness in the workplace.

“Clearly in Canada, there’s nothing else like it. We’re excited that PCU-WHS will continue to do research and find better ways to manage return to work, and will teach individuals to practice in a practicable and ethical manner.” He added, “We’ve never sponsored before, so there was a lot of due diligence in this. We think it’s an excellent cause and we’d like to see others support it as well.”

Cúram Research Institute

Cúram Research Institute, the research arm of Cúram Software, announced its support for the creation and dissemination of workplace health information with an international focus. Cúram Software is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland with offices throughout North America, Europe, Australia and India.

Cúram Vice President of Market Strategy Martin Duggan said, “We are stepping up our research and support for best practices across a range of social programs. As the leading provider of IT solutions to workers’ compensation and disability management organizations, the investment in Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences was a natural fit. Both of our organizations share a strong commitment to a safer work environment and the integration of disabled workers into the workforce through advanced education and research knowledge.”

Island Timberlands

Island Timberlands, a private timberlands business focused on the sustainable management of high quality timber and other forest products from coastal British Columbia, contributed to PCU-WHS. It is the vision of Island Timberlands to achieve zero recordable incidents by promoting a culture that demonstrates continuous safety improvement through employee involvement and teamwork.

Farmer Construction

Farmer Construction Ltd., general contractors and construction managers in business for over 50 years, were the general contractors that built the PCU-WHS facility. Their approach to workplace safety on the worksite was without exception and they supported the context of the university by their own contribution to it.

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

In a message from Dave Coles, President of the CEP, he states, “We wish the university all the best in the important work you are pursuing on behalf of injured and disabled workers, and for the pursuit of Workplace Health Sciences. We look forward to hearing from you regularly about the development and work of the university and its programs.”