Audit News & Updates

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October 2023 Auditor Update


In September 2022, we communicated about the modernization of COR, including background information about why the changes were happening, and the establishment of the Strategic Steering Committee and three new provincial working groups.  

Work has continued over the past year, particularly by the Complexity-Based Scalable Audit (CBSA) Working Group. The Government of Alberta has released two documents on the OHS Resource Portal which provide information and updates related to the work of the CBSA:

The next major milestone is the development of a CBSA prototype by March 2024. Once it is ready, the Certifying Partners, including AMHSA, will engage with their members to gather industry input into the CBSA’s final design. We anticipate this will take place next Spring, and we will be sure to include information about how to participate in the Auditor Update and the AMHSA Newsletter.


  • November 30: deliverables submission for COR Maintenance Action Plans
  • December 1: audit submission for COR Maintenance and COR Certification
  • All audits
    • Data gathering: maximum 45 days
    • Report writing: maximum 21 days
    • Revisions: maximum 15 days per round of changes

Need an extension? Email [email protected] prior to deadline with details.

AMHSA strives to provide initial quality assurance feedback in a timely manner – within two weeks for COR Certification audits and within five weeks for both COR Maintenance and auditor qualification audits.  Auditors who submit in the spring and summer can expect quicker QA turnaround times.


  • Health and Safety Management Systems: February 6-7 or March 5-6
  • Health and Safety Auditing: February 20-21 or March 19-20
  • Audit Refresher: February 8 or April 11
  • SECOR: to be scheduled for April or May

All training is offered virtually. To register, email [email protected].

July 2023 Auditor Update


Requirements for 2023 Auditing are detailed on our website. It’s important to remember that the use of all audit validation techniques (documentation, interviews and observations) is again required, and data gathering can be conducted remotely or in-person. In addition, 12 months of documentation is required for three-year COR certification.  COR Certification audits require a score of 80% overall and 50% in each element to pass, while Maintenance audits require 60% overall.

The external peer audits are currently being arranged, and AMHSA-certified consultant auditors are also available for use. Our Consultant Auditor list has been updated and is now sortable, and includes the auditor’s location and where they are willing will travel.


If you experience issues with your audit due to wildfires or a state of emergency being called, please let us know. There may be options related to extending COR expiry dates or data gathering deadlines in special circumstances for COR Certification audits. Remember that COR Maintenance audits can be conducted at any time during the year, as long as they are submitted to AMHSA by December 1st.


AMHSA’s PHS audit tool is ready for use! It can be used as a stand-alone audit, or it can be used to replace an existing audit element in COR Maintenance years (specific rules apply, contact us for details). The PHS audit is scalable to 3 levels to accommodate the progression of your PHS program. If you are interested in learning more about AMHSA’s PHS audit, please email [email protected].


AMHSA’s quality assurance reviews and processes are audited regularly by Partnerships, and our most recent audit took place this year. In the report, the following strengths of our audits were found:

  • meeting and exceeding interview sampling minimums
  • including operational descriptions
  • strengths and suggestions for improvement are well written, including rationale on why they should be completed (benefit to the HSMS)
  • organization of COR Maintenance action plan deliverables
  • timelines met for data gathering, reporting writing, and QA processes

There were also recommendations for improvement in the report. Before submitting your audit for quality assurance, please check the following items:


  • Interviews were conducted according to plan for each level – the Int. Scoring worksheet (results) must match the Int. Sampling worksheet (plan). Also ensure all required questions were asked of each interviewee.
  • Justification notes support the results for the correct levels (for example, if a question is asked of manager and supervisors, don’t refer to “employee interviews” in your justification notes, as that indicates all levels, specify the level interviewed)
  • Interviews are reflective of audit scope – complete the new area in the Int. Sampling worksheet, explaining how representative sampling is met:

Justification Notes

 Auditor notes must be original, reflect that the question guidelines were followed, indicate the validation method used (reference what documents were reviewed or where observations were completed or who was interviewed), include quantification of score, and provide details from findings.  When answering a documentation question, please refer to the specific document reviewed (e.g., specifying Job Hazard Assessments instead of just stating that system documents were reviewed).  

Suggestions for Improvement

When explaining the benefit to the health and safety management system of implementing the change suggested, the benefit needs to be specific (e.g. training will provide knowledge for supervisors to support the workers), not vague like “benefits the HS program”.


In January 2023, AMHSA adopted the scored Partnerships small employer audit instrument. There are new requirements for employers, and options for both self-assessments (internal) or external audits (by AMHSA-certified auditors). In addition, the following deadlines apply:

  • Data gathering – 15 days
  • Submission – within 21 days of last day of data gathering
  • Annual Submission – December 1, 2023

We have developed a half-day SECOR Refresher course, which is now required training for our SECOR-holders every three years.  The first offering was held virtually on May 2023, and we will schedule another offering for late fall or early 2024. Contact [email protected] to be placed on the waiting list.

New Auditor resources

A revised Auditor Resources document is now available to auditors for their use. This resource document has been updated to align with the new tool, standards, and updated interview questions.

*updated October 11, 2023

New large Employer Audit Tool Launched

The Partnerships audit tool that AMHSA utilizes for large employers in the COR program has been updated due to recent changes made to the legislation. There were also some clarifications made to question guidance, to provide clarification for auditors. AMHSA has also revised the Interview Sampling worksheet to include an indication of whether council is covered by the WCB account being audited, and added the newly approved Council interview questions to the Int. Record worksheet.

In the Audit Tool Changes 2023 document, we’ve highlighted changes made in the Audit Tool worksheet. Please review with other auditors and your employer to ensure auditors are familiar with the changes and the occupational health and safety management system is kept up-to-date and will meet the revised audit’s requirements.

The 2023 Sampling Update document shows changes made to simplify the process for auditors.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]. Thank you.

2023 Auditing

Partnerships has confirmed that there are two notable upcoming changes to the COR program, both of which will come into effect on January 1, 2023.

Three validation technique audits restored

Effective January 1, 2023, the use of all audit validation techniques (documentation, interviews and observations) must again be followed. As part of this change:

  • The use of on-site data gathering will not be restricted.
  • Documentation may be reviewed remotely and/or on-site.
  • Interviews may be conducted remotely and/or on-site.
  • Observations must be conducted.

For three-year COR certification, a minimum of 12 months of health and safety system documentation is required. Employers with less than 12 months of documentation may be eligible for a one-year certificate.

The remaining temporary audit measures, which were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, will end on December 31, 2022.

Partnerships in Injury Reduction will continue to monitor any future situations declared as public health emergencies, and will respond should measures be implemented that would affect COR auditing.

New COR audit instruments for 2023

Starting January 1, 2023, all Certifying Partners will implement new audit instruments designed to improve the audit process and make the revisions necessitated by the current Occupational Health and Safety Act. The improvements include the following:

  • The audit questions for Joint Health and Safety Committee/Health and Safety Representative have been updated and simplified.
  • The number of audit questions on violence and harassment has been reduced to align with legislation.
  • For Small Employer COR holders, the audit content has been modernized and aligned with the regular COR instrument.
  • The audit process for owner/operators has been simplified, and the number of audit questions has been reduced by about one-third.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected] or contact Shannon Thomas or Jessica Meyer.

Page last updated: October 19, 2023.