With the start of both the baseball season and the NHL playoffs, it seemed only fitting to highlight one of PSHSA’s current partners: the Ontario Recreation Facilities Association (ORFA). ORFA is a provincially-recognized not-for-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to the benefit of the recreation facility profession in municipalities, educational institutions, First Nations communities and the private recreation sector.
What does ORFA do?
Today, ORFA has over 6,000 members who operate and manage recreation facilities, as well as own and operate businesses supporting the recreation sector. ORFA provides a wide range of products and services to its members, including: professional development, access to online and physical resources, a provincially-recognized professional designation program, trade shows, and a designated online job board.
ORFA works under four pillars:
Buildings and Grounds – including all types of sports field, turf (natural and artificial), parks, trails, natural forest, extreme sports systems, water infrastructure, and cemetery operations. Refrigeration and Ice – including the maintenance and operation of all natural and artificial ice surfaces and their surroundings. Aquatics – including the maintenance and operation of all types of contained water-related infrastructure, e.g. pools, splash pads, hot tubs. Staff and Management – including asset management, strategic management, marketing, administration and event planning.
Essentially, ORFA ensures that the ice rinks, pools, sports fields, hiking trails and skate parks that you and your family enjoy are safe and well maintained throughout the year.
ORFA and PSHSA
In 2013, PSHSA and ORFA signed a Memorandum of Understanding, bringing the two organizations together in understanding and cooperation to advance health and safety education and knowledge in Ontario’s recreation facility operations.
Together the two organizations will use ORFA’s widespread membership and PSHSA’s Government/Municipal health and safety consultants to introduce a new understanding of health and safety issues surrounding recreation facilities, and provide insight into best practices, ongoing research and quality health and safety training for workers in the recreation profession. The partnership between PSHSA and ORFA ensures that both organizations have the most up-to-date information about their relative sectors and that the most relevant training and industry specific research can be provided in return.
As well, PSHSA is an ongoing contributor to ORFA’s quarterly publication Facility Forum Magazine. The partnership allows PSHSA to promote Health and Safety news to ORFA members throughout the year. By submitting articles on emerging trends and occupational health and safety topics, ORFA members stay current on new issues and legislation within the Municipal and Government Sector. As the leader in Ontario’s recreation facility profession, ORFA looks to PSHSA for guidance on innovative training and education programs that pertain to health and safety. The two organizations have forged an effective and beneficial partnership that brings value to each within the occupational health and safety realm. In the words of ORFA: “Recreation facilities are the original social network of communities”, and it’s key to maintain a high benchmark for quality and infrastructure in which partnerships can play a vital role. Recreation infrastructure ensures a common community thread so health and safety is paramount to support healthy and active living.
PSHSA has been the proud recipient of a number of awards and recognition from ORFA, including the 2017 Ronald G. Burnside Memorial Award in recognition of the organization’s contribution in the area of professional development. A Certificate of Merit was also awarded to (former) Executive Director, Government, Municipal, and Public Safety, Monica Szabo for her contribution to the development and advancement of ORFA through training and education.
ORFA News & Events
ORFA offers a range of information guidelines as well as training materials and courses, including Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality in Arenas and Safe Ice Resurfacer Operator online training.
Should you wish to learn more about ORFA and what the organisation does, the 2018 ORFA Expo and Tradeshow is being held on Monday April 30th at the Gryphon Fieldhouse – University of Guelph from 11am to 2:30pm. The ORFA Professional Development week is also being held in Guelph from Sunday, April 29th to Friday April 4th. Alternatively, you can visit their website at http://www.orfa.com.