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Donna and Susan pick up a Nobby

The Sault Ste. Marie Safe Communities Partnership was honoured last night with a Judges' Choice Award at the 18th Annual Northern Ontario Business Awards.

The Sault Ste. Marie Safe Communities Partnership was honoured last night with a Judges' Choice Award at the 18th Annual Northern Ontario Business Awards.

The awards were presented at the Best Western on Great Northern Road by Mayor John Rowswell and Patricia Mills, publisher of Northern Ontario Business magazine.

Accepting the award from sponsor Jorge Mitre of Tenaris/ Algoma Tubes were Donna Boston-Mclean and Susan Kniahnicki (shown).

Sault Ste. Marie's Jim Boniferro was named Northern Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year.

And Prestige Glass International Inc. of Elliot Lake was honoured with the Company of the Year (16-50 Employees) Award.

Here's what organizers had to say about the Safe Communities Partnership's award :

************************ Judges' Choice Award

Sault Ste. Marie Safe Communities Partnership

Sault Ste. Marie holds a unique distinction few cities in North America can match.

The community of 75,000 has been deemed among the safest places in the world as designated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Spearheaded by the Sault Ste. Marie Safe Communities Partnership, the WHO designation achieved in May 2003 was quite a feather in the collective caps for vulunteers of the local initiative.

It is the highest recognition for injury prevention that a community can receive in the world.

Since its local establishment five years ago, the local partnership have hosted a myriad of safety training programs through workshops, seminars, theatrical performances and by distributing publications, educational material and videos to thousands of area school children, seniors and company presidents addressing a variety of safety issues.

The partnership, which works with mentor companies and organizations to deliver their best safety practices, is held in such regard by member firms that health and safety professionals are paid by employers - on company time to participate in the various programs.

Through several sub-committees, the Safe Communities Partnership covers injury prevention topics, including fall prevention, first aid, WHMIS, emergency response, bicycle safety and workplace stress.

"The WHO designation has opened doors to network on an international basis," says Donna Boston-McLean, coordinator, Sault Ste. Marie Safe Communities partnership.

"We get to share best practices ideas with communities around the world."

The organization offers a free youth safety awareness program to participants, allowing young workers to have some health and safety training before they begin their summer jobs through the province's Passport to Safety Program.

One program unique to Sault Ste. Marie is the Safe Employees Harmonization program developed with local member firms to deliver a standardized safety orientation program under one course that benefits all workers and businesses.

"We have managed to come up with an amazing network in our community. Now we have the big companies sitting together trying to come up with ways to help smaller businesses in their health and safety," says Boston-McLean.

From networking, more ideas have been produced to share with contractors, including a local plan to standardize the colour of caution tape, which surrounds work sites or broken machinery, among all large businesses in town.

************************ Other winners of 2004 Nobbies

Kuch Stephenson Gibson Malo Architects & Engineer Thunder Bay Company of the Year (1-15 employees)

Clarion Resort Pinewood Park North Bay Company of the Year (51+ empployyes)

Kathy Wells-McNeil Total Nursing Care Sudbury Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Science North Sudbury Entrepreneurial Community of the Year

Stroma Engineering North Bay Innovation Award

Pine Needle Blankets Production Whitefish Lake First Nations Business Award of Excellence

Erik Van Beek Sudbury Essay Scholarship Winner

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans six decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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