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Conferences bring together B.C. leaders to pursue safer, healthier, higher-performing workplaces

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of B.C. hosts a pair of October conferences in Vancouver and online
MSABC Mental Health and Wellness Director Dr. Steve Conway engages the audience at Make It Safe Vancouver in New Westminster, B.C. Photo via MSABC

The co-worker who’s psychologically struggling in silence.

A new Canadian on the jobsite who can’t verbalize his difficulties.

Or a manager trying to balance on-site productivity with the tenets of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Who ultimately deals with that, and more importantly, how are resolutions found?

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC (MSABC) is hosting a pair of upcoming events that aim to examine these very scenarios and more, through keynotes and breakout panels led by industry experts and thought leaders from across the globe.

Aligned under the banner of Make It Safe, the two upcoming conferences are set for Oct. 13 at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster along with an online and on-demand version on Oct. 26 and 27. A pair of accompanying events will be held in the Okanagan and on Vancouver Island next year.

“Make It Safe is about looking at who’s doing it right and sharing that knowledge with each other,” explains MSABC chief operating officer Wayne Arondus. “When we look at different safety conferences, they talk a lot about what happens at the worker level, but we really want to encompass all three levels: leadership, managers and the workers.”

The net cast by the MSABC membership is vast: from metal fabricators to wineries and breweries, nutritional product producers to boat builders, food and beverage processors to virtually any manufacturing outfit in B.C.

To that end, picture Make It Safe 2023 as a professional gathering of industry leaders, experts and safety and human resources professionals.  Hosted by a leading non-profit health and safety association, the conference creates an atmosphere that is friendly, confidential, informed and expert.


Focused on world-class health, safety, and performance, one key talking point will be what’s happening between the ears for manager and workers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a new light on the provision of mental health protocols, along with the very real need to break down stigmas around how those conversations start.

Those concerns have created a ripple effect of absenteeism, which only further exacerbates long-standing labour shortages. Further challenges exist for temporary foreign workers for whom English is a second language – these employees in particular can struggle with speaking out, let alone knowing how to access help.

“You have to be willing to talk about things that nobody is willing to talk about,” Arondus says.  “This is a major, dominant conversation with leadership now around how we effectively manage our teams in the realm of psychological health, safety and well-being.”

The vital advantage gleaned from Make It Safe is the diversity in its 50+ expert speakers. This is where B.C.’s labour force can learn from others who head up companies and teams in New Zealand, Germany or in the U.S.

And the conference itself isn’t simply a one-and-done resource, as ongoing mentorship is provided by MSABC staffers across a myriad of on-the-job concerns.

“Government doesn’t have all the answers, and a lot of companies are struggling through these issues,” Arondus says. “Our goal and our aim here is to bring in perspectives from around the world that can provide guidance to employers and employees here in our province.”

 To learn more and register for the upcoming events, visit