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Certification of Playground Inspectors in Ontario. Notes, October 8 2008

27-May-2013 [9320]

There appears to be no legal mechanism (e.g. statute or regulations) which establish a process for certifying playground inspectors. Nor is this certification an official government policy in Ontario. It appears to have arisen from within the realm of people who work in the different safety and parks associations across Canada.

For example, the Safe Kids Canada site offers a page on playground inspection including how to find and choose an inspector, and the costs of inspection.

Interestingly, Safe Kids Canada states this in its introduction to the organization:

"Guided by our National Expert Advisory Committee, Safe Kids Canada ensures evidence-based research is translated into best practices to reduce the number of children hurt or killed by preventable injuries. These practices include using bike helmets and booster seats, checking hot water temperatures and banning baby walkers."

On its playground inspection website page above, they note that several associations in Canada "train" people in safety inspection. They do not refer to any overall authority to grant this certification, but note that:

''"They should be able to provide proof of current Playground Safety Inspector Certification issued by a credible organization, such as the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA) or Ontario Parks Association".

The Ontario Parks Association, a registered charity, has created the "Ontario Playground Academy to meet the needs of those involved and responsible for the hands-on inspections and maintenance of public playspaces and playground facilities." Its November 2008 4 ½ day, $1145 inspection course is based on the CSA standards, and is given by "experts from the industry… including an architect, liability expert, lawyer, representative of the CSA Standards Association and others…." It includes the following description of the course: "Attendance at the Ontario Playground Academy will teach you about significantly lowering the risk of injuries in play areas by providing a safe outdoor learning experience for all. The Ontario Playground Academy uses the CAN/CSA-Z614-03, Children's Playspaces and Equipment, as a base document for the three independent courses of the Academy."

The Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA), in its Training and Education website page, has a June 2007 bulletin on the new CSA standards. It talks about the establishment of the Playground Safety Institute "as the flagship entry into the training market for CPRA" and lists a number of the courses held that year, including the "1st ever consultant course in 2007". It offers both "certification" and "non-certification" courses.

At its Certification page, the CPRA notes that "All questions within this exam relating to the CSA standards pertain to the 2007 version of Children’s Playspaces and Equipment (CAN/CSA Z614 – 07)." The CPRA states that: "To receive a designation as a "Canadian Certified Playground Inspector" from CPRA, participants must attend and successfully achieve a passing grade on both the Theory and the Practical courses." This certification must be renewed every 3 years by passing a three hour exam, currently based on the 2007 CSA standards.

(:title Certification Of Playground Inspectors:)