WCWC supports water systems owners, operators and operating authorities as they manage their water systems to safeguard water resources. Paula VanVeen, Curriculum Development Coordinator, tells us about WCWC’s Training and Development initiatives and what’s new for 2021.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted initiatives in Training and Development?
Historically our focus has been on the development of classroom training with the incorporation of hands-on activities to enhance the learning experience. Ontario’s public health initiatives in response to COVID-19 have encouraged us to move to more online and virtual courses. While providing quality training in the classroom will always be a priority, we will continue to enhance our online and virtual development initiatives post-pandemic. These initiatives support our mandate of delivering drinking water operator training throughout the province; small systems, First Nations, remote communities and municipalities benefit from the flexibility offered by these alternative learning platforms.
How have Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) priorities driven curriculum development?
Ontario’s operators are required to take a mandatory course every 36 months as part of their certificate renewal requirements. MECP tasks WCWC with the development and delivery of the renewal course. In January 2021 a new course was rolled out, aptly named Mandatory Certificate Renewal Course 2021-2023 (MCR2123). This new renewal course has been largely developed by WCWC in consultation with the MECP and an advisory group of drinking water stakeholders provincewide. MCR2123 will be available in classrooms throughout Ontario, virtually, and by correspondence in the Spring of 2021.
The MECP has also directed WCWC to develop an Ethics course in support of its new Code of Ethics. While the vast majority of Ontario’s operators conduct themselves with honesty and integrity, the MECP has noticed an increase in noncompliance related to unethical behaviour. Ethics for Drinking Water Operators is a three-hour online course available early in 2021. The MECP’s Code of Ethics will become part of the operator certification and renewal application process.
What’s new for 2021?
Response has been very positive for our virtual course deliveries, and there continues to be interest in eLearning from our client base. We will be adding to our list of virtual offerings using theory content from existing courses supplemented by videos and interactive online group activity.