C&R Safety Training Solutions steps out of its comfort zone with digital transformation
In North Bay, C & R Safety Training Solutions is one of only a handful of businesses offering safety training. It’s a resource-rich area and home to a widespread of industries requiring certification for Ministry of Labour health and safety training, Red Cross and Technical Standards and Safety Authority courses. To put it in perspective: C & R Safety Training Solutions offers 40 courses and certifications.
Morin’s not too concerned with competition, there’s plenty of business to go around. Rather, the North Bay business owner is focused on improvement. He wants to be innovative in his approach. And to do that, he often looks at what his safety training counterparts in the Greater Toronto Area are doing to differentiate themselves.
“Every single one of those companies offers 70% of their courses online,” says Morin. He launched his business out of his home in 2018 doing onsite training before opening a shopfront in North Bay. But boosting his digital offerings is something he’s been trying to do since the pandemic started. “That's passive income for me as I already have all the programs in place,” he says.
He also recognizes he’s losing opportunities by not having his courses online. “I do training for quite a few of the high schools here in North Bay and some of the courses they took last year, they had their students do online and I did not get to participate in that because I didn't have an online presence.”
At the moment, the emphasis has been on developing his tech-forward approach at his training centre. A lot of the organizations and businesses he works with like their employees to do the training at a facility as opposed to on their own at home. C & R Safety Training Solutions has space for 14 people.
“Everybody has their own laptop that is connected to my computer system.” Trainees follow the program, write the test and get the results from Morin. “Everything is contactless.”
When he was looking to open his training facility in July 2019, Morin was set on finding support. As an Aboriginal entrepreneur, he received support from Waubetek, a Community Futures Development Corporation that provides business financing and economic support services to Aboriginal entrepreneurs and First Nation communities. He also went through a small business and entrepreneurship program with the City of North Bay.
He credits Digital Main Street with helping him get the tech side of things streamlined. The Digital Main Street program combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners like Google, Shopify and Mastercard among others to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future. “I really couldn't afford to hire anybody to help me do that kind of thing,” he says. “I'm in my fifties, so programming and all that kind of stuff is not my forte.”
His son helped him set up his training centre but the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant helped him invest in the back-end technology as well as got his business information on Google accurate and up-to-date with pictures taken by a 360-degree camera. Working with Digital Main Street also helped Morin plot a way forward for his digital presence.
“We had looked at a few platforms that charged me a monthly or yearly fee to have courses online,” says Morin. “I still haven’t moved forward with that yet but it’s the next step – everything is moving that way.”