Red Deer RCMP are investigating a large-scale counterfeiting operation that could involve the sale of thousands of fake safety certificates.
Investigators believe the certificates, which are routinely required for workers in the oil and gas sectors and other industries, have been sold throughout the province and possibly all of Western Canada.
“The Red Deer RCMP recognized that aside from being a large-scale criminal investigation, there are also recognizable safety concerns,” police said in a Thursday news release. “The Red Deer RCMP felt it was important to release this information as the investigation suggests there could be thousands of counterfeit certificates issued over a lengthy period. The investigation is continuing to uncover the scope of this operation.”
Police said they are not releasing further details while the investigation is ongoing.
The counterfeiters have been faking H2S Alive® and First Aid/CPR credentials, as well as other certificates. Among the certification agencies affected by the fraud are the Canadian Red Cross and Energy Safety Canada.
“We commend the Red Deer RCMP for their dedication and effort around investigating counterfeit certificates,” says Energy Safety president and CEO Murray Elliott. “Safety training is one of many critical layers of controls in the industry.
“Falsifying safety certificates is a significant concern, one that impacts safety in the field,” says Elliott.
“The Canadian Red Cross is deeply concerned to learn of this fraudulent activity and is working closely with the RCMP on this issue,” says Jenn McManus, vice-president for Alberta and Northwest Territories. “The Red Cross offers first aid and CPR training to help workplaces comply with both federal and provincial/territorial occupational health and safety legislation.
“Fraudulent certificates means that training was not completed, which puts the safety and well-being of people in workplaces at risk.”
Employers should verify all H2S Alive® and First Aid/CPR certificates — which must be renewed every three years — issued from 2018 to the present.
Canadian Red Cross certificates can be verified at myrc.redcross.ca. Canadian Red Cross training, certified trainers, or training partners are not a part of this investigation. Those who have participated in training to receive a certificate will not be affected.
To prevent fraudulent activity and to protect workers, each Energy Safety Canada certificate is unique and has several security features. An online validation tool at energysafetycanada.com allows workers and employers to check the authenticity of certificates issued by Energy Safety Canada.