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Inaugural Leo Gerard Legacy Fund Lecture Series to begin in 2024

Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) Proudly Hosting Series.

(January 5, 2024) - The Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) at Laurentian University proudly announces the first lecture to kick off the bi-annual Leo Gerard Legacy Fund Lecture Series. Dr. Katie Goggins (PhD, CCPE) will present the inaugural Lecture during CROSHCon2024: Occupational Illness Awareness, on January 19, 2024, as the keynote speaker of the conference. Additionally, the conference features nine student and researcher presentations raising awareness about occupational illness, with topics ranging from vibration and musculoskeletal disorders to heat illness and infectious disease at work. CROSHCon is presented online and is free for all to attend. 

Mr. Leo Gerard is well known internationally with accomplishments including the Companion of the Order of Canada, the United Steelworkers International President Emeritus, and helping to establish the BlueGreen Alliance coalition in the USA and Canada. Locally, his impact on the lives of people in his community is also indisputable. At Laurentian University and CROSH, Mr. Gerard has been a champion in building occupational health and safety training and research. He has Chaired the Advisory Board for CROSH since its inception in 2008, as well as co-chaired the Mirarco Advisory Board. He has raised thousands of dollars in research support funding and scholarships for students, and he has championed workplace health and safety, gender equality, decent pay, pensions, global labour rights and solidarity, and trade and social justice issues. As such, in partnership with USW Canada, the University created the Leo Gerard Legacy Fund to continue Mr. Gerard's impactful legacy by supporting lectures that align with his work on labour advocacy and occupational health and safety, as well as provide additional scholarship funding to support student training in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and labour studies. CROSH is honoured to organize and manage what will be a bi-annual lecture series in his name.

Nick Larochelle, President of the local USW 6500, explains, “The Leo Gerard Legacy Fund was established by the United Steelworkers of Canada to commemorate Leo Gerard’s lifelong commitment to fighting for working families and labour rights worldwide. The USW is committed to developing the next generation of labour leaders and providing the tools, training and opportunity they will need to succeed; the investment provided for this fund aims to support these aspirations.”

Dr. Katie Goggins was selected as the inaugural speaker for this series because she represents many of the ideals Mr. Gerard has advocated for. Dr. Goggins is a leader in occupational vibration exposure research globally. She conducts research projects working directly with industries and workers, helping them solve their workplace problems. She was born and trained in Sudbury, and as such, exemplifies the talent that is developed at Laurentian, which benefits industries and workers in Northern Ontario. Her keynote will address Occupational Vibration-Induced Injury and Disease.

"It is an honour to present the inaugural Leo Gerard Legacy Fund Keynote Lecture. By sharing the impact of occupational vibrations on worker health and well-being, reviewing control strategies for whole-body and hand-transmitted vibration, and providing an update on leading-edge research on foot-transmitted vibration, I hope to improve the understanding of these critical factors affecting workers in Northern Ontario and around the world. My aim is to not only shed light on potential health risks but also to explore innovative solutions that can enhance workplace safety and contribute to the ongoing legacy of Leo Gerard," said Dr. Goggins. 

Dr. Sandra Dorman, Director and researcher at CROSH, has worked alongside Mr. Gerard for years to improve the health and safety of northern Ontario workers. Dr. Dorman says, "CROSH and Laurentian owe a lot to Leo; he strongly believed that an OHS research centre was needed in Northern Ontario, and through his support, we were able to make CROSH a reality, with an annual investment from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. We are honoured to start this tradition in his name and, through the associated scholarship funding, train many more OHS professionals in the north."

CROSHCon 2024: Occupational Illness Awareness will run from 8:30 am to 3:15 pm Eastern Time on January 19, 2024. All are welcome to attend. Registration is offered free of charge at


About Dr. Katie Goggins:
Dr. Goggins is the Senior Scientist for CROSH, and her research interests focus on the role of biomechanics, human factors, and ergonomics in industrial health and safety and occupational disease. More specifically, she researches the influence of standing foot-transmitted vibration exposure on workers. She has 12 years of experience in the field of whole-body, hand-transmitted, and foot-transmitted vibration measurements. Dr. Goggins represents the Standards Council of Canada as an expert for the international technical committee on the “Evaluation of human exposure to whole-body vibration” (ISO / TC 108 / SC 4). She is an Adjunct Professor at the Bharti School of Engineering and Computation Science and the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at Laurentian University and a Part-Time Professor in Safety and Environmental Studies at Cambrian College. She is also a Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist (CCPE). 

About CROSH:
Founded in 2008, CROSH is a research centre at Laurentian University. CROSH envisions a Northern Ontario where workplaces partner to ensure every worker gets home safe and healthy every day. CROSH's mission is to be an agent for innovation and discovery to solve relevant and critical problems facing northern industries so they can eliminate occupational injury and disease from their workplaces. CROSHCon is CROSH's annual health and safety conference.