Bell Centre

Bell Centre becomes first Canadian hockey arena to achieve GBAC STAR accreditation

The home of the Montreal Canadiens is the latest notable milestone for the program in Canada.
Monday, April 26, 2021

A year after GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation was introduced by ISSA, Canadian facilities of all purposes and sizes continue to achieve certification as a method of communicating their cleanliness and infection control best practices.

Now, sports arenas are beginning to join the party.

Montreal’s Bell Centre, the home of the Montreal Canadiens, recently secured accreditation, becoming the first Canadian hockey arena to do so.

“Since the start of the pandemic, our priority as an organization is to do everything possible to ensure that we create a safe and reassuring work environment for our employees, our teams as well as for the opposing teams who will have to use the Bell Centre,” says Daniel Trottier, Executive Vice President, Guest Services and Facilities Operations at the arena’s operator, Groupe CH.

“Our teams have worked tirelessly for several months to establish safety and risk management protocols that meet the highest standards of safety and compliance with health measures as requested by the Public Health authorities. This GBAC STAR accreditation validates our teams’ excellent work. The Bell Centre therefore obtains the same third-party validation as the Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, ensuring that the building is ready to welcome the return of hockey in complete safety.”

Bell Centre isn’t the first sports stadium to achieve the accreditation, which is focused on ensuring a clean, safe, and healthy environment in public and commercial facilities, and outlines best practices, protocols, and procedures to control risk factors associated with infectious disease, including SARS-CoV-2.

Back in September 2020, Vancouver’s BC Place became the first Canadian stadium to become accredited. Meanwhile, south of the border, numerous U.S. baseball stadia as well as several NBA and NHL arenas have also become GBAC STAR accredited venues.

Committing to a cleaner Canada

Those sports stadia only scratch the surface of the level of uptake that has been seen in Canada, however. There have been numerous groundbreaking firsts in recent months.

In February, Manulife Investment Management was the first Canadian real estate landlord to achieve accreditation, getting seven of its Montreal office facilities accredited.

Last month, TO Live became the first Canadian performing arts organization to commit to achieving GBAC STAR accreditation for its venues, which include iconic Toronto venues Meridian Hall, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and Meridian Arts Centre.

Given the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed both the mechanics of cleaning and the communication and visibility of infection prevention measures, there’s reason to suggest the future may be in wider accreditation.

In mid-March, Explore Edmonton, the visitor economy and venue management organization for the Albertan city, announced a collaborative initiative to pursue city-wide GBAC STAR accreditation. That would make it the first and only Canadian destination to obtain accreditation for its entire metropolitan area, and one of only two destinations in North America.

Edmonton’s city-wide certification would encompass Edmonton International Airport; Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels (EDMH), which oversees 38 properties across the city; Rogers Place; the Oilers Entertainment Group; and the already-accredited Edmonton Convention Centre and Edmonton EXPO Centre.

At the time of that announcement, Maggie Davison, acting CEO of Explore Edmonton, said: “Edmonton’s tourism, hospitality, and events industries will play an important role in our region’s post-COVID-19 recovery, getting people back to work, welcoming travellers back to the city, and delivering important economic and social benefits to our region. Edmonton’s GBAC STAR accreditation will ensure our international airport, major venues, and hotels are all working toward the same standards for cleanliness and outbreak prevention. By working in partnership, Edmonton can safely reopen for business and provide one of the safest travel experiences in North America, from arrival to departure.”

Just how wide the uptake could be is still to be seen.

In the U.S., for example, as well as a wide, wide variety of stadia, hotels, offices, convention centres, and others, the Central Ohio Transit Authority has achieved accreditation for all of its transport centres and administrative offices.

GBAC STAR accreditation details

To achieve GBAC STAR accreditation, facilities must follow specific performance and guidance criteria to show compliance with the program’s 20 elements, which range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment to personal protective equipment (PPE) and emergency preparedness and response measures.

“GBAC STAR is the gold standard of safe facilities, providing third-party validation that ensures facilities implement strict protocols for biorisk situations,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “Accreditation empowers facility owners and managers to assure workers, customers, and key stakeholders that they have proven systems in place to deliver clean and healthy environments that are safe for business.”

Apply for GBAC STAR facility accreditation today at gbac.org/star. See which facilities are accredited or are working towards accreditation via the GBAC STAR Facility Directory.

ISSA and GBAC also recently announced it has launched a new Services Accreditation to run alongside the Facility Accreditation, with Colorado-based CCS Facility Services becoming the first business in the world to achieve it.

MediaEdge is a proud reseller of the GBAC STAR and GBAC fundamentals online course. Please see the program details and links below.

  1. Commercial facility owners looking for GBAC STAR accreditation can follow the link here.
  2. ISSA has also released a new GBAC fundamentals online course specifically designed for cleaning workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus fight. Please click here to register.

For additional program details and information, please email chuckn@mediaedge.ca or contact him at (416) 803-4653.

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