NORCAT (Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc.) provides health and safety training and product development assistance to small, medium and large industrial enterprises. The organization operates it own mine, which supports NORCAT's prototype development and mine-oriented training programs. NORCAT's industrial shop facilities also support this work. The organization is a not-for-profit corporation that operates from the Cambrian College campus in Sudbury. NORCAT training locations are situated across Ontario.
NORCAT's primary focus is on worker health and safety. Therefore NORCAT's environmental approach centres on creating working environments that do not cause workers harm. Since people work in indoor and outdoor environments, NORCAT does not distinguish between the two when it comes to environmental quality. From NORCAT's perspective, it is important that both environments are healthy places for people to work.
Air quality is a key indicator of both indoor and outdoor environmental health. In indoor working environments, such as underground mines, air quality is perhaps the only environmental indicator of the quality of the work environment. One of the services that NORCAT provides is air quality monitoring for small industries. If air quality problems are detected, NORCAT recommends solutions, and in some cases, companies also commission the organization to implement its recommendations. NORCAT was also involved in Clean Air Sudbury, a non-profit, community-based organization focused on improving outdoor air quality in the Sudbury area. Clean Air Sudbury initiatives included an assessment of Sudbury's air quality between 1953 and 2002, and Clearing the Air, a report on air quality trends in Sudbury that highlighted the findings of this assessment. NORCAT was represented on the Clean Air Sudbury Steering Committee for 4 years, and chaired the committee from 2002-2003.
The organization is also taking steps towards greening future operations by pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver design principles in the design and construction of NORCAT's new Innovation/Commercialization Park. Work on the 40,000 sq. ft. multi-use building is expected to begin in 2008.
Achievements and Outcomes
In the past ten years, NORCAT has assisted in the development of over 300 technologies and 150 products, over 80% of which have been commercialized or otherwise deployed. Most NORCAT prototypes have health and safety applications, and are designed to address issues caused by exposure to harmful environmental conditions.
Implementation of EarthCare Sudbury's Local Action Plan
While NORCAT's projects and initiatives frequently concern air quality, the products and prototypes that NORCAT has assisted in developing relate to several of key the issues of the Local Action Plan.