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Electro Federation Canada (EFC) Releases New Report

EFC's Ontario Region held a breakfast session in Vaughan recently with close to 80 members in attendance. Participants gained insight on the challenges and opportunities facing this industry's largest customer segment -- electrical contractors.

Rob Nadler (Stanpro Lighting), Chair of EFC's Market Research Committee and Swati Patel (EFC) led audience members through the findings from the latest contractor research study ("20/20 Vision: The Future of the Canadian Electrical Contractor").

EFC also invited special guest panelists, Peter Calabrese, Vice President at Black & McDonald and Robert Smith, Manager of Pre-Construction at Guild Electric, to share their perspectives on the trends that are most impacting the channel, and in turn, contracting firms. The panelists gave practical examples of how they have been impacted by such trends as pre-purchasing by end users, new technologies/services, offshore players entering the Canadian market -- and how these changes are altering the dynamics of the electrical channel.


How will You get Paid? Construction Lien Act Review Webinar

Commissioned in response to stakeholder concerns related to Prompt Payment and “effective dispute resolution” nearly two years ago, the review of Ontario’s Construction Lien Act has been released.

For more information on the findings, register now for an informative webinar being held Nov. 22, 2016, at 2 pm, where construction law expert and Legal Desk columnist Dan Leduc will break down the results of the review, and explain the ramifications for you and your business.

A partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Dan Leduc has helped various construction groups and associations make a number of submissions for changes to Ontario’s Construction Lien Act, including arguments for Prompt Payment.

If you are unavailable for the webinar you can register anyway and you will be sent the recording.

The fee for this 1-hour webinar is $25.

Click here to view the webinar details.


Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) Licence Holder Meeting: Nov. 22

For those of you who missed their meeting on Oct. 4, ESA has another Licence Holder meeting on Nov. 22 in Richmond Hill. There will be an Electrical Industry Expo, updates from ECRA and ESA, an overview of the nine Standards of Conduct, Qs and As, and a few other interesting topics. If you are a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Master Electrician and are interested in attending, please visit their website for the invitation and to register. 


New M-10 Safety Manual – Now available! 

Our M-10 Electrical Construction and Maintenance Workers Safety manual is now available to order through IHSA and is also available for free download. The manual is 164 pages and included updated information on almost every topic, from working at heights to lockout and tagging to working alone. It covers the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Construction Projects regulation (213/91), Workplace Electrical Safety Standard (CAN/CSA Z462), and Ontario Electrical Code.

We would like to thank the ECAO/IBEW Electrical Labour-Management Health and Safety Committee for the time and effort taken over the years to update this valuable manual. 


Electrical Hazards – Ministry of Labour’s Construction Sector Blitz for November

The focus of Ministry of Labour’s construction sector blitz will be electrical hazards from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016.

The focus of this blitz is to ensure:

  • workers are protected against the dangers of working on or around electrical connections
  • workers hold the requisite trade qualification papers, as required.

There are a lot of preventative tools available on IHSA’s website regarding Electrical Hazards, including sample policies and procedures.

We were also notified that the November blitz may include Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). MOL Inspectors will be given guidelines with scenarios on how to identify risks based on tasks. They will speak to the worker and the supervisor and may ask if a hazard assessment was done for the tasks. General requirements and sample policies are on IHSA’s website including hazard identification forms.


Elevating Work Platform – Alert from Ministry of Labour

An alert was issued earlier this year by the Ministry of Labour in response to a number of incident investigations, including fatalities, involving workers on an elevating work platform being trapped or crushed between the work platform or basket and a ceiling or beam. For more information including actions you can take to decrease the risk, review the alert.


The Changing Workplace Review - ECAO Response to the Interim Report

ECAO has reviewed the interim report and has submitted its comments and recommendations.  

There is no question that protecting “vulnerable workers” in “precarious jobs” is necessary and prudent. ECAO has cautioned the government in its response however, that sweeping legislative changes in order to tackle this challenge may only serve to hurt upstanding, good and honest employers who treat their employees fairly providing them with competitive wages and benefits, safe working conditions and respect in the workplace. Unintended consequences could have the impact of burdening employers with higher payroll costs as just one example.

The global economy that our members compete in is highly dynamic, ultra-competitive and changing constantly. Employers must have the freedom and flexibility to adapt to this economic environment and not be bound by endless regulations and legislation that ends up primarily punishing or restricting good employers.

While the various specific categories outlined in the report are all important to review, ECAO commented on a specific points where substantial changes could have an impact on our members and our industry as a whole.

Being the first comprehensive review of the Labour Relations Act, 1995, and Employment Standards Act, 2000, ECAO is supportive of this initiative and how such a review could enhance protections for workers in Ontario's evolving workforce. However, employers must be able to remain competitive, grow their businesses and as a result create jobs and grow our economy.


Six Low-Tech, Low-Cost Ergo Solutions for Small Business
from WSPS.CA

October is World Ergonomics Month and so we thought we’d share six tactics that can help people work more comfortably and efficiently with little time and few resources as described by ergonomist Mike Lanigan.

  1. Observe and communicate. One of the first things I encourage when I do a walk-through at a workplace is to visually observe job tasks and identify potential musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) hazards. Are people hunched over their work? Lifting awkwardly? Reaching above their shoulders? If so, adjust the work surface, racking and working heights, positioning to help workers maintain a neutral posture and reduce reach.
  2. Provide a lifting or carrying device if the work involves a lot of manual material handling - lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying. Use a dolly, cart of lift table to move boxes, which can significantly reduce the amount of lifting and carrying required. Also, implement a two-person lift for slightly heavy or awkward loads.
  3. Add ergonomics to decision-making when modifying or purchasing tools and equipment. For example, when purchasing a hand tool take into account the weight, amount of vibration, and grip required, so that people can avoid straining their arm or wrist. Involve management and/or workers who use the equipment. They use the equipment daily and may have great advice and suggestions on how to perform the job tasks more efficiently and comfortably.
  4. Train supervisors and the health and safety representative on how to recognize, assess and control MSD hazards, and if resources allow train all workers. With a small business you have a smaller workforce, so it wouldn't take long to train one or two people or even all employees. Have the training focus on the workplace’s primary MSD hazards and common tasks.
  5. Provide everyone with basic awareness training on ergonomics (e.g., how to recognize awkward postures, high forces or repetition) to establish a baseline understanding of the hazards, and so that people will feel comfortable identifying MSD hazards and be able to watch out for themselves and each other.
  6. Check out products at trade shows, especially if the vendors have ergonomic expertise. Trade shows are a great hands-on opportunity for testing products and asking questions. Often the shows have low or no entrance fees. Send workers (i.e., the users) as well as supervisors, who will have a broader sense of how well products or solutions would fit their workplace.

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Retrofitted Luminaires Program - Application and Process Change

In November 2014 ESA developed a new process for inspection of retrofitted luminaire projects. To help contractors comply with program requirements, all retrofitted luminaires projects will now be included in the Acceptance of Retrofitted Luminaires Program.  This change came into effect on Oct.13, 2016.

What are the changes?

  1. T12 to T8 ballast replacements are now part of the Acceptance of Retrofitted Luminaires Program and must be filed on the Retrofitted Luminaires application.
  2. The Retrofitted Luminaires Application for Inspection Form has been simplified to make it easier for Contractors to ensure ESA has all the required information for a retrofit project.  The form must be e-mailed, faxed or mailed to ESA. Applications cannot be filed on-line since they must be reviewed by ESA prior to processing.
  3. The Certificate of Inspection has been revised to include a statement that the installation is compliant with the requirements of ESA’s Acceptance of Retrofitted Luminaires Program.
  4. Change for ACP Contractors - Retrofit projects involving all types of T12 to T8 fluorescent retrofits must be filed on the “Retrofitted Luminaires Application for Inspection” form; they can no longer be filed on-line or on the ACP ICIA Small Jobs form. If the project involves a ballast conversion with no other modifications to the luminaire (option “Retrofit Type a”), the application will continue to be processed at the CSC as a 1 in 25 audit ratio. If the conversion involves a different number of lamps or new reflectors, sockets and/or end plates (option “Retrofit Type b”) the application will be processed as ACP Retrofitted Luminaires: 1 in 10 for 50 or fewer luminaires; 1 in 5 if there are 51 – 200 luminaires. Projects with greater than 200 luminaires are not eligible for ACP.

Two items have not changed: 1) The inspection process has not been changed as part of this revision and 2) the Program does not include lamp replacements where an application for inspection is not required or luminaire replacements where a standard application for inspection is required for the wiring of the new luminaires.

For complete details refer to the ESA Program for Acceptance of Retrofitted Luminaires Guide and FAQs at https://www.esasafe.com/business/retrofitted-luminaires


     
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Potential Canada Pension Plan Changes

Earlier we reported that the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) was repealed following an agreement in principle between provincial Ministers of Finance to enhance the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP). The federal government introduced legislation this month that will support CPP enhancement.

If Bill C-26, An Act to Amend the Canadian Pension Plan, the Canada Pension Plan and the Income Tax Act, is passed, there are three key components to change CPP:

  1. The target income replacement will increase from 25% to one-third pensionable earnings
  2. The maximum amount of earnings subject to CPP will increase by 14%
  3. Both employers and employees will contribute more to fund the higher benefit formula and increased earnings limit

The government is suggesting that employee contributions associated with the enhanced portion of CPP should be tax deductible instead of being eligible for a tax credit. Current employer contributions already qualify for a tax deduction and no amendments have been suggested for that.

These changes are targeted to start January 1, 2019 with a five-year phased-in implementation plan, and the full effect of CPP enhancements is not expected to be seen for 40 years.

For more details on the proposed changes, Hicks Morley has an article on their website.


Bring Safety Home: New Website for Parents 

Earlier this summer, the Ministry of Labour launched a website focused on helping parents and other adults play a more significant role in their kids’ workplace safety.

Bring Safety Home provides resources and insight on how to have a productive dialogue with youth about their workplaces. It also includes information on worker rights and common hazards that cause injury to young workers. The website offers compelling stories, videos and information specific to the service, agriculture, and manufacturing sector.

To learn more, visit Bring Safety Home.


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