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ECAO and IBEW CCO Joint Message on Staying Vigilant During Spike of COVID 19 Cases

Cases of COVID 19 are rising in Ontario. Although, and as a direct result of your diligence, the cases reported from construction sites have been very low over the last few months. To continue to set the standard for Ontario’s workplaces, ECAO and IBEW CCO remind you of the importance of practising health and safety measures to mitigate the potential spread of the virus on job sites and to continue to keep our communities safe.

From Graeme Aitken, Executive Director of ECAO, “We are, and should be, proud of our performance as a community throughout this pandemic. At the core of our outstanding performance is our being ever-diligent and committed to one another and our communities.”

Employers must ensure they have appropriate measures in place to protect their workers and we must continue to reiterate and enforce health and safety practices such as; physical distancing, proper hand and tool sanitation, and the wearing of masks in the workplace (and elsewhere).

From James Barry, Executive Secretary Treasurer of IBEW CCO, “Our main priority is the health and safety of our workers and contractors. We have set a high bar for performance during the pandemic, and our maintaining this standard will as a result of our continued diligence.”

Employees must do their part in following these protocols to such as; physical distancing, proper hand and tool sanitation, and the wearing of masks in the workplace (and elsewhere), thereby ensuring the safety of themselves, their co-workers, their families, and the community at large.

Our industry is unique, in that much of the work done on job sites is done with many employees on site. Thus, proper screening is absolutely vital, so that an infected individual does not show up to work with any of the symptoms of COVID 19 including; fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, and/or if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID 19. Do not risk the health and safety of others on or in your workplace!

We cannot let our guard down now; not at this point when an expected subsequent wave of COVID-19 spread and its potential impact on the whole construction industry or Province looms. Now is the time to double our efforts, to become more diligent, and to do our part!

ECAO and IBEW CCO are confident that working together, as a community, will support our members; and that all will rise to the challenge to stop the spread and ensure the safety of themselves, their families, and their co-workers. As James and Graeme have stated previously: we will come out of this closer and stronger.

ECAO Clarification on ECAO IBEW CCO Joint Message: “We want to assure you that the photo provided of the announcement yesterday (October 6) was taken in the fall 0f 2019; before the onset of COVID 19.  Graeme and James were not in contravention of public health recommendations for face coverings nor physical distancing.  We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.”


COVID-19 Regulation Updates

The Government recently announced a number of changes to O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 in response to the surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Mandatory Screening for all Employees: Open businesses and organizations are required to conduct screening on employees and essential visitors before they enter the workplace. More information and a template questionnaire can be found here.

Mandatory face coverings: The use of masks or face coverings is mandatory in all indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. This includes the requirement for people in vehicles operated as part of the business or organization to wear face coverings. This does not impact a worker who is an area that is not accessible to members of the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area.

Ontario Helping Apprentices Cover Living Expenses during Training

TORONTO —The Ontario government is making the skilled trades more accessible by investing an additional $75 million over the next two years to help apprentices cover living expenses during their in-class training. The government is also appointing a five-member Skilled Trades Panel to provide advice and recommendations to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development on developing a new approach to training and certification.

Michael Sherrard, Jason Ottey, Shaun Scott, Melanie Winter and Melissa Young will be advising Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, on ways to modernize and improve the skilled trades and apprenticeship system.

Read more details on the panelists here


Ontario Supports Small Main Street Businesses with $60 Million in Funding through PPE Grant

TORONTO —Today, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, announced Ontario's Main Street Recovery Plan and intends to introduce the Main Street Recovery Act, 2020, proposed legislation that would support small businesses and modernize rules to allow them to innovate and meet the challenges of today. If passed, the act will remove hurdles faced by small businesses and allow them to pursue new opportunities — while maintaining or enhancing protections for public health, safety and the environment.

The Plan includes a one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE);


Ontario Appoints Skilled Trades Panel

Ontario has appointed five members to a Skilled Trades Panel for a nine-month term.

Michael Sherrard, Jason Ottey, Shaun Scott, Melanie Winter and Melissa Young will be advising Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, on ways to modernize and improve the skilled trades and apprenticeship system.

To learn more on the panelists click here.

Updated COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces (Businesses and Organizations)

On Friday, September 25, 2020, the Ontario Ministry of Health issued its COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces (Business and Organizations). The Tool provides screening questions for any worker or essential visitor (defined in the Tool) seeking to enter the work environment.

Effective September 26, 2020, each Ontario workplace is now required to pro-actively screen employees for COVID-19-related symptoms and risk factors prior to entry into the work environment, each day the employee seeks to enter the work environment (this would not apply to an employee working at home that day). The screening tool should include, at a minimum, the questions identified in the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces (Businesses and Organizations).



WSIB announces premium rate freeze

WSIB announced they will be holding premium rates at current levels while meeting the demands of the pandemic to focus on health and safety and improving digital services. Given the uncertainty of the pandemic, the WSIB’s approach is to hold premium rates steady for 2021.


    Council of Ontario Construction Associations Government Relations Report September 2020 

    In the September issue these topics are highlighted:

    • Ontario in Second Wave of Pandemic
    • All Ontario Employers Now Required to Pro-Actively Screen Employees
    • Pre-Budget Consultations Underway
    • 2019-2020 Public Accounts Reveal $8.7B Deficit
    • First Three Pillars in Government’s Six Pillar Plan


    Ford, Smith strongly condemn latest racist act at Toronto construction site

    ecao061020.jpgTwo nooses were found at an EllisDon jobsite, Michael Garron Hospital, on Sept. 24. It was the fifth incident at a Toronto jobsite since June, and the second at the Michael Garron project.

    EllisDon president and CEO Geoff Smith reiterated his firm’s commitment to stamp out racism after a fifth incident of racism. “EllisDon acknowledges that systemic racism in the construction industry is real and — with our partner unions and subcontractors — we have initiated both long– and short–term measures to root it out wherever it lies, and eliminate it. This will take time and sustained effort by many people, but we have already begun, and we will succeed.”


    ESA honours Ontario’s 2020 electrical safety champs


    The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) virtually held their 2020 Annual General Meeting and Safety Awards presentation.

    This year a new award was introduced for a recognized licensed electrical contractor. 

    This year’s winners are below:

    Worker Safety

    PUC Services Inc., Sault Ste. Marie

    Powerline Safety

    Ms. Lori Gallaugher, executive director, Utilities Standards Forum

    Consumer & Home Safety

    Hydro One Networks Inc.

    Licensed Electrical Contractor Recognition *NEW for 2020

    Aecon Mining Construction Services
    Carney Electric Ltd.

    Chief Public Safety Officer’s Special Recognition Award

    Mohawk College




      October 6, 2020 – Mississauga, ON – Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, there has been a need for dramatic shifts in the methods for the distribution of surety bonds, more specifically for construction projects and service/maintenance contracts. The association would like to reiterate its recommendation of digital bonds and has recently released their White Paper: Digital Bonds the Way of the Future – and the Present

      Real full Media Release Here: Surety Association of Canada Continues to Recommend Digital Bonds During COVID-19 Pandemic & Beyond.

      The White Paper: Digital Bonds the Way of the Future – and the Present provides a detailed overview of digital bonds. More information can also be found on our website HERE.

      CCA talent search

      The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) has launched Talent Fits Here, a campaign designed to encourage more Canadians to consider a career in construction.


      Historic National Strategy for Women in Trades Released 


      Ottawa, ON – October 1, 2020 – In celebration of National Women’s History Month, the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAFFCA) is releasing a first-ever, National Strategy for Supporting Women in Trades. In 2019, CAF-FCA led a task force of more than 60 skilled trades stakeholders who came together to guide and inform a strategy to create measurable change for women’s representation in skilled trades careers in Canada. 



      ECAO Construction Labour Relations for Supervisors


      We are facilitating our next “Construction Labour Relations for Supervisors” course over Zoom. Instead of having a one-day, in-class session, we’ve divided the content over two days. This seminar will provide a general overview of labour relations in the construction industry, and specifically within ECAO. It’s geared toward non-bargaining unit supervisors and contractors. 

      Here are some of the topics that will be covered:

      • Evolution of Labour laws
      • Steps for Effective Negotiations
      • Provincial Bargaining
      • History of the Provincial Agreement
      • Investigations and grievances
      • Jurisdictional Disputes

      WHO SHOULD ATTEND? Those in, or interested in, labour relations’ roles in the construction industry. It is geared to our members’ employees who are at the front-end of their labour relations careers (although we have had very positive feedback from more seasoned attendees).

      WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND. Whether beginning in labour relations or having years of experience, this program provides the opportunity to home your skills, learn new skills, and interact with similarly interested ECAO-member supervisors.

      When: Part 1: Oct 20, 2020 09:00 AM- 12 Noon EST
      Part 2: Oct 22, 2020 09:00 AM- 12 Noon EST

      Please Register in advance for this course:

      Electro Federation of Canada (EFC) Digital Supply Chain Summit October 15, 1- 4:00pm


      EFC’s 2nd Annual Supply Chain Summit will be held virtually. You won’t want to miss this event…where the electrical industry meets modern supply chain technologies and emerging trends.

      Register Now

      Overview: Digital technologies have amplified the features and functionality of our electrical products and are fast-becoming mainstream in how we service our customers and partners. Learn how your organization can pivot its supply chain strategy towards a digitized and automated enterprise, optimizing supply chain management to reach new service levels, lower costs and improve overall operational effectiveness.

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