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View Online | Forward | Unsubscribe |   Media Kit October 13, 2016
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Birnie Electric Wins Electrical Safety Award!

Congratulations to Birnie Electric for winning a 2016 Ontario Electrical Safety Award (Consumer & Home Safety award) from the Electrical Safety Authority.

Specifically, Birnie Electric was recognized for its ongoing CurrentSAFE program, which educates homeowners about the dangers of degraded electrical systems and suggests solutions to address electrical hazards.

No Increase in Wiring Fees for 2017

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) will not be implementing a wiring fee increase in 2017.

Each year ESA reviews wiring fees through a process that includes; financial analysis, forecasting, stakeholder input through advisory councils and open public consultation and determines if fee adjustments are required. ECAO provided a formal submission to the original proposed 1% fee increase stating ECAO member contractors are already at a competitive disadvantage to non-unionized competitors. Every fee and rate increase pertaining to licensing and inspections creates further financial hardships in an increasingly competitive marketplace. 

Based on those reviews and mindful of the impact of fee adjustments on stakeholders, ESA is not going to increase wiring fees overall in 2017.

ESA will be making adjustments to two fee calculations that will come into effect on Friday Feb. 3, 2017:

  1. Clarifying the difference between nursing homes and long term care facilities vs. retirement residences in the Fee Guide. This is not a fee change but a clarification of wording to better ensure that facilities are appropriately categorized.
  2. Adjusting fees for residential generators with a transfer switch. For installations where a second inspection visit will be required, the higher fee will be established upfront rather than a second inspection fee being incurred later.

Construction Lien Act Review – Report Released

The results of the report, written by government-appointed construction law experts Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel, were made public Sept. 26 when Attorney General Yasir Naqvi released the lawyers' 299-page report titled Striking the Balance: Expert Review of Ontario's Construction Lien Act.

The report, issued after 77 written submissions were digested, 30 stakeholder meetings held and five special advisory group meetings convened, offers a roadmap for modernizing Ontario's construction lien and holdback rules, introduces rules on prompt payment and creates a new process to resolve disputes. Naqvi said he would be consulting with stakeholders this fall with the intention of introducing legislation next spring.

"We were very impressed by the stakeholder submissions that we received," said Vogel. "They were very well done, and many were very balanced. In our stakeholder consultation meetings we aimed to be transparent and inclusive and I think that the stakeholders approached meetings in the same spirit."

Reynolds and Vogel, construction law experts with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, were commissioned with their task in February 2015 with an original target date to report by December 2015. Twice the reporting deadline was extended, with the report finally submitted April 30.

To read the full article visit Daily Commercial News.
To read the full report visit the Construction Lien Act Review Website

Electrical Business Magazine Webinar: What does Ontario’s Construction Lien Act Review mean to you?

On November 22, Dan Leduc, from Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, will give an overview of the results of the Construction Lien Act review and explain the ramifications for your business.

More information and registration is available on the Electrical Business Magazine’s website

Changes to Occupational Health and Safety Act: Sexual Harassment

As mentioned in our Aug. 4 e-news, changes were made to OHSA on Sept. 8 that expands the definition of “workplace harassment” to include workplace sexual harassment. Therefore, any policy you have regarding workplace harassment must be expanded to include sexual harassment.

Also, internal policies and procedures may have to be updated to ensure the following items are addressed:

1)     There must be a clear mechanism for employees to make a complaint. Please review your policy to make sure workers know how to file a complaint and to whom. Generally, a worker would file their complaint with their supervisor or manager, so there has to be a mechanism in place to address who they contact if their supervisor or manager is the respondent. This should not be a change from your current practice.

2)     There must be a clear process to investigate complaints that is appropriate in the circumstances. Not every complaint will warrant a third party investigator. However the employer needs to take every complaint seriously and determine the type of investigation each complaint warrants. NEW: If the Ministry of Labour is concerned with the investigation, they can order an investigator in to do the investigation or redo an investigation, at the employer’s expense.

3)     There is a duty to provide written results of an investigation to both the complainant and respondent (unless the alleged harasser is not one of your workers). This is not really a change from previous expectations.

4)     NEW: There is a duty to provide information to the complainant about the corrective action imposed on the respondent. This increased transparency is new and helps to ensure the Employer chooses the appropriate level of discipline and corrective action.

5)     Employers must consult with their JHSC or Health and Safety representative in revising policies and procedures to reflect the changes. All workers will need to be trained on the changes. 

Please ensure your policies and procedures reflect these changes. Template polices that address the changes are available on the Member’s section of our website, under Labour Relations.

In addition, both the Ministry of Labour and IHSA have useful resources on their websites.

October is Global Ergonomics Month

Every day we use our muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints to lift, carry, sit, stand, walk, move and work in a variety of ways. However, sometimes these tasks or the way we do them can put too much demand on our bodies, causing pain and discomfort. In addition, it may lead to a more serious injury called a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).

The Ministry of Labour and its health and safety partners are raising awareness of MSDs in the workplace, and have scheduled a number of events across Ontario.

Also, IHSA published a new hazard profile for musculoskeletal disorders to help companies and ICI electrical workers identify and control the MSD hazards in their jobs.

Please be sure to review this profile to see if it fits with your company’s health and safety program and meets the needs of your specific work duties.

Additional documents are available at no charge as part of the Free Product Downloads section of the website.

Newsletters to Provide Information You Need about Accessibility

Information on Ontario’s accessibility standards accessibility laws will soon be available in two newsletters. Subscribe online.

AODA Toolbox will be published monthly and will focus on:

  • Current and upcoming accessibility requirements and deadlines
  • Tools and resources to help you comply
  • Upcoming webinars and events

On the Path to an Accessible Ontario will be published quarterly and will feature stories about:

  • Ontario’s progress towards becoming accessible by 2025
  • Updates on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and accessibility standards
  • Workplace and community success stories

Changes to the accessible customer service standard came into effect on July 1, 2016. The main changes relate to:

  • training all employees and volunteers on accessible customer service
  • feedback (accessible formats and communications supports)
  • providing more specific information about support persons (health or safety)

Free online training modules are available to help you meet the training requirements under the Act.


Solar Roadways on the Horizon?

"Solar Roadways" may not be just a pie in the sky idea.

Scott Brusaw, an electrical engineer and inventor, recently demonstrated the concept of a solar road panel.

Solar Roadways is a modular system of specially engineered solar panels that are made of specifically formulated tempered glass that can support the weight of vehicles, including semi-tractor trailers. The surface has the traction equivalency of asphalt. The panels contain heating elements to prevent snow and ice accumulation. They also have microprocessors, which allow them to communicate with each other, as well as with central control stations and vehicles.

Other features include the fact that the panels generate energy; do not soften at high temperatures, as is often the case with asphalt; are impervious to potholes; and can provide a "home" for cables and wires.

At this point, Solar Roadways is focusing its attention on using the panels for walking and bicycle paths, driveways, and parking lots. Eventually, it plans to expand to highways.

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Canadian University Makes it to Green Energy Finals
U of T News - Keenan Marie Dixon

The University of Toronto student chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) was one of three finalists who competed at the 2016 Green Energy Challenge in Boston this past weekend.

The students from U of T Engineering competed against teams from Iowa State and the University of Washington. The final three were selected from 14 proposals.

The U of T team partnered with University of Toronto Schools (UTS), a Grade 7 to 12 university preparatory school in downtown Toronto, to design an energy efficiency upgrade, including a small-scale photovoltaic system that would serve as a teaching and learning tool for students. 

Their design included detailed technical solutions for classroom lighting retrofit, integrated window treatments and the design of a rooftop 4kW photovoltaic solar array, which all meet the unique needs of the building and the climate in Toronto.  By upgrading the lighting system to use lower wattage bulbs, using occupancy sensors and installing light shelves that regulate daylight, the team determined that UTS could reduce its annual energy consumption by up to 125 MWh, or enough to light 10 typical homes.

Established in 2014, the U of T NECA chapter extension is the first of its kind in Canada. Its goal is to bridge the gap between contracting and engineering and engage students with first-hand, applied experience. 

Time is running out to advertise in our 2017 ECAO Calendar!

ECAO’s calendar is designed to be a handy reference tool for all electrical contractor members providing date reminders, safety tips, and contact information as well as providing an advertising opportunity for the product suppliers and service providers to ECAO members.

Associate Members receive a 20% discount. If you are interested in submitting an advertisement for our 2017 Industry Calendar, please contact Dorothy at for the information package. The calendar is sent out to over 1000 contacts.

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