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ECAO Electrical Contractors Getting Back to Work

As the Ontario construction industry is gearing up to getting back to work, ECAO and IBEW-CCO want to remind members and their employees to stay vigilant on ensuring health and safety measures are in place on the job site.

Please listen to a joint message from Graeme Aitken and James Barry addressed to ECAO contractors and IBEW members on staying safe. Click here for the video.



Extension Key to Protecting Ontarians as Province Safely Reopens

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario is extending the provincial Declaration of Emergency to June 30. The decision supports the government's efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the health and safety of Ontarians as the province reopens in a measured and responsible way. The extension, under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, was approved by the Ontario legislature earlier today.

"Extending the provincial Declaration of Emergency will allow us to safely and gradually reopen the province, while we continue to use every resource at our disposal to battle this deadly virus," said Premier Doug Ford. "We are not out of the woods yet, so it is critical that we exercise caution to keep everyone safe, including protecting our most vulnerable citizens in long-term care homes, retirement homes and group homes."


ECAO 2020 Scholarship

The current COVID 19 pandemic has impacted all of us, including our post-secondary students who are faced with extreme uncertainty about their future education and career goals. The ECAO Scholarship Award can provide some financial relief to those students.

The objective of the ECAO program is to provide financial support for deserving children or wards of salaried personnel of member companies, for the purpose of attending recognized post-secondary institutions, and to encourage such individuals to attain a high level of academic achievement.

The award selection is based on academic achievement in the previous academic year, extracurricular activities, and past employment experience. The application submission should be handwritten and the course of study will also be an important aspect of the selection. All submissions will be reviewed by the ECAO Scholarship Committee.

The application can be found on our website at


Ontario launching “all-new” Tools Grant program; forgiving loans

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On May 22, 2020, the Ontario Government unveiled the Ontario Tools Grant Program. The Program will provide $2.5 million in 2020-21, and $7.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing. This will help new eligible apprentices purchase the equipment they need to start their careers, says the government.

The funding amounts will be distributed as follows:

  • $1000 for those in motive power sector trades
  • $600 for those in construction and industrial sector trades
  • $400 for those in service sector trades

The government is also forgiving more than $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers. The Loans for Tools Program allowed new apprentices to buy tools, equipment, clothing, manuals and code books required for their trade. About 19,000 apprentices who participated in the program owed, on average, $495.


Ontario plan for sectoral COVID-19 testing includes construction

ecao7june22020.pngThe Ontario government has laid out a detailed “enhanced plan” for COVID-19 testing that includes future collaboration with sectors such as construction and possibly even vans or buses that would visit specific workplaces and test workers on site.

The plan, released May 29, includes testing, “aggressive” tracking and tracing of contacts, and “population surveillance” to provide ongoing evidence on which to base future policy.

Under a category of testing called Targeted Campaigns, the Ministry of Health would work collaboratively with sector leaders to establish plans to test essential workplaces, including construction sites.

ECAO, and others in the construction industry, have been asking for this and are pleased by the recognition of the importance of our industry.


COVID-19 and mental health: Construction is not immune

ecao8june22020.jpgAs both a medical pandemic and a scary idea inside our heads, COVID-19 is unprecedented in our lifetime. It threatens the physical health of millions and preys on the mental health of billions more. The illness upsets the mental equilibrium of different people in different ways.

We may all be in the same boat, as we are constantly told, but our reaction to being stuck on that vessel varies with the individual and their circumstances.



ecao2june22020.jpgThe Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) has issued a document that outlines the current ESA practices regarding inspections based on the latest public health guidelines. The document outlines the priorities for inspections as well as guidance on home inspections and in-person residential inspections.

Read the Full Document here 

Mechanical Contractors Association of Ontario (MCAO) Announcement

The MCAO has announced that Brandon Pageaus will be leaving effective June 26th from his role as Executive Vice President (EVP). Brandon was the EVP for the last 4 ½ years.

See Full Announcement here.

Powering Communities: Electrical Contractors Association of Central Ontario and Local IBEW 804 Joint Message

Take a look at this recent video ad in which ECACO and IBEW 804 share a Joint message during COVID 19. The ad was shown on CTV Kitchener.

See the full video here:

Discussing the Business Impacts of COVID-19 on the Electrical Industry with Taylor Gerrie

ecao9june22020.jpgTaylor Gerrie is a Director of Strategic Transformation with his family business, Gerrie Electric Wholesale Ltd. Gerrie Electric Wholesale is one of ECAO’s Affiliate Partner. Taylor was recently interviewed to get his perspective on the current situation brought on by the pandemic, how Gerrie Electric has adapted, what he is seeing in terms of the impact on the market, and how he sees things changing as we gradually move towards getting back to ‘normal’.

Taylor discussed the impact on contractors, saying, “contractors were restricted access to facilities to perform the work if that facility was deemed a non-essential workplace, so, they could not proceed with a project they may have been working on even if they had already purchased all the material. Since many job sites had been shut down, they could not receive material and work could not be performed. That was not all job sites but there were a lot of them which affected everyone down the line.” Fortunately, since this interview, the construction site restrictions have been lifted.


Protecting yourself from onerous contract conditions

While the full extent of the economic impact of COVID-19 is still unknown, it is clear that many adjustments will have to be made as businesses tighten their belts.

One way this may manifest in the construction industry is owners may start updating their contracts to try to shift more risk and responsibility to the contractor. This will result in increasingly onerous contract conditions.

These types of clauses are often used by owners who don’t recognize the importance and benefits of using standard CCDC contracts.

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) has put together a best practice toolkit for local and regional construction associations to help them approach onerous contract clauses during the bidding process. Created with the help of our partner associations, such as the Ontario General Contractors Association, this tool outlines the different steps that should be taken by contractors and their construction association.


Swift action needed to avoid bankruptcies: Panel

Four panelists from national construction associations warned that numerous contractors will soon exhaust their pre-COVID savings and come August and September, many will be too cash-poor to bid on projects and there will be bankruptcies.

The webinar was presented May 14 by McMillan LLP and billed as Construction after COVID-19. Skivsky and fellow panelists Mary Van Buren, president of the Canadian Construction Association, John Gamble, president and CEO of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada and Clive Thurston, president of the Ontario General Contractors Association, discussed health and safety advances, loss of productivity, the need for early stimulus and contractual challenges in addition to the cash-flow crunch.


Canadian Construction Association (CCA) Unconference- June 15

ecao3june22020.pngThe CCA will be holding its annual conference virtually on June 15. This special edition newsletter and digital experience will be dedicated to providing attendees with sessions, industry information, national awards, interviews, and perhaps even some behind the scenes footage from our annual conference. And we’re bringing this all to you virtually, in the comfort and safety of your home. 


Represent Canada at IEC: Young Professionals Competition now accepting applications


Canada’s next generation of expert engineers, technicians, and managers are invited to apply to represent the country at the next International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Young Professionals Workshop during the 84th IEC General Meeting. This workshop is a unique opportunity for young professionals to grow professionally and help shape the future of international standardization and conformity assessment.

Two (2) young professionals will be selected by the Canadian National Committee of IEC and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) to represent Canada, all expenses paid, at the workshop, and general assembly from November 9 to 13, 2020 in Geneva, Switzerland.

For information about the application process and eligibility visit the Call for applications page. The deadline to apply is June 15, 2020, at 11:50 p.m. E.T. SCC will contact the winners in August 2020.

Affiliate Partner Program

We are pleased to announce that we have a new Affiliate Partner, Kennaley Construction Law.

Rob Kennaley, Senior Partner is offering ECAO members a 15% discount on packages for tenders, contract and subcontract preparation, and reviews. While it is not possible to pre-determine flat rates, in most cases the rate would be $3,500-$5,000.

In regards to dispute resolution services, the discount will be applied against the firm’s regular hourly rates. The applicable services would be for dispute resolution services, including demand letters, settlement negotiations and conferences, mediations, arbitrations, litigation, and, of course, the new adjudication processes established under the Construction Act. Please feel free to contact Mr. Kennaley directly if you have any questions about the firm’s services or rates.


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Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario

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