The OPCA held their Annual General Meeting via webinar on March 3rd, 2021. Our first ever AGM using a virtual platform was a big success thanks to all that participated and supported the event including our members, Board of Directors, guest speakers and sponsors. We appreciate those members who took the time to attend and send us positive feedback on the event with many noting the session was worth attending.
A Challenging Year
OPCA President Ken Jamieson discussed the challenges members have faced over the past year and continue to do so dealing with the pandemic; from keeping their businesses running effectively to keeping their employees and families safe. He also noted at the onset of the pandemic as our industry was deemed essential, everyone had to quickly put in motion protocols and procedures with the added challenge of interpreting regulations and guidelines. Ken also discussed how the OPCA had worked to get timely information to members on COVID related requirements and best practices. The OPCA has also provided links to suppliers of PPE and cleaning and disinfecting equipment.
Additional tools for contractors
Ken noted the OPCA has worked with Weirfoulds Law on various sessions including providing information to members including changes to the Construction Act and the prompt payment regime. Weirfoulds first presented information on this legislation at the OPCA conference in 2020. Since then, they have provided webinars on this topic with Ken noting the importance of understanding the rules around this legislation including holdbacks, prompt payment schedules and the adjudication process used for handling payment disputes.
Weirfoulds Law has also invited OPCA members to attend additional webinars they are hosting in the coming months on various topics to provide insights on issues that affect the construction industry.
Ken also noted our industry partner CIPMA (Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketer’s Association) invited OPCA members to attend their upcoming webinar on policy and regulatory trends impacting their sector.
Working with TSSA
Ken reported on the current issues the Board is working on with TSSA and introduced Sam Sadeghi, TSSA’s Director of Fuels Safety. Sam took over the Director’s role from John Marshall who retired last fall. The OPCA presented a report to Sam earlier this year highlighting the top tier ongoing issues discussed with TSSA. The OPCA is also working in tandem with the Ministry where issues lobbied require regulation updates and revisions. Sam thanked the OPCA for the opportunity to join the discussion noting the plan to work with the OPCA on these issues is based on a priority approach that deals with one issue at a time and includes regular progress meetings with both his team and OPCA noting this approach will see results within a manageable timeframe. Ken thanked Sam for his willingness to work with OPCA on these issues as we look forward to a productive working relationship with TSSA.
The current items we are working on with TSSA are OPCA’s B139 Technician program developed for which requires both an endorsement from TSSA as well as an update to the Petroleum Mechanic certification scope within the Technical Standards & Safety Act. The OPCA is also lobbying TSSA to review their variance application process, specially review those applications where specific components or installation applications that are widely used within the industry require variance applications in Ontario.
OPCA Insurance program manager Dave Mason discussed the OPCA insurance program as well as current trends in the insurance market. As the insurance industry in general is moving out of a hard market in 2021, Dave is taking a two-step approach for the OPCA property insurance program to combat rate increases by taking the entire program to market as well as a case-by-case approach with insurers. The Pollution and General Liability program will continue with Lloyds of London. Overall ensuring there are no gaps in coverage.
Dave addressed what everyone is wondering with respect to insurance coverage for COVID. Insurance policies are not designed to proved coverage for COVID, however, some class action lawsuits have been filed as the argument is COVID in effect causes damage to property, but these lawsuits will go on for years.
Dave thanked the OPCA members for the continued business and support and please feel free to contact Dave anytime for a quote on any of the OPCA insurance programs including property, auto, liability and personal insurance for OPCA members and their employees.
OPCA Training Programs
Michelle Rae provided an overview of the OPCA training program process. The OPCA uses a blended-learning format that includes home study, online tools, and in-class components. While 2020 was a challenging year for the program as we had to suspend our in-class training sessions, once the province lifted restrictions, we commenced our sessions with established COVID protocols. The protocols include pre-screening of students, reducing the handling of paperwork, limiting class size, establishing social distancing and barriers in classrooms, and practicing sanitization procedures.
Statistically, despite the challenges of the past year, the OPCA was able to complete training for over one hundred students in 2020, compared to roughly twenty-five percent more student completions in 2019.
Michelle also acknowledged our OPCA instructors Dan Tremblay and Jean-Marc Leblond who have supported the training program and worked effectively within the required COVID protocols.
As discussed earlier with TSSA, the OPCA’s current initiative is the B139 training program. We developed the training program to fill identified gaps in the industry with respect to generator installations and inspections.
The course provides comprehensive coverage of all aspects of installation and inspection of generator systems and their components and the knowledge to inspect an existing standby generator and exhaust system that operates on fuel oil including a complete set of inspection checklists.
We have already presented the program to both TSSA and the Ministry last year and essentially had the go-ahead to proceed. As Sam Sadeghi mentioned earlier, we are working on next steps with TSSA. Part of this includes license scope and how it will fit into regulation and developing the certification exam.
Petroleum Oriented Safety Training
POST is now widely used across Canada with thousands of companies adopting POST safety standards. In the last five years alone, POST has encompassed an average of sixteen thousand workers representing four thousand companies in every province and territory across Canada.
Most contractors in both the maintenance and construction sectors follow the POST program.
Since POST was introduced to the industry, oil companies have reported a decrease in their incident statistics and have attributed this to the POST program. And the five-year trend for 2020 shows this continued support.
The OPCA held their Board of Director Elections for the 2021 membership year. Ken Jamieson, Lou Cerruti and Bill Rathwell were re-elected for another term. Associate member Elson Fernandes retired from the Board and John Richards of Stem-Can was elected as a new Associate Director. Welcome to the Board John!
The Board will appoint the OPCA executive at their next Board meeting on April 16th comprising of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Registrar.
Retirement News – Tribute to Elson Fernandes
Ken paid tribute to Elson Fernandes who retired from the Board after over twenty years of distinguished service to the OPCA. Elson represented OPCA on various industry Boards and committees including CSA and TSSA Risk Reduction Groups. Elson contributions to the industry are numerous from vacuum monitoring to storage tank regulations. Elson also managed and developed content for OPCA’s Cathodic Protection certification program. Ken congratulated Elson on his impressive tenure and thanked him for his service to the association and its members.
Congratulations to following prize draw winners! Prizes were donated by our sponsors and each winner also received a gift card provided by the OPCA.
- Mark Pidgeon – iPad from Canada Brokerlink & gift card
- Gaston Orique – iPad from KMD & gift card
- Dan Tremblay – Fitbit Watch from National Energy Equipment & gift card
- Steve McCrossan – iPad from Waleco & gift card
- Luke Demik – iPad from Waleco & gift card
- Joel Heeres – Fitbit Watch from Wayne Fueling Systems & gift card
- Mike Haller – 60″ Smart TV from Hi-Sharp Products & gift card
- Sara Davidson – Gift cards from ASI & OPCA
OPCA Year in Review video
Michelle Rae presented OPCA’s year in review video highlighting the challenges members faced this past year in dealing with the pandemic and adapting to the restrictions and new requirements noting the importance of sharing these insights with our members.
Michelle thanked the following members that participated in the video:
- Anik Westerneng – BGIS
- Brian deNobriga – Claybar Contracting
- Rick Lombardi – Greenergy
- Ken Jamieson – Kenstruct
- Dave Mason – Canada Brokerlink
Watch the video: