The OPCA 28th Annual Conference took place March 6th to 8th at the International Centre in Toronto. We were thrilled to finally meet in person once again after holding virtual meetings for the past two years. It’s hard to imagine when we had our last in person conference in 2020 that we would be in lockdown less than a week later! It was great to see the great turnout from our members and contractor community over the three-day event. 

OPCA members and their employees attended the one-day manufacturer training sessions on March 6th offered by Franklin Fueling, Nupi, OPW, Gilbarco, CSI, ZCL, Icon Containment Solutions, PD McLaren, and National Energy Equipment. This training helps keep our members up to date with their manufacturer certification on various petroleum equipment and we are pleased to offer this every year.  The day was well attended with over one hundred and twenty people participating in the sessions including staff from the TSSA whom we invite to attend every year. The OPCA is grateful for the support from the companies that provide these sessions at no cost to our participants.

On day two of the conference, the OPCA held a POST Safety Forum. POST (Petroleum Oriented Safety Training) is widely used across Canada with an average of sixteen thousand workers representing over four thousand companies utilizing the program each year. The program combines online learning with the necessary tools and documents to help companies keep their workers safe when working on petroleum sites. Our safety forums are a great way to share POST initiatives and report on updates to the POST program. We also invite speakers to discuss their insights on safety initiatives related to our industry.

The contractor community has also been key to helping POST achieve its vision of creating a safe, and productive workplace in Canada, and their continued support of POST has remained steady. In 2022 we had over sixteen thousand workers complete the POST online orientation course which is just over 5% from 2021 and surpassing the five-year average. I think we can all agree that by continuing to work together we are making a positive impact on safety for our industry.

POST Committee Chair Michelle Rae

It’s also important to note that POST would not be successful without the support of the many volunteers that comprise the POST Advisory Committee. The committee meets several times throughout the year to examine contractor engagement of the program, evaluate current POST documentation, resources and training and look at new initiatives to improve the program.

At the forum POST Committee Chair Michelle Rae provided an overview of the current initiatives with POST including the contractor’s commitment to POST, the online learning program and promoting our contractor community.

Mike Lamont

This year, we also honoured two of our volunteers, Rick Lombardi and Mike Lamont. We were thrilled to spotlight both Mike and Rick for their outstanding service to POST and the advisory committee including participating in various projects and campaigns. Congratulations Rick and Mike!

Also participating at the POST safety forum was Helen Grasso, Program Management Consultant at Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Helen was on hand to discuss WSIB’s Health & Safety Excellence Program. Companies can earn rebates on premiums and save money by improving their health and safety and help reduce injuries and illnesses and keep their employees and customers safer. Information on the program is available on the OPCA website at opcaonline.org.

Our keynote at the safety forum were Stasy Presutto and Lisette Shaw both with Suncor Energy. They discussed Human and Organizational Performance otherwise known as HOP soon to be implemented at Petro-Canada. HOP is an operating philosophy and mindset allowing people to move from thinking about safety as an outcome, to thinking about safety as capacity. It pushes people to do investigations differently, empowers learning, and helps leaders succeed. The full presentation can be viewed on POST’s YouTube channel, visit posttraining.ca for more information.

Stasy Presutto and Lisette Shaw

OPCA President Ken Jamieson

On day three, at the OPCA Annual General Meeting on March 8th, Ken Jamieson, the President of OPCA, shared his thoughts on the future of the petroleum contracting industry and how it will be impacted by alternative fuels. Although alternative fuels provide an effective way to reduce emissions and reliance on traditional fuels, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed before they can be widely used. However, there are several challenges that need to be addressed before they can become widely adopted. While the OPCA doesn’t have all the answers yet, they believe it’s crucial to start discussing the topic. Additionally, Ken Jamieson wanted to address the misconception that the industry will become extinct in the next decade. He clarified that it would take years to rebuild infrastructure, and the industry will adapt to service the facilities and equipment required, regardless of the fuel source.

Sam Sadeghi

Guest speakers from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority were Fuels Safety Director Sam Sadeghi and Engineering Manager for Fuels Gary Highfield. Sam provided an update on TSSA’s journey to become an Outcome Based Regulator using an evidence-based and data-driven approach to identify which areas are most correlated to risk. Sam discussed TSSA’s Outcome-Based Regulatory model is based on a set of guiding principles, which include focusing on reducing risks of harm to Ontarians, making decisions that are evidence based and balanced, responding consistently and proportionally to risks of harm, regulating clearly, flexibly, collaboratively, and transparently, utilizing a regulatory toolkit, and an innovative and responsive service and rewarding regulatory compliance and safety.

Gary addressed how biofuels will be addressed in Ontario as industry is concerned there will be incompatible equipment continuing to be used or installed as higher bio content fuels are legislated to be produced by the Federal Government. There are currently no standards adopted in Ontario regarding biofuel compatibility to ensure existing equipment and/or new installations meet the minimum requirements to prevent environmental or safety risks. TSSA has reviewed and received input from ULC on a preferred short list and is preparing a plan forward for each code based on UL’s plans for updating each code.

David Mason, OPCA’s insurance program manager post-Covid issues and insurance industry trends that are affecting your insurance policies. He noted the factors affecting the current insurance “hard” market including labour supply, ongoing supply chain issues and automobile theft. He also recommended companies who have fleets look at their safety records. In Ontario, certain fleets depending on combined weight are required to register with the Ministry of Transportation for a Commercial Vehicle Operators Registration number. This report is a key tool for underwriters of your fleet insurance plan.

Read more on Dave’s report in the June issue of the Canadian Petroleum Contractor Magazine

Amanda Mitchell

Our keynote speaker was Amanda Mitchell, Head of Fuels, Electric Vehicle Charging & Renewable Fuels for Petro-Canada. Amanda’s topic Navigating the Changing Energy Landscape in Canada addressed her perspective on how everyone can successfully lead through the energy expansion in Canada. Amanda noted the many factors influencing Canada’s changing energy landscape including addressing climate change, government policies (such as net-zero emissions), competition and customer demands, and the pressure industry is facing to gain momentum in the race for alternative fueling. She also provided an overview of Petro-Canada’s portfolio of energy alternatives across Canada including EV charging stations, EcoDiesel™, and hydrogen.

Amanda Mitchell

Amanda’s presentation was a powerful reminder of the importance of incorporating alternative fuels with traditional methods and products. While there is still much work to be done in this area, her message was one of hope and encouragement. By working together and making small changes in our everyday lives, we can create a more sustainable future for ourselves and for generations to come.

It is always inspiring to see dedicated individuals step up and take on leadership roles in their communities. Congratulations to Ken Jamieson, Lou Cerruti, Bill Rathwell and John Richards on their re-election to the OPCA Board. Their continued commitment to the organization is a testament to their passion for the industry. And let’s not forget to welcome Joshua Armstrong to the team! As a representative of small business members, his unique perspective and experience will undoubtedly contribute greatly to the Board’s decision-making process. We are excited to see what this talented group of individuals will achieve together in the coming year.

Donna Riddle

Lastly, we would like to take this opportunity to bid farewell to Donna Riddle as she leaves us for retirement. As Donna Riddle retires from our team, we want to express our gratitude for her dedicated service and contributions over the past fourteen years. She has been a valuable member of our team and her hard work and commitment have not gone unnoticed. We will truly miss her presence in our workplace, but we are happy for her as she embarks on this new journey in her life. We wish her all the best in her retirement and hope that she enjoys this new chapter filled with relaxation, adventure, and joy. Thank you, Donna, for being an integral part of our team and we will always remember the positive impact you have made on our organization.

On behalf of our organization, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who joined us this year. Your participation was instrumental in making our event a resounding success. We appreciate the time, effort, and resources that you invested in attending, and we hope that it was a valuable experience for you. Rest assured that we will continue to work hard to serve our association and members, and we remain committed to providing you with top-notch events and services.

Download our Annual Report

Looking ahead, we are excited to announce that we have already started planning for our next event in 2024. We hope that you will mark your calendars and join us once again for another memorable gathering. Our team is dedicated to making each event better than the last, and we are always open to hearing feedback and suggestions from our attendees. Once again, thank you for your support and participation, and we look forward to seeing you in 2024!