By Michelle Rae, OPCA Executive Director

The OPCA conference took place on March 4-6, 2024, in Toronto alongside the Convenience U/Carwacs Show.  The success of the conference was due in part to the great turnout by both OPCA members and industry partners. Over the course of three days, participants had the opportunity to engage in various OPCA events and explore the tradeshow. The conference provided a platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and showcasing the latest advancements in the industry.

The conference is a great opportunity for members to connect and actively participate in an array of both professional and social events. Additionally, it serves as a valuable platform for the OPCA to effectively communicate and showcase the latest updates and progress on its programs and initiatives over the past year.

Day 1 – Manufacturer Training sessions

The first day kicked off with our annual manufacturer training sessions, available to all OPCA members and their employees. These sessions cover various topics related to petroleum equipment, such as tank installation, piping, maintenance, and fuel management systems. We are grateful to all the companies that provided these sessions, including Franklin Fueling, CSI, OPW, Gilbarco, Red Leonard & Associates, Xerxes, Icon Containment Solutions, PD McLaren, and National Energy Equipment. In addition, we also hosted a welcome reception and casino night for everyone to reconnect with friends and colleagues in a fun atmosphere.

Manufacturer Training Sessions

Day 2 – POST Safety Forum

We kicked off Day 2 of the conference with our annual POST Safety Forum. POST is a widely recognized behavior-based safety program in Canada, tailored specifically to our industry.  POST was developed by contractors wanting a standardized program when working on fuel sites for both maintenance and construction regardless of their clients. The program includes and online course and safety documentation to help contractors work safely. In 2023, over sixteen thousand workers representing over four thousand companies completed the POST online course showing the program has been successful for both contractors and the oil companies supporting the program.

These forums provide an excellent platform to discuss POST initiatives and address safety concerns that impact our industry. POST advisory committee member Rick Lombardi joined me in discussing some of these new initiatives including new documents developed and the importance of yearly safety training (please visit the POST website for our article on this topic). POST developed a new Equipment Lifting checklist and JSA Evaluation Tool with the objective of improving the documents making them more user friendly than the ones currently being used. The Equipment Lifting checklist is a harmonization of the Heavy Equipment Lifting and Critical lifting checklists and the JSA Evaluation Tool replaces the JSA Quality Assessment Evaluation creating a more streamlined user-friendly form. The JSA Evaluation Tool can be used to assess the quality and effectiveness of JSAs by providing contractors with data to evaluate and if needed, make improvements where needed.

Mike McKay, an EV Specialist with National Energy Equipment, provided valuable insights on the hazards associated with working with electric vehicle (EV) equipment. He highlighted the unique hazards that technicians face when working with EV equipment. These hazards are different from those encountered by petroleum technicians. However, there are certain forecourt hazards that are common to both, such as traffic and weather conditions.

According to Mike McKay, while the industry already uses the POST program to mitigate risks for technicians, there is a growing recognition that additional requirements may need to be considered specifically for EV technicians. The discussion emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety of technicians working on both petroleum and EV equipment.

One of the significant hazards associated with working on EV equipment is the presence of high-voltage electrical systems. Technicians need to be well-trained and equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to handle these systems safely. Additionally, they must be aware of the potential risks posed by traffic and adverse weather conditions when working in forecourts.

The discussion also highlighted the need for ongoing collaboration between industry and POST to continually assess and update safety requirements. Both industry and POST are actively working together to identify any gaps in existing safety protocols and determine if additional measures are necessary to ensure the safety of technicians working with EV equipment.

Overall, this discussion shed light on the unique hazards faced by technicians working with EV equipment and emphasized the importance of continually evaluating and enhancing safety protocols to keep up with the evolving industry landscape. By addressing these hazards proactively, stakeholders can ensure a safer working environment for technicians in both the petroleum and EV sectors.

Our Keynote speaker was Scott Ste Marie, a Mindfulness Practitioner and coach and a highly sought-after speaker across North America. He is known for his expertise in emotional well-being, mental health, and the importance of genuine human connection. With his background in organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, Scott has gained a unique set of experiences that enable him to connect deeply with others.

In his keynote, Scott offered practical tips and exercises to help individuals deal with stress and anxiety. Through mindfulness, he encouraged individuals to cultivate self-awareness and develop healthier coping mechanisms. He emphasizes the importance of self-care and teaches techniques that promote emotional well-being.

We were delighted to have the opportunity to honor and recognize our dedicated committee members through the yearly POST Volunteer awards. This year, the awards were presented to three outstanding individuals – Ken Jamieson, Howard Heal, and Anik Westerneng.

Ken Jamieson & Howard Heal

As one of the founding members of POST, Ken’s recognition was well-deserved and long overdue. He has consistently devoted his time and resources to the organization by volunteering at various worksites for training videos. Ken contributes his expertise and offers honest opinions to ensure that POST remains contractor-friendly.

Another recipient of the POST Volunteer Award, Howard Heal, has also demonstrated exceptional dedication to our cause. Howard is always the first to step forward and volunteer his time for sub-committees and videos promoting POST initiatives like planned job observations. His willingness to go above and beyond highlights his commitment to our mission of fostering a safe and inclusive work environment within the industry.

Anik Westerneng has been an invaluable asset to POST, contributing significantly to the development and improvement of our programs. Her involvement in initiatives such as providing tips for Job Safety Analyses (JSAs) and other program enhancements has greatly enhanced the effectiveness and impact of POST. Anik’s dedication and expertise have been instrumental in driving positive change within POST, and we are honored to recognize her exceptional contributions through this well-deserved award.

These three individuals exemplify the spirit of volunteerism and embody the values that POST holds dear. Their remarkable efforts and unwavering commitment have undoubtedly contributed to the program’s success and growth. The POST Volunteer awards testify to their outstanding contributions, and we are grateful for their continued dedication. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Ken Jamieson, Howard Heal, and Anik Westerneng on their well-deserved recognition.

Day 3 – OPCA Annual General Meeting

The conference’s final day wrapped up with the OPCA Annual General Meeting. OPCA president Ken Jamieson provided an update on the association’s latest initiatives. One of the notable developments mentioned was the creation of a fully online PMH course. This course will be accessible to members and feature regularly scheduled exams that can be taken at the OPCA main office. The introduction of this online course is aimed at expediting the training process for new hires within member organizations. This initiative demonstrates the OPCA’s commitment to providing valuable resources and support to its members, ultimately enhancing their ability to train and develop their workforce effectively.

OPCA’s B139 Technician course remains at the forefront of OPCA initiatives. We have made progress with the program and are receiving support from TSSA. While the MPBSD conducts more research and stakeholder feedback, we hope to move forward with TSSA with development and timelines.

Currently, the curriculum for OBTs does not cover the installation and inspection of large-scale generators, which is an area that OPCA is actively working to address. We aim to include this in the scope of PMs since they are primarily responsible for these installations, specifically diesel-powered engine fuel delivery systems. By making this adjustment, we can ensure that technicians have the necessary skills and knowledge to handle all aspects of their job.

We also presented our annual video highlighting the OPCA’s programs and initiatives, including our petroleum mechanic training and Petroleum Oriented Safety Training programs, and what we are doing to advance and modernize elements of these programs to ensure workers are trained and do this work safely.


Anil Lal

We were pleased to have representatives from TSSA in attendance, including Fuels Safety Statutory Director Kelly Hart, Fuels Safety Engineering Manager Gary Highfield, and Anil Lal, Manager of Engineering & Technical Services. Anil’s presentation discussed hydrogen and its role within the fuel industry. He highlighted the current regulations in Ontario that govern the use of hydrogen in different fuel sectors. Lal also shed light on the hydrogen supply chain, emphasizing that although hydrogen’s presence in the retail fuel market is currently limited, it is expected to experience significant growth in the future. This indicates a potential shift towards increased utilization of hydrogen as a viable alternative fuel source.

Insurance Update

Stephen Mason with Brokerlink provided an update on OPCA’s insurance program and the overall insurance market. He noted Insurers are becoming more open to negotiation in response to softening market conditions. Certain classes of business or loss-heavy accounts may still experience rate increases. The softening is fueled by economic uncertainty, with interest rate hikes aiming to lower inflation. This has led to decreased economic activity, resulting in lower insurance premiums and increased competition among insurers. As a result, premium increases due to inflation have slowed down. Overall, the return of competition between insurers is seen as positive news.

The hot topics in insurance are the impact climate change has had on the insurance industry and consumers, automobile theft, cyber claims, and employment practice liability.  

Steve also noted General Liability and Pollution Liability limits cover bodily injury, property damage, and other potential risks. He noted contractors should consider the type of premises their employees work at and the costs associated with replacing a fuel system or addressing property damage caused by operations and assess if $1,000,000, $2,000,000, or $5,000,000 is sufficient coverage. This is another important aspect to consider for your insurance program.

Click here to read more on Stephen’s insurance update

Keynote Speakers

Our keynote speakers were Suncor Energy’s Stasy Presutto and Kate Fee to discuss Petro-Canada’s implementation of the Human Organization Performance (or HOP) principles. As Stasy and Kate explained, HOP is not a safety program but a mindset shift toward safety. Petro-Canada integrates HOP to support incident management. The five principles of HOP are: people make mistakes, blame fixes nothing, context drives behavior, learning and improving are vital, and a leader’s response to failure matters. HOP is an operating philosophy that needs to be fostered at all levels of an organization. It focuses on creating system improvements and shifting from an enforcement model to capacity monitoring and mentoring for resilience. It emphasizes conversations, treating each other well, and collaborating with front-line workers for solutions. Since presenting at the POST safety forum in 2023, Petro-Canada has rolled out HOP training to all Suncor’s leaders.

Stasy Presutto & Kate Fee

OPCA Recommended Practices

We were excited to present the latest version of our recommended practices booklet. This booklet is a great reference tool, especially in the field and meets and in most cases exceeds the codes and regulations for petroleum work. All attendees of the AGM received a complimentary copy.

Board Election

The following members were elected to the Board of Directors for the 2024 membership year. Congratulations, Allan Canning of Englobe, newly elected Western Region director.

Rick Lombardi – General Member

Terry Ablett – Northern Region Director

Dave Ledingham – Associate Director

Dave Thompson – Central Region Director

Dwayne MacDonald – Metro East Director

Allan Canning – Western Region Director

Prize Draw

The AGM concluded with the prize draw. Prizes were supplied by OPCA and its sponsors.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

  • Brent Boodoosingh – Englobe
  • Terry Ablett – Wagg’s Petroleum Equipment
  • Andrew M. – Option Construction
  • Doug Meloche – MWH Equipment
  • Michael Haller – MWH Equipment
  • Sara Davidson – Cannington Construction
  • Dave Clarke – MWH Equipment
  • John Richards – Tank-Pro
  • Matt Naslovar – McDougall Energy
  • Luc Ouellette – Lucas Petroleum
  • Steve Christie – Albert’s Gas Station Maintenance
  • Steve Mason – Brokerlink
  • Alex Mullett – National Energy Equipment
  • Jason McGill – W.E. McBrien
  • Hunter Jamieson – Kenstuct
  • Kyle Staebler – Albert’s Gas Station Maintenance
  • Lee Krause – Cantest
  • Kevin Case – Kenstruct
  • Andy Ferland – Claybar Contracting
  • Dana Wells – UPI
  • Koulis Kyriakou – Stem-Can
  • Chris Heikoop – S & H Maintenance
  • Konnor Long – Petro Service
  • Steve Kuzmanovic – Suncor
  • Trevor Campbell – BGIS
  • Josh Lively – Petro Service
  • Kate Fee – Suncor
  • Joe Lovrics – Cannington Construction

Our 2024 Sponsors:

Thank you to all of our sponsors this year – the OPCA appreciates their continued support!

  • Canada Brokerlink
  • National Energy
  • Waleco
  • PD McLaren
  • KMD
  • Wayne Fueling Systems
  • Hi-Sharp Products Inc.
  • CPCA
  • Nexxgen
  • Lajoie Bros.
  • Dupont Contracting
  • ASI Fluid Management