This year marked OPCA’s 18th annual conference on March 19-21. For the past several years now, OPCA has held their annual conference in conjunction with the Convenience U / Carwacs Show presented by Fulcrum Events. This has proven to be a good fit for both Carwacs and the OPCA and convenient for OPCA members. The OPCA held several events over the three day conference including training and education sessions, a safety forum, dinner and annual general meeting.
The OPCA was also host to the Canadian Petroleum Contractors Association Annual General Meeting. Each year, CPCA member associations like the OPCA host the CPCA AGM, so we were pleased to welcome members from across Canada. Delegates from all CPCA member associations attended including the British Columbia Petroleum Contractors Association, the Alberta Petroleum Storage System Contractors Association, the Saskatchewan Retail Petroleum Construction Association, the Manitoba Petroleum Contractors Association and the Quebec Petroleum Contractors Association.
Day one of the conference started with manufacturer training. All of the manufacturers were thrilled to provide the training as this simplifies their yearly or bi-yearly recertification requirements of their authorized contractors. The OPCA would like to thank the following companies for providing the training:
• OPW for the Flexworks and Petrovend sessions
• Pipe Specialties for the Ameron sessions
• Red Leonard & Associates for the APT sessions
• CSI – Containment Solutions sessions
We were also pleased to provide the training for a number of Fuels Safety inspectors of the Technical Standards and Safety Authority who also attended in our continued effort to support the TSSA and their staff with industry related training.
We also held Cathodic Protection / Corrosion Control re-certification sessions for a number of members needing to recertify. The OPCA provides corrosion control training and certification as required by the TSSA for steel tanks and piping in Ontario. Part of the recertification process includes participants submitting a detailed report of their Cathodic Protection testing that is evaluated by the instructor as well as undergoing a short practical evaluation.
The OPCA hosted the CPCA annual general meeting and dinner that evening. The meeting was well attended including many OPCA members. Several issues were discussed including how to further promote the requirement of certified Petroleum Mechanics across Canada. Currently there are over three hundred CPCA certified PM’s across Canada and while the requirement is legislated by several provinces and recognized by Environment Canada to work on Federal lands, the CPCA would like to see more formal recognition on a Federal level. It was also reported that while significant updates have recently been made to the training material feedback from participating associations is crucial in order to keep the material current. The CPCA website will also undergo a complete overhaul this year to make the site more user friendly with improved navigational features as well as additional material and resources including a searchable database of CPCA member companies. CPCA staff is working with developers to oversee the project.
Day two began with the second annual POST Safety Forum. Rob Rivers of Claybar Contracting and Scott Eadie of SAS Petroleum Technologies both spoke on the importance of safety within the petroleum industry and the strides POST has made over the past several years in helping to make safety a priority in the workplace.
James Fraser of the Electrical Safety Authority was also invited to speak at the forum and discussed ESA’s role in the petroleum industry including provincial requirements and the risks associated with working live and identifying electrical hazards. The Electrical Safety Authority is Ontario’s delegated authority responsible for public electrical safety and administers and enforces the Electrical Safety Code and licensing of electrical contractors and master electricians in Ontario. ESA has provided OPCA with their presentation on their Continuous Safety Services (CSS) Program and is available on the OPCA website at www.OPCAonline.org.
Our special guest speaker at the forum was Eva Broughton from Threads of Life. Threads of Life helps families of workplace tragedy along their journey of healing by providing unique family support programs and services. Threads of Life speakers are volunteers who have been affected by a life‐altering workplace injury, fatality, or are living with an occupational disease. Eva’s son was killed in a workplace accident and her moving story left an impact with the audience. Eva also shares her story in a new book published by Threads of Life titled Forget Me Not. This book, published in 2011, shares first-hand honest and compelling testimony about family life in the aftermath of a workplace tragedy. Readers will find lessons learned from survivors, tales of personal courage and love, challenges and heart-warming triumphs. The book is available through the Threads of Life website at www.threadsoflife.ca.
That afternoon, the Convenience U / Carwacs Show opened at the Toronto Congress Centre. Attendees had the opportunity to view the many exhibitors showcasing the latest in petroleum equipment and technology. The OPCA was also an exhibitor promoting the association and its members to the many service station owners who attend every year.
That evening, the OPCA hosted a dinner featuring entertainment by comedian Derek Edwards. Derek who hails from Timmins Ontario puts a rural spin on everyday life and did a fantastic job entertaining the crowd. Following dinner attendees had the opportunity to visit the sponsor hospitality suites hosted by National Energy Equipment, Waleco, Hi-Sharp and KMD.
The final day of the conference wrapped up with the OPCA annual general meeting and day two of the Convenience U / Carwacs Show. Dave Mason of Canada Brokerlink and OPCA’s insurance program manager provided an informative presentation on the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario. Following the usual business items, the OPCA hosted roundtable discussions with members to obtain their feedback on a number of issues including training and certification, safety requirements and regulation. The discussions were well received and the Board agreed to make this a regular agenda item at this annual meeting.