The OPCA 21st annual conference was held over three days March 8-11 in Toronto, in conjunction with the Convenience U / Carwacs Show.
Day one of the conference launched with manufacturer training sessions for APT, Dualoy, FE Petro, Flexworks, Petrovend, Icon, ASI, Gilbarco, CSI and PD McLaren. New sessions this year included DEF Dispenser training from PD McLaren, Icon Containment equipment training and the VeederRoot session by Gilbarco. The OPCA would also like to thank Franklin Fueling, OPW, CSI Products, Red Leonard who have provided training for many years now and to all of the manufacturers for their continued support of the association and its members. Some reps even travel from the US to provide these sessions. Sessions provide important information on the latest equipment and products. Participation is important, as many of our members who are required to keep this certification up to date are small contractors and typically find it a challenge to obtain the training. With the manufacturers participation it allows them the convenience of attending the conference and re-certifying at the same time.
The OPCA works with the manufacturers to provide these sessions at no additional charge to OPCA members and their employees. The OPCA was also thrilled to extend the invitation to attend these sessions to TSSA and their fuels safety inspection team and engineering department staff.
The OPCA also held re-certification sessions for current certificate holders of OPCA’s corrosion control program. Certification requires the holder to re-certify every three years and are re-evaluated on their continuous knowledge of the proper testing, reporting and surveying procedures for corrosion protection on steel tanks and piping.
That evening OPCA welcomed members during a cocktail reception. Attendees were also given a few promotional items from OPCA.
Day two saw the launch of the POST safety forum and breakfast hosted by OPCA and included a panel of guest speakers invited to discuss a variety of topics.
The planning committee comprised of Rob Rivers of Claybar Contracting, Scott Eadie of SAS Petroleum Technologies, Russ Porter of National Energy Equipment and myself representing OPCA. After opening remarks from our master of ceremonies Andy Ferland, Rob Rivers delivered his presentation on the importance of site housekeeping. This was followed by Russ Porter’s presentation “Forming your behavioural safety”. On behalf of the POST committee I presented an overview of the plans for a new level of POST online orientation geared toward those in supervisory roles. After the planning committee’s presentation’s our guest speakers delivered their presentations on a variety of topics:
Heather Cowie, Senior EHS Advisor for Suncor Energy discussed Suncor’s standards for operational discipline as well as providing their safety statistics for 2014. Heather also shared a video on hand safety to communicate some of Suncor learnings from last year.
Respect Group’s Kevin McLaughlin discussed their program that helps organizations and their employees recognize and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace through their interactive, online certification.
John Aird of Workplace Safety & Prevention Services who discussed work at height requirements as well as a presentation on the provincial requirements when hiring new workers.
Our special keynote speaker was motivational speaker Neil Aitchison. When not performing his duties as Senior Manager of Market Development at Melloul-Blamey Construction, Neil is a seasoned performer and broadcaster receiving rave reviews for his unique way of finding humour in everyday life. His presentations share laughs, honest reflections on life, and clearly demonstrate how to cope with life’s constant changes and stresses by exercising humour as an option. If you are looking for a fun and lighthearted speaker, consider Neil for your next event.
On behalf of the POST committee, Lance Mullett of SAS Petroleum Technologies presented Ron Ballantyne and Siep Nyholt appreciation awards for their service on the POST committee. Both Ron and Siep were charter members of the committee representing Imperial Oil and provided invaluable input towards the POST program.
Also a big thank you to Andy Ferland of Claybar Contracting who did a great job as master of ceremonies and kept the pace going throughout the morning. A number of prizes were handed out to attendees at the conclusion then everyone enjoyed a lunch buffet before heading over to the International Centre to attend the Convenience U / Carwacs Show.
In the evening, OPCA hosted a dinner followed by entertainment featuring Gemini Award winning comedian Pete Zedlacher. Afterwards, several associate member companies including National Energy Equipment, KMD and Waleco played host to members in their hospitality suites.
The final day of the conference wrapped with the OPCA Annual General Meeting in the morning. OPCA president Gord Thompson opened the AGM welcoming members and guests and providing
an overview of OPCA’s involvement and participation with regulatory and industry organizations such as TSSA, CSA and ULC. Gord also noted OPCA has attended meetings with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services keeping them apprised of OPCA initiatives.
Gord also reported OPCA’s newest initiatives including developing a course for generator work and creating a pension plan for OPCA members.
OPCA Secretary Lou Cerruti reported the results of the previous year’s member survey. Members were asked to rate the OPCA on a number of subjects. Results overall showed OPCA members are generally satisfied with the programs and services OPCA provides. For instance, when members were asked to rate the quality of the OPCA conferences, media such as our newsletters and the CPCA magazine as well as the insurance programs the overall ratings were very good to excellent.
Dave Mason of Canada Brokerlink provided an update on OPCA’s environmental and contractor liability insurance programs also providing some general figures with respect to claims over the past five years. Dave also reminded contractors to keep all of their documentation in order as well as to be mindful of client’s business practices as statistics show companies with poor practices are more likely to submit an insurance claim. The claims process is a very stressful time, therefore he stressed the importance of keeping the communication lines open with your insurance broker.
In other insurance related news, another initiative OPCA hopes to establish is a pension fund program for OPCA members. Steve Peachey of National Bank Financial was on hand to help present the program. Steve provided an overview of the proposed program, noting regardless of company size, the program will benefit all members adding it not only promotes long term employment, members would have more control over a program such as this compared to the proposed provincial pension plan that will be become mandatory next year.
Our final guest speakers were Zenon Fraczkowski and Ann-Marie Barker of the Technical Standards and Safety Authority. Ann-Marie is the Engineering Specialist for Liquid Fuels at TSSA and is
responsible for the development of the Liquid Fuels Handling Code and provides technical assistance to both inspectors and external clients. Zenon Fraczkowski joined the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Services in 1980 and now works with Ann-Marie at TSSA as the Fuels Safety Engineering Manager. Zenon provided an a corporate update of TSSA including an overview of their tasks, responsibilities and stakeholders.
Ann-Marie provided an overview of the updates to the Liquid Fuels Handling Code, which is the regulation in Ontario developed by TSSA in consultation with industry. The code updates are currently being reviewed under the Environmental Registry as well as public consultation and is expected to be published in early 2016. An overview of these updates is available via the OPCA website.