On September 2nd, just ahead of Labour Day 2022, we had the honour of hosting Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of National Defence and local MP for Oakville Anita Anand, Parliamentary Secretary for Public Safety and local MP for Oakville North-Burlington Pam Damoff, and Parliamentary Secretary for Labour and MP for Sault Ste. Marie Terry Sheehan. They attended a cookout and toured the Provincial Ontario Sheet Metal Workers’ Training Centre (OSMWTC) in Oakville, Ontario.

In his address, Prime Minister Trudeau spoke about the importance of the skilled trades in Canada, thanking trade union members across the country for our work in standing up for a better Canada and recognizing that we are essential partners in how we build a better future for everyone.

During the tour, we emphasized the importance of indoor air quality and verification of proper ventilation. We spoke about the importance of fire dampers and the need for ongoing inspections to ensure that they are properly functioning — and the hazard that could occur when they are not installed correctly. The apprentices attending the centre had the opportunity to give Prime Minister Trudeau a hands-on training experience by taking a flat sheet of metal and producing a length of duct ready for installation. The prime minister was also presented with a copper clock on our behalf.

In his address, Prime Minister Trudeau spoke about the importance of the skilled trades in Canada, thanking trade union members across the country for our work in standing up for a better Canada and recognizing that we are essential partners in how we build a better future for everyone.

In turn, we thanked the government for its recommitment of $84 million to the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP). These grants support the Government of Canada’s commitment to strengthen union-based apprenticeship training, innovation and enhanced partnerships.

The UTIP’s objective is to improve the quality of training in the trades to better support a skilled, inclusive, certified and productive trades workforce. It also aims to address barriers that prevent key groups, such as women and Indigenous people, from succeeding in the trades. Our training centres and locals across the country have benefited from the program.

Events like the one at OSMWTC are important for both our union and our country. As Canada sets its target for net zero emissions by 2050 and begins retrofitting all buildings across Canada — and as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to elevate the importance of ventilation, proper fresh air intakes and the increasing of air exchanges — the demand for our highly skilled workers will continue to grow.

At SMART Canada, our members are qualified professionals and certified tradespeople dedicated to all aspects of roofing, architectural cladding, custom sheet metal and complete ventilation systems. Our sheet metal members fabricate and install proper ventilation and air filtering systems to ensure the overall health of our schools, offices, hospitals and homes. Our roofing and architectural members play a vital role in the building envelope by enhancing and protecting the investments of the project.

Pictured Left to Right — Parliamentary Secretary for Labour and MP for Sault Ste. Marie Terry Sheehan, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades General Vice President and Chair of CBTU Robert Kucheran, Management Co-Chair of OSMWTC and Vice President Estimation of Modern Niagara Kim Crossman, Labour Co-Chair of OSMWTC & Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer of Local 397 Dan Krupa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Provincial Building & Construction Trades of Ontario Business Manager Marc Arsenault, Executive Director of OSMWTC Scott Wood, President of the Ontario Sheet Metal Workers’ & Roofers’ Conference and Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer of Local 30 Art White and Minister of National Defence and local MP for Oakville Anita Anand.

The building envelope keeps outside elements, such as moisture and humidity, from entering and causing major damage. Envelope components are designed to prevent water leakage or infiltration to the interior by a barrier system that repels and sheds water at the outermost surface. As the building envelope becomes more efficient, the supply of fresh air into buildings is vital.

And most important to the quality of air in buildings is the upgrading and improving of air filtering and HVAC system capacities — another area of expertise for SMART workers. Whether it is cleaning the air within the buildings or cleaning the air before it’s dispersed into the atmosphere, we play an important role to ensure that the air we breathe is fit for human consumption.

Pictured Left to Right — Management Co-Chair of OSMWTC and Vice President Estimation of Modern Niagara Kim Crossman, Labour Co-Chair of OSMWTC & Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer of Local 397 Dan Krupa, Minister of National Defence and local MP for Oakville Anita Anand, Executive Director of OSMWTC Scott Wood, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President of the Ontario Sheet Metal Workers’ & Roofers’ Conference and Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer of Local 30 Art White.

We must collectively use our expertise and meet with local, provincial and the federal government to be a resource in achieving climate and clean air goals. If we don’t have healthy buildings and healthy homes, we won’t have healthy communities, healthy cities or healthy citizens. We partner with our signatory contractors across Canada to supply generations of hands-on experience and a commitment to safety on every project. Together, we are building strong communities for a better tomorrow — and we need to make sure our governments know.

We want to thank the staff at the Ontario Sheet Metal Workers Training Centre and the Canadian Building Trades Union, and especially all the apprentices and volunteers for hosting Prime Minister Trudeau. A special thanks to Executive Director Sean Strickland, Government Relations Specialist Rita Rahmati and Director of Communications Kate Walsh at the CBTU, Executive Director Scott Wood and Administrative Assistant Tanja Gaytan at the OSMWTC and Carolyn Crosby, administrative assistant at the SMART Canadian office. It was their collective efforts and hard work in making this a successful event. We are truly grateful and appreciative of the opportunity to showcase the skills and the ability of our membership.

In Solidarity,

Chris Paswisty
Director of Canadian Affairs

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the SMART Ontario Training Centre on Friday, September 2, where he celebrated Labour Day weekend with SMART members, local leadership and Executive Director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) Sean Strickland, among others. Along with welcoming the prime minister and discussing policy initiatives, like investments in apprenticeships and workforce development, SMART members presented Trudeau with a copper clock.

In June 2022, the SM Local 473 (London, Ontario) SMART Army conducted a food drive, donating 225 pounds of food, a $1,000 check and $150 cash to the London Food Bank Curb Hunger Food Drive.

Pictured L–R: London Food Bank staff member, Local 473 Business Manager Mark Hall, Vice President Albert Morgado, Organizer Patrick Gordon.

SMART published the first episode of SMART News – a new video/web show focused on issues of importance to SMART members and working families across North America – on September 27, 2022, responding to feedback from SMART workers on the information from their union that they find relevant.

“SMART News will focus on issues that matter to you, your job and your family,” said Paul Pimentel of SMART Communications during the first episode. “This is your news, your union, delivering information that matters to you.”

SMART News is intended to fill an information void for SMART members and other workers in North America by specifically addressing events and developments that impact their lives and their communities – in other words, news that often goes uncovered. The first episode features an update from SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson on freight rail contract negotiations; information on new megaprojects and indoor air quality work for sheet metal workers; a discussion on progress made for SMART members with General President Joseph Sellers; an overview on the FRA’s proposed two-person crew regulation from TD Alt. National Legislative Director Jared Cassity; and much more.

Watch the full episode above, or find specific links to segments of the show below. To watch an extended interview with TD President Ferguson, text RRContract to 667336.

Jump to a segment in this episode:

The Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association (SMWIA — now SMART) began organizing roofers in the Toronto area in the early 1950s. It seemed like the perfect marriage, as sheet metal workers were already organized in most of the roofing shops. The roofers worked long days with no benefits, poor working conditions and sub-par wages — $1.20 per hour at the time.

It was Thursday, Nov. 12, 1952 when roofers in Toronto held their historic meeting and reported that union certification had been received at four firms: Cloke Construction, Apex Roofing, Heather & Little and A.E. Furnival. Roofers who worked for R.S.C. Bothwell, the Board of Education and Plewman were also present at the meeting. A motion was made that a committee investigate roofer classifications and draw up a collective agreement to officially bring roofers into the SMWIA.

This was the beginning of 70 years (and counting) of solidarity and craftsmanship in the roofing industry, with union members standing shoulder to shoulder.

On the following evening, Nov. 13, the inaugural meeting was held, and the first SMWIA roofing officers were elected. The new roofer representatives were President Wm Munroe, Vice President Sandy McLeish, Financial Secretary J. Johnson, Recording Secretary R. MacMahon, Warden F. Guerin and Conductor L. Cadieux. This was the beginning of 70 years (and counting) of solidarity and craftmanship in the roofing industry, with union members standing shoulder to shoulder and working diligently to represent the best interests of these skilled workers. Today, almost every local in Canada has roofers in its membership.

The roofing industry has seen many changes over the last seven decades. Coal tar pitch, steep pitch and Trinidad asphalt were used back in the 1950s. Now we have conventional and inverted roofing systems, EPDM and single-ply PVC. Green roofing is now populating the skyline; builders are installing green roofs on their projects not just because they are visually appealing, but to help reduce greenhouse gases and to improve air quality. As the government looks to reduce emissions and retrofit buildings, the roofing sector will continue to thrive. The skills of our members will be increasingly in demand.

The Infrastructure Health & Safety Association’s (IHSA) Roofing Trade Committee has been active in producing safety manuals and public periodicals to help keep roofs safe. The committee’s work includes a health and safety manual, heat stress brochures and advisories on roof openings and skylights. The roofing industry is constantly changing, and SMART and its members are committed to organizing and improving the health and safety of all roofers.

Today our members provide their services for new roof construction, roof repair, restoration, maintenance and roof replacement using the most up-to-date methods and roofing technologies. Every two years a national roofing apprenticeship competition is held, where roofing members from all over Canada come together to compete and showcase their skills. This year’s roofing competition will be held in Newfoundland this August. I want to wish the best of luck to all the competitors.

We’ve come a long way in 70 years. Congratulations on seven decades of solidarity!!

Fraternally,

Chris Paswisty
Director of Canadian Affairs

After the recent disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is looking at possibly implementing positive train control (PTC) systems on its railroads.

In 2010 and 2012, two major train derailments have been linked to trainmen not following signal indications. The incident in 2010 at Saint-Charles-de-Bellechase, Quebec, only caused injuries and property damage, while the 2012 incident in Burlington, Ont., caused the deaths of three engineers.

In both cases, it was found that the trains were traveling at excessive speeds while switching tracks, having missed or misinterpreted signals.

Director of TSB rail and pipeline investigations Kirby Jang explains, “In Canada, we have a system called centralized traffic control, which provides visual signals, but there is no automated stopping or slowing of trains if the train crew were to exceed the limits of their authority.

“We believe that there’s a risk of serious train collisions and derailments if rail signals are not consistently recognized and followed. Really, what we’re trying to advocate is that further safety defenses should be implemented to ensure that signal indications of operating speed or operating limits are consistently recognized and followed. That’s a key finding and recommendation out of Burlington,” Jang said.

According to Jang, there are ongoing discussions about PTC systems, which would automatically reduce a train’s speed if it were moving too fast. The TSB is also looking at placing video and voice recording systems inside the cabs of locomotives as a source of data in the event of another derailment or train disaster like the one in Lac-Mégantic.

The TSB can only make recommendations to Transport Canada; it is then up to Transport Canada to decide whether or not they want to act on the recommendations made by the TSB.

QUEBEC – The official death toll has grown to three Lac-Mégantic, Que., one day after a derailed train carrying crude oil exploded in the town’s core, levelling buildings and forcing as many as 2,000 people from their homes.

Quebec provincial police said two more bodies were discovered overnight in the hardest hit area in the centre of town.

Read the complete story at CBC News.