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.