The Boilermakers are one of our most in-demand trades.
CANADIAN BOILERMAKERS, CONTRACTORS and owners convened in St. Andrews-By-The-Sea, New Brunswick, August 13-15, to discuss industry issues, solutions and updates. Under the conference theme “Moving Forward Together,” attendees addressed safety, workforce planning, the nuclear industry in Canada, workplace technological advances, carbon capture and storage, indigenous recruiting and other pertinent topics during the 2019 Boilermaker Industry Tripartite Conference.
“This is our 13th tripartite conference. It’s a partnership that we respect and embrace daily between the contractor and the owner communities and the Boilermakers,” said IVP-Canada Arnie Stadnick. “This is a great opportunity to engage in a lot of great, productive presentations and discussions.”
“These are challenging times for all of our industries,” added David Simon, senior manager, construction and turnaround, for Irving Oil Refinery. “The only way we’re going to improve our productivity, maintain our market share and continue to grow and stay competitive is if we work together. That’s what this forum is all about.”
“The only way we’re going to improve our productivity, maintain our market share and continue to grow and stay competitive is if we work together.”— David Simon, senior manager, construction and turnaround, Irving Oil Refinery
One area discussed as a growth opportunity for Boilermakers was Canada’s nuclear industry, including both nuclear rebuilds and modular reactors. Caitlen Gascon, labour relations specialist for the Electric Power Systems Construction Association said there is an unprecedented demand for trades, which makes manpower the number-one risk factor for business. That means, she said, that accurate forecasting is especially important.
“The Boilermakers are one of our most in-demand trades,” she noted.
Andy Forsyth, director of field construction organization, Ontario Power Generation, updated attendees on current and upcoming nuclear projects.
“I’m confident we’ll be able to bring a lot of work to your members over the next 40 years,” he said. “The most important way to get there is to keep working together. This conference is an example of how we can be effective, because everyone is committed to one thing—and that’s making sure everyone gets home safe, is able to provide for their families and can have a happy and prosperous life.”
New this year, in addition to the nuts-and-bolts of Boilermaker business, member mental and physical wellness were also front-and-center throughout the tripartite conference. The conference kicked-off with a first-ever special full-day safety workshop focused on mental health. Over 50 Boilermakers, contractors and owners attended. “The Working Mind: Promoting Mental Health in the Workplace,” facilitated by workplace mental health consultant Claudia Canales, MSW, explored stigmas associated with mental health and led attendees through exercises in understanding the perceptions of mental health, the importance of resilience and how to identify levels of stress, and healthful movement between stress and recovery.
“Mental wellness is an important topic we need to understand personally and as we interact with others on the job,” said Jason McInnis, Canadian Boilermakers’ director of health and safety. “It is just as important as physical health. Boilermakers work in potentially dangerous situations, and stress can be a factor on the job, sometimes compounded by personal stress. We know mental wellness is a common issue for everyone, and we want to build a culture of support for each other and develop resources and training for selfcare. We want to make sure everyone goes out on the job safely.”
Complementing the special workshop was a Wellness Fair set up and open each day for conference participants and their families to browse booths and talk to experts about everything from CPR to tick awareness, sleep, fitness, yoga and diet.
McInnis said he was encouraged by the engaged participation in both the mental wellness workshop and the Wellness Fair.
“The goal is to improve the long-term health of Boilermakers on and off the job,” said McInnis.
A regular highlight of the Canada Tripartite Conference is the Boilermaker Apprenticeship Awards Banquet. During the 2019 event, 12 graduate apprentices were honored, and the Industry Award of Excellence was awarded to Joe Kiwior, L-359, accepted by his son Christopher “Chopper” Kiwior. Graduate apprentices honored are, front row, l. to r., Genevieve McFetridge, L-146; IVP Arnie Stadnick; Grant Jacobs, dir. of national training, Boilermakers NTTF; Anna Brinston, L-203. Back row, l. to r., Craig Bourgeouis, L-73; Lyndon Mullis, L-555; Christian LeBlanc, L-73; Colton Rabey, L-191; Gabriel Vaillant, L-271; Dan Farrel L-128; Dustin Cable, L-359; Brent Beaulieu, L-128; Alexander Chang, L-146; Matthew Kidby, L-555. (Photo courtesy of IR-CSO Richard MacIntosh.)