Highlight from the Alberta Safety Code Council Annual General Meeting

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Jun 292015

Lee Phillips from Scott Builders attended the Alberta Safety Code Council AGM.  While in attendance he was able to take several interesting notes.  ATB Financial chief Economist Todd Hirsch was much more positive about Alberta’s Economy than many previous predictions.

You can read his notes from the meeting below as well as the presentations given by each of the participants.

Click here for meeting notes.

Click here for the presentations.

Social Media Russian Roulette

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Jun 222015

Grant Ainsley Special for the ACA Newsletter

Grant Ainsley provides media relations training to ACA.

For years I’ve been talking about the need for every organization, large or small, to have a social media policy. The good news is a higher percentage of organizations now seem to have either a social media policy or at least guidelines for the company and their employees to follow. The bad news is, the majority of companies still have nothing to protect themselves from things their employees do and say in social media. So the situation is getting better, but not quickly enough in my opinion.

Although there’s no way of measuring it, I also sense the link between what a person does in their private social media life and the organization they work for is becoming more connected. There’s very little doubt that what somebody does in social media can and does have an impact on the organization that employs them.

Two excellent examples come to mind immediately. There was the case of Deborah Drever, the MLA who was elected in the May 5 Alberta election as an NDP candidate from Calgary. 17 days after getting elected, she was kicked out of the governing NDP caucus because of offensive social media posts she had made. Then there was the story of the young man from Toronto who was confronted by a female TV reporter after he used profane language as she was trying to do her job. He was identified through social media and because of the negative impact surrounding the story; Ontario Hydro fired him. I’ll leave it to the courts to decide if companies are able to fire employees based on their behavior outside of work, but there’s no doubt the connection between something a person does away from work and their employer is very much there. That’s why I still chuckle when somebody’s social media profile says their comments are theirs and theirs alone and have nothing to do with their employer. Save your breath.

For construction companies this can be especially concerning. Keep in mind that virtually everybody employed these days is on social media, but yet a large majority of the companies they work for don’t give them any rules to follow.

There was the case of a construction company worker who took pictures of a crane collapse in Halifax and then posted the photos on Facebook. Within a matter of minutes his posts had reached the media in Halifax and a reporter was on the phone to his General Manager looking for a comment about the crane collapse. The GM had just been told of this development and certainly wasn’t prepared to speak to the media about it.

The question then becomes, would a policy have made any difference? One can only hope that the employee would have taken the photos and then decided to hand them over to his safety manager as part of the investigation into the accident, rather than posting them on Facebook. Due to the fact he didn’t, a human resources-type discussion would have taken place with the employee and it would have gone something like this – “We have a social media policy, you signed to say you understood it and now you have contravened it”. At that point you would then make a decision about consequences for the employee’s actions, the same as any other HR issue.

Virtually every construction project done these days has some impact on the public and it’s watching what’s taking place. Whether it’s a school, a commercial building, a medical center or some other project, people are watching and following on social media. They’re also making comments on social media about the work of your company and your employees. Workers saying embarrassing things about the company on social media simply can’t be tolerated today because there are too many people watching and too much is on the line.

If construction companies are truly concerned about their corporate brand and reputation they should have a social media policy to try to ensure embarrassing things don’t happen to them and if they do there are consequences.

I’m not a lawyer, but do know that if you have not instructed an employee to do something or have given the proper direction, it’s very difficult to find clear and total fault with the employee for doing something wrong. What employees are saying about your company on social media is important and how they are acting in social media on their own time has also become something to pay attention to.

Do you know what your employees are saying on social media? If the answer is no I suggest you implement a social media policy to make sure you’re not facing the news media for all the wrong reasons.

Grant Ainsley is a media trainer and speaker from Edmonton. He’s also the author of the book The Honest Spin Doctor. More information can be found at www.grantainsley.com and he can be reached at grant@grantainsley.com.

Alberta Government Speech From The Throne

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Jun 152015

The Alberta government on Monday announced the Speech from the Throne.  Announced in the speech were three key bills they want to pass before the session recesses for the summer.

Bill 1: An Act to Renew Democracy in Alberta
This bill will remove corporate and union donations.

Bill 2: An Act to Restore Fairness to Public Revenue
The bill will raise corporate taxes from 10% to 12% and Albertans with income above $125,000 will also pay more taxes.

Bill 3:  Interim Supply Bill
The supply budget used to return funding to Health, Education, and Human services as well to act as a bridge until the NDP government release their budget this fall.

From an ACA perspective, the government announced a commitment to lifelong learning which meets our goal to have a skilled workforce. As well as a commitment to continue to be a good partner with job creators and entrepreneurs.

Also from the speech a commitment to build infrastructure:

“There are parks to tend; public transit and roads to build; hospitals to build and renovate; schools to plan and open; people living on our streets to help.”

As the government goes forward we expect there will be more outlined to the Ministers about what the Premier expects of their department.

Read the Speech from the Throne

ACA Board Agrees To Push For Prompt Payment Solutions

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Jun 152015

The ACA board on Friday June 12 agreed on the following recommendations for prompt payment:

  1. ACA initiate collaborative industry dialogue to develop a voluntary industry solution (voluntary code of practice) to demonstrate willingness to lead even before legislation is developed.
  1. ACA advocate a legislative solution to remedy the issue of late payments that are not in compliance with the payment provisions of the construction contract, using CCDC contract language. Further, that ACA seek a solution that:
    a) Accommodates payment provisions in alternate financing contracts and;
    b) Reduces the potential for harming contractor’s reputations in securing repeat business from owners.
  1. ACA undertake the following work plan to successfully reach the end goal of a satisfactory legal solution:

    A. Clarify the arguments that persuaded other governments to act, that is, what is the public interest (including reducing the cost of construction) – some of this work has been done in the Canadian context by Prism Research

    B. Build the coalition:
    – Examine how consensus is being achieved in other provinces
    – Identify all stakeholders and coordinate discussions for collaboration (AUMA, COAA, CHBA-AB, ARHCA, and others)
    – Undertake town halls and bilateral meetings in order for stakeholders to be able to identify concerns and discuss potential solutions (including the voluntary code of practice)

    C. Undertake the research:
    – Examine best practices in similar jurisdictions with legislation and voluntary codes
    – Identify how to address the concerns that have been identified

    D. Develop an evidence-based rationale to seek the support of government and legislators

    E. Identify potential champions (Premier, Ministers, other influencers such as labour)

    F. Work with the champions to advance a proposal for legislation

Alberta Infrastructure Procurement Survey

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Jun 152015

Alberta Infrastructure is reviewing its procurement policies and procedures, contracting methods, documentation, and systems related to construction to ensure Alberta Infrastructure’s procurement practices are efficient and value based. Alberta Infrastructure is reaching out to the Construction Industry to gather feedback on Infrastructure’s procurement processes.

Survey responses will be kept in strictest of confidence and only aggregated responses will be reported. The survey should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

Please complete the survey before 5:00 pm, Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

Questions regarding the survey can be directed to Darlene Germin, Methods Modernization Analyst, Procurement Modernization Team, Alberta Infrastructure, at 780-644-3048 or darlene.germin@gov.ab.ca

You can save the survey at any time and return to complete it. When you click Save, you will be prompted to provide an email address and will be emailed a link to complete the survey.

Please click on the link below to start the survey.


Leading Indicators for Workplace Health and Safety

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Jun 082015

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) has published their latest Leading Indicators user guide as a new resource. Leading indicators are aspects of workplace activities that can be used to improve OHS outcomes prior to an unwanted outcome occurring.

A familiar example of a leading indicator might be the legislated hazard assessment and control process: a preventative approach to reducing the risk of workplace injury and illness. If changed, leading indicators are expected to change related outcomes. That makes them an important tool for managing health and safety at work.

You can download the guide here.

Whole Building Air Leakage Testing – Member Survey

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Jun 082015

ACA members are invited to participate in a survey on the potential impacts of adding whole building air leakage testing requirements to the NECB. This survey is part of a larger study being conducted by the Canadian National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) Task Group on Building Envelopes (TG-BE). Please direct any questions to info@buildingsciencelabs.com. The survey takes about 5 minutes and is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/airtightnesssurvey14.

The Task Group belongs to the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes committee on energy efficiency in buildings.  The CCBFC oversees the work of nine Standing Committees whose members are volunteers who lend their technical expertise and experience.  The CCBFC is run by National Research Council Canada.

2015 ACA Golf Tournament

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Jun 022015

ACA members and guests enjoyed a day of golf at Alberta Springs May 28th for ACA’s 47th annual tournament.

Congratulations to winners: Jarrett Serediak (low gross), Murray Epp (low net), and Paul Heyens (low net – ACA Director).  Many others enjoyed their winnings for hole competitions, flight prizes, and door prizes.  One lucky person walked away smiling after winning the 50/50 draw.

ACA thanks the following sponsors for their support of this year’s golf tournament:

Alberta Construction Safety Association,

Alberta Springs Golf Resort,

Aviva Insurance,


Burnco Rock Products,

Construction Labour Relations,

Clifton Associates,

Dawson Wallace Construction,

Eagle Builders,

Edmonton Construction Association,

Graham Construction,

Harris Rebar,

Marsh Canada,

Merit Contractors Association,

PCL Construction Management,

Scott Builders,

The Guarantee Company of North America,

The Sovereign General Company, Travelers Insurance,

Westcor Construction.

ACA Office Summer Hours

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Jun 022015

ACA will be moving to Summer Hours for June to August. Effective June 1 ACA hours of operation will be Monday – Thursday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, (closed for lunch between 12:00 and 1:00pm), Friday 8:00am to noon, closed Friday afternoons. We will resume regular office hours Monday, August 31.


ACA Congratulates the New Ministers

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Jun 022015

With the Alberta Election behind us the ACA began its efforts to begin making contact with the newly appointed ministers. So far response has been positive and we expect to have meetings on mutual interests soon.

As the government prepares a new budget for the fall the ACA is preparing to meet with each minister so that we can present our policy points and continue to build on our past collaborations. We look forward to sharing this with the Ministers in the next few weeks.