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The Conduit Powered By Docstoc
					 December 2003
                                                                                         The Conduit
News and Views of the Electrical Contractors Association of BC

Did you know….
….. that in 1931, the Coca-Cola Company             Lights of Hope
commissioned Chicago illustrator Haddon
Sundblom to develop the image of a human-           The big lighting celebration took place on November 19th and was well received by the
like Santa Claus, based on the positive public
response to a magazine advertisement for Coca-      many donors, supporters and media in attendance. Already, their goal of $800,000 has been
Cola depicting such a character that appeared in
late 1930. Prior to Sundblom's first rendition in   substantially exceeded. Funds raised by this year’s campaign will be used to address the
1931, people envisioned Santa Claus as lepre-
chaun-like, or as a queer mixture of a gnome
                                                                                                                          hospital’s most ur-
and a bishop. Over the next third of a century,
Sundblom's Santa would be embraced by the
                                                                                                                          gent needs; equip-
public worldwide, and become a holiday                                                                                    ment for the Heart
For inspiration in creating his Santa Claus,
                                                                                                                          Centre, surgery and
Sundblom turned to Clement Moore's 1822                                                                                   to fund critical re-
poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas". Moore's
description of the toy maker as "chubby and                                                                               search in iCap-
plump, a right jolly old elf" led to an image of
Santa that was warm, friendly and human.                                                                                  ture4e/MRL, their
In an era before color television (or commercial                                                                          w o rl d - r en o w n e d
television of any kind), color films, and the
widespread use of color in newspapers, it was                                                                             research laborato-
Coca-Cola's magazine advertisements, bill-
boards, and point-of-sale store displays that
                                                                                                                          ries. The success of
exposed nearly everyone in America to the
modern Santa Claus image. Coca-Cola cer-
                                                                                                                          this campaign is
tainly helped make Santa Claus one of the most                                                                            due in a large part,
popular men in America, but
they didn't invent him.                                                                                                   to the efforts of the
                                                                                                                          many volunteers
                                                                                                                          who gave up a part
                                                                                                                          of their weekend to
                                                                                                                          set up the display.

            Inside this issue:
                                                                         11th Hour                         Just like before, when we move far to the right
                                                             A poem by George Ingham—United Power
Construction Industry to                    2                                                                 All the leaky condos come into full sight
Experience Strong                                        Well Christmas is coming and it’s no joke        Beware to all that do not understand Trades skill
Growth—says CCA                                       The Premier of the Province is giving construc-     To remove this backbone will create a bitter pill
                                                                         tion a poke
                                                                                                          The message, power corrupts, and judgment is
New WCB President Ap-                       2            We struggle each day to make ends meet
pointed                                                                                                                       glazed
                                                      With a stroke of his pen we might end up on the
                                                                                                          Christmas, its good cheer gets lost in a fired up
Industry Advisory—EFC                       2                                                                                  haze.
Targets Counterfeit Prod-                             Scrooge takes a back seat to this merciless stand
                                                                                                            As this Christmas nears and we question our
ucts in Canada                                        Selfish, political ambitions are in the game plan
                                                      Thoughtless pressure on hard working folks cre-
Privacy Protection—Know 3                                                                                 A government change of heart is required, that’s
                                                                         ated by greed
the Rules                                                                                                                         clear
                                                      Remove safety and quality and expand this mis-
                                                                                                          Integrity, dedication, vision, and courage remain
COCA—Annual Report— 4                                                                                       Christmas its wish and common sense is our
2003                                                    It’s a good thing we have St. Nick to bring                              game.
                                                                      Christmas cheer
                                                                                                                              Merry Christmas
Private Health Services                     5        As a large number of families will be in need this
Plan                                                                       year.
                                                        Integrity by some, will prevail for a while
Benefits of Membership in 5
                                                      As expertise, quality and skill, projects our own
Schedule of Events                          6          However, the lowest dollar without care will
Humor                                       6                              prevail
                                                      Watch the building poor quality make the owner
 Page 2                                                                                                                         The Conduit

Construction Industry to Experience Strong Growth—says CCA Courtesy: BCCA Issue Updates
OTTAWA – Informetrica, economic forecasters for the Canadian residential building construction is expected to outpace on average
Construction Association (CCA), released today its annual eco- most other construction sectors over the next three years with
nomic forecast for the national construction industry.                growth rates of 4.3% in 2004, 6% in 2005, and 6.3% in 2006. Only
                                                                      engineering construction activity is expected to outpace non-
 Following a flat year in 2003, the Canadian construction industry
                                                                      residential growth in 2004 with a growth rate of 7.5%.
is expected to record impressive growth over the next two years.
In 2004, the gross output of the construction industry is expected Much of the above growth can be attributed to planned develop-
to rise by 4.5%, while in 2005, anticipated growth is in the range of ment in mega-projects such as Voisey’s Bay in Labrador, hydroe-
3.9%. Growth is then expected to moderate to 2% by 2006.              lectric developments in Quebec and continued development of the
                                                                      oil sands in Northern Alberta.
With Canadian gross output of just over $1 trillion, the construc-
tion industry will continue to account for just over 12% of Can- CCA represents a membership of more than 20,000 enterprises in
ada’s GDP. Following several years of strong employment growth the non-residential building construction industry. Its members
(4.6% in 2002 and 4.4% in 2003), it is expected that the labour include people involved in everything from design to management
market will tighten in 2004. However, employment growth will of finished projects and from road building to general contracting.
pick up again in 2005 with an increase in the construction labour Every year, CCA conducts its economic forecast through Infor-
force of 3.4%.                                                        metrica,
The figures become even more interesting when breaking the in- an Ottawa-based economic forecasting firm. A copy of the full
dustry down into its various sectors: residential construction, non- forecast can be found on CCA’s website: http://www.cca-
residential building construction, engineering, and repair construc-
tion. Because of projected investment in public infrastructure, non-

New WCB President Appointed
The WCB Board of Directors has announced the appointment of uor Distribution Branch from 1988 - 1990. For most of his career
David Anderson as President and CEO.                            he worked in the private sector, where he held senior positions
                                                                with Sears Canada (1971 - 1985) and later served as vice-president
David Anderson joined the WCB in 1995 as vice-president of of Keg Restaurants (1990 - 1995).
Human Resources and Corporate Planning and is currently the
vice president of the Rehabilitation and Compensation Services He holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from
Division of the WCB.                                            Simon Fraser University and will be succeeding retiring president,
                                                                Ralph McGinn, who was appointed in 1998.
Prior to joining the WCB, Mr. Anderson was the head of the Liq-

Industry Advisory—EFC Targets Counterfeit Products in Canada
                                                                                           Courtesy: Jack Roberson, Underwriters Laboratories

Electro-Federation Canada Industry members have detected the presence of counterfeit labeled, moulded case, circuit break-
ers in the Canadian marketplace. Because of the public safety issues involved, Canadian regulators, CSA and UL are partici-
pating in a coalition with the manufacturers to implement an action plan to eliminate this dangerous activity. Read EFC's
report and recommendations at appointed in 1998.

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   The Conduit                                                                                                                            Page 3

  Privacy Protection—Know the Rules                                                                 Courtesy: BCCA News/Bulletins

  On January 1, 2004 the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) be-      you giving that reference.
  comes law in British Columbia. The Act outlines the rights and obli-
  gations surrounding personal information—how it should be col-           If employers are monitoring their employees, perhaps
  lected, used, stored, accessed and destroyed. Employers need to take     through video surveillance or through their computers, the employ-
  a look at this Act and familiarize themselves with the new rules or      ees have the right to know about it. The exception to this is if it is
  they may find themselves dealing with the Privacy Commissioner in        for a specific investigation into misconduct. Even a video camera
  the future.                                                              that is simply there to guard against theft can be deemed to be col-
                                                                           lecting personal information on employees as they go about their
  PIPA was drafted in response to a piece of federal legislation called daily tasks and it would be wise to obtain informed consent.
  the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
  (PIPEDA). PIPEDA was enacted in 2000 to cover rising issues In addition to requiring consent, the Act also gives individuals the
  around the Internet and e-commerce. Under PIPEDA the provinces right to access their personal information. While many people proba-
  were given until 2004 to either draft their own pieces of legislation or bly already believed they had this right, in truth it will only be law
  fall subject to the provisions of the federal Act. With PIPA in place come January. Under PIPA an employee can request to see their
  by January, privacy protection for individuals will be governed personnel file and insist upon corrections being made if anything is
  provincially. Unless your company is involved in a federally regulated inaccurate. Access can be denied if information is being collected for
  industry, PIPA is the Act you need to follow.                            an investigation, which is not yet over or if the disclosure would re-
                                                                           veal confidential commercial information.
  The object of the new Act is to ensure that personal information is
  protected. It applies to all organizations, whether they are for profit Company retention policies for personal information should be re-
  or not-for-profit. Personal information is defined by the Act to in- viewed. Personal information collected and used to make decisions
  clude information about an identifiable individual including em- affecting the individual must be kept for one year. Information
  ployee personal information. It does not include business contact should then be destroyed unless there is consent by the individual
  information or work product information. For example, a business that such information be retained on file, or unless it is necessary to
  email address would not be private, however a home address would keep the information for legal or business purposes. Also, the one-
  be. Personal information will likely include such things as educational year requirement may be overruled by other legislation. For example
  and employment history, records describing reasons for dismissal or the Employment Standards Act requires employers to keep certain data
  discipline, reasons why an employee was not given a promotion and (such as hours of work) during employment and for two years fol-
  medical information.                                                     lowing termination.

  Consent must be obtained from the individual prior to collecting Under PIPA, there must be reasonable security arrangements made,
  personal information, and there must be an explanation (and consent for personal information collected, to prevent unauthorized access.
  given) regarding the intended use or disclosure of that information.    Companies need to use secure databases with password and/or re-
                                                                          stricted access or locked cabinets to store information. There should
  There is an “implied consent” under the Act for employers to collect also be one person in the company who is designated as responsible
  personal information on their employee if the collection is reason- for compliance with PIPA requirements.
  able for the purposes of establishing, managing or terminating an
  employment relationship. The onus will be on the employer to prove Personal information gathered prior to January 1, 2004 will be
  that the information was necessary for employment. This “implied deemed by the Act to have been collected with consent so there is
  consent” does not extend to independent contractors however, only no need to go back and obtain written consents. However, after
  to employees.                                                           January 1 that information will be subject to the use, disclosure, and
                                                                          retention provisions. In other words, no additional use or disclosure
  There are also a number of exceptions to requiring consent that are should be made of that information without consent and informa-
  listed in the Act but it would likely be a good rule of thumb to ensure tion should be duly destroyed. Finally, keep in mind that this Act is
  informed consent has taken place prior to collecting or using any referring to personal information that is “on record”. In other words
  personal information. Certainly consent should be obtained when it must actually exist either in writing or electronically to be subject
  checking personal references particularly if those references are not to PIPA. Information on PIPA can be obtained on-line at the Infor-
  listed on a resume. Also, if asked to give a reference on a past em- mation & Privacy Commissioner website at:
  ployee, care should be taken to ensure that the individual consents to

ECABC’s Outside Involvement (ECA is involved with the following organi-      of Construction Associations (COCA), Council of Construction Trade Asso-
zations/associations)                                                        ciations (COCTA), Electrical Inspectors Association (EIA), Electrical Safety
BC Electrical Association (BCEA),BCIT Construction Management Program        Review and Appeal Boards, Electrical Safety Advisory Committee (ESAC),
Advisory Committee, BCIT Electrical and Electronic Program Advisory Com-     IBEW 213/ECA Joint Training and Journeyperson Upgrading Committee
mittee, Camosun Electrical Program Advisory Committee, College Instructors   (EJTC), Public Construction Council (PCC) and Western Joint Electrical
Articulation Committee, Construction Specifications Canada (CSC), Council    Training Society (Western Jets)
 Page 4                                                                                                                                  The Conduit

COCA—Annual Report—2003
 The Council of Construction Associations (COCA) represents all major             and employees before the WCB system.
 construction associations (20 in all) and acts on behalf of the construction
 industry in WCB matters. Our industry contributes about $150 million in 4.       After a long-term COCA campaign, the
 assessments to the WCB, about 20% of WCB assessment revenue.                     WCB has begun to write Orders on
                                                                                  Workers who violate health and safety
 1.   COCA has developed the Construction Safety Association of BC, the           regulations – if the workers have been properly instructed and super-
      first province wide construction safety association. Four of the COCA       vised in safety matters. COCA continues to lobby for worker fines, as
      Directors also serve on the CSABC Board of Directors – Gary Far-            per Ontario. (Alberta now has a proposal out for consultation which
      well, Don McNiven, Mike Pelletier and Don Schouten. The CSABC               also recommends worker fines.)
      has elected Grant McMillan as the Chair. A Technical Advisory Com-
      mittee (TAC) has been set up to advise on curriculum materials and 5.        The Experience Rating Pilot, which ran for the three previous years
      delivery methods. Dan Mott of Mott Electric chairs the TAC. Don             has been extended to December 31, 2004. This will allow the Con-
      McNiven chairs the Curriculum Sub-Committee and Don Schouten                struction Industry to try to formulate a unified position on Experience
      chairs the Education/Communication Sub-Committee of the TAC.                Rating. The original Pilot established a 33.3% maximum merit and
      The year 2003 was used to determine curriculum, coordinate service          demerit for the construction industry. All other industry in BC has a
      providers and establish structure and administration. The CSABC is          50% maximum merit and a 100% maximum demerit. This has be-
      funded by a unique partnering arrangement with the WCB.                     come a controversial issue within the industry. COCA requested addi-
                                                                                  tional time in order to formulate a united position from the Construc-
      A Strategic Planning session was held on June 18, 2003 and a Plan was       tion Industry.
      developed and circulated to both the CSABC and the COCA Boards
      of Directors.                                                         6.    COCA is lobbying the WCB to remove Soft Tissue Injuries from the
                                                                                  Experience Rating of the individual employer. The costs would then
 2.   COCA Director Terry Brown of Greyback Construction, has been re-            be distributed over the sector. This would more fairly balance the
      appointed for a additional three year term – expiring December 31,          costs of soft tissue injuries among the subclass of employers, rather
      2006 – to the WCB Board of Directors. He is the only employer rep-          than target the individual employer. The Construction Industry has a
      resentative on the Board and he brings with him experience and un-          highly mobile workforce where workers may be employed by a dozen
      derstanding about both construction and small business.                     or more employers in a year. Currently, the ER system penalizes the
                                                                                  employer who employed the worker at the time of injury, even though
      We are pleased to have someone of Terry’s stature on the WCB                the injury may have happened with previous employers. The Experi-
      Board. Terry was recommended by COCA and supported by other                 ence Rating Discussion Group is also providing input on this issue.
      industry associations.
                                                                             7.    COCA has been successful in getting the WCB to agree to stop writ-
 3.   New amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act in 2002 and                 ing Preventive Orders on employers. Preventive orders had been
      2003 closely reflect the COCA position on the need for fair and bal-        issued in advance of any problem on the worksite – it was supposed
      anced reform of the system.                                                 to be a way of alerting the employer to the need for safeguards. In
                                                                                  fact, the Preventive Order was confusing and was misunderstood. It
      The new appeal system was started on March 3, 2003 and it reflects          was thought to indicate a lack of safety when it was only recommend-
      the streamlining that had been recommended by COCA. The old                 ing a future preventive action.
      system of Review Board, Medical Review Panel and Appeal Division
      is being replaced by a two level system – the Internal Review Division 8.   COCA has also been successful in getting the WCB to remove Re-
      and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal. This will speed up           scinded Orders from an employer’s file. On occasion a prospective
      decisions and give finality for both workers and employers— 98% of          client will ask a contractor to provide the owner with a record of the
      appeals are from workers.                                                   employer’s WCB safety file. This change will remove unnecessary
                                                                                  paper from the employer’s WCB file; a thick file makes it look like
      Other 2002 amendments to the Workers Compensation Act also                  there are compliance problems.
      aligned with COCA’s reform recommendations – the basis of com-
      pensation has been changed from 75% of gross income (tax free) to 9.         COCA is coordinating a Tower Crane committee in order to recom-
      90% of net income (net after deductions of Revenue Canada taxes,            mend to the WCB a more reasonable approach to the regulation gov-
      Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance). This removes the             erning the use of multiple cranes, which may overlap. Over thirty
      primary problem of over-compensation.                                       industry representatives are participating on this committee. A con-
                                                                                  sensus was reached and the WCB has been approached and requested
      The government has estimated that the savings to the system from            to modify the regulation.
      these changes will be about $100 million per year. The construction
      industry’s share of this reduction is about $20 million per year. The 10. COCA participated in the WCB public hearings on regulation review
      change also has a positive effect on the Fund Balance -- reducing         held on March 18, 2003. COCA lobbied for reducing the number and
      estimated future costs by $500 million – and the Construction Indus-      complexity of WCB regulations. This is an ongoing issue.
      try’s estimated share of this reduction is $100 million.

      In 2003, the government introduced additional new legislation which 11. Verifiable savings for the Construction Industry since the start of
      provides more equitable fatal benefits, gives better guidelines on com-   COCA in 1993 now total over $290 million, including the $120 mil-
      pensation for stress (restricted to the result of a traumatic incident at lion estimated from legislative amendments, as described in # 2,
      work) and states that non-lawyer advocates may represent employers        above.
The Conduit                                                                                                                                 Page 5

Private Health Services Plan
A PHSP is provided for in the income tax act - section 248(1)              A PHSP is the lowest priced health and dental benefit available!
(Canada). In its simplest form, it permits an employer to reim-            A PHSP has no premium increases!
burse an employee for the cost of most dental, medical, and hos-           You are in total control of the plan!
pital care. Such reimbursements by the employer are not taxable
benefits, so these expenses should not be used in calculating the          The set-up costs for a PHSP are low and one time, and are de-
employee's income. The employer is entitled to a business ex-              ductible as a business expense. Future employees can be added at
pense deduction for the full amount of health care expenses for            anytime for a nominal cost. There are no annual renewal premi-
the employee.                                                              ums and if you do not use the plan in any given year there are no
A major benefit is that almost all medical expenses for the owner
of incorporated businesses and their families can be paid by their         For more information contact:
businesses as business expenses. It can also be used as a benefit          Michael Campany, Area Manager for Olympia Trust
to attract, reward and keep good employees. A small business can           Phone: 604-527-0046
greatly reduce costs and allow for more flexible benefits than             Fax: 604-527-0048
other programs.                                                            Email:

You may presently be using the medical tax credit on your per- Editors Note: This opportunity was brought to my attention by our presi-
sonal tax return for your medical expenses. A PHSP is mathemati- dent who thought it might be of interest to our members. If interested, please
cally certain to beat the medical tax credit!                    speak to your accountant as well as Michael Campany to determine if a
                                                                 PHSP will benefit you. No endorsement by ECABC is implicit or implied.

                                            Vancouver Island Chapter President, Mike Brewis
                                            (centre) joins Alan Halarewich (right), Field Opera-
                                            tions Manager for Federated Insurance, and Jeff
                                            March (left), their new representative for Vancouver
                                            Island. Alan and Jeff were on hand for the Novem-
                                            ber chapter meeting to talk about escalating insur-
                                            ance premiums.

                                                                                                          Mike Waterson of Canem Systems Ltd. -
                                                                                                          Vancouver Division, won a bottle of Christ-
                                                                                                          mas cheer at the November Vancouver
Benefits of Membership in ECABC                                                                           Chapter meeting.”

 Advocacy                                                                     Marketing – ECA website, advertising, electrical              engineer-
                                                                              ing/consultants program ECABC logo/membership stickers
 1    Strong united voice to government for expressing opinions and
      concerns regarding issues that directly affect the electrical industry Networking - Regular networking opportunities at monthly chapter
 2    Representation on other associations, committees and councils that meetings, annual general meetings, and an annual national conference
      deal with apprenticeship, safety, WCB and other issues
 Consulting - Contract interpretation service
                                                                              1.   The Conduit and Relay newsletters to keep you up to date on indus-
 Discounts and Special Services                                                    try issues and events and
 1    Petro-Canada SuperPass Program - New!
                                                                              2.   NECA/WCB Safety Alerts
 2    Esso Fleet Discount Program
 3    Accent Inns – Preferred Rates                                           Publications – Access to a host of publications, videos, and manuals
 Education                                                                         such as the Seismic Restraint Standards Manual and Health & Safety
                                                                                   Policy Manual.
 1.  Seminars or information sessions and speakers at chapter meetings
 2.  Salaried Employees Training Trust Fund (SETTF)
                                                                              Benefits currently in the works—
 3.  ECABC Scholarship Fund                                                   •    Legal work, discounted
 4.  BC Electrical Association Scholarship Fund                               •    Accounting (taxes, etc) discounted
 Health Care – BC Construction Association Group Benefit Plan
 Insurance - Industry specific insurance from Federated Insurance
Page 6                                                                                                                  The Conduit

                                               Schedule of Events
                                               December 11, 2003
                                               BCEA/Electro-fed/ECABC                       January 8, 2004
  Electrical Contractors Association of BC     Christmas Reception                          Vancouver Chapter Executive Commit-
                                               Royal City Star Riverboat Casino, New        tee Meeting
                                               Westminster, BC                              Earl’s Restaurant, 3850 Lougheed, Bby
  201 - 3989 Henning Drive
  Burnaby, BC                                  January 8, 2004                              January 21, 2004
  V5C 6N5                                      Vancouver Island Chapter Meeting             Vancouver Chapter Meeting
  Phone: 604.294.4123 Fax: 604.294.4120        Victoria Location—TBA                        Accent Inn, Burnaby

A Bad Lie?                                     A Little Known Christmas Fact—Humor
One fine day, Doug and                         Not long ago and far away, Santa was getting ready for his annual trip...but
Gerry are out golfing. Gerry slices his ball   there were problems everywhere. Four of his elves got sick, and the
deep into a wooded ravine. He grabs his 8-     trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones so Santa
iron and proceeds down the embankment          was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule. Then Mrs.
into the ravine in search of his ball.         Claus told Santa that her mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa
                                               even more. When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of
The brush is quite thick, but Gerry            them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out,
searches diligently and suddenly he spots      heaven knows where. More Stress.
something shiny. As he gets closer, he
realizes that the shiny object is in fact an   Then when he began to load the sleigh one of the boards cracked and the
8-iron in the hands of a skeleton lying        toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys.

near an old golf ball                          So, frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of coffee and a shot of
Gerry calls out to his golfing partner in an   whisky. When he went to the cupboard, he found the elves had hid the liq-
agitated voice, "Hey Doug, come here, I        uor and there was nothing to drink. In his frustration, he dropped the cof-
                                               fee pot and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen
got trouble down here."
Doug comes running over to the edge of
the ravine and calls out, "What's the mat-     He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw it was
                                               made from.
ter Gerry?"
Gerry shouts back, "Throw me my 7-iron!        Just then the doorbell rang and Santa cussed on his way to the door. He
You can't get out of here with an 8-iron."     opened the door and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas
                                               tree. The angel said: "Where would you like to put this Tree Santa?"

                                               And that my friend, is how the little angel came to be on top of the Christ-
                                               mas tree.

                                                   The ECABC Board of Directors and staff
                                                   would like to wish you a very merry Christ-
                                                   mas and a happy, prosperous
                                                   New Year!

                                               Many Lower Mainland electrical inspectors
                                               joined the Vancouver Chapter for a meeting
                                               and dinner in November.”