Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Oct 20, 2020

Michelle BraniganBy Michelle Branigan

In the past few months, the term “she-cession” has been used to refer to the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on women’s participation in the workforce. Current Canadian numbers show that more women than men have lost their jobs, and fewer women than men have been able to get them back as workplaces re-open.

In Canadian electricity, women make up 26% of the workforce before taking into account the effects of the pandemic. In this situation, even small losses to women’s participation in electricity will have a detrimental impact on the sector. In order to safeguard the progress we’ve made in building a sector inclusive of all genders, male allyship and support are critical.

The pandemic has upended any previous notions of work-life balance with so many people working from home. On top of job responsibilities, women are disproportionately responsible for childcare, elderly care and domestic responsibilities. Juggling all at once from the same home office is extremely difficult. Employers should be mindful and accommodating during the pandemic with all employees, while taking into account that women in particular may be under additional stress.

Our Leadershift report on women’s representation at the leadership level across the sector highlighted stellar examples of men in the workplace who took the time to consider the experiences of their female colleagues and made changes to their workplace as a result.

One man shared how supporting women in the workplace had a personal aspect for him:

“I started my career in a job that took me often to energy industry events, where I would regularly meet the same people. Then I left the sector for several years. When I returned, I was struck by the fact that I was still seeing the same, predominantly male, faces at events. Over the course of my career, I have had the privilege of reporting to two highly qualified and extremely well-respected female leaders. This gave me a wider perspective on what leadership could look like. My wife is a capable professional and we have young daughters. I think a lot about my children’s future and what small things I can do to help improve their experiences of the world — both personal and professional.”

Another interview participant explained how his perspective on the importance of an inclusive workplace culture had changed, as he realized how the workplace environment could be discouraging women from entering in the sector:

“We cannot just expect the workplace to be very open and welcoming. I must admit, from my comfortable downtown office, I did not pay as much attention as I should have to how important that is. I had to hear some hard stories of isolation to be able to put myself in the shoes of newcomers to our workplace. Most large utilities have a code of ethics that outlines respectful behaviours, but does everyone read that? In our organization, we’re working to help our people bring our values to life. We’re rolling out a new initiative — and the managers of crews will be the on-the-ground drivers of it. They’ll have a quick reference guide that they’ll use to set expectations, such as for calling out concerning behaviours in safety meetings. There will be lots of ongoing communications, and customized bystander and supervisory training. We’ll be partnering more with our unions to resolve issues. We want to make it the norm to ‘see something, say something.’”

Finally, another interview participant shared how he checks in with his biases when approaching gender diversity in hiring:

“Myths around diversity and inclusion can make things complicated. Men can feel that their promotion is not celebrated as much as others; and women may feel that people question whether their promotion was solely based on merit. I rely on the guiding principle of meritocracy as a way of trying to dispel such myths about diversity and inclusion. I hire the best person for the role, while encouraging everyone to participate; and by ensuring an inclusive process, it will bring an outcome of equality for all. When making a hiring decision, be mindful, go through a mental checklist to make sure you’re managing your bias, challenge yourself.”

These examples demonstrate that while building a gender-inclusive workplace is not something that can happen overnight, there are small changes to our own behaviour we can all start with right away. Actively listening to and acknowledging the experiences of the women in the workplace is a great first step.

Our workforce is more innovative and resilient when it includes a wide variety of perspectives and experiences. During these challenging times let’s work together to support all members of our sector.

To read more about actions taken by leaders to create a more inclusive workplace, visit www.electricityhr.ca

Michelle Branigan is CEO, Electricity Human Resources Canada.

Changing Scene

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ABB RoboticsABB Robotics is driving automation in the construction industry with new robotic automation solutions to address key challenges, including the need for more affordable and environmentally friendly housing and to reduce the environmental impact of construction, amidst a labor and skills shortage.

Robotic automation offers huge potential to enhance productivity, efficiency and manufacturing flexibility throughout the construction industry, including automating the fabrication of modular homes and building components off-site, robotic welding and material handling on building sites and robot 3D printing of houses and customized structures. 



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Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 permit....no record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion

 


 

Smart GridHarnessing Canada’s immense clean energy resources requires transformational investments to modernize our electricity grid. The Government of Canada is investing in renewable energy and upgrading the electricity grid to make clean, affordable electricity options more accessible in communities across Canada.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, today launched a $964-million program to support smart renewable energy and grid modernization projects that will lower emissions by investing in clean energy technologies, like wind, solar, storage, hydro, geothermal and tidal.

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Trilliant Partners with the City of CowansvilleThe City of Cowansville in south-central Quebec is the largest city in the Brome-Missisquoi region, with more than 15,000 residents. Despite being a smaller-sized city, it is known as an economic and industrial hub.

It also has a strong focus on innovation and efficiency — as demonstrated by decisions such as the one it made in 2017 to use beet juice to help combat icy winter roads, allowing the City to reduce the amount of salt it was using, thereby saving money and decreasing the impact on the environment. 

 

 

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Keith SonesBy Keith Sones

The writing was on the wall.  The closures would happen. But a lot of people were upset, and I was one of them. 

In the early 2000s, my family and I were living in a mainly rural (at least by city dweller standards) valley in south central British Columbia.  The West Kootenay region is known for its diverse outdoor recreation activities and as a great place to raise a family.  It has a proud industrial history, evidenced through the longstanding pulp mill, a massive lead zinc smelter a few miles away and several hydroelectric dams, all of it within spitting distance of the mighty Columbia River. 

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Product News

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The Lumenquad Small and Medium are the latest additions to a family of sleek, elegant, high-performance projectors that has already been validated with honours, including recognition in the PIA Awards in 2019, together with a Lux Awards for Exterior Luminaire of the Year in 2019. 

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The grips feature a slip guard handle design for added protection at the front-end and raised rear-finger steps for easy opening at the back-end. Wiha Insulated SoftFinish® Cushion Grip Pliers and Cutters consist of premium quality tool steel for strength and durability and induction hardened cutting edges and jaws for superior sharpness and longevity. 

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eLumigen Poultry Lamps - 2000K, 3000K & 5000KIdeal for rough service applications, the A19 & PAR Series are engineered for high efficiency, vibration resistance, shatter-resistance, elevated heat environments, and wet locations. These dimmable LED Lamps help reduce energy costs, labor costs, and the headaches of frequent lamp changes in tough applications.

eLumigen employs a unique 21-point validation process that goes above and beyond industry standards. Our lamps have been tested to survive levels of vibration exceeding 20G forces. Our unique temperature foldback design improves both safety and thermal management of our lamps. 

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House of Electrical SuppliesFrom small construction to sophisticated industrial projects, House of Electrical Supplies has been servicing clients in the industrial, OEM, entertainment, and construction markets across the Greater Toronto Area for just over 40 years. The company has earned a reputation for providing a high-quality customer experience.

As per President Austin Brennan, their experienced and knowledgeable team can be depended upon in any situation to deliver quick and efficient service. On top of their product solutions — ranging from electrical, automation, safety, lighting and portable power distribution — 

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