Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

November 18, 2021

Sones 400By Keith Sones

Ever since I’ve been a kid, I thought I was unique.  My skills, personality, likes and dislikes, attitude and dreams combined to make me the person I am, unlike anyone else.  It turns out that I was half right, but I spent years of time and energy focusing on the wrong half. I do, however, take solace in the fact that billions of people have done the same thing for thousands of years.

Grade school was a mixed bag of good education and budding friendships that was too frequently tainted by aggressive physical bullying and the fear it generated.  Very quickly I drew two clear conclusions about life that seemed deadly accurate when viewed through the eyes of a young boy.  First, it was really important to be liked since a group of friends, particularly the RIGHT friends, seemed to act as a buffer to insulate a person from the harsh realities of life. My second epiphany, related to the first, was that there were certain people that I sincerely didn’t like and would do anything to steer clear of them.  They were simply mean people, wrongheaded about everything and who added nothing good to the fabric of society.

As the years passed it dawned on me that, while there was very little I could do to completely eliminate the people that rubbed me the wrong way, I could definitely increase the number of people that liked me.  So, in my mid-teens, I set out on a course to do just that.

Now, I’m no psychologist. Not even close. So, I didn’t infuse my plan with any sort of intelligence that may have actually helped.  Instead, I took a look around at what seemed to make a person likeable.  I did have the distinct advantage of knowing what it took to be disliked and shunned, to be pushed out to the outer rings of the social circle, so I figured that to be liked I merely had to do the opposite of what I had been doing.

Progress, if it can be called that, happened incrementally and was not always guided by a conscious intent to ratchet myself up the popularity charts.  It was often difficult to determine in advance if doing any particular thing would increase my social status, but it was always blindingly obvious when that status improved.  It seemed that the adoption of bad behavior attracted a larger crowd than anything else, so I had my first cigarette (of many), my first beer (of many) and sidled up to the crowd that welcomed that kind of thing. Even though I was an athlete in high school and pursued sports aggressively, which created another invitation to the “in” crowd, it was the bad boy stuff that made me feel the most accepted.

The next several years were spent refining my craft, although being the life of the party doesn’t have a formal curriculum or apprenticeship.  That said, I became good at it.  Mr Fun. The last guy still standing when the lights came on in the nightclub.  I probably don’t need to add more detail; you get the picture. I was “that guy”. 

It did make me the go to guy for the next party, but it was remarkably ungratifying.  I had plenty of partners in crime, but few solid relationships.  I was accepted, but it was unclear if I was actually liked. I did know that when I was hurting from a hangover, my “friends” were nowhere to be seen.

Old habits die hard and the party life continued, but after a few years working in a factory and as a carpenter it was time to go back to school, to get on with “real” life, one filled with more stability and promise.  Being Mr. Fun was enjoyable at times but it wouldn’t qualify me for a mortgage.  So my wife and I quit our jobs, picked up our small household and moved to the city for a higher education.

At this point, it’s important to provide a bit of context.  I grew up in a small town and had spent most of my life to that point living in other small or smallish places.  Most of my beliefs about the world flowed from that life, and my personal views were less than cosmopolitan and definitely not urban.  So being dropped into the middle of a large city was a bit of a culture shock, and I now intermingled with people from all walks of life, diverse backgrounds and a spectrum of political views. It didn’t take me long to assess my fellow students and instructors and quickly pop them into suitable categories.  Some were quite likeable, mostly because we shared a common world view and personal habits.  Others were nice enough but held wildly different views than I, whereas still others had beliefs similar to mine but were not my cup of tea personally.  And a few I just didn’t like at all.

A couple of weeks into my training the concept of a “group project” was introduced to me.  At the time I didn’t know that they had apparently been devised by either the world’s greatest sociologist or worst psychopath (Note: I’m still not sure), but in any event the idea seemed pretty straightforward.  A group of students is assigned as a team to perform a project of some sort. The group was required to figure out how to get it done, who would do what and to make sure the project was successful.  Which sounded easy enough, until I realized who was in my first group.

Of the five people on our team, including me, three fell squarely outside the Like category and were scattered equally across the other three columns.  We were all to receive the same mark for the project, but in my assessment, it was going to be tough sledding ahead.  I quickly categorized the remaining team members.  OK, #1, he’s fine.  #2, she’s a bit loopy but is a good writer so she’ll be OK. #3 is a deadbeat, lazy as a summer day is long.  #4 is just a nasty person, who I want nothing to do with.

Not much to work with, in my humble view.  So, in my brash way, I started to direct traffic according to my assessment, defining who would tackle which piece. No one asked me to, there was no diplomacy involved, I just started to dictate. And a fight ensued. We argued. “Who made you boss?” said one. “I’ve got other stuff to do, I can’t do that piece of the project” another chimed in.  One just sat there quietly.  It was a mess, organized by yours truly.

I wanted (actually, needed) to get a good mark, so in the end the guy in my Like column and I ended up doing the lion’s share of the work. There was very little team work as we (or I) stripped the ‘group’ out of the group project.  Never shy about hard work, I muscled my way through the effort and we ended up getting a decent mark.  Which unfortunately reinforced my views about the other team members. ‘See?’ I told myself ‘I knew they weren’t going to perform’.  Not once did I see that I had prevented them from being part of the team.

The days and months blurred, the school workload being heavy. Inevitably, another group project was thrust upon us.  While the team composition was different, I feared the same outcome; mainly that I would have to do most of the work.  So, this time, while still assuming the mantle of team lead (OK, I took it before anyone could grab the gavel) I started by asking who would like to do which piece. Hands shot up as people volunteered for their favorite parts. I’ll write. I’ll do the research. I’ll present the findings. Which made things easier to be sure.

One of the group members was a sweet, demure, fairly young woman who had shown technical talent but was terrified of public speaking. Eventually we all had to tackle each project role, so I suggested she make the final presentation to the class. Her eyes widened as her head shook ‘no way’.  But I and another student (in the Nice Guy but I Disagree With Your Views category) persisted and she finally agreed.

Project complete, the day of the presentations arrived.  I felt refreshed and glad I hadn’t been saddled with the extra workload of presenting the project. She on the other hand still looked horrified at the thought of speaking in front of the rest of the student body, but to her credit had prepared furiously and practiced relentlessly in front of a mirror. I still believed she would do poorly but knew we all had to tackle the dreaded “speech” as part of the semester mandate. Trembling and holding her cue cards, she stepped to the podium and…

…did remarkably well.  Her practice had paid off and while she lacked polish, she did a credible job. I was impressed, as were we all.  But no one was happier than she was.  She beamed, as if she’d broken through a barrier that held her from claiming a prize.  Which of course she had.

That night I reflected on the day.  She was in my Nice Girl But I Disagree With Your Views column, and she did well.  Helped us all to succeed.  Even though we would undoubtedly continue to spar about who held the superior world view, we could find a way to work together. And most importantly, had I stuck to my old dictatorial ways we would have been worse off for it.

In the past decades I, like many of you, have worked on a variety of teams. Sometimes I was able to select my comrades while at other times they were foisted upon me, forced to work towards a common goal.  Most times the goals were realized, but on a few occasions, we crashed and burned. These many experiences have taught me a few critical things:

  • Being the life of the party and on display doesn’t mean you’re liked. You’re merely the entertainment. Don’t worry about being liked – focus on being useful. You’ll feel better.
  • It’s OK to disagree with another person’s views and even dislike them. Just realize you might not be their favourite person either. None of us are right 100% of the time. And don’t be a jerk, even if you think you’re right. It just makes everything worse.
  • Getting things done often takes a team, and even if you don’t like or disagree with each other you can still work together. In fact, you must if you want to achieve the goal.

I have little doubt that ever since people have existed, most sought the approval and acceptance of others.  It may have been for reasons of survival (“Hey, let me into your cave, it’s cold out here!”), validation (“I’m a good person, right?”) or to offset poor self-esteem (“I’ll feel better if 100 people say I look good in this suit”).  But like I said, I’m not a psychologist so I’ll leave the questions of why we do it for the professionals to figure out. I just know I’m not alone.

I also know that I have spent way too much time seeking the acceptance and adoration of other people, then dictating to them, merely to discover it got me nowhere. If you choose to be a social media diva, politician or career ladder climber, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be popular and think that’s the ticket to the top. And if the quest is pursued at the expense of being helpful, you’ll be wrong. After it’s all said and done no one cares how popular we are, how many ‘likes’ we garner on Instagram or how we issue commands to others.  They care about seeing things get done. 

If you are looking for someone to celebrate, watch the ‘nerdy’ one who quietly wins the science fair.  The mother who shepherds her kids to school and takes them on field trips. The cook in the restaurant kitchen working hard to feed their family.  Send them a ‘like’ or even a smile.  They’re helping us all move forward.

Changing Scene

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EIN ABB logo 400ABB is an international company with a large global presence, but did you know that a significant percentage of the products sold in Canada are also designed and manufactured locally?

ABB’s Installation Products division, formerly known as Thomas & Betts, operates seven manufacturing facilities in Canada, six of them in Quebec and one in Alberta.

Many of their most well-known brands, including IBERVILLE®️️, Marrette®️️, Microlectric®️️, and Star Teck®️️, are products that started in Canada and are still manufactured locally to meet Canadian standards.




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 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




 Siemens Built In Isolation Products 400By Alyssa Kerslake

Life safety today is top of mind for nearly everyone. There is a certain level of trust that fire alarm systems continue to work within a fire incident. With system survivability being a key concern to regulators, building managers, and the public, Siemens has developed systems that are designed to meet and exceed regulations that protect people, property, and assets. 

One of the most significant concerns, particularly in a large multi-story building, is implementing a secure and fully functional fire alarm system. Today, it is not uncommon to have power and data for hundreds of fire alarm devices connected over a single pair of wires. The concern is, if a fault occurs somewhere between the devices, the zone and location of the device may no longer be known, or the operation of that circuit reduced or possibly impaired. These scenarios could allow an undetected catastrophic event to develop within the space due to inoperable life safety devices. 


Read More



David Gordon

By Terry Becker, P.Eng., CESCP, IEEE Senior Member

The CSA Z462 Workplace electrical safety Standard published its 2021 Edition in January.  A mandatory requirement for an employer is developing, implementing, and auditing an Electrical Safety Program.  If you have an Electrical Safety Program, is it up to date in its policies, practices and procedural requirements, is it performing as expected?  Workers do not necessarily do what you expect, they do what you inspect!  Management of change is required.

I have been involved in supporting industry with respect to shock and arc flash hazards in the workplace and in understanding what needs to be done to ensure worker safety, that effective defendable due diligence is established, and evidence of compliance is available related to occupational health & safety regulations both Provincial, Territorially or Federally.  I am in Ontario this week completing a detailed Electrical Safety Audit at multiple enterprise facilities.

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Product News

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Milwaukee M12 Cable Stripper

Connect plug-in lamps, holiday lighting, and small appliances to the top “Controlled” outlet, while the bottom “Powered” outlet remains always on. The DW15R features tamper resistant receptacles with built-in shutters to prevent the insertion of unintended foreign objects. As well, the integrated button with vanishing feedback LED provides manual push-button on/off control and clear indiciation at any time.

Simplify control of the residence - schedule lamps and connected loads to turn on/off at specific times or based on sunrise/sunset, easily group smart devices into rooms, and create scenes to activate multiple loads at once. Utilize the auto-shutoff feature as a countdown timer in closets, hallways and bathrooms.

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Incoplas Hybrid

Now available for Siemens Class 52 Actuators and Indicator Lights are the new Class 1, Div. 2 contact blocks. Suitable for use in Hazardous Location, Class 1, Div. 2 applications when used in a suitable enclosure. No matter which style actuator you use, the common base provided attaches to the hazardous location contact blocks easily.

Hazardous Location (HL) Series Contact Blocks are good for Hazardous Location CL1, DIV2 Applications using a Standard Enclosure NEMA 1, 12, 13, 4, 4X.

HL Series Contact Blocks are rated for switching high inrush loads like Tungsten Lamps.


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EarthTronics 25-Watt Emergency Driver for Linear Highbay

The 20A Outlet and 15A Outlet have the ability to allow function specific Inserts to be installed/removed/swapped making this platform an optimal choice for renovations and new construction. The Swidget Outlet is installed using the same wiring as a standard wall receptacle and when paired with a Swidget Insert turns into a powerful and flexible Smart Home device. The swapability of the Inserts ensures that this will work with Smart Home wireless systems now and in the future.

The Swidget product line targets the Home Automation and Smart Home markets with a unique future-proof solution. Swidget currently offers eight smart Inserts with different functionalities including Wi-Fi control, indoor air quality sensor, temperature, humidity, and motion sensors, as well as a USB charger guide light, and emergency lighting. They can all be controlled from anywhere with the Swidget App for iOS/Android or Alexa and Google Home.

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Peers & Profiles

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Allana Kellett-Jamieson loves working in the electrical sector and is proud of the great focus ...
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Among the recipients of the 2021 Clean50 Awards announced last month is Carolina Gallo, Vice ...
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As a 34-year-old female owner of an electrical contracting business, Danielle Gray may be unique. ...

EngWorksBy Blake Marchand

EngWorks was formed in 2004 as an electrical engineering and consulting firm by Allan Bozek, “After a short time we realized there was a niche in hazardous locations, in particular in hazardous area classification design requirements for various facilities. And also helping people understand just how the Canadian Electrical Code applies to hazardous locations.”

Given the complexity of hazardous locations, Bozek saw a need for education while working in the field and began developing training courses designed.

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Éric DeschênesBy Line Goyette

As the head of ABB Canada's electrification business unit, Éric Deschênes is no newcomer to the electrical industry. He has a long track record and a passion for finding practical solutions to optimize technology adoption. Deschênes took on his current role with ABB January of 2020, he joined ABB in 2017 as Executive VP of the Electrification business after 15 years with Schneider Electric.

We met with him recently to discuss his new role at the helm of ABB Canada and his plans moving forward. He began by pointing out that the recent change to ABB Canada's structure, as elsewhere in the world, was made to make customer relations more straightforward. 

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