Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

June 10, 2022

LDS NETCO CNMIE 400By Blake Marchand

NETCO (National Electrical Trade Council) is an alliance of IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) and CECA (Canadian Electrical Contractor Association), their primary mandate is to promote national standards in electrical training.

Earlier this year, the Ontario government announced $13 million in funding for training programs across the province. NETCO received over $4 million in funding from Ontario’s Skills Development Fund (SDF), in part to develop virtual reality (VR) training programs for electrical apprentices and electricians. We spoke to Chris Swick, who is the Executive Director and Denise Miller, NETCO’s Communications and Marketing Manager to learn more about the VR training they are rolling out. NETCO is a national organization, but the VR programming will currently be offered in Ontario because of the investment from the Ontario government to fund its development. Eventually they will look to bring similar programming nationally.

Right now, they are working on two courses through VR, the first is the basic level trade school for apprentices, which will launch this spring. The second is a hoisting and rigging course that is still in development.

For a typical beginner apprentice program, you learn to do receptacles, various styles of switches such as 3-way and 4-way, lighting panel board installations and lighting. In a live classroom setting this brings in the need for more classroom space, more consumables and cost.

The VR training reduces the material costs for the training centres and for the students, Swick said, “They can go in there and practice in a safe environment. They don’t have to worry about shock hazards or anything like that, and when they’re finished, they can take it to a real-life scenario.”

 

 

Swick said that the basic level VR training would take place prior to entering trade school, “What I found when I was a training director, if we give these complimentary supports before they went to trade school, they’re marks would go up,” he said.

Miller added that the VR component will also help attract more people to the trades, “When you involve technologies like this it opens the eyes to the younger generation.”

Miller said that she received a lot of emails from the general public looking for more information because of the VR training, so it becomes an open door into the trades for people who may not have considered it otherwise. As well as being a test case for the future of skilled trades training beyond just electrical. VR can also used as a recruitment tool at tradeshows and career events to let people experience the trade, without the risk factor. Which isn’t something that is easily done when working  with electrical.

The safety element that Swick mentioned may also widen the avenue into the skilled trades for people to get experience and gain confidence without the pressure of making a mistake.

Right now, they are doing the VR training as part of the pre-apprenticeship program but eventually they would like to develop it for other levels of trade school. Which again, can cut down material costs for training centres, as well as open up the possibility for training in different applications. By adding a virtual component, they can have fewer physical training components, which can be expensive.

Another aspect is being able to update the curriculum easily when the codes change.

NETCO will be rolling out the apprentice training this spring and are still developing their hoisting and rigging course. VR has a lot of potential to prepare people in the less accessible areas of the trade by making a broader range of training more accessible. Looking at the green energy sector, for example, you have equipment like wind turbines and solar panels that students can get experience with before physically working with the equipment to save on the cost of training, similar to what they are doing with the hoisting and rigging course.

“At the end of the day you would have to get a crane in there and properly rig loads. This will get them to the point where they don’t have to have that high expensive of getting the crane in,” said Swick.

The course will be more immersive than the basic level training, “The way we’re trying to get it designed and setup is so that you have one instructor with four students in the VR environment all at the same time,” which will be the first of its kind for VR training.

The key aspect for Swick is safety, “a lot of things can go wrong when you’re doing hoisting and rigging.”

With this program, the software is being developed specifically for them and they’ll be using Alienware computers paired with the Oculus headsets, which will improve the quality of the VR simulation. “We made sure to put the proper investment in that, because we didn’t want something that is going to lag out all the time,” he said.

“These models are something that Chris is looking to develop to get funding to roll out all across the country at the IBEW training centres, that’s a work in progress too, hopefully that will be the end game,” said Miller, “and it will make training consistent at the IBEW training centres all across Canada, consistency is important and we’re seeing that a lot of the training centres are getting on board with that, because its making it easier for them.”

Swick added that standardization across Canada was an important aspect and something they are trying to work towards. When you have standardization, it streamlines the resources required for the training centres and it also ensures that training is done to the same level. That’s the ultimate goal with programs like OASIS and the VR Training.

These programs being funded through the Ontario government will help them develop best practices with the goal of rolling out programs in other areas of the country. As Miller noted, they’re currently working to secure more funding, as well as add to the training programs they can do through the VR.

VR will help them to improve the quality of training, and improve access to training, while also improving safety. The VR component is in addition to real life training to better prepare people for when they physically get on the tools. Ultimately, Swick said, “we’re trying to achieve the highest standard possible.”

There are 11 training centres in Ontario that will use the VR training and it will run for one year under the SDF investment. 650 people will go through the two programs.  

VR training was showcased at their annual NETCO Conference which took place in Halifax at the end of May. Sean Bernard from Ideal Industries Canada led a demonstration with training on VR technology and the keynote speaker, Trent Soholt had a discussion on the topic of Integrating Innovation in Experimental Learning.

"All was well received by the attendees of the conference with many training directors eager to get started. VR is still the word for the 2023 NETCO Conference, August 13th in Toronto with the theme “Virtual is the New Reality,”' said Miller.

Miller noted that people who want to access this training need to reach out to their local IBEW training centre. NETCO develops the curriculum that is then deployed through the IBEW.

Changing Scene

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Government of CanadaThe federal governemnt has officially launched a call for proposals (CFP) for the Zero-Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI). The initiative’s 2022 CFP will help fund new and innovative projects that aim to increase awareness and knowledge of ZEVs and charging and refueling infrastructure thereby increasing public confidence in these vehicles and their economic and environmental benefits.


Natural Resources Canada will provide funding through non-repayable contributions of between 50 and 75 percent of the total eligible project costs, with a maximum funding of up to $300,000 per project. The CFP will close on August 18, 2022.

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Omnicable joins ETIMETIM North America announced that OmniCable has joined the product classification standards organization. Headquartered in West Chester, PA, OmniCable has 24 locations throughout North America, and also owns Houston Wire & Cable (HWC). The company partners with many electrical manufacturers and only sells to distributors.

According to John Dean, Director of Marketing & E-Commerce, OmniCable/HWC, “The wire and cable industry is often called commodities, but there are very distinct features and attributes for the different products our manufacturers produce. 

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Atkore United Poly SystemsAtkore Inc. announced that it has acquired United Poly Systems, a manufacturer of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pressure pipe and conduit, primarily serving telecom, water infrastructure, renewables, and energy markets.

“We are pleased to complete the acquisition of United Poly Systems, which strengthens Atkore’s product portfolio, expands our manufacturing capacity and further enables us to meet HDPE customers’ needs,” stated John Pregenzer, President of Atkore’s Electrical business. “HDPE pipe and conduit is a growing market that is expected to benefit from U.S. infrastructure legislation, and United Poly Systems is a great addition to Atkore. We welcome these employees and look forward to working together to continue to serve and support our customers.”

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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

 


 

Grimard is More Competitive and Produces Estimates 3X Faster with Procore

ProcoreWhen the pandemic lockdowns started in March of 2020, Grimard (an electrical contractor) had to decide whether to shut down its operations entirely or implement a new platform with people who were now freely available for work. Once they implemented Procore, they found a way to efficiently communicate with stakeholders and offer full transparency in terms of project costs and planning. It also allowed Grimard to utilize historical data to make project estimates more accurate. Grimard was able to streamline its bidding process, which made it more attractive to potential clients and helped the business grow.

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Iron+EarthThe RenuWell Project partners are excited to announce the groundbreaking of two pilot sites located near Taber, Alberta. These pilot sites are the first of their kind to repurpose inactive oil and gas infrastructure as a foundation for renewable energy development and job creation.

When operating, the solar projects will generate 2,030 MWh annually – enough electricity to power 280 average Alberta households or irrigate 11,700 acres of farmland for an average year. This is roughly equivalent to $200,000 in electricity sales per year with 1,100  tCO2e savings in GHG emissions. Over a 25-year lifespan, the projects will generate 50,750 MWh, with GHG emission savings of 28,420 tCO2e.

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David O'ReillyBy Elle Bremmer

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with David O’Reilly, Vice President Home & Distribution and Secure Power Divisions with Schneider Electric Canada for a discussion regarding the Wiser EnergyTM smart home solution, the Wiser Approved training program, and his thoughts on several different subjects, including sustainability and future technologies currently in the works at Schneider Electric. David has been with the company for five and a half years in his role.

We recently published a study (version en français ICI) from Schneider Electric showing a strong interest from Canadians in smart home technology. 

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SimplySnap: It Just Works.

SynapseSmart technology is only smart if it works, and SimplySnap? It just works.
Scalable, field-proven, DLC NLC 5.0 qualified, and easy-to-install wireless network
lighting controls are in-stock. Explore energy code compliant SimplySnap
technology here.

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Product News

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Cree LED, anSGHcompany, announced the launch ofXLamp® Element G LEDs, delivering a new ...
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Ericson String LightsEricson announces upgraded versions of their extremely capable line of Industrial String Lights and SL, LED Stringlights. These new and updated products have several key features important when safe, code compliant lighting for industrial workspace is necessary.

Infinitely capable, these ruggedly built products have several industry leading & exclusive features including:

Industrial String Lights:

  • A United States Navy Specification since before WWII, they’re time and application tested...

 

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Intermatic Pool and Spa SolutionIntermatic Incorporated announced its new P40000 Series Load Centers, a set of next-generation panels for pool-only applications, as well as its new PE24GVA 24-Volt Valve Actuator, an easy-to-install valve actuator that allows for tool-free cam adjustments. Both solutions remove obstacles for pool service professionals while delivering lasting performance.

“Intermatic load centers and valve actuators have been the preferred choice of pool professionals for more than 30 years,” says Brian Lamberty, product marketing manager at Intermatic. “The PE24GVA and P40000 Series build on that tradition, helping pool professionals streamline service calls while setting the standard for quality and performance.”

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Klein Tools Zipper BagsKlein Tools introduces new Stand-up Zipper Bags, in a 2-Pack with 7-Inch and 14-Inch sizes, both designed to handle tough jobsite conditions and stand up so tools and small parts can be easily accessed when working.

Stand-up Zipper Bags, 7-Inch and 14-Inch, 2-Pack (Cat. No. 55559)

  • Perfect for storing pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, drill bits and other small tools and parts
  • 4 1/2’’ tall zipper bags come in two sizes:
    • 14’’ (36.6 cm) dark gray
    • 7’’ (17.8 cm) royal blue


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Emerson HV SafetyThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates 350 employees are killed annually in electrocution accidents, which roughly equals one fatality per day. In the face of these dangers, OSHA officials and industry safety consultants alike recommend eliminating potential hazards on work sites, rather than simply relying on contractors or employees to follow safety guidelines.

To help safeguard employees from electrocution, Emerson has launched its Appleton™ Powertite™ Lock Collar, a device that fastens over plug and connector connections and is secured with a padlock, preventing unauthorized personal from disconnecting the cable connection once in place. 

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Peers & Profiles

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Headquartered in Concord, Ontario, Mercury Lighting services national retail, ...
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Sarah Silverstein is a principal with Liteline along side her two brothers Mark and Daniel. ...

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