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  • 17 May 2016 11:50 AM | Adi Dunkelman (Administrator)

    The College of Carpenters and Allied Trades (CCAT), located at Carpenters' Local 27's training centre in Vaughan, Ont., has set up a mentorship program that gives women entering the trade an opportunity to share their experiences in the male-dominated field with experienced female carpenters.

    "Developing coping strategies right from the outset is paramount," says Kathryn Trickett, 33, the new program's lead mentor and an instructor at the training centre. "A lot of women entering the trade don't have coping and soft skills to work in a male-dominated industry."

    She notes the attrition rate of women in the trades is much higher than that of men.

    Trickett, a Red Seal certified carpenter in the trade for 10 years, says an example of soft skills is when men try to help women by doing some of their work for them.

    "They might not realize it but they are taking away work from those women," she says.

    Women on the job have to learn to stand up for themselves - often that means declining offers from men for help, she points out.

    "When they do the same work as the men, that is when they gain their acceptance and respect."

    The mentoring program offers female students opportunities in class and after to sit down with their peers and mentors to discuss issues, which might go beyond experiences on the job with men.

    "Looking at the logistics of how to keep the job when they start having a family is a real concern as well," says Trickett, a mother who takes her two-year-old son to daycare at 5:30 a.m. before heading to work every day.

    "We have women just coming into the trade and women who have been in the trade for a couple of years that we are mentoring," she says, adding some women come through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), a school-to-work transition program, for example.

    One of two staff mentors, she says the initiative was set up to provide peer-on-peer mentoring. Students with a couple years or more of training also assist new apprentices.

    The mentoring program offers regular group meetings where female students can air their concerns. Once on the jobsite, follow- up meetings will be conducted through social media formats such as Facebook.


    Trickett says the mentorship program is in part spawned by a Canada-U.S.-wide goal by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters to increase the number of women in the trade from about 3.5 per cent today to 20 per cent in 2020.

    To help meet that goal, parents and high school guidance counsellors have to be more open about a career in the trades for their daughters (and sons).

    Many students turn to the trades because they couldn't land good-paying jobs after graduating from university or college, Trickett points out.

    "The average age of an apprentice is 28. We want to see that age drop because trades apprenticeship is truly the third post-secondary destination," she explains.

    Kathy Bedard, an apprentice at the intermediate level at CCAT, is a peer mentor to new apprentices. Bedard, who raised a family before getting into the field three years ago, offers advice to women in class and entering their first jobs in the field.


    At CCAT's floor-covering apprenticeship program, Laura Graham-Sawchyn is an instructor and mentor to female students. The first woman with a Red Seal certification in the floor-covering trade in Canada, the 26-year-old says it is important for women on new jobs to let their supervisors know if they can't do certain physical tasks. But it is equally important to tell supervisors the tasks they can do as well as the men.

    Trickett says some men on jobsites want to "rescue" a woman - particularly a small one - from an arduous physical task.

    She advises those women to hold their ground.

    "It's not about being a woman, it's about being good worker," she says.

    CCAT's mentoring initiative applies to all apprenticeship training levels and other programs taught at the training centre in Vaughan such as the eight-week course for students in OYAP.

    OYAP students completing the eight-week course receive an additional two weeks of "job-ready" training at CCAT, says Trickett. The CCAT then assists students in finding jobs.

    "Depending on the year and factors like the economy, we place everyone who wants to be placed on paid union jobs," she adds.

    Click here for original article




  • 08 Apr 2016 3:04 PM | Adi Dunkelman (Administrator)

    Regarding the story, Nicholls and McNaughton believe Green Energy Act is hurting Ontario (March 11).

    When Ontarians are realizing that weather extremes caused by climate change are starting to affect them directly, it's especially discouraging that some of our leaders do not recognize the value of a policy such as the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEGEA).

    The policy was created to jump-start renewable energy generation and encourage the manufacture of related equipment at a time when traditional industries were declining. It was structured to encourage the proliferation of local benefits in clean energy and jobs.

    When introduced in 2009, the Feed-in Tariff programs were considered worldwide as ground-breaking regulations that allowed for real community participation, putting Ontario on track to becoming a renewable energy powerhouse.

    That potential was never fully reached, and we can now only point to a few examples of maximized community benefits.

    Since the introduction of the policy, politicians and entrenched energy interests have used fear, uncertainty, and doubt to spread misinformation about costs and impacts on energy prices. Unfortunately, this largely unchallenged criticism has put the focus of the conversation solely on the cost of electricity, ignoring other important benefits of a decentralized, sustainable energy system.

    MPP Monte McNaughton is quick to repeat the unsubstantiated claims that "[wind turbines] are the single biggest driver that's adding to the price of electricity." Considering that some wind project contracts in the recent Large Renewable Procurement come in at a price of $64.50/MWh, which is lower than the lowest initial price estimated for the refurbished Bruce Nuclear reactors (which comes in at $65.73/MWh), this argument falls flat. Furthermore, he ignores data from the Independent Electricity System Operator that indicates nuclear and natural gas as the leading cause for increases in the Global Adjustment charge.

    We have seen prices for renewable energy and cost of equipment come down dramatically over the last decade. Increasingly, many jurisdictions are reporting their wind and solar projects are starting to operate on par or even better than their centralized, fossil-fuel energy generators. And now, we even see the myth that nothing can be as cheap as nuclear, which in itself is a highly disputed claim, being dispelled as renewable energy projects challenge the "published" price of nuclear power.

    McNaughton and MPP Rick Nicholls should realize that Ontarians need to embrace the concept that sustainable energy is the solution to building a prosperous province with good jobs, resilient communities, and healthy environments.

    Nicole Risse

    Interim Executive Director

    Ontario Sustainable Energy Association



  • 29 Jan 2016 11:56 AM | Nicole Risse (Administrator)

    Last night, the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (www.ontario-sea.org) celebrated its 6th annual Powering Prosperity Awards dinner (www.poweringprosperity.ca), recognizing the champions of the sustainable energy sector, and celebrating the achievements that help advance sustainable energy within the province of Ontario.

    "The Powering Prosperity Awards is an annual fundraising dinner hosted by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association to shine the spotlight on sustainability and sustainable energy development in the province," said Joe Mulhall, President of the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers. "Our members believe that building a sustainable, decentralized energy system creates good jobs, generates local economic opportunities and contributes to a healthy environment."

    The evening brought together an illustrious crowd of the Who's Who in the sustainable energy industry. It was kicked off by Atul Mahajan, President and CEO of Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (OPUC) who delivered a poignant keynote speech about the important and ever-changing role of the utilities in the development of a sustainable and decentralized energy system that will allow consumers and generators of energy to interconnect in ways that are much more flexible. He highlighted in particular the great success OPUC is seeing from its solar PV and storage pilot (http://www.opuc.on.ca/sems-pilot-program/).  


    "Our vision is of a prosperous Ontario with a thriving sustainable energy sector, good jobs, resilient communities and healthy environments -powered, heated, cooled and moved by portfolios of sustainable energy. Events like Powering Prosperity and Green Energy Doors Open showcase the individuals, communities and businesses that are helping make this vision a reality," states Nicole Risse, Interim Executive Director of OSEA. Risse added, "Today we celebrate the winners of the 2016 Powering Prosperity Award, as well as the achievements of everyone that is active in the sector, each working toward building a better future for Ontario." 

    This year, the association recognized seven champions in six different categories:

    Mayor Randy Hope from Chatham-Kent took home the prestigious 20/20 Leadership Award, being recognized for his leadership in promoting sustainable economic growth in his community with green energy and community engagement as a priority.

    The Developer of the Year Award went to Whitesand First Nation, a far-northern First Nation community who has worked very hard and over many years to get the permission to build a 3.64 MW combined heat and power biomass plant, which will provide electricity to three communities.  In 2016, Whitesand First Nation is expected to begin construction on the project that will provide the region with a steady stream of revenue, local jobs and an ample reliable, clean supply of electricity.

    The SMARTpreneur of the Year Award category recognizes the achievements of entrepreneurs in the sector. In 2016, Brant Municipal Enterprises was awarded the prize in recognition of its pursuit to bring socially beneficial activities, including the development of a renewable energy portfolio, conservation initiatives and the development of a progressive fibre optic network, to its community.

    The Sustainable Project of the Year Award went to Ernestown Windpark, a development by Horizon Legacy Group. Ernestown Windpark is a small, low impact, 10 MW facility that is partially owned by a First Nation community and located near Kingston, Ontario.

    Six Nation of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNDC) received the Aboriginal Project of the Year Award for its profound commitment to renewable energy in Ontario. To date, SNDC has direct ownership in a portfolio that exceeds 600MW of installed wind and solar generation locally, generating revenue for the community and creating jobs for their people.

    The Senvion Community Project of the Year Award saw two distinguished winners. The first one was Camp Kawartha, who was recognized for the leadership in growing sustainability awareness amongst students of all ages. The second recipient was the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative (OREC). In September of 2015, OREC completed a solar project on the rooftop of Maurice Lapointe High School in Kanata's Bridlewood neighbourhood, which was Ottawa's 1,000th solar rooftop installation. The project is 100 percent owned and financed by Ottawa residents through OREC's community-based business model. 

    ###

     

    Media Contact:

    Nicole Risse
    416.892.0559
    Nicole@ontario-sea.org

     

    About the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA): OSEA is Ontario's lead advocate, facilitator and catalyst for sector transformation and the transition to a more sustainable energy economy powered, heated, cooled and transported by a portfolio of sustainable energy. OSEA is an advocacy group that brings together the commercial, public and community sustainable energy sectors and their supporters to address emerging trends and the development of healthy, prosperous and ecologically sustainable communities across Ontario.  www.ontario-sea.org

     

    About Powering Prosperity Awards: The Powering Prosperity Awards recognizes and pays tribute to the champions of the sustainable energy sector who are working tirelessly to make Ontario's energy system more sustainable, decentralized, inclusive, integrated and affordable today and for future generations.  The event highlights the relationship between sustainable energy and economic development and will be attended by more than 300 of the top executives and community leaders of the sustainable energy industry as well as public officials.  The evening provides an excellent opportunity to get to know OSEA and learn from and network with the Who's Who of the sustainable energy sector. www.poweringprosperity.ca


  • 03 Dec 2015 5:36 AM | Nicole Risse (Administrator)

    This article was written as a response to the editor of the Globe and Mail about their article on the Auditor General's report written on December 2, 2015.

    The Auditor-General's report poses many important questions and re-opens the debate on how the province should plan our electricity system. First of all, we should be planning for our energy needs, not just our electricity requirements.

    With climate change affecting ever more aspects of our lives, we have an obligation to develop our energy system in a way that mitigates climate change and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, with proper consideration of all technical, financial and social implications. The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) agrees with the Auditor-General's report. We do need a transparent process for energy planning, in particular around decisions that will affect the price consumers pay, not only now, but also in the future.

    Only yesterday, TransCanada announced details about a government deal with Bruce Power regarding the refurbishment of its aging nuclear reactors, extending their lifespan to 2064. What is troublesome about this is what we have to pay for the power from these reactors. In 2016, Bruce Power will receive a uniform price for all units of $65.73 per MWhr. Over time, that price will be subject to a series of adjustments that most of us will never be able to understand or even know. Juxtapose this uncertainty to Feed-in Tariffs (FIT). The rates paid for renewable energy projects, such as wind, solar, hydro and bio-energy, are fixed for 20 years.

    Generators will be given no additional adjustments - the price is the price - very transparent and very predictable. FIT rates have decreased with significant reductions for solar PV, as technologies and project development costs decrease - a trend forecast to continue. The only thing we know about the price of nuclear power is that it keeps going up and that in Canada and around the world projects always costs more than estimated. If a private FIT project developer goes over his budget, there is no bailout from the province.

    What the Green Energy Act and the Feed-in Tariff enabled Ontario to do, and the Auditor-General's report fails to notice, is that it jump-started an entire industry, creating jobs, manufacturing and opportunities for communities, municipalities, farmers and First Nations to develop and benefit from their own energy projects.

    Energy is a complex issue, but virtually all other industries are changing with the introduction of new and smarter technologies. Rosemarie Leclair, chair and CEO of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), aptly pointed out, in her speech at the APPrO conference, that we can already foresee great changes in the way in which energy will be generated and consumed in the future. According to her this is similar to what has happened in other industries, for example, the taxi or television industries, with the introduction of Uber and Netflix.

    Another point that the Auditor-General's report failed to note is that left to its whims; the former OPA would have continued with the status quo and gone ahead with not only nuclear refurbishments but also new nuclear plants. What we do know is that at only 28% efficiency, every kilowatt hour generated at a nuclear plant creates heat that is wasted forcing us to use fossil fuels to heat our homes and buildings, resulting in more greenhouse gas emissions. It is a vicious circle and, therefore, a myth that nuclear plants add no greenhouse gas emissions.

    Building new large-scale power plants and building out high-voltage transmission lines no longer makes sense in this new technological era of interconnected and highly flexible micro solutions. OSEA and many others believe that building a smarter, decentralized and more nimble system based on renewable energy, cogeneration, improved efficiency, and conservation is the prudent path for consumers as well as the environment. One of the biggest issues in our current system is that much of the heat generated during the production of electricity is wasted. In countries like Denmark, no power plant will get a permit unless the heat is captured and used. Even government directives have not been effective in getting the former OPA to pursue even a fraction of the opportunities for combined heat and power in Ontario.

    Ontario has to find a better way. OSEA is initiating a study that is intended to help Ontario do just that.

    Written by Nicole Risse, Interim Executive Director, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association

  • 23 Mar 2015 4:07 PM | Nicole Risse (Administrator)

    BRANTFORD, ONTARIO - March 23, 2015

    Solarize Energy, an end-to-end solar project development and management company in Ontario, announces that it has put in place a financing vehicle that provides non-recourse long-term debt for small and medium sized portfolios. Given the specific challenges of raising appropriate debt financing for smaller rooftop portfolios, this financing vehicle has been set up to accommodate portfolios as small as single projects.

    "Our long-term vision is to be a significant player in a robust and dynamic solar industry in Ontario", said Carlos Leite, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Solarize Energy. "With this financing facility, we can now deliver a turnkey solution that is truly end-to-end". Craig Walker, Sales Manager at Solarize Energy, emphasized that "Solarize Energy is now able to bring construction-stage and long-term debt financing as part of its aggregation facility specifically designed to meet all the requirements of the FIT2 and FIT3 contracts." Paul Leikermoser, Business Development Director at Solarize Energy, added that "This financing facility represents an invaluable option for developers, landlords as well as EPC companies who want to ensure that their projects reach commercial operation."

    These projects are possible under the government of Ontario's FIT Program with its focus on the development of distributed clean power. By replacing fossil fuels, the clean energy generated by these solar photovoltaic systems will also contribute significantly to efforts to fight climate change. The Solarize value proposition for project developers and owners includes design and engineering, construction and commissioning, project and contract management, as well as operations and maintenance once the projects reach commercial operation.

    To learn more about how interested FIT contract holders and EPC companies can take advantage of Solarize's development expertise and financing facility, contact our Sales

    Department at 519-304-7012 (office) or 416-575-7012 (cell) for a free, no-obligation consultation, or visit Solarize Energy online at www.solarizeenergy.ca.

    About Solarize Energy L.P.

    Solarize Energy L.P., based in Brantford, has been established to develop, construct, finance and manage distributed solar energy assets. The management group has a long history in the solar sector and in project management. The in-house team provides expert design and engineering, procurement and construction, as well as commissioning and operations management of solar energy projects. To date, Solarize has constructed over 12 MW of rooftop projects in Ontario, of which we manage and operate just under 10 MW. Currently, we are developing more than 10MW of FIT3 projects. Strategic alliances with leading equipment suppliers and ready access to project financing allows Solarize to offer a "one-stop" shop for those wishing to finance, design, construct and monitor solar systems under the FIT Program.

    More information is available at www.solarizeenergy.ca.

    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Carlos Leite
    519.304.7011
    cleite@solarizeenergy.ca

    SALES CONTACT:

    Paul Leikermoser
    519.304.7012
    Sales@solarizenergy.ca

  • 20 Mar 2015 4:05 PM | Nicole Risse (Administrator)

    Kristopher Stevens, one of the principle Officers of OSEA, has announced that he will be stepping down to start his own consulting business.  "The past eight years at OSEA have been incredible and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to serve the OSEA membership." Kristopher explains, "I am looking forward to this new chapter in my career and continuing as an active OSEA member in the years ahead."

    Joe Mulhall on behalf of the Board of Directors stated "The Board made the decision more than a year ago to create the new position of Director of Operations and Finance and to divide the responsibilities for the management of OSEA into two separate positions reporting directly to the Board.  The Board was pleased that Nicole Risse agreed to take on that new role and her performance in the last year has proven that she was a good choice. We are confident in her ability to manage the business of OSEA.  Kristopher leaving will not affect the day to day operations at OSEA."   

    Nicole Risse has been a core member of OSEA for more than six years, having served as Business Development and Outreach Manager and currently as Director of Finance and Operations.  She is a specialist in sustainable energy, stakeholder engagement and grassroots logistics having managed campaigns in Europe, Asia and North America.  Nicole was instrumental in coordinating the successful Green Energy Act campaign, the now national Green Energy Doors Open sustainable energy showcase, the association's Powering Prosperity Awards, the monthly Energy Drinks networking event, the OSEA 20/20 Roadmap webinar series and numerous past international sustainable energy conferences.

    Joe Mulhall stated further.  "Nicole's strong commitment to OSEA's vision and to the members, combined with her understanding of key issues facing the sector, her organizational skills and proven management capability, will keep OSEA moving forward in a positive direction." 

    For further information please visit www.ontario-sea.org or contact Nicole Risse, Director of Operations and Finance at 416-977-4441 ext. 3 or via email at Nicole@ontario-sea.org.

    xxx

    The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) is championing a prosperous Ontario with a thriving sustainable energy sector, good jobs, resilient communities and healthy environments powered, heated, cooled and moved by portfolios of sustainable energy by raising public awareness, advising decision makers and establishing forums for new market opportunities and collaboration. 

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