Canadian Hydronics Conference fast approaching

The Canadian Hydronics Conference in Ottawa this fall is fast approaching, with only just over one month to go.
Visitors can expect two full days of total immersion in everything related to modern hydronic heating and cooling. Presented by the Canadian Hydronics Council (CHC), the event will take place Sept. 24-25 at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre.
The CHC has announced 20 industry-leading experts from across North America who will present technical and business sessions.
These include Toby Shannan, a former contractor and chief support officer for Shopify, will be the opening speaker, talking about how to identify opportunities in the contractor’s local market.
Dave Hughes, associate chair – (special projects) pipe trades for Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) will present “Increase your hydronic sales and profits.” John Barba, national training director for Taco Inc., will talk about variable speed circulators.
Steve Gibbs, product manager for Roth Industries, will explain ceiling and wall radiant systems, while Ronald Gagnon, CEO of Concept-R Inc., will look at energy efficiency in Taco commercial buildings.
Mike Miller, director of commercial sales for Taco Inc., Canada, will talk about air-to-water heat pumps.
There will be an industry panel discussion on the future of hydronics in Canada. Panelists include Murray Pound, proprietor of Generations Master Builder, Plumbing & HVAC’s own hydronics expert Roy Collver, president of OTBC Inc., and Gord Cooke, president of Building Knowledge Canada.
Other Day 1 presentations include Gary Fairhurst, product manager for UEi Test Instruments, on combustion analysis and Jean-Claude Remy, business development manager, Uponor Ltd., eastern region, on snowmelt systems. Gord Cooke will talk about managing homeowner expectations.
The second day will be just as busy. Business expert Greg Weatherdon will talk about “How to get more life out of your business.” Michael Breault, senior technical instructor/instructional designer for tekmar/Watts, will talk about smart and connected controls. Roy Collver will talk about modulating condensing gas boilers. Rob Waters of Solar Water Services Inc. will explain how to integrate solar and hydronic systems.
Bill Hooper, regional sales manager – Atlantic for Uponor Ltd., will talk about customizing mechanical rooms to optimize efficiency. Remy will explain how radiant cooling works.
There will be a panel discussion on water quality with Dave Nichol, trainer and technical service manager for NTI, Kirk Nagus, general manager for Axiom Industries, and Equipco’s Matthew Reid and Adam Hedden.
The closing speaker for the conference will be Calgary-based engineer and comfort guru, Robert Bean, who will talk about “Current risk and rewards for the industry and its business.”
Throughout the two-days, there will also be a hydronics-only trade show. For more information and to register, please visit

Hydronics task group members sought

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) is creating a hydronics task group to review all hydronics proposals submitted in the 2019 Uniform Solar, Hydronics and Geothermal Code (USHGC) – and they are seeking help.
IAPMO is currently accepting applications and seeking technical experts to participate in the task group. Task members will participate via conference call or web meeting, provide their perspective on the code, and assist in drafting recommendations for action by the USHGC Technical Committee.
Anyone interested in participating in the task group can apply online. The deadline for application is Aug. 31.
The Uniform Codes are republished at the conclusion of each three-year code cycle. The codes are designed to provide consumers with safe plumbing, heating, and mechanical systems while also allowing for innovation and new technologies. Please contact Taylor Costea at (909) 218-8126 or by email at for more information.

Wholesaler donates plumbing supplies to help family with autistic children

Alex Nikolic hasn’t had his own bed since he was four years old. Now he even has his own bathroom connected to his bedroom to call his own.
Noble Corporation, Concord, Ont., has donated the plumbing supplies required for a Design for Hope renovation project in the greater Toronto area (GTA).
Design for Hope provides a fully redesigned home for a family in need within a local community. This specific project involves the Nikolic family which lives in a 1,500 sq. ft. brick bungalow with three bedrooms and one bathroom. Hilary and Mark Nikolic have three boys; the oldest Alex attends university and their twin boys James and Eric were born with autism.
The twins are both non-verbal and the severity of their symptoms have resulted in damages to the house. Over the years, the Nikolic’s have had to refinance their home after damage made their home “somewhat inhabitable.”
Toronto-based Stacey Cohen Design is leading the project with the help of over 75 trades, vendors, and volunteers. A GoFundMe page was created by Stacey Cohen Design with the intention to cover the expenses related to the renovation and to help the family pay off the mortgage.

Successful WorldSkills competition for Canada

WorldSkills Team Canada 2019 competitors gather at the Kazan Arena Stadium for the closing ceremony of the 45th WorldSkills Competition, in Kazan, Russia. Photo credit: Skills/Compétences Canada.
Team Canada brought one medal and 14 medallions of excellence from the international WorldSkills competition in Kazan, Russia. This was the 15th time Canada has participated in the trades competition.
The competition took place Aug. 22-27 at the Kazan Expo International Exhibition Centre with around 250,000 visitors at the bi-annual event. At the 45th competition, Team Canada sent 32 young skilled trades champions from across the country to compete in 29 different categories.
Canada’s Best of Nation Award was presented to Jack Dupuis from Val-Alain, Que., for his performance in heavy vehicle maintenance. Four students were sent from the mechanical trades, including Jake Doan, industrial mechanic millwright student at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ont., Taylor Oliver-McCallum, plumbing student at Red Deer College, Red Deer, Alta., Zachary Walsh, refrigeration and air conditioning apprentice at Acadia Refrigeration, Kentville, N.S., and Raoul Surprenant, mechanical engineering student at Montreal Polytechnique, Montreal, Que. Surprenant and Walsh both took home a medallion of excellence at the competition.
The event included more than 1,300 competitors from over 60 member countries and regions from around the globe. “We are very proud of the members of WorldSkills Team Canada 2019 for their dedication, hard work and passion,” said Shaun Thorson, Chief Executive Officer, Skills/Compétences Canada. “These young talented individuals represent our future skilled trade and technology workforce. We know the skills and experience they have acquired through this event and its preparatory activities have positioned them well to thrive in Canada’s job market.”
In the first quarter of 2019, there was an increase of 14 per cent in job vacancies for Red Seal trades compared to the previous year. The next WorldSkills Competition is scheduled to take place from September 22 to 27, 2021 in Shanghai, China.

Emerson hosts educational event to promote STEM

Elementary and intermediate-level students participated in Emerson’s very first “We Love STEM” day intended to develop kids’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The event took place at Lakeside Process Controls, an Emerson Impact Partner, in Mississauga, Ont., on Sept. 7.
At one of the stations, kids were able to build an operational catapult and then test the design to see how well the structure worked.
Emerson and Lakeside’s employees’ children participated in hands-on activities and experiments throughout the day. The kids were divided into stations which featured chemistry experiment, a catapult construction, and robotics. Everyone came together to electronically erupt a three-foot volcano. A unique, kid-friendly, interactive demo was set up to teach the kids about Emerson products and help tackle some of the most challenging industry problems.
“Emerson and Lakeside are all about applying technology and engineering to help solve some of the world’s big challenges. Opening our children’s eyes to the importance of STEM proved to be a very positive experience. The kids were incredibly engaged in their workshops but had fun at the same time. We will continue our commitment to this program to demonstrate how our future employees can improve the world through STEM,” said Ryan Garrah, president of Emerson Canada.
Technology is becoming a more integrated part of our lives more and more every day. To get the kids more interested in technology, they were able to construct a robotic arm and then use it to grab an object.
Emerson launched the “We Love STEM” campaign back in 2015 as a way to inspire and empower the next generation of engineers. YouTuber Hank Green has partnered with Emerson to deliver fun, engaging video content on STEM topics. For more information, visit

Grundfos raises $25,000 at charity event

Participants in Grundfos’ Walk for Water Canada event completed a 6km course while carrying a bucket of water for half the time in support of Water Mission.
Grundfos employees and members of the community joined together to participate in Walk for Water Canada – a fundraising event for Water Mission, a non-profit engineering organization that provides safe water and sanitation solutions to victims of the global water crisis. A total of $25,000 was raised at the event which saw close to 100 participants.
On Sept. 7 at Erindale Park, Mississauga, Ont., people walked with buckets in hand for a total of six kilometres. Each participant walked three km with an empty bucket, then filled their bucket with water from the Credit River. After walking an additional three km, each person emptied their water-filled bucket in a pool. The course was set to honour the millions of women and children in developing countries who make the trek every day to find and collect water.
“Walking for water is something people in many parts of the world must do in order to live, which we take for granted,” said Simon Feddema, president of Grundfos Canada. “Walk for Water is an awesome event that allows us to make a difference in people’s lives by partnering with Water Mission. It is inspiring to work for a company like Grundfos that strives to truly improve the quality of life for people in all regions of the world.”
After the pool was filled, the water was fed through a Grundfos SQ pump to Water Mission’s living water treatment system where the water was filtered. The organization bring clean water to 55 developing countries and disaster areas, worldwide.
Grundfos has been hosting these events for its employees since 2012, reports Michael Sosnowski, director of stewardship at Water Mission. “They started their walks in the midwestern United States and have branched out to the South and to Canada. This year, Denmark was added to the roster. Grundfos hopes to engage communities in Hungary, Serbia, Ghana and the Netherlands.”

HRAI recognizes industry supporters

The Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) presented a number of awards at its 51st Annual Conference held Aug. 25-27 in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Ray Hurrell, chief operating officer, left, accepted the very first Warren Heeley Environmental Excellence Award from Warren Heeley himself, the long-time HRAI president. The award recognizes Fielding Environmental’s work within the HVAC/R industry to protect the environment.
Peter Spoelstra, retired from Enbridge, received one of three President’s Recognition awards at the breakfast session on Aug. 27 from HRAI president Sandy MacLeod.
This year’s recipient of the Life Member Award was Roger Grochmal, left, chairman and chief executive officer for AtlasCare, Oakville, Ont. This is awarded to individuals who have made a significant contribution to HRAI and the industry for 20 years or more. Fellow contractor and past chair David Weishuhn, president of Blue Flame Heating and Air Conditioning, Toronto, presents the award.
Peter Steffes, Vollmer Inc., Windsor, Ont., received the Merit Award this year but was unable to accept the award himself. Nancy McKeraghan, principal of Canco Climatecare Heating and Air Conditioning, Newmarket, Ont., accepted the award on his behalf. The Merit Award recognizes an outstanding contribution by an industry representative to the development and progress of the Institute and the Canadian HVAC/R industry.
Stan Reitsma, left, president of the Ontario Geothermal Association (OGA), accepted the President’s Recognition award on behalf of the OGA from HRAI president Sandy MacLeod. Three President’s Recognition Awards were presented. They recognize a significant contribution to HRAI and the industry
Our very own Simon Blake received the President’s Award at this year’s HRAI conference. Simon has been the editor of Plumbing & HVAC Magazine for over 20 years.

Ont. wholesaler celebrates 50 years

From left, Joe Senese, Groupe Deschênes vice president, Bob Pryor, Bardon Supplies vice president and general manager, and Ralph Suppa, CIPH president and general manager, surrounded by team Bardon, mark the two anniversaries.
Wholesale distributor Bardon Supplies Limited, Belleville, Ont. is celebrating 50 years in business and 35 years as a member of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH).
The company was established in Belleville in 1969 and that remains the company’s head office location.  Today, the full line stocking wholesale and retail distributor of plumbing, HVAC, and industrial pipe, valves, and fittings operates 12 wholesale branches across Ontario along with five Bathworks plumbing showrooms.
Bardon Supplies is a subsidiary of the Deschênes Group, headquartered in Montreal. For more information, please visit

Federal election too close to call, HRAI delegates hear

Outgoing chair David Weishuhn, left, passes the gavel to new chair Dennis Kozina.
By Leah Den Hartogh and Simon Blake
This outcome of this fall’s federal election is difficult to predict, remarked the keynote speaker at the opening event of this year’s annual Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada Annual Conference, held Aug. 25-27.
“If only people over 45 voted in this country, the Conservatives would win by a landslide,” remarked William Huw of Impact Public Affairs, Toronto. But that’s not the case, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval rating still very high, particularly among those under 45. And he is moving even further to the left, he added.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer faces a more difficult road. “People don’t know who he is,” said Huw. But at the same time, he shouldn’t be underestimated. He wasn’t expected to win the Conservative leadership. He grew up in Ottawa but managed to win his seat in Parliament in Saskatchewan. And at 40 years old, he is about 10 years younger than Trudeau.
On Monday morning the 241 delegates and companions attending the conference were urged to grow in life and business regardless of stress by breakfast keynote speaker Dane Jensen, CEO of Performance Coaching, Toronto, who works with top-level athletes and business leaders to improve performance.
Online marketing
The conference featured a number of industry-specific sessions. Marketing is an area where many contractors have difficulties, particularly today with privacy restrictions. And then there’s that whole internet thing…
One session, “Connect with Contractors to Grow your Business,” largely looked at how online and media content marketing can improve and enhance a business. “Mobile-ready is key,” remarked Shelley Middlebrook of Fifth Story, “a leading content marketing solutions provider” based in Toronto. If a customer has an issue with a website or online platform, there is a good chance they will take their business elsewhere, she said.
From there, Middlebrook narrowed her focus to how different types of content marketing differentiate one business from another. It is important to “understand who your most valuable clients are – which will make it easier to develop useful content and allocate time and resources,” she added.
Later in the afternoon, Zoey Taylor, business development manager for Intrigue Media, Guelph, Ont., presented “Online Marketing Explained by a Millennial.” Taylor focused on the general forms of digital marketing.
“People hate to be sold to, but love to buy,” she said. She suggested that contractors focus on remarketing – where a company targets customers that have already viewed something on their website or showed interest in their product. From there, she moved onto the topic of Google search – organic (free) and paid. Both have their benefits, she added but said it is important not to focus just on one option. Organic Google searches are better for the long-term while paid advertising can bring immediate results.
Sprinkled throughout the day were more presentations. A panel was set up to discuss “Energizing the HVAC/R Commercial Market,” moderated by Martin Luymes, vice president of government and stakeholder relations at HRAI, with speakers Julie Vanderschot, manager, low carbon economy fund secretariat for Environment Canada and Climate Change, Kim Krieber, business advisor and channel services partner for Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), and Joe Meriano, energy solutions consultant, channel sales for Enbridge Gas.
Business adviser Wayne Vanwyck (The Achievement Centre International) urged contractors to start planning for retirement today, adding that it will take at least five years to prepare. A big part of that is ensuring that your business can run without you, he added. “You have a lot of ways to prepare, but it doesn’t happen overnight.”
And he suggested people work with an advisor or coach. “The coach can make the difference between thinking about it and getting it done.”
Changing refrigerant landscape
The need to address climate change is causing a shift to refrigerants that are more flammable than in the past, noted Helen Walter-Terrinoni, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), at the Refrigerant Management Canada (RMC) Annual General Meeting.
Part of AHRI’s Safe Refrigerant Transition Task Force, she added that “there is a lot of work that we want to do to get ready.” She expects within the next six to seven years there will be a widespread shift to A2L refrigerants like R32. It won’t change overnight because most codes do not allow flammable refrigerants.
The task force has been trying to identify gaps in training and has been somewhat surprised to find none. But, she added, the material related to flammable refrigerants needs to be put into a more easily understandable format. She noted that trainers are anxious to get better material quickly.
There has also been considerable concern from fire officials over the switch to A2L refrigerants. However, A2L refrigerants are not easy to light – an open flame is required – and burning five pounds of refrigerant is equivalent to two pounds of dry wood, she noted. “It’s much lower than people in the fire service were thinking.”
The sheer number of refrigerants is becoming difficult for contractors and engineers to keep track of, added Steve Yurek, AHRI president and CEO, during a lunch presentation. “We used to have one to three refrigerants used across all applications. We are not going to have that luxury anymore.”
Codes and standards need to be created in the industry for the new refrigerants. “We have out work ahead of us once these codes start to be created,” said Yurek. Key standards to currently note in Canada are CSA B52, with product standards for ACs in CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 60335-2-40 and product standards for refrigeration in CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 60335-2-89. Yurek said the industry might see a shift in focus from mechanical to information technology, including controls and building operations. This will provide an “an opportunity for those who can adapt with the changes.”
Contractors Division meeting
At the HRAI Contractors Division general meeting, contractors discussed the annual report. Key objectives for the previous year included increasing membership, education/careers, government relations, culture and communication. Members discussed creating a new career committee to help more young people join the industry.
Luymes presented a past resolution on a door-knocking sales strategy, first brought forward in 2012. Members voted that HRAI should continue to work on this.
Following a jammed-packed day filled with sessions and presentations, attendees dressed up for the Chair’s Banquet and saw David Weishuhn, president of Blue Flame Heating and Air Conditioning, Toronto, pass the gavel to new chair, Dennis Kozina, director of sales at Emerson Climate Technologies, Brantford, Ont.
During breakfast on the final day, a number of people received awards (Please see page 70). Attendees finished the conference with a tour and lunch at Jackson-Triggs Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
The 2020 HRAI conference will be held Aug. 23-25, 2020 at the Delta Victoria Hotel in Victoria, B.C. For more information, please visit

Building permits rose in July

The total value of building permits.
There was a rise in the value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities by three per cent to a total of $8.3 billion for July. This was largely due to increases in multi-family and commercial permits.
Five provinces saw increases, with over one-third of the national increase just in British Columbia. Quebec reported the largest decrease of 4 per cent to $1.6 billion due to lower
Value of building permits for the residential and non-residential sectors.
construction intentions in all components of the non-residential sector.
Multi-family permits reported an increase in seven provinces, increasing 4.2 per cent to $2.8 billion in July. Ontario and Quebec led the charge after both provinces reported declines the previous month.
The value of permits for single-family dwellings nationally edged down 0.2 per cent. The largest gain was in commercial permits, which rose 6.7 percent to $2 billion. This
Month-to-month change in the value of residential building permits.
offsets three consecutive months of decline. The increase was largely attributed to high-value permits for office buildings in the census metropolitan area of Vancouver.
The industrial industry didn’t have as good of a month having reported declines by 6.9 per cent in six provinces.
Ontario issued a record-high $3.5 billion in permits in July. This is the fifth consecutive monthly gain, moving the province $209 million or 6.3 per cent higher than the same month a year earlier. Manitoba and New Brunswick also reported strong year-over-year gains.