Author Archives: Grant Cameron

Local 793 Objects to Canada Signing TPP

The following press release was issued by Local 793 regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership

OAKVILLE — Mike Gallagher, business manager of Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, says the federal Liberals have made a mistake by signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“By signing this deal, the Liberals are failing to protect construction workers in this country. There are provisions in this trade pact that can be exploited by foreign construction companies at the expense of Canadian workers and our economy.”

“This deal, in our opinion, could open the door to under-skilled and under-paid temporary foreign workers being allowed to enter Canada to work – something that is unacceptable to our union.”

Gallagher said the CPTPP does not have a Canada-first provision and there is nothing in the deal to prevent a construction project being built in Canada by a foreign company with foreign workers.

A side-letter to Article 12.4 of the CPTPP states that Canada shall grant temporary entry and a work permit of up to three years to intra-corporate transfers of executives or managers, management trainees on professional development, or specialists. Specialists are defined as a worker possessing specialized knowledge of a company’s products or services and their application in international markets, or an advanced level of expertise or knowledge of the company’s processes and procedures. There is no mention of hiring Canadians first, opening the door to foreign companies being allowed to bring in foreign “specialists” to work on a project. Worse, there would also be no restriction on how many specialists a foreign company could bring in.

The deal, signed March 8 by International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne and representatives of 10 other nations in Santiago, Chile, could also affect Canadian contractors because they might end up competing for projects against foreign companies that could bring in cheaper labour.

“We have plenty of skilled, trained workers here in Canada and are concerned that the government has gone ahead and signed this deal without closing those loopholes,” said Gallagher. “These issues have been raised but, unfortunately, they were not addressed in the deal.”

Gallagher noted that if large foreign construction firms come to Canada and take work from local contractors and workers it does nothing to benefit the Canadian economy or the pension, benefits and training programs of unions like Local 793, as the foreign firms and workers take the wages and profits back to their own country, something that is unacceptable to Canadian employers and workers – whether unionized or not.

Gallagher said the fact that the United States saw the light and exempted itself from the CPTPP should ring warning bells for the Canadian government. The U.S. officially withdrew from the pact on Jan. 23, 2017 because the administration was concerned it would be a job killer and undermine the U.S. economy.

Local 793 has always supported fair trade agreements that don’t undermine the Canadian workforce by bypassing labour, safety and training standards, and backs NAFTA because no unfair advantage accrues to U.S. contractors when it comes to licensing or substandard training, Gallagher said, but the CPTPP raises the prospect that Canadian workers will not fully benefit from the jobs that will be created by the $125 billion in infrastructure funding over 10 years that was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he paid a visit to the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario during a campaign stop in August 2015.

Gallagher noted that the Ontario government and a number of influential groups, including Canada’s dairy farmers, the country’s largest private-sector union, and key sectors of the Canadian auto industry are also critical of the trade pact, saying it will cost jobs in Canada.

Unifor, which has more than 315,000 members across the country, is warning that the deal is a regressive agreement that will start a race to the bottom and once again hurt Canadian workers because Article 19 on labour rights is essentially unchanged and fails to make any meaninful advancements to ensure compliance and enforceability when labour rights are violated under the deal.

The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, which represents companies that make most of the vehicles produced in this country, is also concerned that the deal fails to provide our large auto manufacturers with reciprocal access to markets of trading partners in the CPTPP.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada, which represents farmers on about 12,000 dairy farms, indicates the deal will give other countries in the CPTPP tariff-free access to Canada’s dairy market. The group estimates that the market access conceded in the deal will result in a 3.1-per-cent loss in milk production by Canada’s dairy farmers, or about $160 million per year.

The Council of Canadians, a social action organization, has called on government to scrap the deal because public objections to it were ignored and the pact will result in large job losses. A study called Trading Down, Unemployment, Inequity and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement done in January 2016 by Tufts University in Massachusetts found such a deal could cost Canada 58,000 jobs over a 10-year period.

Meanwhile, according to the Ontario government, the province’s farm sector could lose $500 million in revenue over the first five years of the deal and a drop in investment in the auto sector would result in an economy-wide reduction of $80 million in the annual gross domestic product as well as potential job losses. In a speech to the Toronto Region Board of Trade on Feb. 22, 2018, Premier Kathleen Wynne noted the province’s auto sector will need $1.26 billion in transitional assistance from the federal government over 10 years to adjust to the new realities created by the CPTPP and the agriculture and food sectors will need $1.4 billion over that period.

“Why did Premier Wynne not mention assistance for the construction industry, which employs more than 500,000 workers in Ontario?” asked Gallagher. “It would appear that both the federal and provincial governments are ignoring the impact that introduction of the CPTPP will have on construction workers. Why is that, when our industry is so important to the growth of the economy?”

Gallagher said the deal is out of step with the federal government’s budget objectives of advancing women and Indigenous peoples and addressing youth unemployment and underemployment because foreign workers will have a higher priority than the domestic workforce.

A report done in August 2016 for Canada’s Building Trades Unions noted that the deal makes it easier for temporary workers to enter Canada because employers will no longer need to prove that there is a shortage of domestic workers in a specified occupation in order to open the sector to foreign workers.

Gallagher noted that, in the past, there have been abuses of the system and the CPTPP will only make matters worse – not better.

On April 4, 2007, for example, two temporary foreign workers were killed when a storage tank roof collapsed on them at a Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) site near Fort McMurray, Alta. The workers were employed by the Canadian subsidiary of Chinese engineering firm Sinopec Shanghai Engineering Company (SSEC). CNRL was fined $10,000 and SSEC was ordered to pay $1.5 million in penalties.

In 2012, HD Mining International Ltd. was found to have brought in more than a dozen Chinese miners to develop a coal mine at the Murray River project near the town of Tumbler Ridge, B.C. The company had been granted temporary permits to bring in more than 200 miners. The workers were sent back after Local 115 of the International Union of Operating Engineers and Local 1611 of the Construction and Specialized Workers Union challenged the company in court.

In April 2013, meanwhile, it was revealed that the Royal Bank of Canada was planning to shift information technology work done by 45 Canadian employees to foreigners contracted by iGate, an outsourcing firm from India. Because of public backlash, the bank released a new code of conduct stipulating that RBC and its suppliers must not hire foreign workers to perform services for the bank when someone eligible to work in Canada is available and able to perform the service.

Without protecting Canadian workers under the CPTPP, Gallagher said the huge potential to employ First Nations peoples and construction workers to build railways, roads and infrastructure in the Ring of Fire area in northern Ontario could be lost to foreign companies and workers.

“Can the Liberal government give us a guarantee that we won’t have Canadian jobs ripped off by offshore contractors and foreign workers?”

Gallagher said Local 793 takes health and safety very seriously and the CPTPP also needs to clarify that unlicensed crane operators and operators of heavy equipment from foreign countries would not be able to circumvent licensing requirements in Ontario.

“Construction equipment is large and dangerous and members of the public and other construction workers could be in danger if foreign workers were permitted to work in Canada without so much as a demonstration of skills test to prove their competency. This must be avoided at all cost.”

Gallagher noted that on March 12 in Quebec’s Saguenay region, during the first stop on a cross-country tour of aluminum and steel factories, Prime Minister Trudeau said he and his team have the backs of workers in those industries.

“But does he have the backs of construction workers in the CPTPP deal? I would like to think so, but the prime minister needs to make that point clear right now, as he did for the workers in Quebec.”

Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers represents nearly 15,000 highly-skilled crane and heavy equipment operators across Ontario. The union has a head office, banquet hall and training campus in Oakville, and another training campus in Morrisburg. Canadian locals of the International Union of Operating Engineers represent more than 50,000 operators and have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in equipment at training centres across the country.

For additional information contact:
Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher
905-469-9299, ext. 2202

Click here for text of the CPTPP

Local 793 Members Participate in St. Patrick’s Parade

Local 793 members and their families participated in the Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 11.

Union members, proudly wearing bright green and white jackets, marched the 3.5-kilometre route from Bloor and St. George streets to the parade-reviewing stand at Nathan Phillips Square.

The Local 793 entourage also featured a band on a float playing Irish music.

About 50 Local 793 members and family members participated in the parade.

Local 793 was one of the sponsors of the parade.

The parade started at noon. Thousands of people lined the parade route.



Local 793 Participates in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Local 793 members and their families are invited to break out a little green and march in the Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 11, 2018.
The union is once again one of the sponsors and participants in the parade and will have a float with a band playing Irish music.
This is a family-friendly event and all members and their families are invited to participate.
The parade starts at noon. Local 793 members and their families are asked to be there at 10:30 a.m.
The marshalling point for Local 793 members and their families is E15 at St. George Street and Hoskin Avenue. Please click here for the parade route.
Special jackets and hats will be given out to all participants while supplies last.
The parade begins on the corner of Bloor Street and St. George Street (near St. George subway station) and heads east on Bloor Street, turns south on Yonge Street and finally turns west on Queen Street, finishing at the parade reviewing stand at Nathan Phillips Square.
The parade route is about 3.5 kilometres in length and takes up to two and a half hours.
Access from the TTC subway can be made at the following stations: St. George, Bloor, Wellesley, College, Dundas and Queen.
So, if you’re Irish – or just want to be Irish for the day – come out to the parade and show support for your union at the same time.
Please don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather.
And also please remember to set your clocks ahead the night before the parade.
For more information about the parade, click here.
If you have any questions regarding the parade, please contact Mike Scott at 647-632-2035 or send an email to

Union Dues Tax Receipts Online as of Feb. 21, 2019

As of Thursday, February 21, 2019, Local 793 members will be able to go online to the union website and download their 2018 tax receipts for union dues and T4A’s issued by Global Benefits.

Originals are automatically sent out to members’ home addresses, as per usual. 

The online feature was established by Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher to allow members to download their receipts and file their tax returns early, if they choose to do so.

Following are step-by-step instructions on how to go online and download the 2018 receipts online:

> Go to the union website at

Log in to the member section of the IUOE Local 793 website. If you do not currently have an account, you must create one first.

Log in with your credentials

Once logged in to your member account profile, scroll to the bottom of the page and select view documents beside the downloadable tax forms description.

> Click on the available forms Dues (Union Dues Receipt) and T4A Form.  This will download a printable PDF form.








Building Trades Object to Decertification Push in Sault

Following is a letter to the editor from Pat Dillon, business manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, that was published in Daily Commercial News on Feb. 14, 2018. Earlier, Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher had also written a letter to the editor on the same issue at

As business manager of the Provincial Building Trades Council, I am deeply troubled by the ongoing push by Sault Ste. Marie City Council to pursue a change in the city’s status as a “construction employer.”

In my view, this move was made based on misinformation and without any substantive reasoning. If successful, such a move would consume huge legal costs shouldered by the citizens of that community, but more importantly, would denigrate the fair wages, job security, safety and training standards that construction workers in the Sault have fought to achieve over the course of generations.

The city is a construction employer because it had decided it was cheaper to hire carpenters and labourers directly and cut out the contractors those workers traditionally worked for. Those workers then decided to apply to certify the city so they would have the same wages and benefits as if they were working for their construction contractors, doing the very same work.

Thus, the City of Sault Ste. Marie became a construction employer. Sounds fair to me.

Now, the city is deciding, based on misinformation on potential savings, that it wants to try and avoid its legal obligations to the Sault Ste. Marie workers.

At a time when the general public is realizing that government can be a force for improving the quality of people’s work experience as evidenced by recent provincial labour law reforms and an increase to the minimum wage to help keep up with increased costs of living, the municipal government in the Sault appears to have chosen a path of weakening workers by increasing, instead of mitigating, their precariousness.

The real driving force behind city council’s decision is the pursuit of profits at the expense of worker training, wages and pensions.

If successful, a change in status would improve only one thing: the bottom line for certain contractors who don’t want to pay their workers fair wages and/or don’t want to compete with legitimate contractors on a level playing field.

Insofar as the City of Sault Ste. Marie chooses to perform construction work, it should remain designated as a construction employer.

Over the years, workers active on projects who built the community have chosen to be represented by the Carpenters’ and Labourers’ unions whose collective agreements include prevailing wages and benefits that were negotiated by those unions with contractors, including the City of Sault Ste. Marie, to support those workers and their families.

To all of a sudden have unscrupulous employers and their associations warn of “labour monopolies” and a “lack of competition” in the Sault’s construction industry in order to tear down obligations to workers, is nothing new. Such efforts demonstrate an eagerness by some contractors to test out what they can get away with.

Changing Sault Ste. Marie’s status as a construction employer to then be able to hire non-union contractors does nothing to save taxpayers’ money and everything to enhance those contractors’ profits.

This would not only negatively impact workers, but legitimate contractors as well; ones who do pay fair wages and who help pay for skills training which produces better health and safety outcomes.

Those like Ms. Karen Renkema, of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, who are pushing the decertification campaign, would have the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie believe that if the city becomes a non-construction employer, this would somehow spur increased construction employment among local residents. Yet, a recent electrical/mechanical contract at a major hospital project in Brockville, won by an employer from Ms. Renkema’s organization, will have that employer bringing crews from out of town to perform the work, thereby totally ignoring the qualified but unemployed local tradespeople.

Pursuing a change in the Sault’s status as a construction employer may unleash an ugly race-to-the-bottom in that city’s construction industry, and given Ontario’s strengthening economy, the citizens of this province are expecting shared prosperity, not more inequality.

I am hopeful that the city leadership in Sault Ste. Marie will take the broader interests of construction workers into account when looking into this matter, and not merely rely on a narrative that wants to deregulate local government tendering to improve profits over people.

100th Anniversary Photo Contest

Local 793 is preparing for the union’s 100th anniversary year in 2019.

One of the approved activities is a photo contest for members.

Prizes will be awarded for best photos of Local 793 members and activities in several categories:

  • 1919 – 1920
  • 1921 – 1929
  • 1930 – 1939
  • 1940 – 1949
  • 1950 – 1959
  • 1960 – 1969
  • 1970 – 1979
  • 1980 – 1989
  • 1990 – 1999
  • 2000 – 2009
  • 2010 – Present

Deadline for submissions is Friday, July 26, 2019. A winner will be announced at the general membership meeting on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019.

Some of the photos may be used in a special commemorative book being published to coincide with the 100th anniversary year.

The photos will be judged by a three-member committee.

Here are the rules:

  • All photos must be high resolution, at least 5×7 inches at 300 dots per inch (DPI). 
  • Photos must be accompanied by a caption with information on the year the photo was taken, who or what is in the photo, where the photo was taken, and what’s happening in the photo.
  • Only submissions with the required information will be considered. 
  • Please also include your union registration number when submitting the photo(s), so we can verify you are a member in good standing.
  • Union members can submit more than one photo. In fact, multiple entries are encouraged.

Photo(s) can be sent via email to or mailed to Grant Cameron, director of communications, IUOE Local 793, 2245 Speers Road, Oakville, Ontario, L6L 6X8.
If you have any questions, please call me directly at 905-469-9299, ext. 2276.

Local 793 Crane Apprentices Win Scholarships

Two Local 793 apprentices from Sudbury, Alain Pellerin and Stephane Charron, received recognition recently for their hard work and dedication as crane apprentices.

They were presented with the Harold Martin/Michael Quinn Scholarship, which offers financial assistance to an apprentice Operating Engineer in order to promote training in the construction industry.

In the photo above are (L to R) Sudbury business rep Eric Giroux, apprentices Alain Pellerin and Stephane Charron, former Northeastern Ontario area supervisor Michael Quinn and Northeastern Ontario area supervisor/financial secretary Robert Turpin.

Report on Hoisting Engineers Trade Board

Brian Alexander

Following is a report from Brian Alexander, assistant director of training and apprenticeship at the OETIO, who since March 2013 has chaired the hoisting engineers trade board of the Ontario College of Trades.

It has been a privilege and honour to serve for almost five years as chair of the hoisting engineers trade board of the Ontario College of Trades.

The board has been very active and much has been accomplished in the six years I have been on the board.

I was first appointed to the hoisting engineers trade board in February 2012, a little over a year before OCOT first began accepting members. Prior to that, I served a two-year appointment on the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities provincial advisory committee for the hoisting engineers trades. I was selected as chair of the OCOT hoisting engineers trade board on March, 26, 2013 and re-appointed to the board for a second term in 2015.

My current term on the board expires Feb, 14, 2018. Per the terms of the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, trade board members are not eligible to serve more than six consecutive years.

It is important for Local 793 to be represented on the trade board because it ensures the union is at the forefront of any decisions made that affect the hoisting trades. We can make sure that the concerns of our members are heard and work to ensure that the trades are protected and enhanced.

Business manager Mike Gallagher has always supported proactive involvement in trade-related training and health and safety committees. He supports the Ontario College of Trades because it places decision-making in the hands of those who understand the issues and feel the impact of those decisions. It also provides a path whereby a voluntary trade can become a compulsory trade.

I appreciate this approach, as it is much better to be at the table and engaged.

My time on the hoisting engineers trade board has been amongst the most fulfilling of any committee I’m involved with. It’s been great to have developed a rapport with OCOT staff to a point where they feel comfortable they can call you any time for advice and when they are struggling with an issue.

Since the inception of OCOT, the board has been very active dealing with all aspects of the hoisting trades. The trade board has issued three information notes geared to inform OCOT enforcement officers about issues relating to hoisting which impact health and safety for workers and the public, including:

  1. Enforcement of automotive wreckers and tow trucks performing hoisting/lifting activities for purposes other than to clear wrecks and haul vehicles – September 2013
  2. Supervision of crane apprentices – December 2014
  3. Identifying de-rated mobile cranes – May 2015

It’s interesting to note that OCOT enforcement officers laid charges in at least two separate instances where automotive wreckers were found being used as mobile cranes to perform work other than clearing wrecks and hauling vehicles. Operators did not have a Certificate of Qualification as a Hoisting Engineer and were subsequently charged. Not only is this practice incredibly unsafe, but it also takes work away from those who are properly qualified by having successfully completed an apprenticeship. Increased enforcement is one of the big benefits of the College.

OCOT policy personnel were also very supportive of the trade board’s position throughout the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship’s (CCDA) national harmonization project to not lower Ontario’s standard for mobile and tower crane apprenticeship training just for the sake of harmonizing with other provinces. Employer stakeholders who work nationally advised that, generally speaking, the best trained and safest crane operators are those who complete their apprenticeships in Ontario. OCOT never once suggested it would be best to lower the total number of apprenticeship hours for the hoisting trades for the sake of achieving the goals that CCDA had set for harmonizing the apprenticeship training requirements.

2018 is shaping up to be another busy year for the hoisting engineers trade board.

This year, the trade board plans to:

  • Update the exam for the Hoisting Engineer – Mobile Crane Operator 2 (339C) trade (maximum hoisting capacities of >16,000 but no more than 30,000 pounds).
  • Work towards implementing the new standard for the National Mobile Crane Operators Demonstration of Skills Test (DOST) which Local 793 and the OETIO were actively involved in developing.
  • Update the training standards for both the mobile and tower crane trades.
  • Work towards getting approval from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development for increasing the number of hours for Common Core Level 1 training to eight from six weeks to train in emerging new technologies in the craning industry.

To help continue the positive momentum of the past six years, I would encourage members who have a C of Q and a passion for the hoisting trades to apply for a position on the hoisting engineers trade board. All appointments to the College’s governing structure are handled through the Appointments Council. The link to the Council’s website is

If any member has a question about the College or the application process, feel free to call me at 905-469-9299 or send an email to

Hamilton Retiree Featured in Newspaper Story

The Hamilton Spectator recently ran a story about longtime Local 793 member Elwood Cook of Hamilton. The 85-year-old retiree was a grader operator and worked on many projects in the area.

By Jeff Mahoney
The Hamilton Spectator

The long and winding road that leads to his door (Elwood Cook’s) will never disappear.

(Hey, I like that sentence. Someone oughta make it a song. McCartney maybe? Nah.)
The long and winding roads and the countless others that Elwood smoothed the way for in this city, might get potholed (they sure might — have you driven out there this month?); they might get patched up, diverted, rerouted, resurfaced and altered.

But they’ll always be there, leading figuratively to his door, because he dug, loaded, bulldozed and graded the surfaces of so many streets in Hamilton, even as they were being born. He was a big-machine operator here for 44 years. There’s his old union cap on the shelf in his basement.

Click here to continue reading.