CECA 2017

There was a full room for the AGM.

Canadian association meets in the Great (Not So) White North.

The Canadian Elevator Contractors Association (CECA) held its 43rd annual convention in Collingwood, Canada, on June 6-9. Though the Blue Mountain Resort’s location was distant (nearly two hours away from Toronto Pearson International Airport) for some, the ski locale was a perfect place to spend a week in late spring. Though rain had been forecast, sunny and temperate weather held out all week.

Members started arriving on June 6, when there was a closed-doors CECA Board of Directors meeting. A golf tournament at links overlooking Lora Bay began the next morning, and the President’s Reception followed the first of four educational sessions. The evening open-air reception offered a great chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, while hors d’oeuvres were brought around, a band played, and a trivia game was held.

The next day, June 8, began with the Kickoff Breakfast. After outgoing President Brian Elliott’s welcome, Membership and Supplier Chair Michael J. Ryan of host The Peelle Co. introduced special guests, board officers and guest speaker Tracy Schmitt. Promoting her book UNSTOPPABLE YOU, Schmitt inspired everyone with her life story that included being a tall-ship captain, mountain climber, skier and Quest for the Gold athlete. These accomplishments would be impressive for anyone, but even more remarkable was the fact that she is a four-way amputee.


The informative, well-attended Annual General Meeting (AGM) immediately followed the breakfast. Heiner Marnet established a quorum and read the minutes from last year. Elliott, presiding, then called Doug Guderian up to deliver his report as treasurer. Guderian explained that the association’s revenue had decreased as planned due in part to decreased convention revenue, not increasing membership dues, offering discounts and investing in its scholarships, which it is offering for the second year. It has also invested in its French website and French maintenance control plan (MCP), in addition to the CECA standardized contract (now in both French and English and available to all CECA members), and obtained a Nissan fleet discount. (Nissan exhibited this year.) Ryan then presented the membership report, which revealed 215 members, a net increase of two from last year, with 17 companies as new members.

Rob Cane gave the Eastern Region Report, which focused on challenges in Quebec. These include code negotiations with and questions for licensor Régie du Bâtiment du Québec (RBQ). A general Quebec strike that affected all construction workers in the province had also been endured for a week in late May. Cane said the aforementioned translated MCP seemed to be successful so far, and he intends to bring a copy of it to a meeting with RBQ for approval.

Phil Staite gave the Central Region report, noting increased membership. The region created subcommittees for residential elevators and hoists to better address the needs of each sector. He noted dealings with Ontario’s Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA) have been both productive and informative. He also explained that the new Residential Elevator Committee had held four meetings to work toward raising awareness of home-elevator safety, promoting the industry, and establishing minimum training and standards requirements for home elevators. The Construction Hoist Committee had also been busy and scheduled two educational providers to present to its members in Collingwood. Members in the region are also working with the Ontario Infrastructure Health and Safety Authority’s Elevating Devices Committee to promote safety material to workers.

Staite explained that the Ontario College of Trades is working with the Industry Training Authority to make elevator technicians part of the Red Seal Interprovincial Standards Program and streamline the process for apprentices. Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario, is working on a two-year pre-apprenticeship program to start this month that could give applicants much of their training and additional electrical and/or millwrighting experience. It currently has 38 elevator-technician students enrolled.

Guderian joined Staite to explain the most heated topic of the week, the “Reliable Elevator Act.” Introduced into the Ontario Legislature on March 22, it surprisingly passed both first and second readings, while garnering strong media attention. CECA’s issue with it is that it makes the elevator contractor responsible for all out-of-service elevators to be back in service within 14 days (seven days for elevators in long-term-care facilities). CECA seems united in its belief that, while quick repair of elevators is important, there are many factors the contractor may have no control over that must be considered for each project.

CECA’s action on the bill has included forming a committee, which spoke to the member of parliament who tabled it and met with senior Ontario government officials. The committee was assured that if the bill goes to committee, CECA will have a voice at the table. It has also hired a lobbyist. Lobbying efforts are being coordinated with the National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII®), with its executive director, Karen Penafiel, explaining that its own lobbyist is in negotiations with lawmakers.

Marnet’s Western Region report covered each province, focusing on British Columbia, where there are approximately 28,000 units in operation. It is adopting the 2016 (updating from 2007) CSA B44 code. Marnet explained the industry is very busy with both new construction and modernization work, and an estimated 1,000 people are participating in mechanic certification programs. Vlad Zachata reported on dealings with the British Columbia Safety Authority.

Hugh Hunter gave the suppliers report, noting that the 112 supplier (not including dual) members make up 52% of total CECA membership. Staite of the Nominating Committee then said Marnet is stepping down from the board and being replaced by Rob Busch of Eltec in Vancouver, though Busch was not present.

Construction Hoist Meeting

James Frain spoke to a small meeting on construction hoists, explaining that the Elevating Devices Training Academy (EDTA) he represents is going through modules for TSSA approval. He said EDTA has training courses available but needs to work with someone in the elevator industry as it introduces its material. Staite and others present also spoke in greater depth on working with TSSA, which would be the accrediting organization for the modules. Steps on how to obtain the accreditation were brainstormed.


A spacious exhibition hall was opened immediately following the AGM. Fifty-six companies exhibited in 69 booths, marking the largest booth count in several years. A silent auction for the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation of Canada (EESFC) was held at many booths: companies donated a variety of prizes, with the proceeds of their sale netting EESFC CAD3,700 (US$2,938).

Dinner Dance

The annual Gala Dinner Dance was held that evening. It included a bit of entertainment and lots of good food, but was highlighted by awards and recognitions. Elliott thanked the board, saying it is “full of energy and fresh ideas,” and called this year’s iteration “the best CECA.” Ryan honored CECA Executive Director Catharine Bothwell for her tireless work in organizing all CECA matters, including the convention.

Walter Guderian was awarded CECA’s highest accolade by being named an honorary member at the dinner dance. Founder of Delta Elevator Co. Ltd. in 1967 in Kitchener, Ontario, his company was one of the first members of CECA, joining it in 1975. He held several positions of leadership in the association, including president in 1999-2001, and has not ceased in his support or attendance. Guderian also helped develop the Elevating Devices Mechanic Apprenticeship program in Ontario. Now celebrating 50 years, Delta has a full manufacturing facility, three branch offices and 150 employees (p. ??). He commented, “I still think CECA is the best thing an industry can have” and said his first motion as a member was to move CECA to a place with better weather.

Other honors included Marnet as departing director, The Peelle Co. members for their work in hosting and the following longtime membership awards:

  • 30 years: Porta-Flex Manufacturing, Rigidized Metals Corp. and Trident Elevator Co. Ltd.
  • 20 years: Virginia Controls Inc. and Westcoast Cos. Inc.
  • 10 years: City Elevator Ltd., The Insurance Market, Venture Elevator Inc. and WECO Elevator Products

The 2017-2018 CECA president was announced as Pedro Oughourlian of Ascenseur Adams Elevator Services Inc. The other board of directors for this term are:

  • Vice-president/treasurer: Doug Guderian (Elevator One)
  • Secretary/Western Region director: Busch (Eltec Elevator Ltd.)
  • Central Region chair: Staite (Quality Allied Elevator)
  • Eastern Region chair: Cane (Ascenseur Régional)
  • Western Region chair: Paul Bentley (Venture Elevator Inc.)
  • Membership chair/supplier secretary: Ryan (The Peelle Co.)
  • Supplier chair: Hunter (Wurtec Inc.)
  • Past president: Elliott (Delta Elevator Co. Ltd.)

Suppliers Breakfast

The next day, June 9, began with the Suppliers Breakfast, which included a short meeting presided over by Ryan. He introduced new members and new Supplier Chair Hunter, who gave the suppliers report. Ryan noted the high booth count and good expo attendance.

Beach Party

The week culminated at a party on a private beach on the Georgian Bay a few minutes from the resort. A large tent provided a place to get out of the wind and dine on delicious barbecued whole hog. Afterward, the sunset in full view provided ideal photo opportunities and another excellent chance to mingle and spend time with friends.

Future conventions will be held in Calgary at the Hyatt Regency on May 29-June 1, 2018, and Halifax on June 4-7, 2019. Heather and Dave Davies of Canwest Elevator & Lifts are hosting next year’s event, welcoming attendees to what they called “a cow town that has grown into a modern, marvelous city.”

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