STAFF WRITER – The Ontario Construction Report
With the opening of its new 60,000 sq. ft. facility along Highway 401 in Cambridge this fall, CLAC will soon be positioned to offer its members, and the public, better training facilities, more space for meetings, and the opportunity for growth.
“We first opened a member centre and training facility in Cambridge in 2009 to serve our growing membership and to offer the safety and skills training our members need,” says Ian DeWaard, Cambridge regional director. “The rapid growth of the union’s membership, combined with the success and increasing demand for training from both members and the public has meant we have outgrown our existing space. Additionally, CLAC’s construction members are, on average, a decade younger than the national construction workforce, so there is strong current and future demand for safety and skills training.”
CLAC’s growth has been national. Several other centres in southern Ontario, including the union’s head office in Mississauga, were also bursting at the seams.
“We decided to expand our member, training, and staff space by constructing the new Cambridge Member Centre, which will also house our national finance, research, and communications teams,” says DeWaard.
More than 10,000 sq. ft. have been dedicated to training and classroom space, which will be provided by CLAC and its two training partners—the Pre-Apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute and Grand River Occupational Health and Safety Inc.
PAT is a long-standing training partner of CLAC. Its 17-week pre-trade programs, approved by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities, train workers for a variety of careers in the construction trades. DeWaard says these programs allow graduates the opportunity to enter the workforce as first year apprentices equipped with the tools, skills, and training to be work ready.
“Through our partnership with PAT, our signatory contractors gain access to new workers who are prepared and equipped to work,” he says.
Grand River is a new CLAC partner that provides safety consulting and training to a variety of companies in the area and throughout Ontario.
The new union member centre and training spaces will be operational in October, and will officially open in November with a formal grand opening celebration for members, invited guests and supporters.
The new state-of-the-art centre was designed by SRM Architects Inc. to be environmentally responsible. The centre uses energy efficient systems and water reclamation features in its training spaces. The outer finish includes masonry with a modern sheen, and a one-and-a-half-storey wood finish panel box to provide aesthetic appeal along an otherwise drab stretch of the 401.
“One of my favourite areas of the building is the two-storey main lobby, which is bright and welcoming,” says DeWaard. “From both storeys, visitors will look in to the hands-on training spaces to see the students at work. This is a great feature as it serves to highlight the skills development that will be happening here.”
Most of the work on the new centre has been completed by CLAC members, including those employed by:
• Schilthuis Construction Inc. (construction manager and general contractor)
• Kent-Erie Glass and Lock Inc.
• Mechanical Drywall Systems Ltd. Winter and Son Drywall Ltd.
• J.M.R Electric Ltd
• VanRooyen Earth Moving Limited • Rankin Construction Inc.
• Halton Sheet Metal
• Besseling Mechanical
• Can-Am Pipeworks
• Empire Roofing Corp.
• Essroc Canada Inc.
• Cambridge Concrete Pumping Ltd.
Formed in 1952, CLAC is one of Canada’s fastest-growing unions. Operating through 15 member centres, it is the country’s largest national, independent, multisector union representing more than 60,000 workers in almost every sector.