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Employee Spotlight: Manoj Kumar

The Rimrock Corporation team is made up of many hard working, talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do, and how they keep Rimrock exciting and fun.

This month we shine the light on Manoj Kumar, our new technical consultant. Manoj was born and raised in India. He lived in Montreal for the last six years, and recently made the move to Toronto. Prior to working at Rimrock, Manoj worked as an IT administrator and systems analyst.

In his free time, Manoj enjoys watching the news, comedy shows, and movies. He also likes spending time with friends and exploring new places.

Read on to learn more about Manoj.

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?
I’ve worked at Rimrock for a month. I like the team collaboration, collaborating with my friendly colleagues, the challenges of the role, acquiring knowledge that adds value, and the work-life balance Rimrock provides.

What is your favorite place and where is your next dream vacation spot?
My favourite place is my hometown in India where I was born and raised. Norway is my dream vacation spot!

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
I would love to be a pilot for a day.

What TV shows/music/apps/Podcasts are you currently obsessed with right now?
I’m enjoying Stranger Things and Game of Thrones.

If you could have a drink with anyone (fictional, alive, dead, famous, non-famous) who would it be and why?
I would have a drink with former Indian cricketer, Sourv Ganguly (Dada). He completely changed the face of Indian cricket by adding new talents to the team.

Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself or your “secret talent” that your colleagues might not already know.
Before becoming a software engineer, I wanted to be a mechanical/electrical engineer.

Any pet peeves?
People who don’t signal before turning.

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Tariff Relief on the Horizon?

Tariff reliefThe United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), or as Justin Trudeau calls it CUSMA or the new NAFTA, may have been signed, but steel and aluminum tariffs remain in place. These tariffs have a significant affect on the HVAC and refrigeration industries. So is there tariff relief on the horizon?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged U.S. President Donald Trump to drop his steel and aluminum tariffs on Canadian imports during the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) in Argentina.Trudeau said the tariffs remain a major obstacle to U.S. and Canadian prosperity, even under the new USMCA deal that both leaders signed with Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto.

While at the signing in Buenos Aires, Trudeau stated “We will not rest while those barriers remain. Canada will be as relentless in meeting this challenge as we were in updating NAFTA.”

According to one Canadian company that sells vents, ducts, grills, pipe fittings and studs in both countries and operates manufacturing plants in Missouri and New Brunswick, it’s been a very difficult year. Steve Finlay, VP Canadian Sales for Imperial Manufacturing Group stated “We’ve had two price increases passed along to our customer base this year, which is unprecedented. Our US operation has no choice but to import certain products. And they got hit with the 25% tariff.”

Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, accounting for almost 50% of US exports. In 2017, about US $14 billion of steel was traded between Canada and the United States. Canada and the U.S. share a highly integrated aluminum market with combined trade of more than US $11.4 billion annually. About 84% of Canada’s primary aluminum production is exported to the United States, where it is used as an important input for further processing into products for US domestic and export markets.

The tariffs have been driving up the cost of furnaces, air conditioning units, water heaters etc. Buyers are now paying more for raw material, whether they are importing it with the tariff or from local sources. The hope is that now that the USMCA is signed, the parties can find a way to agree to remove the tariffs. It is anticipated that they will be reduced or eliminated, but when this will happen is anybody’s guess.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world.  Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter  for all the latest news.

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TSSA Receives Failing Grade from Auditor General Over Elevator Safety

Last week, Bonnie Lysyk, Ontario’s Auditor General, released her annual report. It stated that the TSSA, the agency responsible for inspecting Ontario elevators, is failing to meet its mandate to protect public safety.  Lysyk says the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) is doing little to tackle real elevator safety issues. Ontario’s PC government has now directed the TSSA to take immediate steps and produce an action plan by Jan. 31, 2019 in response to the report.

 

Large elevator maintenance companies
Lysyk says that the TSSA lacks the appropriate enforcement powers to deal with big elevator companies. A small number of these companies dominate Ontario’s market and for years have been failing to maintain most of Ontario’s operating elevators in accordance with safety laws. The TSSA has tried with little result to have these large elevator maintenance companies perform required maintenance and safety tests. It has repeatedly prosecuted the same large maintenance company, resulting in guilty verdicts and fines over $1 million However, in 2018, 93% of the inspected elevators maintained by this company in regions related to the prosecutions failed to pass their latest TSSA inspection. Shockingly, five of these elevators are located in a Toronto hospital.

TSSA oversight
In her annual report, Lysyk criticized the TSSA for poor oversight. It noted that most elevators and escalators in the province fail to comply with safety laws. The report stated, “We found cases where the TSSA has focused on areas where it can recover its costs even though its activities have little effect on public safety, and we found other areas in which the TSSA does not generate revenue from licensing fees and where it has done little to enforce public safety, even though risks to public safety exist.”

TSSA’s outdated computer system
Lysyk also called out the TSSA’s outdated computer system. It “contains inconsistent and incomplete information about the safety status of devices and businesses that it regulates,” she wrote. “TSSA’s licensing system does not communicate with the system that captures inspection information,” she explained. “As a result, in 2018, the TSSA renewed the operating licences of over 300 elevators that at the same time were still shut down by the TSSA for being unsafe to operate.”

80% of elevators in Ontario failed inspections in 2018
In 2018, just over 80% of elevators failed their TSSA inspection, mostly because maintenance and safety work required by law was not done on time. Lysyk blames the agency for being ineffective in its enforcement of elevator safety. Her report says the small number of elevator maintenance companies that dominate the market are failing to get safety work done on time, but the TSSA is having little success in cracking down.

According to her report, the safety authority deems it impractical to shut down the operating licences of the large maintenance companies – ThyssenKrupp, Kone, Schindler and Delta – no matter how poor their track record, and equally difficult to take non-compliant elevators out of service.

“Shutting down elevators to enforce compliance is also not practical,” the report states. “Unless there is an immediate risk to public safety, it only affects the building’s tenants and ends up benefiting the maintenance companies, as they often charge owners a higher rate for performing emergency repairs to bring the elevators back into service.”

Who is to blame?
The report found many building owners avoid taking on the big companies. Building owners also find it challenging to use smaller independent companies because of ironclad contracts and a requirement to use company-owned technology.

The elevator companies tend to blame building owners for being unwilling to spend money on maintenance and also cite a shortage of fully-trained technicians.

TSSA and Ministry of Government and Consumer Services response
The TSSA said in response to the auditor’s report that it was developing a new “outcomes-based regulatory approach for effectively identifying risk, increasing compliance and promoting safety.”

For its part, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, which is responsible for the safety authority, said it was looking to enhance its oversight processes to provide greater assurances that the TSSA is meeting its public safety mandate in the interests of the people of Ontario.

FIELDBOSS is a proud member of CECA and NAEC. We stay current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the elevator world.  Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter  for all the latest news.

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New Release: FIELDBOSS 3.0 for Elevator Contractors

FIELDBOSS 3.0 is our latest release specific to elevator contractors.

FIELDBOSS 3.0 includes several functionality improvements as well as a significant update to the platform that leverages the Dynamics 365 V9.0 update.

 
 

Major updates to the platform include:

 
Platform Separation
When Dynamics 365 launched, Microsoft made a move towards an app-centric platform. With the release of V9, Dynamics 365 breaks the modules into role-based apps for sales, finance & operations, customer service, talent, field service, and others. By moving away from one platform with modules hardwired in, Microsoft removes the need to test all at once and upgrade everything in one enormous project. This will speed up release cycles by allowing the modules to work independently of each other, but still remain connected with a common data service.  The user will see an uninterrupted flow of improvements in the same way that apps on a tablet or mobile device are updated.

Multi-Select Option Set
Drop down selection lists have been available since CRM v4 but until now, the native functionality of Dynamics 365 / CRM only enabled a single selection from an option set field. With the release of V9, MultiSelect Option Sets are available as a field type. This means you will have one field with a list of options and you can select more than one option from the list.

Refreshed Web Client User Interface/Unified User Interface (UUI)
Microsoft has previewed its new Unified User Interface (UUI) that adapts to the device or screen in use to provide a consistent experience across web, Outlook, mobile and tablet. This revamped interface is designed to address a series of customer feedback requests such as text wrapping for field labels and values, removal of excess white space, extended theme capabilities, and standardized fonts. Further enhancements as part of the UUI include:

  • Skype for Business presence indicator across all supported web browsers
  • OneNote create functionality will be available in mobile
  • Improved dashboard chart filtering and drill-down – similar to controls previously only seen in the Interactive Service Hub

 

New Activity Timeline
The new Activity Timeline, formerly know as the Social Pane, combines posts, activities, and notes into a single feed. Users will be able to filter specific activity types and quickly see unread items.

Security Enhancements
Dynamics 365 system settings will now include a configurable maximum session length and an option to enable session timeout due to a predefined period of inactivity. In both instances, a warning prompt can be configured that will alert users enabling them to re-authenticate and make sure their work is saved. When a session expires the screen contents are blanked out.

Improved Advanced Find Rules
D365 v9 features more flexible rules to query related entities that do not contain data. ( i.e. Finding lead records that do not have any activities scheduled, or account records that do not have any opportunities scheduled.)

Continued Support for Outlook Add-in
In June 2017, MS announced the plan to replace Dynamics 365 for Outlook with Dynamics 365 App for Outlook. Microsoft received overwhelming feedback around the need for the Outlook add-in. As a result, Microsoft has now confirmed that the Outlook add-in will continue to be fully supported in current and future versions of Dynamics 365, and bug fixes will continue to be released.

Business Process Flow Dashboards, Grids, and Charts
This feature allows System Administrators and Customizers to create Business Process Flow dashboards, grids, and charts. This provides users a visual of the processes they follow to get work done rather than the records they would have to find to access those processes.

There are more updates and enhancements to the platform that are not highlighted in this blog post. And as always, we have also implemented several smaller improvements and fixes.

If you would like more information on FIELDBOSS 3.0, or have any questions, please contact us .

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New Release: FIELDBOSS 3.0 for HVAC Contractors

FIELDBOSS 3.0 is now available for new and existing HVAC customers!

With version 3.0 FIELDBOSS customers are now able to manage progress billing for construction projects and inventory stock levels within the system much more efficiently.

In addition to the two major functionality improvements, version 3.0 adds new features and performance enhancements that continue to streamline HVAC contractor business processes.

FIELDBOSS 3.0 for HVAC, key enhancements include:

Progress Billing

New to FIELDBOSS HVAC, Progress Billing allows project ‘phases’ to be tracked and billed as work on the phase progresses, with the system automatically managing retainage (holdback) for phases in accordance with AIA standards. This new feature also allows an ‘Application for Payment’ to be generated and sent to the customer, which can be adjusted at any time.

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New Inventory Functionality

FIELDBOSS 3.0 introduces support for inventory management integrated with Dynamics GP. New functionality allows customers to view stock levels at warehouse locations directly in Dynamics 365, and mark inventory items as allocated once the Work Order is created. Once an item is out of stock, users can receive a warning when placing a Work Order for these items.

Wage Categories

Version 3.0 extends the innovative functionality released in previous versions to further optimize the Service Activity feature by providing the ability to ensure compliance with ‘Prevailing Wages’ as required by law and/or contractual agreement. When a Time Card is completed, FIELDBOSS will use the appropriate “burdened cost” for job costing purposes. This feature is an optional extension of Labor Rate tables and can be setup and used only if needed for a specific Work Order or Project.

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Field Requests

Version 3.0 includes the ability to create a ‘Field Request’. This can be used by technicians in the field to create and track requests for services, parts, or other information on their mobile device. This request is routed to the office, which then tracks the request to completion. This feature provides the back office the ability to more effectively queue, prioritize, act and follow up on requests from the field.

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Major Update to Maintenance Contracts 

FIELDBOSS 3.0 introduces significant changes to the way Maintenance Contracts are created and managed, as well as how Maintenance Invoices are generated. In 3.0, a single Maintenance Contract can be used for many different billing cycles, including: monthly, annual, three-year and five-year on the same invoice. Additionally, a new view has been added to quickly identify contracts that are due for annual “escalations”. Maintenance invoices can now be generated for the current month or can be generated in advance for dates in the “next month”.

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There are more updates and enhancements included in these releases that are not highlighted in this blog post. And as always, we have also implemented several smaller improvements and fixes.

If you are a current customer looking to upgrade, or would just like some more information on FIELDBOSS 3.0, please contact us .

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Employee Spotlight: Jacqueline Park

The Rimrock Corporation team is made up of many hard working, talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do, and how they keep Rimrock exciting and fun.

This month we shine the light on Jacqueline Park, our Director of Consulting.  Jacqui was born and raised in Sarnia, and went to university in London, Ontario. Before moving to Toronto, she lived in Burlington for 10 years. Jacqui now lives in Toronto, and loves it!

Prior to working at Rimrock, Jacqui worked in various IT roles- as a programmer, developer, systems administrator, project manager and business analyst. She also did some independent contracting work.

In her spare time, Jacqui loves hitting the gym. A self-proclaimed gym rat, Jacqui spends a lot of free time running, swimming, cycling, and doing crossfit. She even manages to do a few triathlons in the summer. She’s also been teaching yoga for over 10 years and still teaches weekly. She practices most days along with breathwork and meditation every morning – which she credits for keeping herself grounded and focused.

Read on to find out more about Jacqui.

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?

I have been here for about 6 weeks now – I am learning so much from everyone! I am so grateful and inspired to be working with such a talented group of people. I am quite comfortable in an entrepreneurial environment and I really appreciate the inclusive culture and work life balance that we have here.

What is your favorite place that you have visited and where is your next dream vacation spot?

I don’t have a favourite. Every place I have visited holds a special memory for me. My most recent trip was to India. I travelled there last fall for the first time; any concerns and fears that I had completely vanished once I arrived in Rishikesh. The people, food, culture, markets, temples – and all the bright colours – it was magic! I would go back in a heartbeat. My next big trip will be Vietnam and Cambodia or Bali.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

I would love to be a sound engineer at a massive music festival or rock concert.

What TV shows/music/apps/Podcasts are you currently obsessed with right now?

I’m a huge music/concert junkie – I go to shows every week. Lately I’ve gotten into Rainbow Kitten Surprise and really excited that I was able to get tickets to an upcoming show in TO. My absolute favourite band is Alt-J. I drove to Cleveland last summer to see them – great road trip!

If you could have a drink with anyone (fictional, alive, dead, famous, non-famous) who would it be and why?

Buddha – but I don’t think he drinks…maybe a tea?

Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself or your “secret talent” that your colleagues might not already know.

Some of you may know this already but I dedicated many years of my life to boxing – both amateur and pro. In 2008 I was ranked top 5 in the world in my weight class. I got to travel and compete all over the world with Team Canada as an amateur and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything else.

 

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What’s Wrong with the Canadian Elevator Industry?

The decline in Canadian elevator service is linked to a mix of industry problems and external factors including lack of qualified mechanics, cost pressures, changing demographics and regulatory reforms, which have all converged to create a challenging environment.

Here are 5 challenges the Canadian elevator industry is currently facing:

1 -TECHNICIAN SHORTAGE AND ROUTE LOADING

One of the issues facing Canada’s elevator industry stems from a shortage of qualified elevator mechanics. This results in “route loading”- slightly increasing the number of elevators a technician needs to service on their route. As their routes get bigger and more unmanageable, mechanics struggle to keep up with the number of elevators they must maintain.

2 – AGING WORKFORCE

There has also been a change in the demographics of elevator mechanics. Many of the industry’s senior mechanics have retired and new mechanics are joining the trade. These younger mechanics lack the experience to troubleshoot as effectively as the more experienced ones which leads to higher call-back rates..

3 – AGING EQUIPMENT

There are more elevators than ever before, but they aren’t all brand-new. Elevator contractors are increasingly dealing with a dilemma as parts, and technicians familiar with the aging equipment, become hard to find or disappear altogether. 1,500 of Ontario’s 18,000 residential elevators are more than 50 years old, and 10,000, the majority, are between 25 and 50 years old. Even with regular maintenance, older equipment is more prone to need regular service or part replacement. These new parts commonly come from abroad, which means service or repairs for older elevators not only happen more frequently, they often take longer, since parts take longer to obtain.

4 – INCREASING POPULATION AND CONSTRUCTION:

The TSSA reported that “Contractors responded to 9,649 elevator entrapments in 2016 across residential and institutional buildings” which is “the equivalent of 26 elevator entrapments per day in Ontario”. Canada’s major elevator companies have come under scrutiny for entrapments, breakdowns and delayed repairs. However, according to an experienced elevator mechanic and consulting engineer, “Doubling the number of entrapments from 2001 to 2016 is not unreasonable given factors such as increased population, increased number of elevators, and the increased ability to report an entrapment.” There is a record number of elevators being built in Toronto, due to the number of new high-rise buildings and condos being built in the city, and not enough mechanics to maintain them. With so many elevators to service, today’s trained technicians have more work to do than ever before.

5 – REGULATORY REFORMS

Elevator codes and regulations are constantly changing. Cat 1 and Cat 5 testing, MCPs, Directors Orders and revoked Directors Orders, and then there are the new Ontario laws that have been passed but not yet enforced. It can be a challenge to keep on top of them all. If you don’t have a process to stay on top of them, you could be non-compliant and your business will be fined.

 

Contact FIELDBOSS for more information on how our software can help your elevator service company run a profitable and efficient program amidst the complicated world of the Canadian elevator industry.

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OSHA Releases Top 10 Safety Violations for 2018

OSHA announced its Top 10 list of most cited violations for 2018.  Although this annual list of the most frequently cited violations almost always features the same categories, the individual rankings do shift a bit. It’s concerning to note that the total number of violations went up in all nine categories this year except for the eye and face protection category (No. 10), which is new to the list.

 

OSHA TOP 10 SAFETY VIOLATIONS 2018

  1. Fall Protection
  2. Hazardous Communication
  3. Scaffolding
  4. Respiratory Protection
  5. Lockout/Tagout
  6. Ladders
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks
  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements
  9. Machine Guarding
  10. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment -Eye and Face Protection

 

The goal is to inform the public of the most commonly cited safety violations and allow employers to focus their efforts on those standards to make workplaces safer for employees.

Some Common reasons why companies get cited for safety violations:

  • Outdated tools and methods compromise your EHS processes.
  • No collaboration between the field and office.
  • Information collected on paper can be lost, incomplete, inaccurate or unreadable.
  • You can’t manage what you don’t track.

 

Here are 5 ways an end-to-end field service software can improve field service safety:

1.      Collect Data Not Paperwork

Paper-based forms may get lost, or contain illegible handwriting and incorrect calculations. Vital data may not be communicated effectively – if at all.

An end-to-end field service software solution will ensure:

  • Forms are filled out quickly, with accurate, legible information.
  • Consistent answers from pre-populated fields via drop-down menus
  • Calculations are automatic, and critical information cannot be skipped over due to mandatory form fields.
  • Techs can take photos to highlight safety concerns; collect signatures on site to sign off on inspections.
  • Reports are automatically shared across back-office systems and staff.

 

2.      Provide your field teams with up-to-date information

Your teams may not always have the information they need readily available in the field, particularly if they’re relying on manual, paper based processes. Unless your teams regularly stop by the office, it can be difficult to share updated job site information, dispatch the latest health and safety forms, or inform field workers about new regulations.

An end-to-end field service software solution will ensure:

  • Your field team always have the most up-to-date mobile forms.
  • Real-time data – view and select price/part lists in easy-to-pick dropdown menus.
  • New employees get up to speed quickly by offering links to tips, how-to-videos, and regulation handbooks – directly in the form.
  • Enhanced collaboration you need between the field and office.

 

3.      Deliver data when and where it’s needed

Paper-based processes are vulnerable to communication bottlenecks, as forms have to be faxed, scanned, or physically transported to the office, which can slow down processes that are critical to resolving safety issues.

An end-to-end field service software solution will ensure:

  • Communication bottlenecks are eliminated. Field techs can submit critical EHS data to the office with the touch of a button, empowering you to quickly resolve  compliance issues

 

4.      Integrate with back-office system

It’s not enough to be compliant. You have to show that you’re compliant. Your safety data and reports have to be easily accessible to both internal stakeholders and industry regulators. This is difficult and time-consuming if your forms are stashed away in filing cabinets across different offices.

An end-to-end field service software solution will ensure:

  • Your field and your office are completely integrated and data is synched in real-time.
  • Your admin staff will no longer  need to spend much of their days transcribing data from paper to your back-office system.

 

5.      Gain greater visibility with analytics

Keeping  your field service team safe requires you to be proactive. Safety-conscious organizations use analytics tools to leverage their historical health and safety data to help predict and prevent future incidents that could have serious corporate and human consequences. Analytics tools present your real-time data in easy-to-read dashboards and reports, revealing critical information to help prevent violations.

An end-to-end field service software solution will:

  • Track the number of incidents per region, office, and/or team.
  • Identify the best and worst performing sites and teams.
  • Share top performers to establish best practices across the organization.
  • Identify problem areas that require special attention to improve your health and safety compliance  scores

 

FIELDBOSS contractor management software can help you to ensure the greatest level of safety for the public and your technicians by giving you the tools you need to stay compliant, avoid headaches, and keep your team informed. Contact us for a free demo or for more information.

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Where Does the U.S. Stand on HFC’s Heading into 2019?

Since last year, when a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA could not ban HFCs through its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, there has been a lot of confusion around HFC’s. End users who thought they would have to transition from high-GWP HFCs to other refrigerants were suddenly given a reprieve, while states, such as California and New York, created their own HFC regulations. Many in the HVACR industry hope the U.S. simply accepts the phasedown schedule recommended in the Kigali Amendment which they have yet to ratify. So where does the U.S. stand in regards to HFCs heading into 2019?

The future of HFC controls at the federal level is unclear for a few reasons.

  1.  SNAP Ruling -The U.S Supreme Court has declined to consider a review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s decision to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ban on HFCs. This leaves in place the decision from last year, which overturned the EPA’s directives to ban high-GWP refrigerants such as R-404A and R-410A from use in certain applications.
  2. Kigali Amendment –The initial steps of the HFC phase-down are set to take place starting January 1st, 2019. Yes, that’s right… just a little over a month away. In order for this first step to be taken a total of twenty, or more, countries had to ratify the Kigali Amendment. Currently there are over fifty-three countries that have ratified. Some of these countries include Germany, Mexico, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, the European Union, and many more. Missing from that list is the U.S. The United States has not ratified the Kigali Amendment. It seems as though, for the United States, the Kigali Amendment has been forgotten. Businesses and many in the industry have pushed for Trump to ratify to no avail.
  3. EPA Section 608 – The EPA recently proposed to revise the Section 608 refrigerant management regulations, where it would “rescind the leak repair and maintenance requirements” for HFCs. In addition, EPA has asked for public comments on whether technicians should have Section 608 certification before being allowed to purchase or handle HFCs, as well as if there should be a requirement to recover or reclaim HFCs. Last week Fifteen U.S. states and the District of Columbia sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “strongly opposing” its proposed revisions to updated leak repair and maintenance regulations for stationary refrigeration and air conditioning equipment containing HFCs. The ACCA, America’s largest HVACR contractor group, has raised serious safety concerns over the possibility that unqualified people might be allowed to handle refrigerants. Not only would this have a negative effect on the climate, it would negatively impact the HVACR industry as a whole. If the EPA doesn’t step up and address HFCs, each state will end up with their own rules.

 

As of today, 4 states have already adopted their own HFC refrigerant regulations to compensate for the federal level activity. All of this has created a great deal of uncertainty in the industry. That’s why it is so important for the EPA to step up and decide how to regulate HFCs for the nation, because if it does not, then the HVACR industry could be exposed to a patchwork of regulations that varies from state to state. The EPA anticipates issuing a proposed rule addressing HFCs in early 2019. If the U.S. government doesn’t ratify the Kigali amendment and/or the EPA doesn’t take charge of HFC’s, expect even more refrigerant confusion in the coming years.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world.  Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter  for all the latest news.

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What Happened to Ontario’s Bill 148 and Bill 8?

Over the last year, the Ontario elevator industry has been faced with the threat of numerous regulations that would drastically effect how they do business. First, Bill 148 was proposed and set to become a law in January 2019. Next, Bill 8, Access to Consumer Credit Reports and Elevator Availability Act was ratified and set to come into force on a date to be decided upon in the near future. So what happened to Bill 148 and Bill 8?

Bill 148 officially collapses as Bill 47, The Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 becomes a law

Bill 148 was introduced by the Liberal government as part of Ontario’s labour and employment laws. It was set to become a law on January 1, 2019, leaving Ontario elevator contractors to face yet another challenge. Bill 148 called for mandatory minimum 3-hour labour standby time and would have traumatic financial implications for elevator contractors in Ontario. Non-union contractors in Ontario would face increased cost if this legislation stayed in place. CECA was concerned that this issue could flow over to the union sector at a later date and eventually to the other provinces. They recommended hiring a lobbyist to fight for an exemption from this standby clause.

However, on November 21, 2018, Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, quickly passed third reading and received royal assent. Although Bill 47 preserves certain Bill 148 amendments, it repeals many Bill 148 reforms, including those respecting paid personal emergency leave, planned increases to the minimum wage, and enhanced employee rights with respect to shift scheduling.

Bill 47’s amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ESA) will come into force on January 1, 2019, while the changes to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (the LRA) take effect immediately.

Highlights of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act include:

1.      Employment Standards Act.
Minimum Wage: Minimum wage to remain at $14.00/hour, at least until October 2020. Further increases in minimum wage to start October 2020, and will be tied to inflation.

Scheduling: Most of the new scheduling provision in Bill 148 will be repealed, including the right:

  • To request changes to schedule or work location after an employee has been employed for at least three months.
  • To receive a minimum of three hours’ pay for being on-call, if the employee is available to work but is not called in to work, or works less than three hours.
  •  To refuse requests or demands to work or to be on-call on a day that an employee is not scheduled to work or to be on-call with less than 96 hours’ notice.
  • To receive three hours’ pay if a scheduled shift or an on-call shift is cancelled within 48 hours before the shift was to begin.
  • The obligation to keep records relating to these issues.

 

“Three Hour Rule”: The “Three Hour Rule” will be modified such that where an employee who regularly works more than three hours per day is required to report to work, but works less than three hours, the employee will be paid for three hours.

Bill 8, Access to Consumer Credit Reports and Elevator Availability Act seems to have broken down as no enforcement date set

Bill 8, Access to Consumer Credit Reports and Elevator Availability Act was given Royal Assent in May, officially becoming a law just weeks before the Liberal government was voted out and the PC government took over.  The bill called for existing maintenance requirements to be further policed; for elevator performance data to be made available to prospective multi-residential home buyers and renters; and for new standards to be created for how much elevator capacity is required in new high-rise buildings. It also proposed to create a timeframe within which contractors had to fix out of service elevators. That Bill has yet to move forward and there’s no word from official sources on when – or if –  that law will ever surface again. The law was written to come into force on a date to be decided upon in the near future. However, the new PC government has not proclaimed it, or set a date.

The PC government had this to say:

“We understand there are serious concerns regarding elevator availability across the province. We are working with ministry officials, TSSA and industry to better understand the cause and the policy options available so we can address these issues in an appropriate, enforceable and effective way.”

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