TORONTO—The Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA) recognized construction industry leaders from across Ontario with its annual awards, held in-person in Niagara Falls recently.
COCA’s highest honour, the Cliff Bulmer Award, which recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to furthering the relationship between the construction industry and the Ontario government was awarded to Graeme Aitken, executive director of the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario. Aitken was recognized for pursuing health and safety issues with ministers and ministries.
The COCA Construction Hard Hat Special Achievement Award, presented to an individual or individuals who do something truly remarkable to advance the interests of the construction industry, was given to two recipients: Elizabeth Witmer and Michael Sherrard.
Witmer has served the Ontario public for 36 years, including 22 years as Kitchener-Waterloo MPP and as chair of the WSIB. She also served as the deputy premier of ontario, minister of labour, minister of health and long-term care, minister of environment and minister of education.
Sherrard, an employment and labour lawyer, is chair of Skilled Trades Ontario (a provincial Crown agency under the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development) and sits on the board of directors of Skills Canada (Ontario), Support Ontario Youth and the Council of Professional Investigators of Ontario.
The Industry Ally Award is presented to individuals outside of COCA who have made a significant contribution to the success of the construction industry or contributed to improvements to the industry environment in Ontario.
This year’s recipients include: Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario; Rod Cook, vice-president, Workplace Health and Safety Services; Matt Wilson, director, Workplace Health and Safety Services at the WSIB; Patrick Dillon recently retired, longtime business manager and secretary-treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario; Craig LeSurf, president of Gillam Group Inc. and chair of the League of Champions; and Ron Kelusky, Ontario’s former chief prevention officer.
The Chair’s Award is given at the discretion of the COCA chair to individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their contributions to the success of the provincial federation.
This year’s recipients were Andy Pilat, the general manager of the Sarnia Construction Association for 40 years who recently passed away. The award was accepted by Pilat’s son John, who has succeeded Andy at the Sarnia Construction Association.
Also receiving the award were Jim Lyons, executive director of the Windsor Construction; Sue Ramsay, general manager, Hamilton Halton Construction Association; and The Grand Valley Construction Association
The President’s Award is awarded at the discretion of the president to those who contribute to the success of our provincial federation.
This year’s recipients were Karen Sheldrick, general manager of the Niagara Construction Association and Trina Hayden, a director at NORCAT, a not-for-profit technology and innovation centre in Greater Sudbury.
She also serves on the board of the Northeastern Ontario Construction Association.