HRAI Chairman Bill Vale
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) recently held its 35th annual meeting for 200 HVACR manufacturers, distributors, and contractors at the Westin Nova Scotian. Invitees included members of the HRAI Manufacturers Division; the Canadian Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Wholesalers (CHRAW); and the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Contractors of Canada (HRAC).

HRAI has over 900 members in Canada and the United States and over 150 associate members including utilities, municipalities, educational institutions, consultants, and other related trade organizations.

Bill Vale (Lennox Industries), HRAI chairman, welcomed attendees to the annual meeting, the theme of which was "Leading the Way." The meeting included educational seminars, business meetings, and a social function at Pier 21, the landmark entry point for many immigrants to Canada from the 1920s to the 1970s.


One of the highlights of the meeting was a discussion of the progress of the HRAI Career Education Consortium, which was established in 2002.

Martin Luymes, HRAC director of services and relations, said that the consortium "knocked on a lot of doors and arranged meetings in Ottawa" with government groups but added, "it is frustrating and disappointing that we haven't accomplished our goals in the past year."

He added that the consortium has been successful in sponsoring a Skills Canada competition for heating system technicians and has developed a residential air system mechanical trade curriculum.

Other supporters of the consortium said that it is imperative to improve the negative image of the construction trades and focus on better education for the trades.

George Gritziotis, executive director of the Construction Sector Council (CSC) explained, "The mandate of the CSC is to identify and undertake human resource projects and initiatives geared toward meeting the current and future human resource needs of the industry."

Gritziotis outlined five key CSC priorities:

1. Promote apprenticeship training and delivery.

2. Advance career and workforce training.

3. Expand partnerships with national and provincial groups.

4. Improve recruitment and retention of youth in the industry.

5. Provide better information and research on the demand for skilled labor and other issues.

Luymes said, "We have a common goal of raising awareness of HVACR career opportunities and pursuing federal funding for education."

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Publication date: 11/17/2003