SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick - Getting more HVACR material translated into Spanish is the focus of much attention in the United States. But in Canada, the priority is to translate material into French.

The Refrigeration Service Engineers Society of Canada is doing its part by translating the RSES International Certificate Member (CM) exam into French. During RSES Canada's general meeting and educational conference here, officials said they hoped to have the project completed this summer.

"This is a major task," said Robert Obenauer of Edmonton, Alberta, who was president of RSES Canada at the time of the conference. "We have to make sure the meaning of questions is not lost in translation." The CM exam is one of a number of tests offered to RSES International members worldwide to help them gauge their strengths and weaknesses.

Availability of materials in French is important in Canada, as that language is used to a great extent, especially in the province of Quebec.

In fact, New Brunswick, where the conference took place, is considered a dual-language province.

Another topic that cropped up quite often in Saint John was membership. While RSES Canada is showing a gradual increase in membership, members at the conference explored ways to realize stronger growth.

Ron McCarthy, a regional director from St. John's, Newfoundland, and RSES International vice president, echoed comments from his fellow society officers when he said, "We may have to change our approach [and better] target colleges and schools to get our young people involved in our trade."

Wayne Chaisson


Refrigerant-related issues were also part of conversations and seminars. Gary Struhar of Windsor, Ontario, who acts as CFC chairman for RSES Canada, reported the association was active in training for a second round of certification testing in Ontario, where recertification is required every three years. (It is still a one-time only requirement in other provinces.)

One aspect of the Canadian equation is that while the federal government offers recommended guidelines regarding a wide range of refrigerant matters, such as de-commissioning chillers using CFCs and how long you are allowed to top off such systems, the individual provinces have final say. Struhar's recommendation was to "be careful what you tell people" and make sure of a particular province's directives.

The issue came up during a seminar by Wayne Chaisson, sales manager of Trane Atlantic in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He reviewed a wide range of chiller types, including absorption and vapor-compression chillers. When conversation turned to the CFC issue, Chaisson noted that it is still a relevant topic because so many chillers in Canada have a long life since they may not run that many hours, especially in colder climates.

Tying in with that was a release that came out at the same time as the conference from the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) that reported that there were 5,486 centrifugal-type chillers using CFCs in operation in the country from a variety of manufacturers as of 1995. Of those, 1,842 had been converted to a non-CFC refrigerant or replaced. That meant that there were 3,644 CFC units still operating. The HRAI reported that the 290 chillers converted or replaced in 2004 constituted a 4.3-percent increase over the number in 2003.

No 13 SEER Here

A seminar on alternatives to R-22 by Andre Patenaude, national sales coordinator for Emerson Climate Technologies, focused on R-410A as the choice of the industry. His talk centered on reasons for the decision, with much of that related to the cost-effectiveness of such equipment versus equipment with any other refrigerant options.

The speaker also noted the changeover in refrigerants is coming as air conditioning manufacturers in the United States are being required by law to move to 13-SEER equipment by the start of 2006. That fact touched off informal conversations during a break in the presentation that continued into the corridors.

According to a number of sources, the Canadian government has not adopted 13 SEER, and there were no apparent plans to do so. The primary sources for OEM unitary products are manufacturers based in the United States.

The questions that arose at the conference included: Will the OEMs in the United States continue to produce some non-13-SEER products for shipping to Canada? Or will that product come to Canada from overseas? And, how will Canadian end users and contractors respond to 13 SEER being the minimum for equipment in the United States, but not required by law in Canada?

For the record, HRAI President Warren Heeley earlier in the year told The News that the Canadian A/C industry may end up following the United States' move to 13 SEER, regardless of any government action.

"We're going to more or less adopt the same way that the U.S. is," he said. "The majority of the supply of product comes from the U.S., so it is really going to be a matter of fact versus a matter of whether or not."

A related issue at the conference concerned how much non-13 SEER would reach Canada before manufacturers make a full-scale switch. Said Heeley in his earlier statement, "The supply chain and manufacturers are trying to decide what to do with inventories between now and January and be-yond that. He noted that if sub-13-SEER equipment is manufactured before the deadline, manufacturers can still stock it and sell it.

On Exhibit

The exhibit hall for the conference had about 40 or so exhibitors, but many, many more manufacturers were represented. That's because manufacturer representatives or wholesalers showing their full range of products staffed many of the booths. There were also manufacturers with their own Canadian-based representatives.

The former included such names as A.M.T.S. Ltd. of Ancaster, Ontario; Barrett Sales (1998) Ltd. of Saint John, New Brunswick; CGF Products of Toronto; E.S. Gallagher Sales Ltd., Toronto; Fred J. Taylor Sales and Marketing of Scarborough, Ontario; and Wildon Sales & Marketing of Oshawa, Ontario.

Some familiar names in their Canadian personifications included Arkema Canada Inc., Bitzer Canada Inc., Bacharach of Canada, Carrier Canada Sales and Distribution, Johnson Controls Ltd., Madok Manufacturing Ltd., and Trane Atlantic.

Also in the mix were several companies with historic ties to Canada, such as KeepRite, showing an electric defrost unit cooler, and AllTemp, showing a tube bender.

Another exhibit had a special focus. HRAI, Ontario Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, and Local 787 of the Refrigeration Workers of Ontario are seeking to develop the HVACR Heritage Centre Canada to "preserve and record the history of the Canadian heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration industry and its essential contribution to Canada's rich heritage and way of life," according to information at the booth.

Organizers are seeking those interested in working on the project, those who might have historic tools and equipment of possible interest, as well as information about artifacts, documents, literature, or company photos. For more information, e-mail questions to or visit

Incoming RSES Canada President Gord Smith (left) chats with outgoing president Robert Obenauer, who became chairman of the board of directors.


Gord Smith, a retired contractor who had owned Thermo-Stat Mechanical in Guelph, Ontario, was elected RSES Canada president, while outgoing president Obenauer moved to the chairman of the board post. Speaker of the Year was given to Peter Boyd-Brown of KeepRite. James Blak, president of the Western Ontario Chapter, was given the Spirit of RSES Award. The Winnipeg [Manitoba] Chapter was given the W.J.A. Marshall Award for outstanding chapter.

Nick Reggi, program coordinator for Humber Institute of Technology and Advance Learning in Toronto, was given the HRAI Award for obtaining the highest mark in Canada for the Certificate Member Specialist (CMS) electrical examination for 2004, administered through RSES International for its members.

David McCutcheon of Winnipeg was recognized with the Irvine M. Bodine Award for the highest score in Canada on the general Certificate Member (CM) exam. The H.D. McDermott Award for member of the year was given to Allan White of Saint John, New Brunswick.

Up Next

RSES Canada will continue a recently established policy of holding a combined general meeting, educational conference, and exhibit show in odd-numbered years, while still conducting required business meetings on a yearly basis. To do this, it will hold its next general meeting for business matters in spring 2006 in Toronto at the time of the CMX-CIPHEX show. RSES Canada's next combined general meeting/educational conference/exhibition will be April 18-21, 2007, in Edmonton, Alberta.

Publication date: 06/06/2005