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Building a 21st Century Union requires staying on top of the latest goings on in Canada and around the world. News items, photos and more to keep you 'in the know'.

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UBC researchers may be able to turn food into Energy.

UBC researchers has discovered some interesting treatment methods for FOG (fats, oils and grease) samples to increase production of methane gas, which is a valuable, renewable energy source.

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Source: Food in Canada 

Canada’s Largest Net-zero Energy Building to open in September

This September, Canada’s largest net-zero energy institutional building will open to students in Hamilton, Ontario. The Joyce Centre is an environmentally centred design using cutting-edge technologies, such as a rainwater harvesting system, triple glazed windows, a highly reflective roof-top surface, a light well, tapping into geothermal energy and many more including state-of-the-art labs, workshops, lecture theatres and industry training centres.

“The Joyce Centre is representative of Hamilton and its emerging identity as an intersection of blue and white collar sectors.” 

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Want to learn more about sustainable building?

In this interview with Casey from The Conscious Builder Inc., Chris Magwood talks about their school program and natural building products you can use for your next construction project.



Cavendish Farms Wellness Centre to install solar panels

Cavendish Farms Wellness Centre in Montague, P.E.I. is hoping to get a solar panels installed before this winter so they are operational by next spring. The cost of the project is around $400,000 but it is estiamted that the town will save $40,000 per year in operational costs.

"That goes a long ways to helping make your rinks and your facilities a lot more feasible to operate. And it saves the taxpayers. At the end of the day the Town of Montague is kicking in about $70,000 a year in operational fees. So if we can decrease that, that helps everybody." Andrew Daggett, Chief Administrative Office of Montague says. 

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Source: CBC News

While Ontario may not be in the lead on storage, it has recognized storage as a “game-changing technology” for the province’s electric grid

Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) recently opened its doors for a tour of Canada’s biggest battery housed in the Wright Industrial Park in Stratford, Ontario. The $20 million Stratford Festival Hydro battery, manufactured (and 50 percent owned) by Powin Energy, was procured under the IESO’s Energy Storage Procurement framework.

The Stratford facility will provide reactive power and voltage support to help with Stratford’s growing demand. But it is ultimately a testing facility, where IESO and other participants can learn how a massive dispatchable battery can help manage Ontario’s grid.

A small desktop setup with three screens is “the brains of the whole operation,” says Goertz. “Through this portal, IESO remotely controls the whole facility.” In fact, there are no permanent personnel on site; most days it sits unoccupied, just a big battery beside a transformer station.

In the long run, though, this battery may be the seed of a local micro-grid.

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Source: PV Buzz

The Green Energy Fund has been cancelled

Image result for green ontario fundThe Green Energy Fund was launched in 2017 and offered homeowners rebates to make their home more energy efficient. The goal was to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rebates for homeowners included $7,200 off insulation, $5,000 off high‐performance windows and $20,000 off ground source heat pumps.

Homeowners who have already signed up for th rebate can still get it,a s long as the work is completed by August 31and then submitted by September 30. 


Source: Toronto Sun

Ontario - the largest wind market in Canada

Ontario wants to invest more in wind energy - its low costing and will create benefits for Ontarians. Currently, Ontario supplies approx. 7.5% of the province's electricity demand. Last year they added four installations, creating an additional 119 MW to current generation capacity. 

Ontario's wind industry is creating jobs (well paying jobs) in manufacturing, construction and local services. 

Between 2006 and 2030, Ontario’s past and planned investments in wind energy will:

  • Create 73,000 direct and direct full-time equivalent (FTE) years of employment,
  • Generate $5.1 billion in direct and indirect wages and benefits,
  • Contribute $7 billion to the province’s GDP, and
  • Stimulate $14 billion in investment.

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Source: CanWea

The City of Edmonton will cut greenhouse gases by 50% in the next 12 years

Edmonton is trying to look long term – this plan will cost them $67 million over the next three years however they believe it will save $76 millions within the next twelve years. The cost upfront is so high as this plan requires the city to retrofit building, switched busses from diesel to electric, changing up lights so they are LED, and installing solar panels on buildings and sites.

But the City of Edmonton’s urban planning committee is for it and believes this is the best way forward. Mayor Don Iverson says that by investing in this, will only mean lower utility bills in the end. "We'd have to put new roofs on these buildings anyway," he said. "It's a question of adding extra insulation, you gotta put new windows in." 


Also in the plan, is to purchase 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 – solar, wind, biomass and hydro.

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Source: CBC | Edmonton

Fuelled: Wind turbines scaling new heights

It seems that the CPPIB (Canada Pension Plan Investment Board) now owns some of the biggest wind turbines in the world!


A new electric boat is on the horizon!

A navel engineering firm, Robert Allan, recently brought forward a new all-electric pilot boat to ferry pilots to their boats emission free. The purpose of this pilot boat is to get these pilots from land to their ships, so its really only a short distance. The boat is 16 m long and it can accommodate 6 people in total, 2 crew and 4 pilots. It is equipped with two 500 kW permanent magnet electric motors, that can go a top speed of 20 knots.

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Source: Electrek 

Renewable Energy in Nova Scotia


Nova Scotia is taking a different approach to energy – they want to move away from coal-based electricity. They are looking ahead, and they want a cleaner, more secure, sustainable energy future. They see a real opportunity to tap in natural gas and renewables. And why not since they do have an abundance of natural renewable resources in which they can develop such as: wind, hydropower, geothermal, and so much more!

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Source: Energy - Nova Scotia 

Government of Canada and Electricity Human Resources Canada to launch a Student Work Integrated Learning Program

The Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, with elected officials and CO-OP students from OPG, introducing Student Jobs Program for the Electricity Sector, at The Darlington Nuclear Information Center. (Photo: Business Wire)The renewable sector is the way of the future! And the Government of Canada recognizes that. In fact, the electricity and renewables sector is a high growth opportunity for students. So that is why the government has teamed up with the Electricity Human Resources Canada to help create the Empowering Future Program, a Student Work Integrated Learning Program.

This program is designed to create up to 1000 new jobs for post-secondary students in the electricity sector over the next 4-years. The objective of the project is to better align the skill sets and job readiness of graduates with the needs of electricity industry employers, in all provinces and territories across Canada.

“The Student Work Integrated Learning program was developed to bridge the gap between formal post-secondary learning and skills requirements of Canadian employers. The difficulties faced by young Canadians in the transition from school to work – obtaining entry into the world of work and gaining relevant job experience – are well known. This program will provide students with the opportunity to align their technical skills with the entrepreneurial and “work-ready” skills required by today’s employers.” Michelle Branigan, CEO EHRC.

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Source: Business Wire

The province of BC is at it again!

Image result for The Government of British ColumbiaThey just introduced a new legislation to update their greenhouse gas reduction targets. They plan to replace the 2007 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target Act with a new one this fall, The Climate Change Accountability Act.

This act sets new legislated targets of a 40% reduction in carbon emissions from 2007 levels by 2030, and a 60% reduction from 2007 levels by 2040. The current target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 remains.

“The act is the foundation for a credible and achievable climate action strategy in B.C.,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The previous government, after stalling on sustained climate action for several years, admitted they could not meet their 2020 target, and those targets are repealed in this act.

“We aim to remove barriers, and make it attractive and affordable for people, communities and industry to move to lower-carbon alternatives. At the same time, we will grow an economy that’s stronger, cleaner, more diverse and more resilient.”

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Source: BC Gov News

April 28 - Day of Mourning

"We have to change society's attitudes. Workplace injuries must never be seen by some as jsut the 'cost of doing business'". House statement from Minister Kevin Flynn.

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Alberta’s energy development is about to get a whole bigger!

Alberta is currently Canada’s third biggest wind market, following Ontario and Quebec, and it’s about to get a lot bigger. In the coming years, a wave of wind development will bring literally billions in investment to the province, as developers in partnership with landowners and communities build a network of new facilities to reliably, responsibly, and cost-effectively deliver the clean power that the province needs.

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Source: The Canadian Business Quarterly 

The 2018 Convention was a resounding success!

Trash used America Vs Sweden

The Top 25 Most Sustainable Companies, with Sustainability Scores


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Source: Forbes 


Could cow manure really be used to heat homes?

Well now this is interesting!

Researchers from the University of Waterloo are currently working on a project that collects cow manure and converts it into biogas to then use it as a source of renewable energy to heat homes. Cow manure can have an impact on the environment, so they are looking at this as win-win. By using the manure, they are then reducing the environmental impact and also yielding about 30% of its energy potential.

The proposal would eliminate harmful gases released by naturally decomposing manure when it is spread on farm fields as fertilizer. They say it would also partially replace fossil natural gas, a significant contributor to global warming.

What are your thoughts, could this actually work?!

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Source: CBC

MPP Yasir Naqvi’s Debate Statement in the Legislature regarding "Climate Change”

"The fact that climate change is a real and present threat that is already costing Ontario families, and we should do our part in supporting national and international efforts to combat it by putting a price on pollution."