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IBEW & ECAO Celebrate 30 Years of Skills Ontario

June 3, 2019

On May 6 – 8, 2019, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Skills Ontario with yet another successful competition and active participation by the ECAO and the IBEW. Individuals from schools, government, private industry, trade unions, and other organizations gathered at the Toronto Congress Center to promote a variety of trades.

With over 2,400 competitors and 35,000 visitors throughout, it is the largest skilled trade and technology competition in Canada. This year our Locals from across Ontario supported eight (8) apprentices to compete in the Electrical Installations Post-Secondary competition.

  • Jesse Swayze of Local 105
  • Brianna Cloutier of Local 115
  • Haider Zahid of Local 353
  • Erik Robertson of Local 804
  • Zachery Desjardins of Local 1687
  • Matthew Golbourne of Local 353
  • Mitchel Weynerowski of Local 586
  • Jacob McDonald of Local 120

All of our IBEW apprentices did an amazing job this year!

“Since Skills moved from Kitchener to Toronto in 2018, attendance has been increasing over the past two years,” says Jodi Hill, of Local 353 (Skills Electrical Installation Tech Chairman).

Upon entering the Congress Center on competition day, the atmosphere was filled with excitement and focus from all those involved. Whether you are competitors eager to receive your competition assignment and begin the day,an organizer who has already put in countless hours of preparation and coordination, or an outside spectator, competition day is stressful but something to look forward to year after year.


A packed floor for competition day!

The Electrical Installations competition began at 8 a.m. as competitors prepared themselves for a long and grueling day. From their view, the competition is both nerve-wracking and exhilarating as it requires a mixture of time management, focus, and a combination of residential and commercial work. With all sorts of trade work underway and numerous spectators all around the competition floor, individuals must dial in and do their best work possible.


The electrical installation competition requires intense focus and skill.

Once the allotted eight-hour time requirement has ended, each competitor must sign out and await the judges review of their work. Two safety judges from the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA) ensured all competitors followed required safety standards. The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) provided twenty (20) judges that reviewed and ranked each competitor’s project.

Of the total number of medalists in this competition over the past 22 years, 70% have been IBEW apprentices. This year,the IBEW would like to offer a hearty congratulations to Gold Medal winner Erik Robertson of Local 804, Silver Medal winner Jacob McDonald of Local 120, and to all IBEW apprentices who participated in the 2019 Skills Ontario Competition.


(Left) Silver medalist Jacob McDonald of Local 120, gold medalist Erik Robertson of Local 804, and bronze medalist Daniel Backx of George Brown College.

We would also like to acknowledge the IBEW Construction Council of Ontario (IBEW CCO), the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO) and the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) for their sponsorship and contribution to the success of this year’s event.

As Jodi Hill explains, “all materials, volunteers, and funds provided by our sponsors make this competition such a successful event.” The coordination, resources, and incredible commitment of such individuals allow for this competition to be possible each coming year.

A Special Meet and Greet at Skills Ontario

Monday evening, the ECAO and IBEW hosted a meet and greet. Participating IBEW competitors from across the province, along with their advisors and all accompanying volunteers met with the executives of the ECAO and IBEW.


Some ECAO members at our meet and greet!



The ECAO/IBEW meet and greet was a great way to kick back, relax, and get to know each other.



From left to right: Graeme Aitken, Erik Hueglin, James Barry, Jodi Travers, and John Grimshaw.

“It was a great way for everyone from across the province to meet and come together to exchange and connect,” says James Barry, executive chairman of the IBEW CCO.
This was the first time such an event was hosted, and it surely won’t be the last. We look forward to providing opportunities like this at future Skills Competitions in the coming years.

Thank you for all of the support this year – we can’t wait for Skills Ontario 2020!

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