Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher welcomed David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, for a tour of the Union’s world-class training centre in Oakville. It was the MPP’s first visit to the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario (OETIO) since taking over the ministerial portfolio from Monte McNaughton in September.
Business Manager Gallagher, alongside President Dave Turple, OETIO Executive Director Rick Kerr and Director of Training and Apprenticeship, OETIO Oakville, Jeff Hewitt, was on hand to greet the minister. Other invited guests included Oakville MPP Stephen Crawford, Oakville North-Burlington MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario Business Manager Marc Arsenault and a host of representatives from every area of the construction industry.
Business Manager Gallagher took the opportunity to stress the importance of rigorous training in making jobsites safer across Ontario, while also expressing his gratitude for the provincial government’s ongoing support for the trades.
“Ontario is one of the safest places in the world to operate a crane and that’s because of training and investment in the trades. Our members have put their hands in their own pockets to support training,” Gallagher said.
“Now we are investing another $25 million to build a training centre to increase capacity. We want to make sure that a lack of investment doesn’t slow the economy by not having the Operating Engineers available to do that work in the future.”
Minister Piccini visited the state-of-the-art simulation room, where OETIO lead instructor Alden Paradise guided him on the mobile crane simulator. The minister then spent time chatting with apprentices in the training yard, where he also tried his hand at operating OETIO’s state-of-the-art concrete pump. The concrete pump was purchased in part with funds made available through the provincial government’s Skills Development Fund.
After being shown the railroad crane brought in by Van-Elle Canada for a new training program launching at OETIO Oakville in the spring, the minister addressed the audience at a reception held in the OE Banquet and Conference Centre.
“Mike and the team here are such strong advocates for you all, so thank you for your leadership and that only makes us better public servants,” Minister Piccini said. “Under this premier and this government, we’re building, and we recognize the important role organized labour plays in building a better Ontario.
“I know that we don’t have an infinite money tree, but I do know that every dollar we spend with you in partnership is taxpayer money well spent.
“Supporting you means we can get the Gordie Howe Bridge built and it means we can build our transit up, which communities like mine need so badly. So, I just want to say thank you because we do need you and we need you to keep challenging us as you have been.”
Before departing, the minister was presented with a model Putzmeister concrete pump to mark his first visit to Local 793 and OETIO.
Watch a video of the visit to OETIO Oakville by Minister Dave Piccini: https://bit.ly/3OyOhaQ