Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Mar 26, 2017

SturgeonOver the past 20 years, Alice Sturgeon has been extensively involved in international standardization, primarily with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), in information security and identity management planning and management, as well as risk, cryptography, biometrics and smart cards. In recognition of her contributions to Canadian and international standardization, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) presented Ms. Sturgeon with a certificate of recognition and sat down with her to discuss her impressive career and the importance of standards.

You have an extensive history in the international standardization system. Can you tell me about what initially prompted you to get involved in standardization? Why are standards so important?

In the 1970s, I was at the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) as the executive assistant to the chief. I took minutes at executive meetings and that’s when I first heard about SC 27 (the ISO committee on IT security). CSE was always involved in SC 27 and they still are, of course, but I didn’t get involved until after I left the federal government, in 1995. I had a few colleagues who suggested that I might be interested because it was along the lines of the work that I had done and was doing.

So that’s how I got involved, I decided to go to a meeting to see what it was like, and I stayed because it was very interesting. I left the government in 1995 and I spent about two years doing consulting, mostly in the areas of information security and cryptography. Then I joined a small cryptographic hardware company where standards were very important. It was important to have access to the developing standards, and the realization that you could actually have input into the developing standards got me excited about the whole process.

So that’s how I got involved, and I stayed with it because I really enjoyed it.

It might sound nerdy, but I enjoyed the international meetings where you’re working on a draft standard and you sit in a boardroom, with anywhere from 5 to 25 experts from all around the world, and you can sit there and edit a standard. Go over all of the fine points, draw diagrams on the white boards, and have exciting discussions just about these minor points that all go together to make a standard. To me, that was just wonderful. To be with these other people who understood in depth this particular field you happen to be involved in. There’s nowhere else you can get that, especially that broad range and from around the world.

How did your initial involvement expand to cover the range of committees to which you have contributed in your 20 years of standards work?

It’s, in a way, a small community — SC 27, and JTC 1 (the joint technical committee for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) on Information technology) are huge, but it’s a relatively small community. The international group knows each other well, knows each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and knows how to build on them.

I was working for the cryptographic company, and I was also the chief security officer. The majority of my time I was on standards, because they were so important to them. Starting with IT security and then, as I explained, going to SC 17 (the joint ISO/IEC committee on Cards and personal identification) was just a natural progression. Then, when biometrics started to come along, there were very few people in the world working on it, including a few Canadian companies trying to get people to understand what this biometrics stuff was all about. So SC 37 (the joint ISO/IEC committee on biometrics) started up and then, in Canada, we started up our own Canadian Advisory Committee (CAC) for it, CAC 37.

And some of the other committees just sort of fell into place. For instance, ISO/TC 68/SC 2 is about security again, IT security, but it’s in the financial sector.

What are some of your personal highlights from your time working in standards?

I can answer that easily, as it’s one of the highlights of my career: In 2004, I was invited to speak to the ISO General Assembly about the new committee that ISO Technical Management Board (TMB) had formed, the Strategic Advisory Group — Security (SAG-S). It was taking place because ISO was coming to realize that security was important across the board. This was after 9/11 and so on, and within ISO there were a hundred or more groups that dealt with various aspects of security — from transportation security to marine security to IT security and so on — so they created this strategic advisory group to come up with recommendations on how to streamline coordination between all these different groups.

So I was asked to join the SAG-S, more or less as a representative of the IT security world. It was a very small group, chaired by an American, with only about 10-12 people on it. The chair of SCC at the time wanted to put my name forward as the next chair of the SAG-S because the American who was chairing it had said he would only do it for one year. But then he changed his mind.

They asked me to present on the SAG-S to explain to the ISO General Assembly what it was all about. I had a nice half-hour presentation in front of about 500 people, and I just loved it. I feel very proud of it. It was in Singapore, which also helped, because I love Singapore.

I stayed with the SAG-S for a few years, until it was disbanded after submitting its final report.

What have you gained as a result of your contributions to international standardization?

Well, I’ve seen a lot of the world!

By working in depth on standards, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge. And by meeting with experts on the various security-related committees in the field, I’ve learned a lot from them. So it’s been very beneficial from a career perspective, and also from a personal perspective because I’ve met some amazing people from all around the world.

Do you have any advice or insight to share with someone considering getting more involved in standardization? What would young professionals gain by getting more involved?

They stand to gain a different perspective than by working in simply one position in a particular organizational structure, whether that’s public or private sector. By working on international standards, you can learn from the perspectives of a wide range of people who are in different positions and different types of organizations, from single consultants to government officials.

If you’re in government, for example, or if you’re in one organization for 10 years or more, you can get a little bit parochial. But by going out into the world of international standards, the insights gained and experience gleaned will completely counteract parochial perspectives. And even if you’re not involved in the international meetings, by being on the national committees you can learn from the other people who are on it. For young people, for instance, who are early on in their professions, they can meet a lot of people who are further along in their careers and who have gained valuable insights that they can impart to their younger colleagues.

What might the world look like today if not for all the work done by you and the committees you worked on? How have standards mattered in these areas?

The best example I can think of where non-standardization exists is printer cartridges. They drive me crazy. Think about your printer, and how you have to go and look through a hundred packages and determine which number yours is. Just think if electrical outlets were like that. Imagine if you were buying an appliance, and it had to have a certain outlet for you to be able to plug it in. All of these things that we take for granted that are standardized, and the outlet is certainly one of them; without those standards, it would be chaotic, it would be anarchic, it would be like a hundred years ago when things just didn’t work as well as they do now.

This article was first published by the Standards Council of Canada;


Contractors! You Deserve Better.

Ledvance EIN Aug4 You Deserve Better July 2022Contractors! You Deserve Better | Win $2,000 Grand Prize from LEDVANCE, THE WORLD'S LEADING VERTICALLY INTEGRATED LIGHTING COMPANY


You deserve better and LEDVANCE wants to make sure you know it. Enter for a chance to be one of over 190 winners with the grand prize including $2000 and a SYLVANIA Work Light!

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2021 Canadian Electrical Code Overview of Changes

EIN CSA Group Logo 2022 400CSA C22.1:21, Canadian Electrical Code, Part I contains many updates and changes that are potentially significant to electrical professionals. This online, self-guided course provides the key changes and impacts to the industry presented in an easy-to-follow format.

 Designed for professionals with a good working knowledge of the Code and who solely need the key changes including general updates or those made for clarification, safety, and new products and systems. Key changes due to Rule relocation or deletion are also noted.

This course may help save valuable time to help keep electrical projects safe and in compliance. This training is developed with input from a broad cross-section of electrical industry experts and with cooperation from all provinces, territories and several key jurisdictions across Canada. 

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Changing Scene

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Government of CanadaThe federal governemnt has officially launched a call for proposals (CFP) for the Zero-Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI). The initiative’s 2022 CFP will help fund new and innovative projects that aim to increase awareness and knowledge of ZEVs and charging and refueling infrastructure thereby increasing public confidence in these vehicles and their economic and environmental benefits.

Natural Resources Canada will provide funding through non-repayable contributions of between 50 and 75 percent of the total eligible project costs, with a maximum funding of up to $300,000 per project. The CFP will close on August 18, 2022.

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Omnicable joins ETIMETIM North America announced that OmniCable has joined the product classification standards organization. Headquartered in West Chester, PA, OmniCable has 24 locations throughout North America, and also owns Houston Wire & Cable (HWC). The company partners with many electrical manufacturers and only sells to distributors.

According to John Dean, Director of Marketing & E-Commerce, OmniCable/HWC, “The wire and cable industry is often called commodities, but there are very distinct features and attributes for the different products our manufacturers produce. 

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Atkore United Poly SystemsAtkore Inc. announced that it has acquired United Poly Systems, a manufacturer of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pressure pipe and conduit, primarily serving telecom, water infrastructure, renewables, and energy markets.

“We are pleased to complete the acquisition of United Poly Systems, which strengthens Atkore’s product portfolio, expands our manufacturing capacity and further enables us to meet HDPE customers’ needs,” stated John Pregenzer, President of Atkore’s Electrical business. “HDPE pipe and conduit is a growing market that is expected to benefit from U.S. infrastructure legislation, and United Poly Systems is a great addition to Atkore. We welcome these employees and look forward to working together to continue to serve and support our customers.”

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Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion



Grimard is more competitive and produces estimates 3X faster with Procore


When the pandemic lockdowns started in March of 2020, Grimard (an electrical contractor) had to decide whether to shut down its operations entirely or implement a new platform with people who were now freely available for work. Once they implemented Procore, they found a way to efficiently communicate with stakeholders and offer full transparency in terms of project costs and planning. It also allowed Grimard to utilize historical data to make project estimates more accurate. Grimard was able to streamline its bidding process, which made it more attractive to potential clients and helped the business grow.

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Iron+EarthThe RenuWell Project partners are excited to announce the groundbreaking of two pilot sites located near Taber, Alberta. These pilot sites are the first of their kind to repurpose inactive oil and gas infrastructure as a foundation for renewable energy development and job creation.

When operating, the solar projects will generate 2,030 MWh annually – enough electricity to power 280 average Alberta households or irrigate 11,700 acres of farmland for an average year. This is roughly equivalent to $200,000 in electricity sales per year with 1,100  tCO2e savings in GHG emissions. Over a 25-year lifespan, the projects will generate 50,750 MWh, with GHG emission savings of 28,420 tCO2e.

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David O'ReillyBy Elle Bremmer

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with David O’Reilly, Vice President Home & Distribution and Secure Power Divisions with Schneider Electric Canada for a discussion regarding the Wiser EnergyTM smart home solution, the Wiser Approved training program, and his thoughts on several different subjects, including sustainability and future technologies currently in the works at Schneider Electric. David has been with the company for five and a half years in his role.

We recently published a study (version en français ICI) from Schneider Electric showing a strong interest from Canadians in smart home technology. 

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Product News

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Ericson String LightsEricson announces upgraded versions of their extremely capable line of Industrial String Lights and SL, LED Stringlights. These new and updated products have several key features important when safe, code compliant lighting for industrial workspace is necessary.

Infinitely capable, these ruggedly built products have several industry leading & exclusive features including:

Industrial String Lights:

  • A United States Navy Specification since before WWII, they’re time and application tested...


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Intermatic Pool and Spa SolutionIntermatic Incorporated announced its new P40000 Series Load Centers, a set of next-generation panels for pool-only applications, as well as its new PE24GVA 24-Volt Valve Actuator, an easy-to-install valve actuator that allows for tool-free cam adjustments. Both solutions remove obstacles for pool service professionals while delivering lasting performance.

“Intermatic load centers and valve actuators have been the preferred choice of pool professionals for more than 30 years,” says Brian Lamberty, product marketing manager at Intermatic. “The PE24GVA and P40000 Series build on that tradition, helping pool professionals streamline service calls while setting the standard for quality and performance.”

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Klein Tools Zipper BagsKlein Tools introduces new Stand-up Zipper Bags, in a 2-Pack with 7-Inch and 14-Inch sizes, both designed to handle tough jobsite conditions and stand up so tools and small parts can be easily accessed when working.

Stand-up Zipper Bags, 7-Inch and 14-Inch, 2-Pack (Cat. No. 55559)

  • Perfect for storing pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, drill bits and other small tools and parts
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Emerson HV SafetyThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates 350 employees are killed annually in electrocution accidents, which roughly equals one fatality per day. In the face of these dangers, OSHA officials and industry safety consultants alike recommend eliminating potential hazards on work sites, rather than simply relying on contractors or employees to follow safety guidelines.

To help safeguard employees from electrocution, Emerson has launched its Appleton™ Powertite™ Lock Collar, a device that fastens over plug and connector connections and is secured with a padlock, preventing unauthorized personal from disconnecting the cable connection once in place. 

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Peers & Profiles

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Copper $US Dollar price per pound

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