Roofing week initiatives boost awareness of an industry in demand

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By Kristen Frisa

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Canadian Roof Contractors Association (CRCA) is hard at work building a name for itself, through events, social media, and a new Canadian National Roofing Week.

The week, aimed at creating awareness and excitement about the work roofers do, is to be held the first week in June each year. This year, a pilot week was held with the cooperation of regional roofers’ associations, to get the idea off the ground.

The Roofing Contractors Association of Manitoba (RCAM) and the Quebec Master Roofers Association (QMRA) saw resounding success in this year’s endeavour.’

“Quebec had 40 percent of members participating,” says Bob Brunet, executive director of CRCA. “They received almost 350 photos from members, mostly posted on social media,” he says. QMRA came up with a slogan for 2019 Roofing Week, which they intend to carry forward. The slogan reads “T’as pas vu ma vue” which in English translates to “Have you seen my view?”

All the activity from members helps to advance awareness of what roofers do, as evidenced by the estimated 66,000 unique page views QMRA’s website garnered.

CRCA president Jacques Beaulieu hopes this initial success will get other regions of the country on board. “The results and the provincial support have been more than we expected,” Beaulieu says. “It’s a great opportunity to educate people about the roofing trade,” he says.

Brunet says next year’s National Roofing Week will consist of a different theme each day, such as “show me your view,” during which roofers can send pictures of the views they enjoy on the job. Other days will focus on current projects, training history, and other details about roofers’ careers.

Brunet says the purpose of National Roofing Week is to interest younger workers who may not have decided on a career path, by showing them the advantages of the job.

“Roofing can be a great trade to be in. They don’t go to an office, they go on top of the building,” Brunet says. “Their view is phenomenal.” He says roofers also tend to make a really decent wage and have opportunities for advancement.

Like most trades in Canada, roofing is facing a challenge of getting new recruits to the job. “The number-one issue that every roofing contractor is struggling with is the shortage of workers,” Beaulieu says.  “We need to get to attract people to the trade and better explain the benefits of working in it.”

Another purpose of roofing week is for CRCA to showcase the advantages of hiring its members for roofing jobs. One of the biggest benefits is that member businesses are screened for quality work and business viability. “We’re very different from other trade associations,” Brunet says. “Members have to prequalify in order to join CRCA.”

He says requirements vary from province to province, but requirements are stringent for entry. “In Ontario, for instance, they go audit your past jobs and current jobs before you’re accepted as a member. They also review insurance, health and safety record, and financials.” He says that means building owners can be assured that CRCA members can do the job well. “By hiring a CRCA member all the prequalification has already been done for them,” Brunet says.

The first week of June is an opportune time to hold Canada’s roofing week, because the National Roofing Contractors Association in the United States has already claimed the week. “It’ll really be a North American Roofing Week,” Brunet says.

CRCA will hold a board meeting in September in Winnipeg, in which the association will determine its major initiatives for the year.

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