The latest news, notes, ideas and analysis from the Canadian Christian community
A NE W 58,000-SQUARE-FOO T
headquarters in Cambridge, Ont., lets
the Christian Labour Association of
Canada (CLAC) provide better services
and training for its members and the
public at large.
Seen from and located just off
Highway 401, one of Ontario’s main
transportation routes, CLAC moved
into the building in September 2016.
Combining national, regional and
provincial staff, and a smaller training
facility, the new headquarters cost
$15 million and took a year to build.
A smaller regional centre remains in
“We outgrew our facilities, quite
frankly,” says Ontario provincial
director Hank Beekhuis.
About 10,000 square feet (930
square metres) is dedicated to training
programs run in partnership with the
Pre-Apprenticeship Training Institute
(PAT), Grand River Occupational
Health and Safety, and IVD Workforce.
The PAT portion includes areas
for plumbing, electrical, HVAC and
construction trades training, notes
regional director Ian De Waard.
“This is an attempt to provide
support to our contractors so they
have access to new entrants into
construction who are equipped both
in safety and skill,” says De Waard.
“Someone walking through this program
has spent 17 weeks becoming familiar
with the processes an electrician
or a plumber would be engaged in,
comes out with all the relevant safety
certificates to get on a job site and has
the tools necessary to work.”
Another area provides space for
Working at Heights training (including
learning to work on scissor/power
lifts and elevated work platforms).
Classroom and computer rooms are
also available for other training.
“We started safety training some
15 years ago and are now, according
to [Workplace Safety and Insurance
Board] status, among the safest
workplaces in Ontario,” says Beekhuis.
The rest of the building, which houses
a national communications centre, print
shop, archives, meeting rooms and
staff offices, serves CLAC’s 60,000-plus
members who work across Canada in
sectors ranging from construction and
manufacturing to transportation, health
care and education.
The Christian union began in 1952 as
European immigrants, primarily from the
Reformed tradition, brought the concept
of a faith-based union with them.
“CLAC membership is open – our
New headquarters improves member service
members are a cross-section of
Canadian society,” says Beekhuis. “A
lot of the fundamental values which
the organization is based on continue,
but they’re adapted to a new time, a
new place. Recently we had 120 Syrian
refugees here learning about labour law
in Arabic,” says Beekhuis. –ROBERT WHI TE
Christian labour union now
has room to grow
CLAC’s new headquarters in Cambridge, Ont., includes a 10,000-square-foot training centre.
Ian De Waard (left) and Hank Beekhuis in the training area.