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ECAO’s Graeme Aitken receives COCA’s highest honour

June 15, 2022 | By Anthony Capkun

Romeo Milano, chair, Council of Ontario Construction Associations (left) and Graeme Aitken, executive director, Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario. Photo: COCA.

June 15, 2022 – The Council of Ontario Construction Associations recently honoured industry leaders from across the province at its 2022 awards ceremony and dinner earlier this month.

Receiving COCA’s highest honour—the Cliff Bulmer Award—is Graeme Aitken, executive director of the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO).

The Cliff Bulmer Award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in furthering the relationship between the construction industry and the Ontario Government.

“Graeme has been dogged in pursuing health & safety issues with the Ontario Government, ministers and ministries,” says COCA. “Many of these issues not only benefit electrical contractors, but all areas of construction.”


The COCA Construction Hard Hat Special Achievement Award is awarded to an individual(s) who does something “truly remarkable to advance the interests of the construction industry”. It was awarded to two recipients:

• Elizabeth Witmer, who has served the Ontario public for 36 years, including as chair of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB).

• Michael Sherrard, chair of Skilled Trades Ontario (a Provincial Crown Agency under the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development), and who sits on the board of Skills Canada (Ontario) and Support Ontario Youth.

COCA’s Industry Ally Award is presented to an individual outside of the COCA federation who has made a “significant contribution to the success of the construction industry, or who has contributed to improvements to the industry environment in Ontario”. Recipients include:

• Ian Howcroft, CEO, Skills Ontario.
• Rod Cook, vice-president, Workplace Health & Safety Services, WSIB; Matt Wilson, director, Workplace Health & Safety Services, WSIB.
• Patrick Dillon, former business manager and secretary treasurer of the Provincial Building & Construction Trades Council of Ontario.
• Craig LeSurf, president, Gillam Group Inc., and chair of the League of Champions.
• Ron Kelusky, former Ontario Chief Prevention Officer.

The Chair’s Award is given at the discretion of the COCA chair to individuals who “have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their contributions to the success of our provincial federation”. Recipients include:

• Andy Pilat, general manager, Sarnia Construction Association (posthumous).
• Jim Lyons, executive director, Windsor Construction Association.
• Sue Ramsay, general manager, Hamilton-Halton Construction Association.
Grand Valley Construction Association.

The President’s Award is given at the discretion of the president. Recipients include:

• Karin Sheldrick, general manager, Niagara Construction Association.
• Trina Hayden, director, NORCAT, and board member of the Northeastern Ontario Construction Association.

Congratulations to all recipients!

The Council of Ontario Construction Associations is a federation of construction associations representing ICI and heavy civil construction employers in Ontario. Its member organizations account for over 10,000 construction businesses and more than 400,000 employees.

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