OPCA and Threads of Life speaker Bill Bowman stand with an OPCA cheque for $8,000 at their 6th annual Charity Golf Tournament

At the OPCA golf tournament: Jonathan Rae, Michelle Rae, Threads of Life speaker Bill Bowman and OPCA President Ken Jamieson

The strongest partnerships are built on a foundation of shared values and goals. Threads of Life is lucky to have many such strong partnerships. We have been working with the Ontario Petroleum Contractors’ Association (OPCA) for a decade, and are honoured to continue to build and strengthen this relationship. OPCA’s executive director Michelle Rae shared a little bit about how the partnership began and what it means to OPCA.

Q: OPCA has been supporting Threads of Life since at least 2012. Do you recall how you first heard about us, and what inspired OPCA to support Threads of Life?

Michelle: The OPCA has a safety program geared specifically for our industry called Petroleum Oriented Safety Training (POST). POST holds an annual safety forum with a variety of speakers discussing many issues relevant to our industry from safety engagement and positive safety culture to proper use and care for safety equipment, all to provide some positive insight on everyone’s commitment to safety. Our initial involvement with Threads of Life was through a member of OPCA who was already involved and recommended a speaker for one of our safety forums. Our first speaker was Eva Broughton whose son was killed in a workplace accident and her moving story left an impact with our members. We knew from that moment it was important to continue our relationship with Threads of Life.

Q: Do you have a favourite moment or story from those years?

Michelle: All of the Threads of Life speakers have made an impact with our members. One that really hit home was Patti Penny whose son was killed in the workplace. Although Patti’s son wasn’t involved in our industry, her husband and other family members are well known throughout our member community. One of my favourite moments was the time I was invited to a Family Forum on behalf of the OPCA as we were presented with a Friends of Threads of Life award. It was such an honour to be a part of the event and meet so many of the families taking part, but especially seeing the amazing work Threads of Life does for these families affected by workplace tragedies and all the resources they provide.

Q: Threads of Life obviously gains huge amounts of awareness as well as the financial support from our partnership — what do you feel OPCA gains?

Michelle: The OPCA and Threads of Life share the same belief that the impact of an injury goes well beyond the physical trauma experienced by the injured party. It is important we ensure our contractor community implement a sound safety program in the execution of their tasks on their sites. Most of you reading this can recount a situation that you have personally experienced or been made aware of where an injury has had serious consequences well beyond the injury itself. We need to work towards achieving an injury free workplace by promoting and supporting safe work behavior. Both Threads of Life and the OPCA promote this philosophy and OPCA is proud to provide any support we can to help families deal with the trauma of a workplace injury or fatality. By supporting Threads of Life, we can put funds raised by our events such as our annual golf tournament to good use and are thrilled in the knowledge that this money goes to such a worthwhile cause. Our support also adds that additional layer for our industry to drive the message of promoting safety in the workplace.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the plans for this year’s golf tournament?

Michelle: Our annual golf tournament is scheduled for September 23rd at the Innisbrook Golf Course in Barrie. Everyone is welcome to join us to help us support Threads of Life and we look forward to a fun day on the course. Details can be found on our website at opcaonline.org.