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OGWA executive director’s report: Thanks for your patience

AGM coming soon, date TBA


April 25, 2022
By Craig Stainton, Executive Director

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It has been an extremely busy time so far this year. I must thank you all for your patience as we dug our way through it all. 

As you know, Jennifer Hudson went on medical leave in July. Unfortunately, she was not able to return and, with COVID as it has been, we have not been able to hire someone in her place. Speaking of COVID, in January, Debbie, unfortunately, contracted a case and couldn’t work, either. As you can imagine, the office has ended up being quite the challenge. As a result, I have relied heavily on Ursula and Tara Gallagher of Litmus Design for their expertise in graphics, the database, and social media. Their talents and timely attention have been greatly appreciated.

Although we have done our best to keep things as seamless as possible, I know there have been glitches. I, again, thank you all for your patience while waiting for a callback and issues to be addressed. We very much appreciate your understanding.

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As I write this, we are over halfway through our Continuing Education schedule, (Regional Meetings). With all the COVID rules, restrictions on attendance and the seemingly constantly moving goalposts related to the pandemic, at times I find it hard to imagine how we have made it this far. Added to the confusion around presenting training has been the need to offer two courses this year. Due to being unable to provide much last year, we felt we needed one that covered the curriculum we had intended to bring to you last year and a second offering to cover the curriculum for this year. It was important, we felt, to be able to provide you with a full 14 hours of continuing education, especially if you needed it. COVID was hard enough on us all, and the consequences will be with us for years in so many ways. We thought it best to not have CE hours hanging over your heads as well. As you know, this year we emailed your certificates to you, put a copy in your Member’s Info in the OGWA Database and sent a copy into the Wells Licencing at the MECP.  

Please remember, it is your responsibility to provide proof of your continuing education credits to the Ministry. If you are relying on copies of your certificates that have been sent to Wells Licencing by the OGWA, it is your responsibility to make a note to that effect to Wells Licencing. That is to say, when you send your information (Form 6 Renewal Application) into the MECP, clearly mark that your OGWA Continuing Education Certificate has been filed with Wells Licensing.

As always, if you have any problems or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me.

I have been contacted by a Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks enforcement officer regarding an unlicensed driller on the loose. The individual in question has not renewed his licence since 2019. This individual is not only drilling wells illegally but apparently has/is fraudulently taking down payments from unsuspecting clients and then not showing up to do the job. It is said suppliers have also been bilked and left unpaid as well. 

The Ministry has therefore launched an investigation. We are asking you to be on alert to the situation and for the individual. The key to prosecution at this point lies with catching this individual in the act, onsite drilling a well. If you can shed any light on his whereabouts, if you see his rig on a site, you can contact me, and I will put you in touch with the Ministry’s investigators or, should you wish not to be that involved, simply transfer the information to me and I will inform the Ministry Enforcement Officer. I am sure those of you in the area where he is active know of him but, once again, anyone with concerns is welcome to contact me. This individual must be stopped and prosecuted; this situation does nothing for our industry as a whole.

There is a provincial election on the horizon. This is a time for action. Our industry has been ignored for far too long. The best way to get some attention is to bring our concerns to candidates’ meetings. Candidates need to be asked hard questions which will result in their taking the issues up the chain. We need to demand commitments for attention. The lack of inspection and enforcement is always top of mind, the inequity in source protection between municipal and private wells, the inequity in government spending between municipal and private wells, the threat that development poses on groundwater resources, not to mention the threat to groundwater posed by improper/ill-advised stormwater management.  

Ontarians need education regarding groundwater. Many young people may enter the groundwater industry if only they knew that it existed, and what a career in groundwater can mean, the challenges, the satisfaction, and the opportunities available. In short, groundwater needs some publicity.

We will have an Annual General Meeting of the members, likely in London, Ont. in the near future. Plans now are for a smaller event based on the necessary meetings we are required to have as an Ontario not-for-profit. Divisional meetings will take place in the morning followed by lunch. In the afternoon, an annual general meeting of the members would take place. Plans for this are only just beginning to gel so stay tuned to the website and watch for e-blasts around this event.   

There will be an election at this AGM. We have vacancies on the board of directors. I encourage all members to consider getting involved. The time commitment is not that great when you consider your ability to direct the evolution of this Association and the industry. Seventy years ago, about the time of our coming AGM, talks and first meetings of what would become this Association were taking place. These talks and first meetings were in preparation for the first of the annual general meetings of this Association which took place on May 31, 1952, in Tillsonburg, Ont. at Tillsonburg Pipe & Supply, now known as Wellmaster. There were 77 charter members and more than 100 drillers and members of the industry who attended that meeting.  

A quote from the day made by Archie K. Watt – then provincial geologist – said that “as a group, strides could be made to improve drilling conditions and service to customers better than as individuals.”

Archie, of course, went on to become the godfather of groundwater monitoring and reporting in Ontario, and the OGWA presents an award in his honour every year. The work here is not finished, ladies and gentlemen. I encourage you all to get involved. If you do not wish to take a full position on the Board, join a committee. Call me anytime to discuss your interests, abilities and time. I know we can find a fit for you.