IBEW, Utility Team Up to Help Neighbors in Need

July 18, 2013

Toronto, Ontario Local 636 members volunteered their time and effort to power up a home for residents with physical disabilities.

Toronto, Ontario, Local 636 utility workers and Hydro Ottawa partnered earlier this month to help power up a group home that serves residents with physical disabilities and seniors.

Ottawa’s Pullen Avenue Group Home was in desperate need of electrical work after being rebuilt earlier this year. But the cost of the repairs would have been $9,000 – a hefty price tag for Personal Choice Independent Living, the nonprofit that operates the home.

Hydro Ottawa provided equipment and vehicles, while Local 636 members gave their time and sweat, running an underground cable to connect the building with the power grid.

“Donating time and talents for this cause just goes to show how much our employees care about the community they serve,” said Bryce Conrad, Hydro Ottawa president.

Local 636 members often help out in their community. Last year, members hooked up electrical service for a cancer rehabilitation facility; the year before that, a residential facility for the mentally disabled.

“This is an all-volunteer effort,” says Local 636 Business Representative Mike Preston. “Unpaid and off the clock.”

Finding members willing to take on charitable projects is never a problem, says Preston. “We actually end up with too many, which is a good problem to have.”

Suzanne Béland, executive director of Personal Choice Independent Living, says she is proud that Ottawa has citizens and corporations “who are willing to step up to the plate in supporting our mission to build a more inclusive society.”