Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Winnipeg Folk Festival

Bison is proud to support the Winnipeg Folk Festival with fire protection equipment this year. The Folk Festival has entertained Manitoban’s and everyone else since 1974. The acts they bring every year include small one person shows and go all the way up to major headliners. The music goes well beyond Folk as well including Bluegrass, Soul, Jazz, Funk, Hip hop, and many other styles of music.

Over the years, the Winnipeg Folk Festival has evolved from a one-weekend event to a year-round arts organization and community asset with folk music at its heart. Today, the festival presents concerts and events throughout the year, supports the community with education and outreach programs, and operates a folk music store and performance space in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District. The Winnipeg Folk Festival is a not-for-profit charitable organization.

Enjoy the weekend!

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 1:52 PM 0 Comments

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The City of Winnipeg Makes Changes to the Permit System

I received an email from The City of Winnipeg Planning, Property & Development Department regarding changes to the permits and inspections process that we both deal with every day. I'm glad to see they have recognized the shortcomings within the system, and are working towards improvements that will increase public safety. Enjoy the letter!


Development and Inspections Division • Division de l'aménagement et des inspections

June 15, 2012

Dear Licensed Tradesperson:

I am writing to make you aware of some important changes to the City of Winnipeg’s building permit and inspection systems. These changes are intended to decrease the time required to process a permit application and complete inspections while still maintaining a high degree of building code and by-law compliance in our City.

what’s Changing?

In order to improve our delivery of permit and inspections services, the City’s Planning, Property and Development Department has developed a comprehensive Strategy and Action Plan. This Strategy identifies a number of system changes intended to increase the permit processing and inspection capacity of the City’s existing resources.  The specific action item that we anticipate will have the greatest impact on licensed tradespersons  is a shift to increased accountability.

Why the Shift to Increased Accountability?

The past few years have been particularly challenging for the City in terms of reviewing permit applications and building plans, issuing permits and conducting inspections within a timely fashion.  Not only has the pace of development within our city been robust and steady, the scope and complexity of the projects undertaken have increased – all of which has impacted our capacity. 

We appreciate that many of our permit applicants, including licensed tradespersons, have responded to our challenges with patience and a sense of cooperation and collaboration. As well, a number of applicants continue to provide submissions and work that is thorough, complete, and code compliant, which increases our efficiency.  For this, we are grateful.

However, our experience also indicates that there is construction work performed and completed under the permit of a licensed tradesperson that is sub-standard and significant in its lack of code compliance.   Upon further investigation, we find that some tradespersons continue to make the same errors in subsequent jobs, even after they have been required to remedy their original work.  Other tradespersons submit permit plans associated with commercial interior alternations that are consistently non-code-compliant.

Each of these examples results in increased staff (and applicant) time required for permit application review and inspection. This becomes frustrating for all involved - particularly those who are submitting complete and compliant applications and performing compliant work.

What Will Increased Accountability Look Like?

Our expectation is that tradespersons licensed by the City of Winnipeg are all qualified to perform work within their area of expertise in a manner that complies with by-laws and relevant codes. Not only have each of these contractors met the provincial requirements necessary for them to acquire their trade certificates / licenses, they may have passed tests administered by the City to acquire a City of Winnipeg trades license.  Therefore, we feel strongly that it is reasonable to hold these license holders accountable when they do not meet the standards represented by their license. 

It is the intent of the City to take a more assertive approach to holding hearings to review cases when care and attention has not been taken by tradespersons, or by those working under their licenses, to perform work in a manner compliant with Code.  Disciplinary action resulting from those hearings may include suspension of a license or, ultimately, license revocation. 

An additional cause for a hearing may be if the City determines that a licensed tradesperson performs work that requires a permit, but when no permit has been applied for or issued.

A report outlining our Strategy and Action Plan, as well as proposed changes to both the Winnipeg Building and Electrical By-laws, was approved by City Council at its meeting held on March 21, 2012. This report is available online through the City website – see

If you have questions or would like to provide us with any feedback regarding these changes, please contact me directly at or by telephone at 204-986-2376. 

Thank you for your anticipated support with these needed system changes.


Stan Dueck
Manager of Development and Inspections
City of Winnipeg - Planning, Property & Development Department 

Unit 83 – 30 Fort Street • 30, rue Fort, unité 83  • Winnipeg • Manitoba  R3C 4X7

Posted by Rob Read at 11:54 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bison Fire Protection And RBH Access Technologies

We have been working hard to build our fire alarm contract sales division, and I’m pleased to say I’m very happy with all the effort my Fire Alarm Division has been giving over that last couple of years. As this division has grown our customers are always asking for additional services, and support.

I have been getting regular requests though from our customers for support for door access, and commercial security products and service. A few months ago I was introduced to Jinder Riarh and RBH Access Technologies. Since that time we have built a solid business relationship that has led to Bison becoming their exclusive distributor in Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

Jinder and I met this week while he was in Winnipeg, and shared a mutual understanding of how customers should be supported with technicians that are competently trained, sales people who are aware of current code requirements and companies that work together like partners, rather than supplier and distributor. The RBH products are designed and manufactured in Canada with strong attention to Quality Control with up to date components and manufacturing techniques.

I look forward to a long and successful partnership with RBH Access Technologies, and I know that our customers will reap the benefits of these additional products, and services.

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 2:36 PM 0 Comments

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ansul Comes To Bison

I had the pleasure of a visit from Stuart Crabbe this week. Stuart is the Area Sales Manager for Ansul in Western Canada. The value that a visit like this brings to us and our customers is invaluable.

Stuart was able to share many of the great new products that are on the horizon, new training opportunities, and many other topics that ensure we remain the fire protection leader in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Some of the products discussed will be exclusive to Bison and as release dates get closer I will let the cat out of the bag. For now he’s just peaking.

Stuart also told me that the herd’s stampede across the prairies has made us 8th largest Ansul distributor in Canada. This brings us shoulder to shoulder with the multi-national companies while still retaining the small business attitude and flexibility needed in today’s changing business climate. It also gives me a lot of pride in the hard work all of our people do, and a renewed appreciation for the support our customers give us.

I certainly appreciate all the support we get from Ansul, they are more than just a supplier of ours they truly are a partner with a keen interest in helping us develop our business as the herd expands.

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 10:09 AM 0 Comments

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bison Company Picnic

We had the company picnic this past weekend. It was a great chance for everyone to get to know each other a little better, for the spouses to meet each other, and the kids to run around screaming, and playing all day.

I really enjoy these chances to get to know our staff, as most of you know the company has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years, and the chance to visit at the office isn’t always available. Darrin Garand the branch manager from our Thompson office dropped in to say Hi. We also had Bob Penny of ABC Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning, his son Derrick, and his grandson show up to enjoy the evening. The dinner was catered by Danny’s Whole Hog, and again nobody was disappointed. He certainly “Brought the Flavor”

I’ve said many times how much I appreciate all the efforts the entire herd makes to keep us roaming. However I like taking the time to show it as well and the picnic is just one of the ways both Emile and I like to say Thank-You to everyone!

There is protection within the herd!

The Watering HoleKids Having Fun!Here it Comes!Derek & Bob Penny of ABC Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning

Posted by Rob Read at 11:28 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Bison Welcomes Mark Johnson

This is a little overdue, but as they say better late than never. Mark Johnson has joined the herd as our operations manager! Mark brings with him many years of experience in the fire protection industry, and without reprinting his resume his years of experience, and easy going nature made him an obvious choice for this very important position in our company.

I welcome anyone who has had the pleasure of dealing with Mark in the past to give him a call to say hi, and catch up on how he’s doing.

There is protection within the herd!

Mark Johnson our Operations Manager

Posted by Rob Read at 9:56 AM 0 Comments