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Medical marijuana and your business


We’ve been hearing lots of talk lately about the legalization of medical marijuana and the possible repercussions on job sites. It’s an important topic – there have already been court cases surrounding marijuana use by workers, and the law says employers in Canada have to make accommodations for the legal use of marijuana by employees. It’s obvious this discussion won’t be over any time soon, especially since the use of medical marijuana is expected to continue rising over the years.

Even with the big changes brought on by legalization, there’s one important thing that hasn’t changed – safety is still the number-one priority on a construction job site. So how can we reconcile the need for safety with the need to accommodate the medical use of an impairing substance?

It’s something employers are going to have to deal with more and more, but it’s not entirely unfamiliar ground. After all, marijuana use is only one possible...

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Would you be ready to evacuate?


I’m writing this on June 3, exactly one month since almost 90,000 people were evacuated from Fort McMurray and surrounding areas. Can you believe it’s been a month since the evacuation? It seems like only yesterday, and it seems like 10 years ago. I’m sure for the residents of Fort McMurray, who have been out of their homes, living in hotels, living with friends and strangers, in holiday trailers and basements, 31 days has felt like years. I can’t imagine.

Last night, here in Edmonton, we had one of those beautiful, out-of-the-blue Alberta thunderstorms. You know the ones: the sun is shining, you’re out and about, probably without an umbrella or a raincoat. All of a sudden, it clouds over. You see lightning in the distance, hear the distant rumble of thunder. Within minutes, it’s raining. No, wait. It’s pouring. Like, really pouring. You’re soaked within seconds and dive for cover! And then 10 minutes later, the sun is shining again....

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Jian Ghomeshi, Your Company, and Workplace Harassment


Full disclosure: I (Deidra speaking here) used to LOVE Jian Ghomeshi. I loyally listened to Q on CBC every morning. I fangirled when I spotted him in Jasper and grinned to myself when he would end his show with “To be continued.” To me, he was a perfect representative of Canada: handsome, talented, well-spoken, charming…and his on-air persona showed him as being generous, kind, and respectful, particularly to women.

Of course, it was all an act. An act that so many of us fell for. Fall 2014 brought the news that he was being accused of harassment, violence, and sexual assault by multiple women. Even before the stories started to surface, the people who were part of Ghomeshi’s circle were aware that he was “kind of dark with women.” Yeesh.

But this article isn’t about Jian Ghomeshi. This article is about the fact that much of the harassment happened at his place of work, that Canadian institution: CBC.

Since the story...

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Workplace safety training just got 1000x easier, and you’ll never guess why


Friends, clients, ladies and gentlemen…welcome to the Boreal Services Training Awards Ceremony. We’re gathered today to announce a big change in the way your team can meet and track your workplace training goals, and to blow the roof off the old-school way of doing things.

As we all know, modern construction projects require a lot of training. It’s not uncommon for each member of your team to need dozens of certifications and training hours to qualify for any given project, and we all know those numbers aren’t going down any time soon. As safety standards go up on every job worth your bid, so too do the requirements on your team to stay up to date.

Let’s recap why we need a change to the current safety training model.

  1. The current delivery model is broken. Your staff have to leave the jobsite, find the training center, sit for hours (or days) in a stuffy conference room, make small talk with strangers,...
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6 things to do in April to grow your business


Last month, we introduced you to 7 Alberta professionals you need to know: the contractors we work with and recommend who can help take your business to the next level.

Today, we’ve got a new list for you: 6 upcoming local events for small- and medium-sized businesses that can help you make new connections, strengthen existing ones, learn new skills, and position your company for the next and best opportunities.

Edmonton is such an interesting place to be right now. Some insist that the economy is all doom and gloom, but our clients are proving that to be false, and as the old saying goes, you attract more of what you focus on. So let’s focus on growth and success together, and let’s continue to share the events and resources that help us all succeed.

Style for Success

We attended Joanne Blake’s Savvy Networking workshop in March, and we learned a ton of insider secrets about how to network...

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The End of WHMIS: 5 Things You Need to Know


It’s official: the expiry-proof WHMIS has been given an expiration date. It’s being replaced by something much more global, and there are five things we all need to know now to be sure we’re ready.

The new system will be called GHS, or Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling Chemicals. What is it, why is it changing, and what do you need to do to be prepared?

Let’s dig in.

What is GHS?

GHS is essentially the global version of WHMIS. It will define and classify hazards and communicate health and safety information on data sheets. It was developed by an international team of hazard communications experts.

Why it’s changing

In its current form, WHMIS is legislated at the provincial and federal levels, but as commerce extends further and further beyond individual country borders, regulatory bodies have to keep up. Global harmonization will ensure everyone is operating according to the same standards to facilitate commerce,...

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The Booming Boreal Network: 7 Alberta Professionals You Need to Know


“Operating a small business and all the challenges that come with the territory, I know the value in surrounding myself with a team of professionals who can be counted on to deliver. Deidra does just that every time, and that allows me to focus on my business and area of expertise.” —Mark van Bommel, Vibe.FX

At Boreal Services, we are dedicated to helping your business to run more smoothly. We specialize in efficient, creative solutions to your safety, quality, environmental, and engineering challenges so you can focus on your core business. Over the last few years, we’ve become big advocates of helping you focus on what you do best, and in doing the same for our business.

What does that mean? It means we don’t do it all ourselves, either!

Tell us you’ve been here before: you need to find someone who can do X for your business. Write a proposal, take care of your accounting, manage your HR, fill in the blank. It can be SO...

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Conquer your biggest business challenges in 2016


Since our first day in business, we at Boreal Services Group have been dedicated to making your professional life easier. We specialize in the tasks that take you away from your core business, and we’ve expanded our initial offerings to address the things that bother you the most.

Of course, the things that were the biggest stressors in your business then remain the biggest stressors now. There are two, to be exact. Can you guess what they are?

Yup: paperwork and safety training.


Arrrrggghhhh, paperwork, right? We hear from you every day that dealing with paperwork is one of the biggest stressors in your business. And we understand why: modern construction projects, done properly, require so much of it that it can feel overwhelming, and even counterproductive at times.

Here are a few common concerns about paperwork we’ve fielded over the years:

“It’s unnecessarily complex.”

“It’s too easy to...

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8 Unconventional Growth Strategies for Driven Business Leaders

Well, this is turning into a bit of a mini-series, isn’t it?

We can’t help it—Boreal clients are such an inspiration to us, and every time we learn something new from you (which is every day), we can’t help but think how valuable your insights are for everyone in this growing network of small business owners.

We’ve been working with the team at Connect Fall Protection for 12 months now, and we think you’ll agree that their success is well deserved. Despite a downturn in the economy and bleak forecasts in all the papers, Connect has been growing steadily for three years, and they’re projecting even greater expansion through 2016.

How, exactly? They’ve got a surprising answer to that.

Eight of them, actually.

But first, an introduction: Connect Fall Protection specializes in the kind of turn-key fall protection services that are often missing from the industry today. They conceptualize, install, inspect, and maintain both permanent and...

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Boreal in the Downtown Core


Confession time!

Part of the reason we chose our new office in Old Strathcona is that its north window has a perfect view of the downtown core. Now, that’d be exciting news under any circumstance (the sunrise is amazing every morning!), but we happen to have a personal and professional connection to that core: it’s been one of our busiest jobsites for the past year, and will continue to be so well into 2016.

We’ve been so honoured and pleased to be part of the downtown revitalization happening in Edmonton right now, and when we sat back to think during a rare quiet moment last month, we realized we hadn’t really told anyone about everything that’s happening over there. Time to remedy that! Here are some of the cool projects we’re working on this year, along with some insider secrets about what you can expect as the revitalization projects powers through 2016.

Royal Alberta Museum

This $375-million project is going to be a breathtaking...

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