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A new chapter for OHMPA

January 6, 2017  By Donn Bernal

Donn Bernal is the president of OHMPA and general manager for Yellowline Asphalt Products Ltd.

January 6, 2017 – On October 31, 2016 the membership of the Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association and the Ontario Road Builders Association voted in favour to amalgamate OHMPA with ORBA.

The favourable vote means the end of a great asphalt association and the beginning of a new chapter as an asphalt council and a combined, galvanized force in Ontario’s road building industry. This pooled resource and stronger voice is needed to keep up with the ever-changing infrastructure landscape. The world is moving at a much faster pace, and to keep up, we as an industry have to evolve—and the association has to evolve. 

Over the past 42 years, OHMPA has grown to become the voice of Ontario’s asphalt producers as well as the preeminent authority on all technical issues and education within the industry. In uniting the strength that ORBA has in government relations along with the strong technical knowledge for which OHMPA is known, the new Asphalt Council can only improve to ensure that Ontario continues to ride on quality asphalt pavements. Furthermore, as OHMPA’s president, my mandate to increase education offerings to the asphalt industry through lunch-and-learns, pave-ins, and workshops will be complemented with the program that ORBA already has in place. It will be a win-win for the industry. 

This year we plan to offer robust educational programing and will launch the work of new committees. The end of 2016 marked the sun setting on the work of OHMPA’s Quality of Asphalt Pavement Task Force. The Task Force was formed in 2015 in response to concerns about the quality of asphalt pavement in Ontario and comprised of a group of industry experts, consultants and academics. In just under two years the task force published seven bulletins addressing these concerns. Moving forward there will be a quality committee that will proactively address quality issues in a timely manner. 


Additionally, OHMPA will be hosting pave-ins this year. In our industry there seems to be a large gap between the those with 40 years of experience who are ready to retire and those just coming into the industry.  The purpose of the pave-in is to provide a hands-on learning experience to help to bridge that knowledge gap. 

To complement our education program, lunch-and-learn webinars and workshops will be offered through the spring. These workshops include one on Enhanced Durability Through In-Place Density, presented in partnership with the Ontario Good Roads Association and Municipal Engineers Association and the Asphalt Institute on February 16 at the Mississauga Convention Centre, as well as an Asphalt Technology 101 session in presented in collaboration with OGRA and the Municipal Liaison Committee at their annual conference on February 26 at the Fairmont Royal York.

My tenure as president has been challenging so far as decisions made this year could change how our association looks. However, it does not change who we are and what we do. And while all of this is happening, we have to remain focused on dealing with our governments as they create new rules to quench climate change. The Benzo(a)pyrene subcommittee of our Environment Committee has worked tirelessly on what will become a technical standard of best practices, which will eventually be published by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in the next couple of years.

The Board will also have to deal with the effects of Ontario’s cap and trade program and Canada’s carbon tax initiative, and understand how costs downloaded to our producers could affect the way they run their businesses. Therefore, an Energy Subcommittee is being developed which will help guide our members through these issues.

OHMPA started out with dealing with the oil crisis of the 1970s and its new beginnings could start with dealing with curbing the effects of climate change. How coincidental or should I say ironic is that?

Donn Bernal is the president of OHMPA and general manager for Yellowline Asphalt Products Ltd. 

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