Keep up-to-date with what's happening at Taurus Projects Inc, construction news in the region and local community news and events.

Construction sites are busy places. Heavy-duty equipment, teams completing different tasks, moving parts and noise can all contribute to the hectic environment on the job site. As the job site constantly changes, it is essential that safety staff are on hand to review and assess any potential hazards that may affect the safety of the workers. Here are a few questions that every safety professional should ask themselves about the job site they are working at.


1. Have I made the job site safer today?

As workers get ready to end the workday, have them contribute in the task of finding and fixing hazards that could cause injuries the next day. Being alert and thinking ahead addresses safety as a priority for everyone on the site. It also makes workers more informed about potential safety risks.


2. Are the employees using the safety equipment they have been provided?

It goes without saying that simply having the appropriate equipment is not enough. To instill good safety habits means utilizing and working with safety equipment on a daily basis. If the workers have been trained about the required safety equipment, they will understand the importance of using it properly.


3. Am I communicating regularly with the workers and updating them about safety on the job?

Practice safe behaviour yourself and lead by example. Make safety part of daily conversations with workers and provide them with any additional information they request.


4. Has anything changed on the jobsite since yesterday?

Inspect the job site with workers on a daily basis. Ask them to identify any activity, piece of equipment or material that concerns their safety. Use a checklist to identify problems and keep the workers involved and committed to safe practice.



5. Have I walked around the job site to look for unsafe behavior or equipment?

Set aside a regular time to take a walk around the site with the intent of looking for possible hazards. This will ensure that good practice is followed and foreseeable emergencies can be identified.

6. Have I talked to my boss about safety issues on the job site?

Setting safety and health as a priority includes addressing concerns with management. Outlining and identifying hazards allows for improvements to be made and for the job site to become a safe working environment.


7. Have I checked the OSHA regulations to make sure that all safety requirements are up to date?

In an industry that is constantly changing, it is important for safety staff to stay informed about updates and/or changes to legislation. Staying abreast of current legislation protects the employees as well as the employers.


8. Am I willing to take action against employees who continue to behave in an unsafe manner?

Part of the role of a safety professional is to educate and train employees about safe practices. If an employee is unwilling to follow identified procedures, they can be putting themselves and others at risk.




9. Do employees feel they can come to me about safety concerns?

Keep communication open by allowing employees to feel comfortable with identifying issues they deem as hazardous. Develop a simple procedure for workers to report any injuries, illnesses, incidents, hazards, or safety and health concerns without fear of retaliation. Include an option for reporting hazards or concerns anonymously.


10. Have I done what I promised others I would do to take care of potential hazards?

Setting personal standards sets the standards for the workers on the job site. Safety becomes a priority that everyone is involved with. Safe worksites function efficiently and standards are set that become goals for identifying and improving the job site for all workers.


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Several construction projects in Edmonton have started or are in the process of being completed. Due to the economic downturn, many projects have been delayed and continue to be delayed or rescheduled. Here are a few projects that look to be completed in 2017 or are in the process of getting started.

1. Alex Decoteau Park

Known for his athleticism, Alex Decoteau was a talented long distance runner. He was also the first Aboriginal Police Officer in Canada when he joined the Edmonton Police Force in 1909. Killed in active service in the Canadian Army in 1917, Decoteau was dedicated to community service. In honor of his commitment and dedication, a downtown park will be built in his memory, the first downtown park to be built since 2000. Located on the northwest corner of 105 Street and 102 Avenue, the 0.35 hectare park will include open green space, a community garden with raised beds, a fenced off-leash dog park, in-ground water fountains and displays of public art. The City of Edmonton anticipates the completion of the project in 2017.


2. MacEwan University Centre for the Arts

The $181 million addition to MacEwan’s downtown campus located on 104 Avenue and 110 Street is scheduled to open in August 2017. The building was designed by architect Bing Thom and will include theatres, a recital hall, recording studios, two-storey dance spaces, fine art and digital design classrooms and a student art gallery.


3. Funicular

Opening in the fall of 2017, the $24 million “mechanized river valley access” project will provide an alternate path from the river valley to downtown for people unable or choose not to use the stairs. The plexiglass structure runs between a 200-meter parkway at the bottom of the hill to a bridge at the water’s edge. About 20 people will be able to ride at a time. Instead of moving vertically, the funicular moves at an angle. There will be stairs for runners on one side while the other side will have blocks for people to sit on. Viewing platforms are also included in the design.



4. Premium Outlet Collection

Located near the Edmonton International Airport near Highway 2, this project is part of planned airport development. More than 100 stores located on a 40,000 square meter space is expected to open in the fall of 2017.

5. Valley Line LRT 

TransEd Partners composed of Bechtel, EllisDon, Bombardier Rail and Fengate Capital Management combined with Arup Canada and IBI Group has partnered with the City of Edmonton in the design and development of the Valley Line LRT. The project began in 2016 and saw the removal of the Cloverdale Footbridge as part of LRT construction. Scheduled to start this year, the Tawatinâ Bridge piers will be built on the north and south sides. The piers should be visible in the late spring this year.


6. The Rossdale Substation 

EPCOR began construction in June 2016 on the existing Rossdale Substation. Controversy around the project involved discussion with First Nation communities regarding the proposed expansion. The land the substation is located on is of archaeological and historical significance for the First Nations communities situated so EPCOR is working to ensure the project does not interfere with the site and an archaeologist will be consulted during the completion of the project. The new building will be approximately 18 meters long by 10 meters wide in the larger section and 7 meters long and 7 meters wide for the smaller section.

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Over the last 10 years, technology has had a huge impact on the construction industry. Power distribution, heating, ventilation and lighting have changed thanks to innovations that have improved residential and commercial construction. Infrastructure has also benefited from improvements due to technology and advancement in the area of civil construction. New materials that are stronger and environmentally friendly have opened the door to exciting new possibilities.

1. Turning trash into bricks

Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have developed a technique for making bricks using cigarette butts. Dealing with cigarette waste is a difficult environmental dilemma. By adding cigarette butts into clay bricks before firing enables the energy expended during the firing process to decrease by 58%. The firing process traps the poisonous pollutants so they cannot be leached into the environment leaving the finished bricks with the comparable structural properties of normal bricks. The finished bricks weigh less than traditional clay bricks and have better insulation capabilities.


2. Concrete that generates its own light
A process is being developed which will provide an alternative to the usual concrete mix required to make concrete. By using sulfur based concrete which can absorb and irradiate light, the applications could make a difference to the architectural market. Dr. José Carlos Rubio Avalos at the Michoacan University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo claims that it can be used in swimming pools, bathrooms kitchens, parking lots or in the energy sector for spaces that don’t have access to electricity. The material would charge by exposure to natural or artificial light and could create new sources of light that would not be high in energy consumption.


3. Protection from earthquakes
The Komatsu Seiten Fabric Laboratory located in Japan has created a thermoplastic carbon fibre composite which can be used to protect buildings from earthquakes. The fibre strands are extremely lightweight but have a high tensile body which provides buildings with a strong support system. 160 meters of the CABKOMA Strand Rod weigh only 12 kg and is easily transportable. Metal wire is generally five times heavier. In addition, the composite strands are eco-friendly.


4. Concrete that repairs Itself
Erik Schlangen of Delft Technical University in the Netherlands is testing a product that he calls “self-healing asphalt.”  Infusing concrete with a harmless limestone-producing bacteria creates a material which has the potential to self-heal micro-cracks in the presence of rainwater. It could reduce noise pollution and save millions in maintenance and repair.



5. Walls that could replace air conditioning
A team at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia have created a new material from a combination of clay and hydrogel. The material is referred to as hydroceramics and can cool building interiors by up to six degrees centigrade. The material can absorb up to 500 times its weight in water. On hot days, the contents evaporate which results in a decrease in temperature.


In the next 10 years, construction design will become increasingly sophisticated. Improved management methods and automation will positively affect productivity. More effective design decisions, insight and vision combined with creative technology will lead to extraordinary developments within the construction industry on a global level.


Which of these innovations are you most excited for? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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How and when to bring safety concerns to an employer’s attention may not be an easy decision to make. Not knowing how the concern will be received or how it will be addressed can leave an employee feeling uncertain and vulnerable. No one wants to feel that their observations may be dismissed or overlooked, yet when safety is the issue, many people can be affected by a concern if it is not reported.

Depending on the nature of the safety issue being reported, there are two main points to consider: if the hazard does not present immediate danger, there is time to consider how to bring your concerns to the attention of your boss. If the safety issue presents an immediate danger or threat to anyone’s safety or their life, the concern needs to be addressed immediately. Here are some suggestions on how to proceed when reporting a safety concern.


Think it Through

Before you report the problem, make sure you have thought about what the exact

concerns are. A supervisor may feel that the problem may have been easily fixed without

having it brought to his attention. If you have determined that the issue cannot be easily

fixed, think of some suggestions that could assist in rectifying the problem before you

bring it to the attention of anyone else.


Follow the Chain of Command

Talk with your immediate supervisor first and let them have the opportunity to fix the problem. If the supervisor’s response is unsatisfactory, you may need to take your concern elsewhere. It could mean addressing the problem with a safety manager. This provides an opportunity for the safety manager to check out the concern and approach the supervisor without involving you in the process. If there are no safety supervisors, find an ally and discreetly let them know about your observations...they may be able to think of another way to approach the situation.


Be Cooperative

Approach management in a cooperative manner. Avoid making accusations which will only elicit negative reactions. Let your boss know that you have given the issue thought and that you are concerned. Offer solutions and let your employer know that you will help in correcting the situation.


Be Certain Your Facts Are Correct

If you are uncertain, do research before you report the problem. Safety standards change and you want to ensure that your complaint is valid with current standards. If you are informed that the problem is compliant with the law, accept this explanation.

Know Your Rights

If your concerns are not addressed and you have exhausted your options, you may have to report the concern to a governing authority. Before you take this step, ensure that you have reported it to the appropriate people and be sure that what you are asking for is right. No one wants to be perceived as a problematic employee, but standing by your convictions may be instrumental in saving someone’s life.




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Safety is a primary focus at Taurus. Dedicated to quality and high standards, we focus on preserving the environment for employees, clients, subcontractors and the public. We are also certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The ISO sets quality management standards for organizations based on quality management principles. We support strong customer focus and provide the motivation and implication of top management in the process approach and continual improvement.

As part of our commitment to safety and the environment, Taurus is affiliated and certified with various organizations and associations well respected within the construction industry. All of these groups adhere to standards of health and safety within the construction industry. Taurus is committed to maintaining high standards in addition to proactively protecting the wellbeing and safety of their associates.

Certificate of Recognition (COR)

COR is an occupational health and safety accreditation program that ensures safety and health programs meet national standards. It provides employers with a safety and health management system to reduce incidents, accidents and injuries. COR establishes a safety culture within the workplace and improves overall efficiency at the work site. It also assists in lowering WCB rates and qualifies a company for refunds.



Contractor Qualification Network (CQN)

CQN specializes in the automation of contractor management systems. They provide major cost savings and simplify data transfer and streamline document management. Through CQN, the security and safe transfer of online information is ensured.


ISN provides contractors with an online contractor management database. They provide services related to health, safety, compliance, environmental standards and quality. Dedicated to providing services for hiring clients and contractors they provide services which all members to access and analyze data with reporting tools that benchmark performance. ISN supports over 500 hiring clients to manage 63,779 contractors and suppliers in more than 85 countries.




Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA)

This association builds links within the construction industry with the purpose of making workplaces safer. They partner with Alberta Labour in the Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) program. PIR is a voluntary program in which employers and employee representatives work collaboratively with the government to build health and safety management systems. The PIR program in turn awards Certificates of Recognition (COR) to employers that have met established programs. These certificates are issued by the Alberta government. Employers must maintain this certificate to be eligible for financial incentives through the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB).


Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE)

The CSSE is the largest national and most established organization for health and safety practitioners. They have more that 5,000 members and 36 chapters throughout Canada, the United States and worldwide. The purpose of the organization is to enhance health and safety within the workplace. Offering courses and connecting with members defines them as a resource for research and innovation within the field of safety.


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Explained simply, ergonomics is about fitting a task to a person. Employees often perform jobs that expose them to injuries and illnesses due to the poor design of a workstation or tool. Assessing and identifying ergonomic risk factors can instill changes to improve the fit between job demands and the capabilities of employees. Generally, the greater the exposure to a risk factor or risk factors increases the probability of an injury or illness. Three of the greatest ergonomic risk factors are:


  • Force - how often you lift/push/pull

  • Repetition - how often the task is performed

  • Posture - how someone holds their body while standing or sitting


Other factors include vibration, contact stress, cold temperatures and sustained exertion.


Employers can assess the workplace to determine safety and ergonomic risks. Workstation design, modified work practices and other tools can reduce or eliminate ergonomic risk factors. Job descriptions are a tool for determining the risk factors associated with each job. Examining the type of work involved can determine which part of the task needs to change. It may necessitate the use of new tools or working methods, but the overall goal of decreasing injuries and illnesses will be achievable.  If a job is too physically demanding on a worker, the quality of the job may suffer. By incorporating ergonomics into the safety and productivity of the workplace, turnover and absenteeism can be decreased. The quality of the work completed can be improved and overall performance improves. Both employers and employees can benefit from the changes.


As a construction worker, there are some simple ways to reduce ergonomic stress:

  1. Be aware of the job you are completing. If you are required to lift a heavy load, get someone to assist you. Use your legs to push up and lift the load. Avoid using your upper body or back and do not twist your body during a lift. Injuries to the back generate the highest frequency of disabling injuries and if untreated, can persist as a health problem for months or years.

  2. Avoid stretching or unnecessary stress when completing overhead work. Frequent and prolonged flexion is associated with low back pain. Raising your arms continually above shoulder level is associated with shoulder disorders. Adjust scaffolds to the appropriate height or use a lifting device to hold materials in place.

  3. Use appropriate tools such as hammers that are designed to reduce shock. Using tools with handles that maintain a neutral wrist position eliminates the repetitive action of twisting the hands and wrists. When using vibrating tools such as jackhammers, ensure that they are equipped with built-in vibration dampers. Be sure to wear gloves to help absorb the vibrations.

  4. Rotate job tasks to reduce repetitiveness. Organize and pay attention to work/rest ratios to reduce fatigue and make sure to take organized breaks when scheduled.


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Construction is a broad term and the pay varies according to the type of project or skills you have. The downside of construction is it's cyclical and you may have to work away from home for long periods of time. The upside is that hard workers with a great skillset will always be in demand. For a committed and reliable worker, the key to being constantly employed means making good contacts and developing a good reputation. Here are a few suggestions for anyone beginning a career in the construction industry.

  1. Be on time and be willing to work hard. Being on time not only impacts your job, but the jobs of others who can’t continue their tasks until you finish yours. Consider coming in 15 minutes early to get a feel for the jobsite and the other workers. This will also make a good impression and show that you are eager and reliable. Make a point of showing up every day and plan on working a full day as indicated by the supervisor. When you excel at your job and get your tasks completed on time, management will be confident that they made the right choice in hiring you.


  1. Come prepared. Have appropriate work clothes such as steel-toed boots, gloves, a hat and a reflective vest if needed. Dress for the season….keep warm in winter and cool in summer. If it is hot, a long sleeve shirt and lightweight pants or jeans will keep the sun off and prevent sunburn. For Canadian winters, warm clothing is essential when working outside. A layering system is the best solution to stay warm and comfortable. Start with a wicking layer of clothing next to your skin to absorb moisture; the next layer should be a light insulating layer such as light fleece or thin wool. Follow with a heavier insulating layer such as heavier fleece or wool and finish with a windproof/waterproof jacket. Don’t forget to keep your hands, feet and head warm with toques or balaclavas, gloves, mitts and two layers of socks.


  1. Bring supplies such as water, a lunch or sunscreen. Don’t assume that the employer will provide anything and be prepared to have whatever you think you will need for the day.


  1. Pay attention and learn everything you can. What you learn on the job may differ from what you already know. Be open to learning different approaches as it may be beneficial in the long run. People won’t expect you to know everything so don’t be afraid to ask questions or wait to get instructions.


  1. Stay off your cell phone. Construction sites can be dangerous and it is essential to avoid distractions. If you need to check your phone, wait for breaks and lunch time.


  1. Stay focused. Construction work can be repetitive and you may be doing the same thing for hours or days at a time. Focusing on the same task may be challenging but it is a necessary part of getting a job done.


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Most of us are familiar with many of the major construction projects taking place here in Alberta, but the rest of Canada has some interesting developments that should be completed over the course of this year.

Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine, Northwest Territories

Located at Kennedy Lake, 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, this venture is owned by DeBeers Canada and Mountain Provincial Diamonds. The plan includes extracting and processing more than 31 tonnes of ore and 49 million carats of diamonds over a 10-year operating period. Construction began in 2013 and is expected to be completed this year. The capital cost is estimated at $600 million.


Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade

This project is located in Ruskin, B.C. and has four major components. The upgrades include:

  • The right bank of the dam being reinforced with a cutoff wall to control water seepage

  • Seven concrete piers and spillway gates being removed and replaced with new ones. The one lane road on top of the dam will be replaced with a two-lane road

  • The powerhouse facility will be seismically upgraded and equipment such as powerhouse turbines, generators and auxiliary equipment will be replaced

  • The switchyard will be relocated and rebuilt on the left bank.

The project is owned by BC Hydro and is expected to cost $748 million. The contractors completing the work are Dragados Canada and Flatiron Construction Corp.


Sunrise Natural Gas Processing Plant


This project involves a new gas plant being built in the Dawson Creek region of B.C. The new plant is expected to process 400 million cubic feet of gas per day. The owner of the project is Veresan Midstream Limited Partnership and the cost of the project is expected to be $860 million. The project manager is Encana and the contractor is Ledcor.


Spadina Subway Extension

Located in Toronto, Ontario, this project involves adding on to the existing TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) subway system between Toronto and the municipality of York. It’s the largest subway expansion project in 40 years and the 8.6 kilometer extension will include six new stations. The project was started in 2011 and was funded through a combination of money from the Building Canada Fund, the Public Transit Capital Trust, Ontario Trust as well as municipal funds. The cost is anticipated to be approximately $2.7 billion.


Maritime Link Project

This project is located in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and is owned by ENL Maritime Link. It involves the design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of a new 500-MW transmission system between Granite Canal, Newfoundland and Labrador and Woodbine, Nova Scotia. It will include two 170 kilometre subsea cables across the Cabot Strait, close to 50 kilometres of overland transmission in Nova Scotia and nearly 300 kilometres of overland transmission on the island of Newfoundland. The cost of the project is expected to be around $1.6 billion.


Bipole III Transmission Line

In Manitoba, more than 70% of its’ hydro runs over side by side transmission lines in the Interlake Region. The Bipole III line is designed to be an alternate path for electricity as the close proximity of the existing lines make the electricity vulnerable to outages and bad weather. Construction began in 2013 and will cover about 1,384 kilometres. Construction will include clearing and installation of foundations and the design, supply and installation of equipment. The project is owned by Manitoba Hydro and the cost is estimated at $4.9 billion.

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It has been estimated that one in four adults experience an issue with mental illness. Statistics Canada reports that 33% of workers and labourers involved in trades report poor mental health. Substance abuse and addictions are often related to mental health issues as it is not uncommon for workers to go undiagnosed and untreated. Compared to the provincial average, construction workers were almost twice as likely to report that the use of alcohol had a moderate or extremely serious impact on their work performance. Dealing with seasonal unemployment, long hours and physical exhaustion add to stress, anxiety and have an overall negative impact on mental health. According to a report completed by Alberta Health Services in 2016, phobias accounted for approximately 28% of reported health concerns for construction workers, with feelings of hopelessness followed close behind at approximately 26%. Major depressive disorders were reported at 12%, anxiety at 7% and antisocial personality disorder between 5% to 9%.

Mental illnesses cost Canadian employers billions of dollars in absenteeism, disability and lost productivity. Some may expect the construction industry to be the last place workers would talk about depression or anxiety, but recognizing that mental illness can affect anyone regardless of their profession is the first step in treating the problem. The construction industry is becoming cognizant of the problem and is bringing awareness to the need for support and understanding.

The good news is that mental illnesses can be treated. With treatment, 65% to 80% of individuals with mental illnesses see improvement. Recognizing early symptoms or problems ensures that resources and referrals can be suggested. Each mental illness has different symptoms and how individuals experience the illness varies. If you or someone you know is experiencing some of the following symptoms, they may be dealing with a mental illness:

  • Feeling anxious or worried

  • Feeling depressed or unhappy

  • Emotional outbursts

  • Sleep problems

  • Weight or appetite changes

  • Becoming quiet or withdrawn

  • Substance abuse

  • Feeling guilty or worthless

  • Change in behaviour or feelings

If you feel you need help, ensure that you have a physical completed by your doctor to rule out any physiological problems. Don’t be reluctant to seek the advice of an experienced mental health professional. It is important to receive an accurate diagnosis so that the condition can be treated effectively. Avoid the temptation to self-diagnose; a trained professional will be able to do a thorough assessment by exploring various issues that may contribute to the problem.

On the worksite, as an employer or a co-worker, you can be helpful in understanding mental illness and how to deal with it when someone you know is affected.


  • Ask if and how you can help

  • Continue to include the person in usual workplace activities

  • Depending on the relationship, keep in touch with a coworker who has taken time off

  • When a coworker returns to work, welcome them back and don’t avoid them

  • Advocate for healthy workplaces and help bring awareness to the topic of mental health

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Taurus prides itself on the quality of services it provides. We are capable and experienced industry leaders in all areas of construction. With up to date equipment, we provide specialized services in earthworks, excavation, trenching, piling, roadworks, bridges, manage laydowns, installation, maintenance of trailers, snow removal, building erection and waste management. With a team of nearly 500 skilled professionals, we provide services in a competent and skilled manner.

Established in 2006, Taurus has a mission “to be a leader and be recognized by our strong belief in safety, history of accountability and commitment to continuous reliability for our clients, employees and the communities in which we operate.” Committed to the values of hard work and ethical practice, we promise to deliver products on time and recognize that quality and environmental issues are intrinsically linked. Our focus on safety in the workplace and the environment establishes us as leaders in the community. Taurus’s goals centre around the continued improvement of their core goals and values: safety, quality, time and cost.

Over the last decade, Taurus has received awards within the community and on a provincial level. We were recognized as an Ambassador for the City of Fort Saskatchewan. In 2012, we received the Fort Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Award for the Manufacturer/Industry of the Year. In 2015, Alberta Venture named us the Heavy Civil Contractor of the Year and we were shortlisted for Canada’s Safest Employee by the Canadian Occupational Safety Standards Council.


Taurus is proud to be a part of many construction projects throughout the years. In 2007, we were involved in gas and water underground utility installation with BA Energy. We worked at Shell Scotford in Fort Saskatchewan with site indirects and materials handling. In 2009, we completed a project in Regina at the Consumers Cooperatives Refineries. In 2012 and 2013, we provided services at the Northeast Redwater Partnership in Redwater; at the Bechtel ATCO yards in Duchess, Alberta and at the SNC Levalin WATL Access between Red Deer and Langdon. 2014 involved a project with the City of Leduc for underground utilities. Partnering with companies such as Keyera, ATCO Electric, Bechtel and Shell showcased the pride and quality assurances Taurus promises with every project we are involved in.


In addition to our excellent reputation in the construction industry, Taurus is a respected and active member in the community. We support NAIT Athletic Scholarships and actively contribute to the Fort Saskatchewan Minor Hockey program. In addition to providing support within the community, we extend ourselves to major causes such as the Olympics Hockey Marathon For Kids, the FSMA Cancer Ride and Rally and the ALS Society of Alberta. With high standards of service, commitment to strong goals and values, Taurus continues to grow and improve in all aspects of the services they provide. Safety, commitment to the environment, accountability and a strong sense of community are all factors that contribute to the way Taurus provides excellent service within and outside of the industry.



Do you have a heavy civil construction project that we could help you with? Get in touch with us here!

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The success of any construction project relies strongly on the project manager. Skills such as management, leadership, technical knowledge and customer relationships are part of the diverse roles a project manager plays. Conflict resolution is also a special skill required for the job as approximately 42% of a manager’s time is spent reaching an agreement with others when conflict occurs.


Assertiveness is possibly the most important skill when handling conflict. You need to be able to express your views clearly and firmly without aggression. You also need to practice active listening to fully understand the dynamics of the conflict.  Through active listening, respect for individual differences is demonstrated and an environment of understanding is fostered. It is also helpful to have an understanding of emotional responses so you are able to recognize and explain when emotions are inappropriate and when it is beneficial to express them. When a manager is able to understand the needs, interests and emotions of individuals, trust, and relationship bonds are established and the chances of satisfactorily resolving the conflict are increased.


Conflict is not always a bad thing….conflict can be constructive and healthy for an organization. It can expose underlying issues and force people to confront problems. People can change and grow personally from conflict and cohesiveness among team members can be the result when a problem has been resolved.


Destructive conflict has a predictable pattern and many individuals fall into roles when conflict occurs. A persecutor is a person who uses aggressive behavior against another person, a victim refers to a person who uses nonassertive behavior and views themselves as being persecuted; a rescuer is a person who is neither aggressive nor nonassertive but assumes the responsibility for solving the victim’s problems. These roles are usually learned in childhood and many people fall into them based on past history. When conflict occurs and these roles are triggered, win-lose outcomes are inevitable and do not provide an opportunity for win-win resolution.


Dealing with conflict in the workplace is common and finding resolution is essential. The role of a manager involves creating strategies to promote positive teamwork. The American Management Association outlines some simple steps that are a guideline for establishing effective conflict resolution:


  1. Identify the source of the conflict. Give both parties the chance to share their story and be impartial to each story. Ask questions to clarify how, when and why the incident occurred.

  2. Look beyond the incident. The source of the conflict may have occurred previously and the level of stress has increased over time. Looking beyond the trigger incident can reveal the true cause of the conflict.

  3. Request solutions. After you have heard both parties explain their side of the story, ask them how the situation could be changed. As a mediator, be an active listener. Your goal is to stop the fighting and steer the conflict away from blaming and towards resolution.

  4. Identify solutions that disputants can support. Point out the merits of various ideas, not only in terms of each individual’s point of view but from the point of view of the organization.

  5. Reach an agreement. Once an agreement has been reached, get the participants to acknowledge the plan; if necessary have a contract written up outlining timeframes and actions. Ask them what they plan to do if problems arise in the future.

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Despite upsets and uncertainty in Alberta’s economy, there are some massive construction projects currently underway in the province. When these projects are completed they are expected to generate more revenue for Alberta.



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Alberta Carbon Trunk Line


The ACTL is a 240 km pipeline that will collect CO2 from industrial emitters in Alberta and transport it to reservoirs for secure storage. The capture sites are located in the Agrium Fertilizer Plant and the North West Sturgeon Refinery located in Sturgeon County. The Enhanced Oil Recovery Site (EOR) is located in Clive, Alberta. Over 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year will be compressed and stored which is the equivalent of removing 2.6 million cars off the road annually. The stored CO2 will then be injected into depleted oil reservoirs which will result in over 1 billion barrels of oil. It will be the largest carbon capture and storage project in the world when completed. The project is being completed by Enhance Energy Inc. and will cost close to $1 billion. The pipeline was approved in 2011 and work at Agrium is currently underway. Work on facilities at the North West Refinery will occur in conjunction with refinery construction.



Atco Energy Solutions’ Salt Cavern Storage


Atco Energy in partnership with Petrogas Energy Corp. is developing four salt caverns that are capable of storing 400,000 cubic meters of propane, butane, and ethylene. The facility is located in an underground salt layer located below the ATCO Heartland Energy Centre in Fort Saskatchewan. Construction on the salt caverns began in 2014 and is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2017. The cost of the project is $200 million and there is the potential for further development to upwards of 40 additional salt caverns.




Enbridge Norlite Pipeline Project


This project involves the construction of a 24-inch diameter diluent pipeline which originates in Strathcona County at Enbridge’s Stonefell Terminal and terminates at Enbridge’s Fort McMurray South Facility near Fort McMurray. There is also a transfer line to Suncor’s East Tank Farm. The 446 km pipeline will be capable of shipping diluent (a product used to make heavy oil lighter). The project was started in the summer of 2015 and should be completed by the spring of 2017. The estimated capital cost of the project is $1.4 billion.



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Sturgeon Refinery


North West Refining is a 50% owner of the North West Redwater Partnership. Canadian Natural Upgrading Limited owns the other 50%. This partnership is responsible for building the Sturgeon Refinery which is the first refinery to be built in Canada in three decades. Phase One which will process bitumen and produce diesel fuel will be completed in 2017. Approximately 80,000 barrels per day will be processed and available to world markets. There will be a total of three identical phases constructed by the end of the project. The total cost of the project is projected at $8.5 billion.



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Keyera NGL Expansion


Keyera Corp. operates one of the largest independent mainstream energy companies in Canada. A project is underway to expand the existing facility’s fractionation capacity of natural gas liquids from 30,000 barrels per day to 65,000 barrels per day. Located in Fort Saskatchewan, Keyera is able to mitigate supply-demand fluctuations by having the capacity to store liquids in slow months while providing increased volumes as the demand goes up. The estimated capital cost for this project is $220 million.


Did we miss any of your favourite projects currently underway in Alberta's Industrial Heartland? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

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With the year rapidly coming to an end, pause for reflection includes looking at some of the positive accomplishments of the construction industry in Alberta. With uncertainty in the economy, it is reassuring to remember that several outstanding projects were completed this year. Many of the projects included buildings located in Edmonton.



Image via @enbridgecentre on Instagram


Enbridge Centre


In October, the Enbridge Center was the first new office tower to have opened in the financial district in downtown Edmonton in 30 years. The 28 storey tower was built on the historic site of the Kelly Ramsey Building. The original building was damaged by a fire in 2009, but the original bricks were removed, cleaned and reinstalled at the base of the tower. The projected $300 million budget cost an additional $3.8 million for the restoration work. The City of Edmonton paid half the cost of the facade reproduction. An overhead pedway connects the building to Manulife Place while an underground pedway connects to Scotia Place.



Image via @rogersplace on Instagram



Rogers Place


The most advanced sports and entertainment venue in North America has 24,000 square feet of public event space. Ford Hall provides a pedway connection between Rogers Place and the Public Plaza, surrounding towers, hotel, LRT and the rest of downtown. Seating capacity for hockey games is 18,641 and for concerts; 20,734. The arena opened on September 8, 2016, and was awarded the top prize at the Alberta Construction Magazine’s 15th annual top project awards.



Edmonton Tower


Located in the Ice District in Edmonton, the office building opened in December 2016. It has 40,000 square feet of retail space and over 520,000 square feet of office space for lease. Floors 3 and Floors 5-19 will be occupied by the City of Edmonton. Over 200 city employees will work hotel style with only lockers, a tablet and a briefcase. The space is designed to save costs and empower employees to choose how and where to work. They will have access to sit/stand desks throughout the building if they need a place to work. Also located within the building will be a floor for child care services, restaurants, cafes and other conveniences.



Image via @royal_alberta_museum on Instagram


Royal Alberta Museum


Designated as the largest museum in Western Canada, the new building provides double the exhibition space of the old building. At 419,000  square feet, the museum has over 82,000 square feet of exhibition space. The building was completed in August 2016 but transitioning the exhibits will take some time. The anticipated opening date is scheduled for later in the year in 2017. With the capability of providing facilities for cultural and historic exhibits, Edmonton can establish itself as an attractive destination for a variety of exhibits.



Image via @fly_yyc on Instagram


Calgary International Airport

On October 31, 2016, Calgary International Airport opened a state of the art International Terminal. The project added 2 million square feet to the terminal building as well as a 14,000-foot runway for arriving and departing flights. The new construction provides passengers with the ability to connect from concourse to concourse without leaving the secure area. With the International Terminal opened, construction will begin on improving the Domestic Terminal building.


What were your favourite construction projects of 2016? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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The Christmas season is a good time to be thinking about helping others. There are many people who struggle through the Christmas season and are in need of a helping hand. If you are looking for charities to donate to in the Fort Saskatchewan area, here are a few ideas.


The Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank (also know as The Fort Saskatchewan Food Gatherers Society)


The Society operates a Food Bank within the City of Fort Saskatchewan. Hampers are filled with staple items and supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables. People who apply to the food bank are provided with food and toy hampers during the Christmas season. Manned entirely by volunteers, this is an organization that can make a difference to a family’s Christmas memories and perhaps give them the opportunity to share a meal together.


The Christmas Hamper Campaign Committee


Working in conjunction with the Fort Saskatchewan Food Gatherers Society, this organization holds charity drives to raise fund. The demand for food and hampers is greater than ever due to the downturn in the economy. The generosity of the people of Fort Saskatchewan and several businesses have made it possible for many families to have the opportunity to share Christmas dinner.


Families First


Partnering with other organizations and government initiatives, this organization provides services, programs and support efforts to any families needing a helping hand.Throughout the year Parenting Programs such as Positive Parenting or Creating Confident Kids are a few of the many programs that are available for people wishing to learn more about parenting skills. Family supports such as community kitchens and home visitations are also available. In addition, they have a variety of drop-in programs that parents can attend with their children.  As a charity, they accept donations to pass along to families. The need for donations increases at Christmas time and they welcome new or lightly used items which are suitable for children of all ages.


The Strathcona Christmas Bureau


This charity has been helping people since 1979. Each year, qualifying residents of Strathcona County are provided with hampers of food and gifts. More than 370 families a year benefit as a result of the work of this agency. As a non-profit organization, they rely on the effort of volunteers as well as donations from residents and businesses within the community. Donation locations are located throughout Sherwood Park. Look for the Christmas Bureau sign in locations such as Costco, Sherwood Park Mall, Wal-Mart, Home Sense, and Winners. Suggestions for donations include cash, gift cards, toiletries, books, games, music, and electronics. They are also willing to take donations of non-perishable foods.  Gifts for all ages are accepted, but at the present time, they are in need of presents for adults and teenagers.


We should all remember that Christmas is a time for giving and sharing. Extending support and care to those that need it most is your opportunity to share the spirit of Christmas in your local community. Your generosity and kindness will be greatly appreciated by those in need.


How are you celebrating the season of giving this year? Get in touch with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

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Alberta’s economy has been in a tailspin since 2014 when the price of oil crashed. The Fort McMurray fires further contributed to the economic decline. Uncertainty remains about the future of oil prices and global economic conditions; the outcomes are difficult to predict. Some financial experts believe 2017 will be the year of recovery for Alberta while others believe growth and recovery may take longer.



  • Financial experts at TD Bank anticipate oil related investments to stabilize with oil prices reaching a point above $50 per barrel. Global oil market rebalancing has started however crude inventories remain high. Uncertainty about demand and the timing of market rebalancing are reflecting volatility in oil prices. Energy investment has weakened due to this volatility and any rebound will be slow compared to past experiences.

  • Outside of the energy sector, investments have also been affected by declining commercial and industrial spending. The past two years have shown a decline in business activity, however, it appears as though it’s starting to stabilize. Bitumen production appears to have recovered from the outages from the Fort McMurray wildfires and manufacturing outputs are expected to pick up with a 4% recovery being expected in 2017.


  • The labor market deteriorated in the first half of 2016. Employment fell nearly 38,000 between December 2015 and July 2016 with job losses increasing in the second quarter. More recently, between July and October, employment has started to improve with 25,000 jobs being added mostly in the private sector. Employment is expected to continue improving in 2017 and should expand by 1.2%.

  • Alberta has the highest hourly wage rate among the provinces, however, sustained economic weakness has seen a decline in total earnings. Reductions in overtime, declining full-time employment and gains in part-time employment have affected the number of average weekly hours worked. As a result, average weekly earnings have fallen and primary household income has been affected. A small rebound is forecast for 2017 and growth will likely be around 2.4%.


  • The housing market is expected to exhibit more signs of stability. Housing sales of existing homes have remained well below pre-recession levels and vacancy rates have gone up. It is anticipated that in 2017, there will be a higher than expected increase in housing starts and existing home sales, partly due to reconstruction activity in Fort McMurray.


Risks to the Alberta economy are still elevated, however, it is predicted that the GDP growth should top 2%. If global growth is weak, or if OPEC fails to reach an agreement to freeze output, the Alberta market could be affected and economic recovery would be slower than expected. On the positive side, higher than expected growth in the US or easing pipeline constraints could significantly improve Alberta’s prospects. Decisions that Donald Trump makes as President are likely to affect the Alberta economy in some fashion. At this point in time, we can only wait to see what those decisions will be.

Do you have any insights into Alberta's economy for 2017? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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With the recent election in the United States, uncertainty is rampant as many are pondering the decisions Donald Trump will make as they have the potential to affect the world economy. In Canada, we are certain to be affected by any changes made to current or future policies.




Trump has promised to cancel or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). If he changes the existing agreement, it will create change for Canada as we currently send three-quarters of our exports south. This could adversely disrupt existing partnerships involving businesses included in NAFTA. Although Trump may have the power to scrap NAFTA, Congress would have to re-establish tariffs as well as the Canada-US agreement that pre-dated NAFTA. Changing policies between Canada and the US would be complicated. It appears that Trump’s main issue may be with Mexico where he has threatened to impose taxes on American companies that establish cheap labour plants there. He does not appear to have any direct issues with Canada. The indirect way that Canada may be affected is if Trump confronts China over trade which would affect our economy and/or the dollar.


Climate Change, Oil and Gas


Justin Trudeau has pushed for a solution to tackle climate change by levying a price on carbon which will assist Canada in limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. An agreement that has already been established between Trudeau and Obama regarding these emissions could be struck down as Trump has stated that the climate change deal is “bad for US business”. With Trump’s goal of investment into traditional energy infrastructure, developing renewable energy technologies may be disregarded.


The traditional energy perspective gives renewed opportunity for energy projects that couldn’t pass under Obama. The Keystone XL pipeline project and other similar pipeline projects could be approved which would give Canadian oil companies a better price on their output with more direct access to international markets.


Immigration and Skilled Labour Migration


Donald Trump has indicated that he intends to deport millions of illegal immigrants. In Canada, our government is accommodating to immigrants. The benefit to Canadian businesses is that Canada would have access to skilled immigrant workers who have been displaced or are no longer interested in living in the United States. The potential drawback could be that many immigrant employees may have to be trained to ensure they have the same skills as current employees.


Infrastructure Investment


If Donald Trump follows through with campaign promises, we could see significant money being spent on infrastructure. He has stated that he is planning to spend money on stimulus programs for highways, bridges, and tunnels. Canada could benefit from this if the two governments focus in a similar manner on building the infrastructure capacity and framework of the two nations. Whether or not this will be open to Canadian businesses and firms remains to be seen. It could adversely affect Canada however if NAFTA is renegotiated or in question; the policy in the US may be to Buy American and Canada might be on the outside looking in.


With so many possibilities, it will be of interest to all Canadians to see what decisions Donald Trump makes as President. During his campaign, he was vocal about changes he would implement if he was elected. Only time will reveal what claims he intends to follow through with and how he proposes to create change.

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Winter has arrived bringing with it the challenges of bad weather. Before winter strikes full force, make sure you and your car are ready. During the busyness of the holiday travel season, take your time to follow these tips to ensure you get to your destination and back home safely.



  • Before driving, make sure snow and ice are cleared off of your car. If snow has fallen when your car was parked, take the time to thoroughly brush it off the vehicle including the roof, windows, side view mirrors, headlights, taillights, and license plates. Driving through a small cleared spot on your windshield reduces visibility and is dangerous.


  • Slow down when conditions aren’t ideal. Follow the posted speed limit but use common sense. If a road sign posts the speed limit of 100 km/h, that doesn’t mean you should drive at that speed if the road is icy or snow covered. Check road conditions often and choose the route you’ll take ahead of time. Stay off of roads during major storms unless travel is absolutely necessary. When driving behind a snow plow, maintain a safe distance behind. Snow plow drivers do not always have the best visibility and can create clouds of snow that reduce your visibility.


  • Allow for longer braking distances. Start braking sooner than what is normal in dry weather. On a wet or slick surface, allow yourself at least three times the normal following distance to stop. Use gentle pressure on the brake pedal and avoid locking the wheels when braking. Locked wheels can make a vehicle slide or skid. If you have a vehicle without an antilock braking system, apply gentle pressure repeatedly to avoid locked wheels. If your vehicle starts to skid, steer in the direction you want to go. When the wheels regain their grip, brake firmly and smoothly. Avoid sudden actions such as quickly turning the steering wheel, acceleration or shifting a manual transmission.


  • If you don’t already have them, get winter tires. They provide better traction and can shorten your braking distance by as much as 25 percent. All season tires are not the same as winter tires as they tend to lose their grip when the temperature drops below 7 C. If have four or all wheel drive, don’t develop a false sense of security. 4WD and AWD systems only provide traction when accelerating. They provide no advantage when braking or cornering. Do not use cruise control on slippery roads.


  • Keep your vehicle’s fuel tank more than half full. The extra volume can help reduce moisture problems in your fuel system and a topped up gas tank is an asset if you become stranded. Carry an emergency road kit in your vehicle’s trunk or cargo space. Carry supplies such as: a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, blanket, road map and compass, extra clothing and footwear, rags or paper towels, sand or road salt, a flashlight with extra batteries, emergency food such as granola bars or nuts, an ice scraper and snowbrush, a cell phone, a candle in a deep tin and waterproof matches, a shovel and booster cables.

Are there any other preventative winter driving tips that we should add to our list? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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Winter conditions in Alberta can start in October and continue through to April. Weather and environmental conditions during this time create hazards. Pre-season planning is an important aspect of handling winter conditions. Planning is the best way to ensure risks such as minimizing cold exposure and protection from blowing wind. A risk of injuries to workers may include: slippery ice or compact snow, poor driving conditions, falling snow and ice from overhead, blowing snow reducing visibility and inadequate lighting. Here are some important factors to consider when getting a site ready for winter.



Roadways, walkways and parking areas should have adequate drainage to avoid water accumulation and be properly marked so they are easily identified during heavy snowfall. Permanent or immovable objects are to be marked with reflective barricades or stakes to allow for visibility. In work areas where snow drifts can occur, a snow fence should be installed. Installing a snow fence prior to freezing is recommended as it becomes more difficult to install once the ground is frozen. Grit or sandboxes can be placed in centralized locations for easy access. Cords and cables need to be away from walkways and raised off the ground or buried if possible. All buildings and trailers used during winter should also be assessed. Proper lighting, snow removal, handrails and other safety features are to be taken into consideration to ensure the workers safety.


Lighting and Heating

With less sunlight in winter it’s important to have lights set up on the jobsite. In permanent work areas such as laydowns and office areas, permanent lighting may be more practical. In temporary work areas, portable lighting may be more suitable. Paying attention to the placement of lighting is critical as is placing barricades around lights. Gas powered lighting, heaters and generators should be placed so exhaust does not enter enclosed spaces and all equipment must be properly grounded. Heating and temporary power should meet with designated standards.



Before the winter season arrives, any unnecessary excavations should be filled. Consider snow that will be removed from the excavation and where spoil piles will be placed. If space is available, the excavation should be bermed to create a physical barrier preventing vehicles and equipment from entering the excavation. If berming is not possible, high visibility markers should be placed at a distance from the excavation.



Identify what equipment will be required for snow removal. Equipment such as graders, front end loaders, bobcats, snow and leaf blowers, shovels, brooms and ice scrapers or chippers may be needed. As snow removal equipment creates slippery surfaces, after the snow has been removed, grit should be placed soon after the snow removal has been completed. Snow disposal areas can be determined according to the site. Temporary snow storage areas can be created where snow can be compiled and transported to a centralized snow dump. To avoid flooding during spring melt, snow disposal areas should not be placed on high ground.


How are you preparing your construction site for the snow and cold weather? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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In the latter part of our decade working in Alberta's construction industry, we've invested more time and effort into our online presence to further our company values of transparency and accountability. Now, we're celebrating a recent accomplishment of hitting over 2,000 followers on Facebook and 7,000 followers on Twitter by taking a look back at some of our greatest posts on social media!



Did we miss any of your favourite posts? Get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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November 11th marks the anniversary of the 1918 Armistice agreement that ended the First World War. The perception of war changed for Canadians after the reality of this experience. As the victory of the war ending was celebrated, the awareness of the loss was devastating. 61,000 Canadians lost their lives and the need for commemoration was started as a way to show gratitude towards the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for their country.


During the Second World War, Canadians fought valiantly on battlefronts around the world. More than one million men and women enlisted in the navy, army, and the air force. When the war was over, over 42,000 Canadians had lost their lives. The hard fought end to this war did not provide the troops with a long peace. Canadian soldiers were mobilized to South Korea to fight an invasion by North Korea. When this war ended in 1953, Canadians stayed as part of the peacekeeping force. More recently, the War in Afghanistan has been another war that Canadians have served in. Over the years, more than 118,000 Canadians have died in foreign conflicts.


From observing all the realities and tragedies of wars, it reminds us of the true nature of conflict and the devastation and destruction that war can bring. The red poppy has become the symbol of Remembrance Day as it is associated with death and renewal; the seeds of the flower may remain dormant in the earth for years, but blossom in abundance when the soil is churned. In 1914, poppies appeared in the fields of Flanders and in Northern France and became an inspiration for the famous poem “In Flander’s Fields” by John McCrae. Wearing a poppy has become synonymous with Remembrance Day all over the world as we honor those soldiers who lost their lives in battle.


Monuments commemorating the lives of Canadians who died in conflicts overseas occupy a prominent place in towns and cities throughout Canada. Canada’s most prominent war monument is the National War Memorial in Ottawa, where the Remembrance Day ceremony is attended by the governor general, the prime minister, senior Legion officials and a parade of veterans. It is also attended by the Silver Cross mother; the Royal Canadian Legion chooses the mother of an Armed Forces member killed in military service to represent the mothers of all Canadian veterans killed in military service. The Unknown Soldier is located at the foot of the National War Memorial and contains the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who was killed in the First World War. The Tomb represents all Canadians killed overseas who lie in unmarked graves.


We often take for granted our Canadian values and institutions. We have the freedom to participate in life the way we want to under a government of our choice. The Canadians who went to war believed that our values and beliefs were being threatened. On Remembrance Day, honor the veterans who have dedicated their lives to helping us live a life free from war by making a donation to: - committed to helping homeless and at-risk veterans reintegrate into civilian life. - honors and supports Canada’s ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, First Responders and their families.

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