My Cambium – An Inside Staff Perspective

An insider’s perspective on the unique culture, work and career opportunities with Cambium Inc., an employee-owned consulting & engineering company.

In light of Cambium’s recent Employer of the Year Award, we wanted to re-post the “My Cambium” video.  We have an amazing team  and we could not provide the quality and value of service that we do without them.

y Cambium - Staff Perspective

My Cambium, a staff perspective on the life and work at Cambium. This video is a heartfelt inside view from a staff perspective on the life, work and career opportunities with Cambium. Staff in the video have been with us since the start and others  joined the team over the last number of years. The common thread throughout the video is the shared pride each person has and the opportunities they experienced since joining Cambium. It exemplifies more than words the experience and unique Cambium culture.

Since 2006, Cambium evolved from a small company of 10 employees to one that now employs over 100 across offices in Peterborough, Barrie, Oshawa, and Kingston. We have quickly become an industry leader and one of the largest and fastest growing independent, employee-owned consulting firms in Ontario.Explore your career possibilities with us!

Cambium Awarded Employer of the Year at Business Excellence Awards

Cambium was awarded Employer of the Year at the 15th Annual  Peterborough Business Excellence Awards on October 17, 2018.  The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce hosts the awards event to publicly recognize and honour local businesses who have demonstrated a passion for excellence.

Cambium Accepts Employer of the Year Award
John Desbiens, President and CEO accepts Employer of the Year Award with members of the Cambium Team

Employer of the Year is awarded to a business that exemplifies excellence in its employee focus – job creation, hiring diversity, training & support,  workplace  wellness, commitment to professional/personal  development, as well as community involvement.

We are so very proud to have won the Employer of the Year. A huge thanks to the entire Cambium Team for their contribution to our success. There are always a number factors that contribute to the achievements of a company. For Cambium, it is 100% our team and we could not provide the quality and value of service that we do without them.

As an employee-owned company, Cambium recognizes its success is largely due to our skilled and dedicated team.  We focuses on the health, well-being, and job-satisfaction of our employees, including schedule flexibility to promote work-life balance.  Staff are encouraged to reach for their peak competencies. We also provide training /cross-training opportunities in support of their desired career advancement.  Active employee contribution in Cambium’s development and success (strategic plan, profit sharing, and ownership) is encouraged as well.  Foremost, Cambium maintains a culture and supportive work environment that is enjoyable for all.

The company continues to grow and attract like-minded professional to our team.  We welcome those interested to checkout our employment opportunities, as well as the “My Cambium” video that provides a staff perspective on the unique Cambium Culture.

Harmonizing Cottage Redevelopment with the Natural Environment.

Do your cottage redevelopment plans for improvement align with current acts and regulations?

Your cottage is often seen as a place to unwind and centre yourself; a haven among the trees and cool waters that allows you to step back from the business of life and reconnect with nature. It’s where you laugh, play, and spend endless  hours of quality time with family and friends. The design of an environment can have a powerful effect on your life and as such cottage owners will attest to the continual desire for improvements at the cottage to further enhance their connection and experience with the outdoors.

Cottage improvements could involve anything from removing trees to improve the view to replacing the old, rickety dock with something better. On a larger scale, it may be installing a new septic system or expanding the cottage footprint to accommodate your growing family.

As our understanding of the natural environment grows and our approaches to protecting it change, so do the government policies that regulate development. Improvements or redevelopments to your cottage that were allowed 20 years ago may face a very different set of policies and regulations today. With their close connections to nature and water, there are a myriad of policies that may have implications to cottage redevelopment.

Every municipality has their own set of policies for protecting features of the natural environment. Water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and wetlands are also administered by local conservation authorities. The provincial and federal governments have established a number of acts to protect our natural biodiversity, such as the Endangered Species Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, and the Fisheries Act. Likewise, provincial policies such as the Provincial Policy Statement and the new Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2017) are also in place to guide development in cottage country.

A first step in  redevelopment is to check with your Municipal Development Department. 

With so many guidelines, policies and governing bodies, how can you be sure your cottage redevelopment plans won’t land you in hot water? Which improvements can you implement without the need of an approval or permit? How do you know where to turn if you have to deal with the municipality, Conservation Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)?

Cottagers can be left swimming in circles without knowing how to proceed. But don’t give up on your cottage dreams yet. Often the best place to look for answers is the development department of your local municipality. A competent development planner can help guide you through the various policy requirements for cottage improvements, as well as provide details on other regulatory agencies that need to be involved.

An Environmental impact Study is a tool that guides how redevelopment can fit with the natural environment.

Municipalities and Conservation Authorities often require you to complete an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) or a Natural Heritage Evaluation (NHE) to provide details on any implications your development plans may have on the natural environment. An EIS or NHE is completed by an ecologist, often employed at a science and engineering company, and aims to provide plans and recommendations for how a proposed redevelopment can fit with the surrounding natural environment. It demonstrates to the regulatory authorities the way in which your proposed redevelopment will respond to the policies and regulations mentioned above and helps to streamline the approval and permitting process. It is important to choose an ecologist who will collaborate with you, providing advice and input into your redevelopment plans. They offer an objective assessment of potential impacts a development can have on the environment and will recommend ways to avoid or minimize potential adverse effects. Consulting ecologists are your advocates through the EIA/NHE process and strive to deliver mutually beneficial solutions that ensure your project meets the obligations of the related acts and policies.

With the right connection to people who can answer your questions and a consulting ecologist to provide solutions and alternatives, an EIA/NHE assessment is a key tool that will help make your redevelopments fit within the natural environment.

Give us a call and one of Cambium’s ecologist would be happy to provide further information and advice Environmental Impact Studies or Natural Heritage Evaluations.

 

Septic System Solutions for Challenging Cottage Properties

Interested in improving the water quality of your lake?  Qualified Wastewater Designers Offer Septic Solutions to Reduce Environmental Impact.

Article written by Cambium’s Project Coordinator, Stew Dolstra, B.Sc., Hon., Dipl., BCIN  Well Technician.

On-site wastewater treatment systems commonly referred to as septic systems can be found at just about every rural residence or cottage.  In most cases, a conventional on-site wastewater treatment system consists of a septic tank followed by a leaching bed, both sized and designed accordingly based on the type of building it services.

Many cottage or lakeshore properties in Ontario exhibit challenging conditions in which even the smallest conventional system footprint may not be suitable for a property.  This can be due to limited space available, shallow groundwater, poor soils, shallow bedrock or steep slopes. There may also be setbacks from supply wells, water bodies, property lines, and buildings.

More discrete blending into the existing grade, minimizes tree removal.

In these cases an advanced treatment unit is considered as an alternative to a conventional system.  Advanced treatment typically use some form of media such as plastic, foam, or peat to circulate or spread the wastewater over an area to allow filtration and aeration to provide additional treatment.  Due to the higher quality of sewage treatment provided by this type of unit, a smaller leaching bed is permitted for final treatment and dispersion of the wastewater.  This allows more flexibility to place the leaching bed in an area where a conventional system will not fit.  Typically, the smaller footprint also saves trees from removal, allows for a more discrete installation and saves invaluable space on the property.

Up to 50% less footprint than conventional systems

There are many different manufacturers of advanced treatment units, however in order to be used in Ontario all advanced treatment units must obtain the same certification.  Although held to the same standard, these units offer a wide variety of technology to achieve the required treatment for your property use.

It is important that you consult with a qualified designer prior to selecting an advance treatment unit to ensure the property specific challenges of your site are considered. The designer will take into consideration any challenges with respect to restricted burial depths, power requirements, winterization, variable flows, as well as purchase and installation cost, maintenance requirements, and lifespan to ensure the ideal advanced treatment unit is chosen for the site.

These challenging conditions are typical of cottage properties, making it more important than ever for a property owner to work with a qualified third party wastewater system designer.  Conventional wastewater systems typically cost less to install and require lower maintenance than a system that incorporates an advanced treatment unit.  As such, a qualified designer takes into consideration the site challenges, system requirements and cost, as well as the design specifications to meet the Ontario Building Code requirements. Property owners can be assured that the wastewater system design options presented meet their needs and are tailored specific to the site.

A wastewater treatment system is the responsibility of the property owner as are the costs associated with it.  It is up to you to make informed decisions when selecting both a qualified and experienced designer and installer for your system. It is of the utmost importance to ensure the wastewater treatment system functions properly to protect you and your neighbor’s health and the environment as well as prolong the life of your investment.

Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF) offers $3.635 Million to support Municipalities Blue Box Programs

Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF) 2018 Request for Expressions of Interest provides $3.635 million investment to support Ontario Municipalities Blue Box Recycling Programs

The Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF) was established to support Blue Box recycling programs operated by Ontario Municipalities. The 2018 Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) is now open with the goal of investing in new initiatives that align with the priorities of the 2018 CIF Operations Plan. This includes slightly over $2.13 million allocated towards CIF’s Centre of Excellence that focuses on the delivery of tools and services that provide value to municipalities and stewards.

“The REOI focuses on transitional support for municipalities preparing for changes to the Blue Box Program Plan (BBPP) and/or Full Producer Responsibility. Projects that aim to generate cost savings and pursue innovative ideas to improve Blue Box recycling in Ontario will also be considered though these applications may be placed under additional scrutiny provided the current uncertainty surrounding the BBPP.”

Proposal submissions are due no later than Wednesday, May 9, 2018 by 4:00 p.m. REOI will be carefully reviewed by CIF to determine which projects provide the greatest value and benefits at local, multi-municipal or province-wide levels and present optimal return within their identified priorities (noted below) as well as in the 2018 CIF Operations Plan. The 2018 Funding Priorities are:

  • System optimization
  • Cost Savings or Cost Containment
  • Centre of Excellence projects, including:
  • Transitional support in response to new legislation
  • Waste composition studies
  • Development of better practices and tool kits
  • Outreach services
  • Procurement and contract management support services
  • Research into materials management
  • Performance audits Training initiatives

The CIF website has a number of online reference documents and resources to help with the development of your submission.

With the draft Amended Blue Box Program Plan Released by Stewardship Ontario in December 2017, Cambium encourages our clients to be informed about industry changes.  The CIF funding is an opportunity that can provide a means to implement your projects.

Cambium’s Waste Management Specialists – David Bucholtz, Stephanie Reeder, and Rob Arkell – welcome the opportunity to discuss your waste management needs and are happy to explore your project options for the CIF REIO.

Cambium Supports Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic

Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic Raising funds for Easter Seals – It’s all about having fun and raising funds to help kids go to camp.

Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic in Support of Easter Seals
Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic in Support of Easter Seals

Cambium’s Durham office was proud to sponsor a team in the 2017 Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic held at Iroquois Sports Park earlier this month.   The event raised an incredible $330,000 for Easter Seals kids.  The Cambium Team raised over $5,000 and got to play hockey for the day with Maple Leaf legend Dan Daoust.  They also go to play against Eric Lindros linemate on the Legion of Doom – John LeClair as well as Leaf icon Nik Antropov.

Cambium Aboriginal General Manager with Aiden – It’s all about sending these kids to camp!
Cambium Aboriginal General Manager with Aiden – It’s all about sending these kids to camp!
Cambium's Evan Black Signing One day contract for Leaf Legend Dan Daoust
Cambium’s Evan Black signing the one day contract for Leaf Legend Dan Daoust!

 

The level of hockey we played at solidified our belief that we were meant to protect the Earth rather than skate on it.  It was a great cause and next year our team will be looking to double our fundraising efforts.  Thanks to all of those that supported us.

Cambium Team Draft Pick Dan Daoust
The 5 Members of the Cambium Team calling their 14th round draft pick, Dan Daoust.

 

Congrats to Evan Black of Cambium and Michael Jacobs, General Manager of Cambium Aboriginal for organizing our hockey team.

Cambium’s Evan Black and Cambium Aboriginal General Manager Mike Jacobs ready to go!
Cambium’s Evan Black and Cambium Aboriginal General Manager Mike Jacobs ready to go!

How Your Site Investigation Costs Can Save You Money: a Tax Lesson.

A site investigation is a necessary part of expanding facilities, buying new commercial property or constructing a new building altogether. Their purpose is to ensure  a potential building site is safe for all potential users/occupants and that any and all environmental concerns are mitigated.  Cambium has decades of experience performing environmental site assessments, records of site conditions, ground water assessments, soil testing etc.  Our team has worked with a number of developers, planners, businesses and individuals to support the development of projects.

The cost for site investigations can feel like an added expense to on top of costly build project, regardless of the importance and  necessity.  However, you might be interested to know that there are some interesting tax implications that allow you to write off these costs.

For those of you familiar with Canada’s tax system, see the below paragraph. For those that wish to know a little more to understand the benefits – read on! If you run a business or represent a business’s interest, you are well aware of the ever-looming cost that is income tax. Most Canadian businesses are taxed at a flat rate on their taxable net income. Taxable net income in its simplest form is essentially just business revenues less expenses that are allowed to be deducted by the Income Tax Act (ITA). The lower your net income is, the lower your tax liability will be. However, any expenses that are capital in nature (i.e. have a long-term useful life, usually defined as more than a year) are not allowed to be deducted and must use a prescribed amortization rate provided by Canada Revenue Agency known as the Capital Cost Allowance (CCA). This means that instead of being able to reduce net-income for tax purposes in a given year all at once from a capital expenditure, a business must amortize the cost over its useful life. Due to the time-value of money, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future – so expensing costs now is better than doing so in the future.

Normally site investigation fees would be considered capital in nature and not deductible for income tax purposes.  However, an exception to this general rule is provided for any expenses incurred for site investigations. Expenses include: subsurface investigations, surveying, investigating permits, performing site assessments etc. The Tax Act essentially allows any fee related to investigating the usefulness or viability of a property as tax deductible – even if the taxpayer does not end up acquiring the property! What does this mean for you?  You can expense the entire cost of Cambium’s services for any site investigation – saving quite a bit in tax costs!

Municipal GHG Challenge Fund Opening Doors to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new Municipal GHG Challenge Fund is a federally-funded and provincially administered program designed to help the province meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. This is an exciting opportunity for municipalities to receive substantial funding. The way it works is simple: municipalities can apply for funding through the GHG Municipal Challenge Fund website found here if they have a project of any size that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Any Ontario municipality may qualify – so long as the proposed project has a measurable reduction in GHG emissions for the province.

There is about $100 million slated for this year and it will likely repeat yearly. Financing is available for up to 100% of costs, but priority is given for projects that provide up to 50% of funding. Financing is available for capital/construction costs of implementing the project – but not for planning or document procurement. Municipalities must apply by November 14 this year, and will know if their project has been funded by February 2018. Projects that reduce GHG emissions that are currently underway can still apply for funding, subject to some restrictions.

Municipalities that wish to apply must have three things (unless they are a very-small municipality or a northern municipality where there is more flexibility):

  • Community-wide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory;
  • Community-wide GHG emissions reduction target;
  • And Community-wide strategy/plan to reduce GHG emissions.

These things must be provided along with the application and calculations detailing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions the project will reduce. Details about all of these things can be found at the previously mentioned website.

A recent update on the government funding site notes that many municipalities are interested in the funding but do not have these items completed. As the interest in the fund is quite high…

“the eligibility requirements for the first round of funding will be opened to allow all municipalities to apply, so long as applicants demonstrate a commitment to completing their community-wide GHG inventory, targets and plan within 18 months, through a council resolution. If approved for funding, the council resolution must occur before the transfer payment agreement is completed.”

All applications will be scored according to the program criteria, and if theses items are not included in the submission, it will impact the applicants score in the “Alignment with Municipal GHG Planning” section.

Funding has very few limitations – any size and scale is allowed. Some examples provided during a webinar included replacing vehicle fleets with lower emissions equivalents, replacing recreation center heating systems with biofuel boilers, implementing a bike-sharing program, building solar farms to replacing other power generation facilities or upgrading a facility to improve its efficiency. There are very few restrictions beyond lowering the net emissions produced by a given municipality.

Applications are due November 14th; if your municipality has a project in mind, but need assistance calculating GHG reductions, making a community GHG inventory or other planning elements around submitting your proposal give us a call. Cambium’s engineers and technicians can help create these documents. Check our Environmental Compliance Approval Services page for a listing of the services.

Using Landfill Sites to Save Pollinators

Image Credit to the OWMA

The world is experiencing a decline in pollinator species that is very troubling. Pollinators like bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are essential to both the natural and agricultural environments. Without pollinator species we would experience severe food shortages due to very poor crop yields.

Some aspects of pollinator decline remain a mystery, for example; honeybees in North America are being wiped out faster than can be explained by habitat loss or other human factors. However, human activity is largely the cause of other pollinator decline. As such it is very important that we work towards providing pollinators with habitats and ensure their protection.

The Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA) created this excellent infographic on taking advantage of landfills (historically closed, recently closed or even still active) to provide pollinator habitats – making excellent use of otherwise difficult to use land.

If you are operating a landfill site, Cambium can help. Cambium works all across the province on landfills: from environmental monitoring to closing procedures, we have a diverse array of experience in ensuring the safety, efficiency and best use of landfills. Our biology team is well versed in pollinator species and can help you do your part in saving them by assisting in the implementation of ideas presented by the OWMA.

What is a Circular Economy?

http://bioplasticfeedstockalliance.org/bioplastics/

As the world population continues to grow, the world’s creation of waste (especially plastics) follows suit. As is common knowledge, plastics don’t decompose very quickly; some may even take tens of thousands of years. This poses a problem in terms of sheer volume: there is simply too much plastic and other waste products to deal with. Unfortunately, most plastics don’t make it to landfills or recycling plants and end up in the ocean or natural environment instead. In the Pacific, there are islands of floating plastics so large they can be clearly seen from space.

Landfills are overflowing and the ocean is being severely affected. Many proposed solutions revolve around reducing consumption in general – which is absolutely a necessity, but it is something that is difficult to incentivize and even more difficult to legislate.  Lowering consumption is something that will likely happen overtime, but it probably isn’t going to happen fast enough to mitigate environmental damage in the meantime. So how do we manage all of this waste? One school of thought is to focus on the economic viability of reusing material. Rather than synthesizing new plastics or extracting new metals, manufacturers use recycled materials as their primary inputs. The idea is to lower waste overtime due to a widespread systematic recycling of materials that goes far beyond a given city’s recycling program. This is called a “Circular Economy” due to the circular flow of materials. The intent is to create a strong incentive to make change happen faster by making reuse economically attractive.

The concept of Economies of Scale refers to the lower costs of manufacturing the larger the scale of the operation. This same principle drives Circular Economics – that if reuse and re-fabrication happen on a wide enough scale, it becomes very economical. It makes intuitive sense that turning valueless garbage back into saleable products could be cheaper than extracting raw materials; the problem is that there is a lack of infrastructure to make the reuse economical. This is changing rapidly and many companies are taking advantage of the inexpensive material that comes from making use of waste.

If you or your business are interested in taking advantage of circular economics, or are looking to learn more take a look at Ontario Waste Management Association’s (OWMA) website or check out #circulareconomy on Twitter. If you are looking to improve your businesses waste management, recycling, or ensure compliance with Ontario’s regulations give us a call or check out our website here.