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One year ago, we were asked to stay home for two weeks to help flatten the curve on the transmission of the  Covid-19 virus.

A year later, and two missed conferences, we are still impacted every day and in every part of our lives by  Covid-19.  But thanks to technology and some really great work by our Conference Committee Chair, Virginia Shepley, the SBOA is able to fulfill our role as education and professional development leaders for Building Officials.  I want to thank Virginia and all the presenters for a fantastic, informative, and incredibly smooth virtual conference.  We are looking forward to the day when we can once again meet in person and enjoy each other’s company.  But I am encouraged by this conference. At its roots, the conference is about sharing information, and we now know we can continue to do this effectively.

The work of the SBOA Board of Directors did not stop since we last met.  We managed to add some new faces. Myron Stenka from the City of Regina has filled the role of Member-at-Large – Regina.  We want to welcome Myron and thank him for stepping up and bringing value to our membership.

Another new face in the line-up was brought on by the hiring of a new Executive Director.  The SBOA was extremely fortunate to be able to hire Michelle Williamson as our new Executive Director, and she came highly recommended by her other employer, the Saskatchewan Volunteer Fire Fighter’s Association.  This staff position is brand new to us.  The SBOA has benefitted for years from the hard work of many long-serving board members and the willingness of all board members to do what needed to be done to keep the SBOA rolling.  Times have changed, and the role of the SBOA has increasingly grown. We have become significant stakeholders in some important projects.  We deal daily with organizations whose full-time job is the projects we work on, such as governments and educational institutes. Michelle is bringing stability and a continuity element to everything we do. She has immediately lightened the load for our board members while ensuring everything we do gets done and gets done professionally.  And we have clearly seen the advantage of having her on the team already. She will be invaluable to us. Please join me in welcoming Michelle to the SBOA team.

With the cancellation of the Fall Conference, we were not able to hold our scheduled elections, as the two-year board terms were set to end.  We did not have guidance in our bylaws that deal with running the SBOA during a pandemic, so we felt the most appropriate thing to do was ask the existing board members if they would extend their terms until we can figure out future conferences and other options for holding elections, and I thank all for their willingness to continue the work of the SBOA.  I do apologize to anyone who was ready to step forward, let their name stand, give back to their industry, and take a role with the SBOA.  We want to ensure we encourage anyone and everyone who wants to get involved to have that opportunity.  I can tell you that the work being done on behalf of Building Officials by the SBOA is incredibly rewarding and undeniably essential. I assure you we will hold an election this fall.

And, as everyone has heard, after four years of work, and with the support of our ACBOA partners from across the country, we have delivered a new, rigorous, credible and appropriate exam program.  We have known for years that the existing exam program was past its service life.  And although it did work for many, at the same time, it held Building Officials back.  We believe we have delivered an exam program that for an engaged, knowledgeable, and well-trained Building Official, advancement is now achievable. We also want to thank our Chief Building Official Mr. Meickel who worked with us to ensure the government of Saskatchewan could accept the new exams as a replacement for the old program, which for now is under a one-year assessment.

This program is a direct result of the SBOA being at the national table for all these years.  If anyone ever questioned what ACBOA does or what we gain by being involved, this exam program is a perfect case.  And just like the training programs, this exam platform is a great example of Building Officials building the toolbox for Building Officials.

I have been an SBOA board member for 17 years, and I can tell you for certainty, that this achievement will be what I am most proud of for this group.

I want to thank all our directors and partners across the country. I am immensely proud and privileged to be part of such an engaged and ambitious team of Building Officials, who work so hard to make sure the world of Building Officials in Saskatchewan is always improving, and always moving forward.

Be well, everyone!  Have a safe and successful construction season!

– Chris Gates

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