MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Twenty-five years ago Canada’s first and only maintenance association was created in Toronto, born from a concern that there was no organization catering to the needs of workers in the maintenance profession and no recognition of the essential role they play in the success of manufacturing and processing plants. It all started with business cards dropped into a shoebox at Canada’s first annual maintenance conference in June of 1989.
Brainstorming sessions and a media blitz followed. In January of 1990 the first executive meeting was convened, and the details discussed, including the name. The Plant Engineering and Maintenance Association of Canada (PEMAC) received its not-for-profit charter in August 1990.
The association intended to form links with industry and service sectors and become recognized as a nation-wide centre of excellence in maintenance. Its first objectives were to inform members of new techniques, products and maintenance tools; to provide technical and marketing research; to lobby government on educational, apprenticeship, safety and environmental issues; and to establish education and training programs that meet industry needs.
That led to three initiatives that define PEMAC: the creation of two training and certification programs and, later, convening an annual maintenance conference.
The first education and certification program, maintenance management professional (MMP) education and certification program, consists of eight modules – a 15-hour introductory framework module and seven 30-hour modules. More than 1,000 individuals have completed the eight courses and applied for the MMP professional designation.
More recently, PEMAC developed a second education and certification program, the asset management professional (AMP) program. It is offered exclusively at Toronto’s Humber College in association with PEMAC.
In addition to the MMP and AMP certification programs, PEMAC started its own national conference, called MainTrain, in 2004. Since then, this PEMAC annual maintenance, reliability and asset management conference has been a source for professional development for maintenance practitioners, aiming at knowledge transfer and networking to contribute to the transformation of both individuals and organizations through education.
PEMAC now has chapters in Vancouver, Alberta, Fort McMurray, Saskatoon, Sudbury and the Greater Toronto Area and a membership of more than 1,100. It is operated by five paid staff and its chapter presidents and guided by 15 volunteer board members.
So where does PEMAC go from here? At this 25-year milestone, the organization continues to concentrate on relations with industry and government and to promote maintenance as a career choice for high school and college students. It wants to provide more member benefits, increase membership, and get its certification system recognized globally. It aspires to expand PEMAC’s role and refocus taking a closer look at whole lifecycle asset management and reaching beyond Canada to become a major global player in the asset management field. To that extent, PEMAC is already a member of GFMAM, the Global Forum on Maintenance and Asset Management.
PEMAC has these aspirations because it wants to add the best possible value for society in asset management as the association continues the journey started 25 years ago.
Readers can visit PEMAC.org to learn more.