Canadian Contractor

Alec Caldwell   

How one roofing firm advertised their serious stupidity

Canadian Contractor Liability Property risk

The owner of the firm chewed me out. "Is this all you have to do with your time?" he asked angrily.

I thought I’d share one of my attempts to help out a roofing firm this week, to save them from their own stupidity.

I won’t reveal the name of the contracting firm in question, but they have a video on their company website – and also on YouTube – promoting their work. The video shows the owner of the company standing in front of one of his firm’s job sites, giving tips to the public on “Shingling 101.” Behind him, his workers are working away without fall protection equipment or hard hats.

Is this the company you would hire to come work on your property or job site? The liability here is huge. If the Ministry of Labour were to see this video, what is the company’s defence? “That’s not us?”

I called the roofing company concerned yesterday to give them a heads up. The owner took it very personally and chewed me out, saying “Is this all I have to do with your time?” Telling him I was going out of my way to help him was no use and I guess the old saying rings true: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It’s not the first time I’ve been chewed out for trying to help a firm not get fined, have their job site shut down, injure one of their workers, or kill someone. Won’t be the last.


Everyone is now well aware of the power of web-based marketing, videos, and social media. But if you do not stage these videos right and get advice on how to be in compliance with all safety regulations while you are filming away, you can easily show your company in a bad light.

If you need any help on making sure your construction videos are safety-regulation compliant, get in touch with me at CARAHS.

Call Toll free 1 866 366 2930.

By providing education and training, CARAHS reduces your risk of fines, job site closures and prosecution under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. We are independent of unions & Government

Passion – Commitment – Integrity

CARAHS has over 150 online Health & Safety e-courses.

Toll free 1-866-366-2930



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7 Comments » for How one roofing firm advertised their serious stupidity
  1. First and foremost Alec Caldwell this forum is not a venue for you to advertise your services. Second, That video you mention was not produced for that company to advertise as you so stated, the company in question was asked to volunteer as I was for the video u roofing 101. Maybe Homestars should put a disclaimer as Holmes on Holmes does when they are in production. Third, there is a thing called “props” and maybe they were on one, maybe not. Fourth, anyone in this business knows the rules and if they wish to break them, that is their risk or simply the cost of doing business as stated in this weeks Toronto Star. Fifth, the Ministry’s has great and positive intentions and I am sure their motives are much more sincere than yours as they also use common sense in realizing that roofers are very transient and a huge investment in safety training will be made once you realize they may be around for a while.This is why the use of sub-contractors is so common place. Sixth, many situations are difficult at best in this industry that does not attract overly compliant workers even when read the riot act So you can only do due diligence as best humanely possible and pray for good luck and not to be jinxed by guys like you. You have ulterior motives for your posting and shame on you for singling this guy out because he gave you a piece of his mind as we get solicited with daily distractions from firms like yours.Are you a paying member of HomeStars ? Have you written any reviews? If not, shame on you as you now become the reason More laws, More Rules and More signs have to be made on this site with good intentions to prevent being abused by the likes of you and all these other spammers. I would bet my bottom dollar you use this site as a tool for marketing reasons and are not paying a dime unlike the company that volunteered their time whom is a paying member. Who’s guilty now? It’s not a perfect world and your not helping make it any better, except for a fee, of course!!!

    • Steve Payne says:

      Mr. Bailey: As editor, everyone is entitled to vent their spleen on here as long as they don’t legally defame people. People enjoy coming on here and mixing it up. So you are most welcome here and thanks for your post. BUT I do have to ask, why are you so angry with Alec Caldwell? Alec’s post made no reference to any specific video. (I looked up “Shingling 101” on YouTube and you get a bunch of African-American women talking about how to tease up their hair styles. Try it for yourself, folks…) I think Alec’s column made a pretty clear point: He had seen “a” (not YOUR) video with safety violations and he wondered why the company would want that kind of publicity in an era when the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Transport, the College of Trades, the WSIB and every other regulatory Tom, Dick and Harry is out there looking to levy fines and write tickets. Can you identify the firm? Can anyone? Alec has always been a class act, and he wasn’t going to “single out” a small business contractor and humiliate their business and he didn’t. Now, about this “just trying to profit” garbage you spouted about the man (sorry, don’t want to be rude, but seriously?). FYI, Alec spends most of his time going out to job sites and distributing literature and business cards explaining to small construction firms and their trades how they can avoid big time fines, hassles, injuries and even fatal accidents if they take some of his online courses, or pay attention to some of his materials that include safety, but also include all kinds of things that small contracting firms need to be doing. Alec’s organization, the Canadian Association of Renovators and Home Services doesn’t get a nickel of government funding (nor should it), has no power – nor does Alec have the inclination – to fine or hassle anyone – it’s simply a service for small businesses, mostly, that don’t have the time to have all the safety compliance stuff memorized, and need a quick and fast way to make sure they abide by the law. And, while we’re Alec was the ONLY representative of the small business renovation contractor community in Ontario who took the time to organize a protest against the Ontario College of Trades at Queen’s Park last year. Was he doing that to make money, too? Were you there? Ask any of his members what they think of Alec and the job he’s doing for them – they will tell you, I’ve talked to dozens of them, the guy has singlehandedly created a fraternity for small business renovation contractors in Southern Ontario.

  2. The above person posted on HomeStars the following comments before arriving here to post his revised comment. Our response to his HomeStars comments follow and we see no reason to further address his further comments above. Please everyone, feel free to wade in.

    HomeStars comments on 29 November 2014 Academia Roofing & Attics – Business owner Gordon Thomas Bailey says:

    1st response to my article on HomeStars web site.

    “I think this post is a tool for Carahs to advertise their services without being a paying member of HomeStars while trying to discredit a paying member. How does Carahs know all the facts of the video ‘s produced by HomeStars when they have not participated in one. The videos Are Not produced to advertise the company volunteering in them. They are produced as an educational tool for Homeowners and that’s it. Now I guess a 2 minute disclaimer will have to be posted on a 2.5 minute video just like on a Holmes on Holmes production. Compliance with safety is a very crucial aspect of any thing you do in this life and especially in construction and everybody with common sense is fully aware of this. You, Alec, are attacking a company that performed with good intentions to help people because you obviously tried to Market your services as you must be hungry for clients and were blown off. SHAME ON YOU as you have no posted reviews and are abusing this site with your marketing along
    with all these other spammers. I will tell you that you are not a company I would hire as your motives are obvious and delivery horrendous.”
    “To respond to this comment, just reply to this email on any device! Simple, eh?”

    2nd POST from Gordon Thomas Bailey he says:

    “I noticed you removed my post from your comments section within minutes of me posting it. Thank-God HomeStars does not operate this way. I was really hoping it would be placed in your hardcopy newsletter. ” That’s called Censorship” very uncivilized”

    CARAHS response:
    In response to your comments, my article does not mention anyone’s name or any organization involved.

    To clarify, our connection with HomeStars and Nancy Peterson, the founder, went back to basically both our organizations initial inceptions. You can see this when you look at this photo of CARAHS when HomeStars Hosts CARAHS Accessibility Training Workshop Sept 19, 2012 at their main office in Toronto. In the photo you’ll see their CEO at the time, Brian Sherwood. See at: Also, our previous posts all carried “HomeStars Affiliates With CARAHS”, which I’m sure they would have corrected if it were not true (See here: How About This NEW HST (tax) )

    On numerous occasions we have had HomeStars out as speakers at our members meetings.

    With our affiliate relationship we are allowed to blog on HomeStars. We post information that effects contractors daily jobs including WSIB information, Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Acts and more. So your statement about CARAHS having no right to post on HomeStars is incorrect.

    Now lets address the main issue of the article. Your statement about “how does CARAHS know the facts” This is very easy to dispel, simply watch the video and you’ll see workers on the roof without wearing safety fall equipment or wearing hard hats, as prescribed under the Occupational Health & Safety Act Ontario regulation 213/91, s. 20

    It also carries with it a maximum fine of $25,000 and/or imprisonment 1 year if convicted. Or, if you have an incorporated or limited company, the $25,000 fine goes up to a maximum of $500,000.

    We apologize if you misconstrued our main goal which is to protect everyone involved and bring light to it before any liability results from it. CARAHS is a health and safety organization that is out to protect the backs of self employed contractors and in this case, HomeStars and the producer of these video’s.

    Also, we never take down blogs or messages because we want a discussion and we believe that an open discussion is to everyone benefit.

    Thank you

    • Simon Snow says:

      CARAHS is a bunch of insurance brokers that found money in the name of “health and safety”

      • Avatar photo Steve Payne says:

        I don’t think it’s been a secret that you can buy insurance through CARAHS. I guess all the other things they do are part of this big insurance conspiracy, is that your allegation?

  3. Robert Young says:

    Gordon, it never ceases to amaze me, you make Alex’s reference, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” only you are one of the pavers.

    CARAHS (Canadian Association of Renovators And Home Services) is a resource that should be interprovincial. The good they do helps everyone they touch.
    Best regards as always Alex!
    Robert Young

    alex, I am having to fight off litigation from helping a past client and trying to help a roofer fix the errors they made on the roof.
    At the end I wrote a 8 page technical exhaustive and gave it to the RBQ seeing the roofer knew more than I did, “or so they thought.”

    Now I am fending off a client for no reason other than assisting them when no one else would help.
    I avoid them at all cost until I witness streams of water entering the room. I was in complete shock.
    This had been going on ever sense the roof was put on the home.
    I went through all the proper channels to help this ingrateful being. If you call him/her that.

    Now I do not, nor well not, come running like a dog and be beaten and threatened with calls of utter disdain due to the ignorance of them not knowing better.

    The tables are about to turn as I reverse the suite and add some “real financial numbers” to the year + of untruth and criminal insults.

    Alex, I doubt I will be helping anyone any more, for they reap the rewards they so.
    You know, life is like a box of chocolates in my world, “just try to avoid the nuts!”

  4. Gordon Thomas Bailey says:

    Mr. Young, I am having difficulty understanding what it is you are trying to convey as your writing appears quite convoluted. You talk about nuts and paving when I was referring to a comment made by Alec towards a volunteered video production and the participants response to being solicited by Alec. I am not attacking Alec’s character or his company. I am stating that his marketing method leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion. No one wants to be constantly pestered by telemarketers or be told that they were violating labour laws and jeopardizing the health and safety of their workers when the pertinent facts are not all on the table. The said company was doing a video for no pay and was displaying their company colors unhindered by a harness or other safety gear as I did for a video produced for exactly the same intention, to educate the consumer. There are plenty of other victims out there for Alec to poach and why he chose a HomeStars volunteer to centre out is beyond me However realizing the rejection Alec received I see clearly why Alec made his post on the Forum. I feel that Alecs input was not necessary and very destructive to the contractor he referred to as “stupid”. Alec takes the obvious to new heights From 16 feet when it was 8 feet (bungalow) and totally misconstrues the point of the video’s production. It is much like your comments on here painting all roofers with the same brush ( I avoid them at all costs) RBQ ? excuse my ignorance Monsieur as I do not speak French yet my birthplace is Quebec. Please speak English and say what you have to say without trying to shelter your words. In other words I make myself perfectly clear and you sir , do not.

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