Conestoga news

July 26, 2022 10:11 AM

Partnership will address safety and productivity in skilled trades

The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance (CISWP) at Conestoga College has partnered with Hilti Canada to support the sustainability of the skilled trades workforce through innovations and assistive technologies.

Conestoga College - CISWP exoskeleton2.jpeg
Through a contribution of 15 exoskeletons, Hilti Canada is helping expand CISWP’s growing portfolio of skilled trades applied research.

Through a contribution of 15 exoskeletons, Hilti Canada is helping expand CISWP’s growing portfolio of skilled trades applied research, aiming to reduce and prevent workplace injuries, improve business productivity and performance, and address workforce challenges.

This new partnership will immediately support one of CISWP’s research projects: Improving Worker Health and Performance in Construction: Implementation and Adoption of Advanced Technologies. This three-year project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s College and Community Social Innovation Fund.

Through the research grant, CISWP aims to address the expected shortage of skilled trades workers through the development of tools that will assist organizations with the adoption and adherence of exoskeletons. According to Dr. Amin Yazdani, CISWP executive director, the use of exoskeleton technology in the workplace could help prevent musculoskeletal disorders and reduce workplace injuries and timely, safe, and sustainable return to work.

The exoskeleton technology will also support CISWP’s STRIVE OSH (Skilled Trades Research, InnoVation, and Education in Occupational Safety and Health) research program that targets the future of skilled trades through an investment from Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. The STRIVE OSH project brings together a broad group of stakeholders to ensure that skilled trades businesses are prepared to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce.

“Skilled trades workers play an essential role in the lives of all Ontarians. They keep industries running, build and maintain infrastructure, and perform many services that people rely on every day; however, there is a significant skilled trades shortage on the horizon. It is essential that we attract and accommodate an increasingly diverse workforce and support organizations so they can keep their workers healthy and prolong their working lives,” said Dr. Yazdani. “This partnership with Hilti Canada will support meaningful applied research that will modernize skilled trades work and build an inclusive, highly skilled workforce.”

Conestoga College - CISWP exoskeleton.jpeg

As a leader in skilled trades and apprenticeship training, Conestoga is focused on modernizing apprenticeship and skilled trades training and is set to open a new skilled trades campus in fall 2022.

“Introducing innovative technologies such as exoskeletons to apprentices and trainees is increasingly vital,” said Tony Thoma, executive dean, School of Engineering & Technology and Trades & Apprenticeship. “The partnership with Hilti supports the success of our students and employer partners.”

The Hilti Group supplies the worldwide construction industry with technologically leading products, services and software that provide construction professionals with innovative solutions and superior added value.

“Hilti Canada is excited to collaborate with CISWP and Conestoga College to support these important applied research initiatives. We look forward to working with the research team to help educate current and future workforces and to find ways to bring more diversity and inclusion into the skilled trades through the adoption of new technologies and solutions,” said Dan Wade, general manager, Hilti Canada.

The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance, located within Conestoga’s School of Business, works to improve the safety, wellness and performance of the Canadian labour force by generating knowledge, transferring research to practice, and strengthening workforce development - all in collaboration with stakeholders.

For more information, contact CISWP at