Getting Things Done at the CSA
July 7th, 2014
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) tests products for safety. Or so goes the theory.
On one occasion, a manufacturer shipped a large industrial widget to the CSA for testing. It wasn’t really a widget, it was more of a thingy, but we can’t be too specific without identifying the manufacturer, and we’re trying to keep confidences. For the moment then, lets call it a widget.
As widgets go, this was a big one, it arrived on a pallet, tied down with steel strapping. The product was thoroughly tested by a man named Mustafa and the widget failed all of its safety tests. The CSA sent the product back to the manufacturer for modification.
So far, so good. The manufacturer was pretty big, nearly as big as their widget, and the steel strapping that they used was company branded. That is, their company name was printed on the strapping. For those unfamiliar with steel strapping, the strapping needs to be cut in order to remove the widget from the pallet, and the same steel strapping can’t be used for the same application after its been cut.
Awkwardly, the widget was returned to the manufacturer tied to the pallet with its original branded strapping. In other words, the CSA didn’t even unpack the widget. They just failed it.
Quoting an informed source; “Mustafa failed the product without testing, actually fabricated test results for a test that didn’t take place.” How did the manufacturer react? Well, the CSA “sent it back and the client was pissed because it obviously hadn’t been even removed from packaging, obviously wasn’t tested.” And this was normal, “this sort of thing happened repeatedly.”
For those who already think the CSA is a gong show, consider this: “One customer was billed $30,000 for testing results prior to the tests having been conducted. Actual test time was a few minutes.” So, they billed for finished tests prior to starting them? And thirty grand for “a few minutes?” Wow! No wonder CSA’s boss called the place a “cash machine.”
So how does all this happen? Clearly, it can’t all be the work or non-work of just one person. Who else is involved?
Well, there are some secretaries involved, including a Ms Julie Weis. She’s a pretty good example of the CSA system.
In this system, Julie was delegated to author a wide range of engineering reports. She wasn’t editing them or contributing to them, instead she “regularly” was the exclusive author of them. And that’s curious, because she has “no engineering background at all.” She reported to Mustafa. Go figure. Anyway, according to our sources “she is a very interesting person” for what she got away with. “She wrote a lot of unsafe CSA certifications for Mustafa when she was his secretary, back in 2006.” Yes, you read that right, the secretary was authoring the engineering.
Of course, the Human Resources group heard about the fake certifications, they knew about Julie’s role. How did HR respond to Julie’s conduct? “She was promoted to manager later for this.” And did she have any qualifications to handle certifications, testing or project management? Well, not really. “She has no degree at all to make her qualified.”
Julie Weis is currently the CSA’s Project Manager for Alternative Energy Vehicles. This, despite no qualifications in project management, alternative energy, or vehicles. Its as if your correspondent was Miss America. For this, I can assure you, I’m not qualified.
Qualification absurdities abound at the CSA. According to documents in our possession, the CSA had an electrical engineer writing gas certifications, which is a big no-no on several fronts. Their kitchen appliance certifications were at one point handled by “a military guy” with no engineering background whatsoever. They did once employ a fully qualified avionics engineer, but they had him testing natural gas appliances. Again, not allowed. And Julie Weis reported to the infamous Lisa Ebberman, the woman without a resume, or at least a resume with anything printed on it.
You see, the CSA discovered that they could make the same money without doing the work, thereby improving profit margins immensely. And, in time, our friend Julie discovered through her writing of fake reports that she could have the same income without actually showing up for work.
First, Julie started “working from home.” She lives in Columbus, Ohio, a distance of 144 miles from the CSA office in Cleveland. So her commute took two hours and fifteen minutes on Interstate 71, each way, each day. If she really did spend four and a half hours commuting every day, well, one can appreciate how tedious that would get. It didn’t last.
Julie Weis stopped working at the Cleveland office and instead began “reporting to the office in Columbus.” The problem? There is no CSA office in Columbus.
In sum then, it seems that Ms Weis is being paid quite a lot of money for quite a lot of not working, plenty of sort-of working, some working that she shouldn’t be working, and some that shouldn’t happen at all. This is the CSA normal, it’s the CSA way.
The CSA is a bloated bureaucracy burning through a quarter billion taxpayer dollars per year to pay for meaningless certifications, non-existent testing, dangerous products, lavish lifestyles for its civil service staff of hopelessly unqualified cogs, and a parasitical assemblage of non-workers doing non-work or worse. It seems that society would be cheaper without the CSA. It would surely be safer.