Government Changes that Impact Construction Members in Ontario
/ Author: Lisa Pranger 3477 Rate this article:
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Government Changes that Impact Construction Members in Ontario

CLAC often meets with various levels of government about issues that impact you. Below is a summary of various proposals and changes that may impact you, as well as CLAC’s response to them.

 

Ontario College of Trades (OCOT)

CLAC made a submission to the OCOT on February 28. In it, we wrote on key areas from the Tony Dean report and Bill 70, which the minister of labour had said needed more input from construction stakeholders, including CLAC. 

We also spoke on the reforms passed last December, which changed how OCOT handles scope of practice and jurisdictional disputes, trade certification reviews, and enforcement. Those changes were largely welcomed by some labour groups including CLAC, supported by employers, and opposed by some building trades unions, which incorrectly assumed that the changes would loosen restrictions about credentials required to do restricted work (e.g., electricians).

The process of considering additional trades for compulsory status is on hold pending Bill 70. These reviews will resume once the new regulations are in place, with carpentry and millwrighting both scheduled for review. 

 

Fair and Open Tendering

CLAC arranged meetings between the minister of labour, MPP Michael Harris (Kitchener-Conestoga – PC), MPP Ted Arnott (PC labour critic at the time), and the Greater Essex District School Board. 

The MPPs heard of the board’s unfair tendering obligations while they were deemed a construction employer, and of their fear of being deemed one again, due to a legal loophole. This would negate their 10-year, million-dollar fight to openly tender school board construction. The board’s message was well-received.

On March 28, Ian DeWaard (Cambridge regional director), Andrew Regnerus (Ontario construction coordinator), several CLAC signatory companies who are members of the Progressive Contractors Association (PCA), and PCA staff visited Queens Park to speak with 20 MPPs, including Kevin Flynn (minister of labour)  on fair tendering. They also met with the opposition, including Michael Harris who is preparing a bill on fair tendering, John Yakabuski (labour critic), and other key members of the PC party.

CLAC has the attention of the government and opposition and is ensuring that fair tendering is a front-burner issue for the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. 

CLAC will continue to fight for fair tendering on your behalf. 

Learn more how closed tendering impacts you. 

 

Certificate of Recognition (COR) 

Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act provide companies with a certificate of recognition (COR) if they prove that they have a health and safety management system that meets national standards. This certificate is becoming a requirement to bid on public work. 

CLAC applauds these changes, as they provide employers with a further incentive and reward for putting positive health and safety programs in place. 

 

Community Benefit Agreements (CBA)

The province announced a new CBA that promises 10 percent of project hours on certain large public projects will be performed by tradespersons from disadvantaged communities. We expect to see similar CBAs in the future and believe they may become standard for apprentice requirements on large public projects.

These CBAs will likely be supported by the new regulation for the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act. CLAC will review the regulation once it is announced. We will meet with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and the Ministry of Infrastructure to hear their plan, and to ensure CBAs are fair, effective, and provide benefits to CLAC members who will be affected. 

 

Apprenticeship

CLAC continues to encourage the government to improve the number of workers entering and completing apprenticeships. CLAC is lobbying for a program that benefits our members and their employers who seek government work.

 

The Northern Frontier

Strong Aboriginal partnerships are important for development, especially in the north. CLAC engaged a consultant, met with the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business, led a labour management seminar for CLAC contractors, and will attend the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario in April. CLAC has also built projects in partnership with First Nations communities, complete with community benefit agreements.

These meetings and agreements are important for our signatory contractors and members. CLAC is working to ensure we can gain access to future work in Ontario’s Ring of Fire. 


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