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Ontario Erectors Association

COCA Newsletter – April 2019

Welcome to COCA’s monthly Newsletter. Unless noted otherwise, all articles written by COCA President, Ian Cunningham.

View this newsletter as a web page.

Bill 66 Passes Third Reading and Receives Royal Assent

The much-followed Bill 66 Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018 passed Third Reading in the Ontario Legislature on April 2nd and received Royal Assent the following day.

The Bill is an omnibus Bill which amends 17 existing statutes. Of greatest interest to the construction industry are the sections of Schedule 9 of the Bill which amend the Labour Relations Act 1995. Here’s how the explanatory notes to the Bill describe effects of these provisions,

“The Schedule amends the Labour Relations Act, 1995 to deem municipalities and certain other entities to be non-construction employers.

Trade unions that represent employees of these employers who are employed, or who may be employed, in the construction industry no longer represent those employees. Any collective agreement binding the employer and the trade union ceases to apply in so far as it applies to the construction industry.

The amendments provide a procedure for certain existing entities to opt out of the application of these new rules.”

There are a number of public bodies such as municipalities, school boards, hospitals, universities, colleges that perform construction work and have been certified under the Labour relations Act and are bound to one or more construction trade unions. Those public bodies will no longer be bound to those unions and they will be able to tender work to contractors who are not bound to those unions. It essentially opens bidding to non-union contractors.

Public bodies that are currently bound by a collective agreement with a construction trade union or unions may make a one-time irrevocable election to opt out of these provisions not later that July 3, 2019.

These provisions come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor, expected to be soon after the July 3, 2019 date.

Government to Refine P3 Model to Attract More Foreign Competition

At the Ontario Construction Secretariat’s recent State of the Industry and Outlook Conference, Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton announced that he was conducting a market sounding exercise to determine how Ontario’s P3 model of infrastructure procurement could be refined in order to attract more bidders.

Very generally, getting more bidders usually produces a more competitive process and lower prices and therefore, in public procurement, better value for the taxpayers’ money. It’s also fair to say that in the P3 world, more bidders bring more innovation in both the design and delivery of projects.

Because of the limited number of domestic contractors that have the capability to take on large infrastructure projects, Minister McNaughton was casting his eyes to Europe with the hope of attracting construction interests from the EU to bid on Ontario P3 projects.

A government news release issued on March 19th stated that following extensive discussions with market participants, the following changes will be made to attract foreign participation in Ontario’s P3 market:

  • Credit will be given for international experience when evaluating bids
  • Project specifications will be less prescriptive to allow for greater innovation
  • When evaluating bid, greater emphasis will be given to innovation

At the time of this release, Minister McNaughton was addressing delegates at the annual Infrastructure Investor Global Summit about the opportunities available to global companies in the Ontario P3 market.

Interesting “Quick Facts” about Ontario’s P3 marketplace that appeared at the bottom of the government’s news release read as follows:

  • “Large P3 initiatives start at around $100 million and stretch into the billions for larger more complex infrastructure projects.
  • Ontario is one of the most active markets in the world for public-private partnerships.
  • In the past eight years, Infrastructure Ontario has delivered more than 120 public-private partnership projects worth about $50 billion.
  • P3 Americas named Infrastructure Ontario “Agency of the Year” for the past three years.”

Premier Ford Unveils New Toronto Transit Plan

With the Minister of Transportation, Jeff Yurek, and the Minister of Infrastructure, Monte McNaughton at his side, Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled his government’s new plan for transit in the City of Toronto and York Region on April 10th. Highlights of the Ford Plan are as follows:

  • It makes significant changes to the City of Toronto’s current transit plans
  • The total cost is budgeted at $28.5B of which the Province will contribute $11.2B; however, Ford said the Province will pay for the entire costs if necessary but that he expects the City of Toronto, York Region and the Government of Canada to participate and contribute the balance
  • It extends the already planned 7.5 km Downtown Relief Line at both ends, west to Ontario Place and east and north to the Ontario Science Centre and renames it the Ontario Line; the 15 km Ontario Line is proposed to use modern light rail technology and will run largely underground with some above ground and elevated sections, from Ontario Place to the Ontario Science Centre intersecting the existing Yonge University subway line (Line 1) at the Osgoode and Queen stations, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line at the Pape station and terminating at the Ontario Science Centre ; the Ontario Line will be operated independent of the Toronto Transit Commission; the cost of the Ontario Line is budgeted at $10.9B with a completion date of 2029 or possibly 2027
    1. Other key elements of the Ford Plan are:
      the extension of the Yonge subway line north to Richmond Hill at an estimated cost of $5.6B and completion date of 2029-2030
    2. Extending the Eglinton Crosstown LRT west into Etobicoke with some sections underground at an estimated cost of $4.7B and completion date before 2031; the Province would like eventually to extend this line to Pearson Airport
    3. Extending the Scarborough subway including three stations at Lawrence & Kennedy, Scarborough Town Centre, and McCowan & Sheppard at an estimated cost of $5.5B and a completion date of 2030

The Province and the City of Toronto are still in negotiations about uploading the responsibility for building and maintaining transit infrastructure to the Province with the City performing day-to-day operations. York Region will also be drawn into these discussions.

This is terrific news for the construction industry. However, given the industry’s overall capacity, aging workforce and skills shortage, our ability to deliver as scheduled could be tested.

Discipline in the Workplace – Common Issues and Best Practices

Discipline in the workplace can be an employer’s greatest challenge; more so, when complicated by a workplace harassment complaint or human rights consideration. Too often employers feel their hands are tied, preventing corrective action or discipline. In this seminar we explore practical and strategic approaches to address misconduct, poor performance and discipline:

  1. When is discipline appropriate?
    – Can an employee be disciplined for off-duty misconduct?
    – Is there still value in a performance improvement plan?
  2. What is the appropriate discipline?
    – Mitigating and aggravating factors.
    – How to communicate the outcome.
  3. Union Representation
    – How does this impact the process?
  4. Human Rights
    – When (and how) disability, family status or another protected ground influences an employer’s decision-making.
    – Can we still use a Last Chance Agreement? If so, when and how?
  5. Harassment and Conflict
    – Can an employer’s duty to ensure a safe workplace justify discipline?
    – Can discipline be issued to an employee who makes a harassment complaint?
  6. Practical tips to ensure the best outcome

Wednesday June 12, 2019
7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
(Breakfast at 7:30 a.m.; program at 8:00 a.m.)

Mississauga Convention Centre,
75 Derry Road West, Mississauga


Register by Monday May 27, 2019 (spaces limited)

Details, including how to register, can on be found on the website

Upcoming Inspection Blitzes

The Ministry of Labour has published a list of blitzes for early 2018. For the full list click here.

Get IHSA training when and where you need it.

To see a list of contacts and the regions they serve click here.

Eye on ICI Economic Update

To view a copy of the newsletter, click here.

COCA is the voice of our membership at Queen’s Park.

We want to hear from you. All questions, ideas and comments are more than welcome.

Council of Ontario Construction Associations
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 2001
Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8

COCA Staff

Ian Cunningham x224

Operations & Communications Manager
Martin Benson x222