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Ontario Erectors Association

COCA Newsletter – February 2020

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

View this newsletter as a web page.

Dispute Resolution System Update

As of February 6, 2020, ODACC had held five training sessions with an average of thirty-nine participants per session and certified 45 adjudicators. Five more training sessions are scheduled for 2020 and the two upcoming sessions, in February and March, are fully booked. The April session is close to being full.

Two adjudications have been commenced as of February 6th, one is ongoing and the other was withdrawn on consent before there was a response to the notice of adjudication. A determination for the ongoing case is expected to be released to the parties a few days after February 6th.

ODACC has seen an interest from people with varied professions and  industry experience, including arbitrators, mediators, lawyers, engineers, quantity surveyors, project managers, and architects. The interest has been fairly equal amongst the professions.

For now, ODACC seems to be pleased with the range of backgrounds and experiences of their applicants and certified adjudicators and has not found any specific backgrounds wanting.

BuildForce Releases 2020-2029 Ontario Labour Market Forecast

February 4, 2020

Ottawa – The Ontario construction and maintenance sector continues to operate at close to full capacity driven by high volumes of investment in public- and private-sector infrastructure and residential activity. The industry will need to hire, train, and retain almost 100,000 additional workers to keep pace with expected demand growth and record retirements, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

BuildForce Canada’s 2020–2029 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial report predicts that both residential and non-residential sector demand will create two distinct labour market peaks, the first in 2020 and the second in 2026. BuildForce anticipates that construction employment will rise by just over 23,000 workers (+6%) by 2026 before receding by close to 13,600 workers as major projects wind down.

“The province is expected to experience low construction unemployment, high labour demand and high numbers of anticipated retirements across the scenario period,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “The industry will need to remain focused on recruitment and training to meet demands for expansion and worker replacement over the coming decade.”

The non-residential sector will be the primary driver of labour market peaks. The 2020 peak is driven by major public transportation projects, institutional building construction and modernization, and overlapping demands from two major nuclear refurbishment projects in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Southwestern Ontario.

Read the Buildforce News Release

Phase 2 – PPE Blitz Underway

From January 6 to March 13, 2020, the Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development in partnership with the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association will be conducting Phase 1 of the PPE Blitz. The purpose of the Phase 1, called “Compliance Assistance”, is to inform employers and workers about their obligations with regard to PPE such as foot, eye, hearing and respiratory protection devices and to educate them in regard to its proper use.

Phase 2 of the PPE Blitz, called “Focused Inspections” involving worksite visits by MLTSD inspectors began on February 3 and will continue until March 13th.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided to workers wherever there are health or safety risks that cannot be adequately controlled for in other ways. Personal protective equipment can include:

  • respiratory protection devices (for example, respirators)
  • hearing protectors (see the guide to the noise regulation for specific requirements related to noise protection and guidance on selecting hearing protection devices
  • skin protection devices (for example, gloves or protective clothing)
  • high visibility clothing
  • face shields
  • eye protection devices (for example, eye shields)

Inspectors will focus on checking that appropriate personal protective equipment is being supplied and worn.

The law requires workers to be wearing hard hats and boots at all times while on the project site.

Ministry inspectors will focus inspections in:

  • industrial, commercial and institutional building construction
  • residential building construction
  • civil engineering and roadwork

PPE, including skin and respiratory protection, is also required under Ontario Regulation 833: Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents. Sections 7.1 and 7.2 of Regulation 833 require employers to ensure workers are wearing adequate protective clothing and/or respirators when removing the hazard from the work area or engineering controls are not practical in the situation.

Expect Bill to Give Government New Powers for Transit Projects

In a speech to the Economic Club of Canada on February 6th, Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney signalled that soon after the Legislature reconvenes on February 18th she will introduce a Bill designed to accelerate environmental approvals and streamline the process of assembling land for transit projects. It is an undeniable truth that these processes take too long.

The Minister stated that if this Bill is passed into law, the government will limit its new powers to the Ontario Line, the Scarborough subway extension, the Eglinton Crosstown West extension and the Yonge North subway extension which are key Ford government priorities.

Del Duca Favoured to Lead Ontario Liberal Party

Unofficial reports following voting on February 8th and 9th indicate that Stephen Del Duca is likely to be elected the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

Elections were held in all 124 Ontario ridings, in campus clubs and in women’s clubs across the province on February 8th and 9th to elect delegates to the Ontario Liberal Party’s upcoming leadership convention. In addition to these elected delegates, 400 or so ex-officio delegates – current and former Liberal MPPs, current Liberal MPs and certain Party officials – will convene in Mississauga on March 7th to elect Kathleen Wynne’s permanent successor.

Unofficial results place Del Duca, a former Wynne cabinet minister with strong connections to the construction industry and the sponsor of the prompt payment Bill 69, well ahead of his five rivals with 54 percent of the delegates. Far behind in second place is another former Grit cabinet minister, Michael Coteau. Coteau is followed by London area bureaucrat and public policy professor Kate Graham, then former Liberal cabinet minister and sitting MPP Mitzie Hunter, former Oakville-North Burlington candidate Alvin Tedjo, with Ottawa lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth closing out the field.

Highlights of Stats Canada’s January 2020 Jobs Report For Canada

Canada’s unemployment rate is inching downwards; a year ago in January 2019 it was 5.8%, in December 2019 it was 5.6% and in January 2020 it was 5.5%

Across the country, the participation rate of the population in the labour force was 65.7% in January 2019, 65.5% in December 2019 and 65.4% in January
35,700 full-time jobs were created in January and 1,200 part-time jobs were lost for a net increase of 34,500 new jobs.

For Ontario

  • Ontario’s unemployment rate is moving downwards slightly faster than across the country; in January 2019 it mirrored the national rate at 5.8%, in December 2019 it moved downward to 5.3% and in January 2020 it was 5.2%
  • The participation rate of Ontario’s population in the labour force was 64.9% in January 2019, 65.1% in December 2019 and 65.1% in January 2020.
  • The labour force grew at a faster rate than the population from January 2019 to January 2020; Ontario’s population grew by 1.9% and the labour force grew by 2.3%
  • 10,000 full-time jobs and 6,000 part-time jobs were created in Ontario in January 2020
  • The employment picture is not entirely even across the province, there are some softer spots; here are the unemployment rates across the province with the bracketed numbers representing the rate in December 2019:
    • Ottawa 4.2 (4.2)
    •  Kingston, Ont. 5.7 (5.8)
    •  Peterborough, Ont. 7.6 (7.6)
    •  Oshawa, Ont. 6.7 (6.1)
    •  Toronto 5.5 (5.6)
    •  Hamilton, Ont. 4.8 (4.5)
    •  St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 5.2 (4.8)
    •  Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont. 5.4 (5.2)
    •  Brantford, Ont. 4.3 (3.8)
    •  Guelph, Ont. 5.0 (5.6)
    •  London, Ont. 5.0 (5.6)
    •  Windsor, Ont. 8.3 (7.6)
    •  Barrie, Ont. 5.0 (5.2)
    •  Sudbury, Ont. 5.0 (5.4)
    • Thunder Bay, Ont. 5.1 (5.0)

Ontario Opposition to Trans Mountain Pipeline Growing

A recent public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid regarding sentiment towards to Trans Mountain pipeline revealed the following:

  • Opposition to the project has steadily increased since June 2019 and support for it is edging downward
  • Canadians agreed by a 53% to 27% margin that the Supreme Court of Canada made the right decision in dismissing the appeal by the government of BC challenging the federal authority of cross-border pipeline contents
  • Albertans almost unanimously support the pipeline expansion and the are receiving growing support from Saskatchewan and Manitoba
    38% of Canadians believe the federal government has not done enough to increase pipeline capacity while 35% believe the feds have been pushing too hard for expansion
  • When asked to choose between the two, 58% of Canadians say the environment should be the government’s higher priority 42 believe economic growth should be higher
  • In Ontario, support for the expansion project measured 56% in June 2018, 63% in June 2019 but dropped back to 56% in January 2020; opposition to the expansion project stood at 23% in June 2018, 26% in June 2019 but grew to 36% in January 2020

For the full survey results, click on

Just What the Doctor Ordered: An Annual Labour and Employment Check-Up for Employers

Date: February 26, 2020 @ 7:30 am – 9:30 am
Venue: Hazelton Manor – 99 Peelar Road, Concord ON
Cost: Complimentary
RSVP: February 17, 2020

As every HR professional will attest, employment and labour law is changing at a rapid pace. Compound that with a wide range of annual (and sometimes more frequent) employment-related administrative requirements, and the world of an HR professional can be overwhelming.

The good news is we can help by working with you to design a range of compliance audits and checklists to keep you on track and on top of the law. Join us as we break down our Annual Labour and Employment Check-Up for Employers:

Employment Standards

  • What employment standards-related agreements must be in writing?
  • What records must be maintained?
  • Which requirements are best suited for an annual audit?

Human Rights & Accessibility

  • When are policies and training required? When are they recommended?
  • What and when are the filing obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act?

Workplace Safety & Insurance and Occupational Health & Safety

  • What are the record keeping, posting and reporting obligations?
  • What policies, programs and training must be reviewed annually?
  • What are the inspection and risk assessment obligations?
  • Which requirements are best suited for an annual audit?

Employment Agreements

  • Which provisions of an employment agreement should be reviewed annually?
  • How to implement a new and updated employment agreement with an existing employee.

For more information, visit the Sherrard Kuzz events webpage.

Upcoming Inspection Blitzes

The Ministry of Labour – Get the schedules for workplace compliance initiatives. click here.

Get IHSA training when and where you need it.

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