COCA Newsletter – May 2020
Welcome to COCA’s monthly Newsletter. Unless noted otherwise, all articles written by COCA President, Ian Cunningham.
To Stay Closed or to Open Up?
On March 17th, our provincial government declared a state of emergency in Ontario under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act. The government has passed numerous regulations or orders pursuant to its authorities under the Act on including O. Reg. 82/20 “Closure of Places of Non-Essential Businesses”.
This is the official regulation that tells you what types of businesses can continue to operate and which ones must be closed. It was originally passed on March 24th and amended five times (the last time on May 7th) at first to tighten up and then to ease off and gradually allow more businesses to open. If you have concerns about whether your company is legally allowed to operate, you should check this regulation.
Despite what the Premier might say in his daily briefings and despite what might be written in government news releases, this is the law.
If according to the regulation you believe your company is not legally allowed to operate but you are under pressure from your general contractor and/or the project owner to keep going, many are advising you seek letters of indemnification from the contractors above you in the construction project pyramid and the owner.
The question may however be moot as it’s believed there is little or no enforcement of this regulation as it relates to construction project by the authorities.
Ontario Legislature Scheduled to Sit Tomorrow
The Ontario Legislature is scheduled to reconvene tomorrow. Among the items on the agenda is considering the extension of the state of emergency. We expect the sitting to include a negotiated reduced number of MPPs in the chamber in an approximate proportion to actual number of seats held (PCs 74, NDP 40, Libs 8, Greens 1, Independents former PCs Hillier and Wilson 2). We anticipate the state of emergency will be extended for another 28 days.
Newly Elected MPPs To Be Sworn-In
Lucille Collard and Stephen Blais, who were elected in by elections on February 27th, will be sworn in on Monday, May 11th in time for the resumption of the first session of the 42nd Parliament on May 12th. Collard, a Liberal, was elected in Ottawa-Vanier succeeding Nathalie Des Rosier, also a Liberal who resigned and is now Principal at Massey College at the University of Toronto. Blais was elected in Orleans succeeding Marie-France Lalonde who resigned to successfully become the riding’s MP. Both Blais and Lalonde are Liberals.
Courthouse Project Cancelled
On Friday, May 8th Attorney General Doug Downey announced the cancellation of the Halton Region Consolidated Courthouse construction project. It was to be a 25 court room facility in Oakville that had been planned since 2017. The three teams which submitted proposals for the Toronto. The DBFM project will be compensated in accordance with the provisions of the RFP.
The COVID19 pandemic has accelerated the Ministry of the Attorney General’s thinking regarding the court system of the future. Funds originally allocated to this project will be diverted towards a modern court system that fully embraces technology.
Financial Accountability Office Publishes Spring 2020 Economic & Budget Outlook
Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) released its “Economic and Budget Outlook, Spring 2020” on the morning of May 11th. Among the report’s key points are the following:
Ontario’s real GDP will decline by 9% in 2020, the largest annual decline on record
If the province manages the containment of the pandemic successfully and opens up the economy gradually in the last half of 2020, the economy could see a rebound of 8.5% in 2021
With reduced revenues and increased program spending, Ontario will have a record deficit of $41.0 billion (5% 0f GDP) in 2020-2021 and $25.3 billion in 2021-2022
Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio will increase to a record 49.7% in 2020-2021 and increase of 10 percentage points from the previous year and the province’s debt burden will remain elevated as the economy recovers
If reopening the economy takes longer, the FAO presented an alternative scenario with a more muted recovery with a 9.3% GDP decline in 2020 followed by a 4.3% increase in 2021
The full report is available at this link.
Final Print Version of the DCN on May 29th
The final print version of the Daily Commercial News will be produced on Friday, May 29, 2020. The announcement was made by National Managing Editor Vince Versace recently to members of the publication’s Editorial Advisory Board. Board members had been made aware of this eventuality, to gradually transition readers of the print version of the newspaper over to the digital product, several years ago.
The DCN’s sister publication, The Journal of Commerce, was successfully transitioned to fully online two years ago and this gave the DCN management the confidence to move forward.
The transition was accelerated by the COVID19 pandemic and the ensuing decline in advertising lineage that has beset all commercial newspapers. The announcement stated that the DCN looks forward to enriching the digital subscriber version of the newspaper and its website.
Less than 5 Allowed WSIB Claims in Construction
Readers will know that the WSIB is providing benefits to workers who become infected with COVID19 as a result of workplace causes. The provincial compensation agency recently enhanced the COVID19 page on its website to include claims experience in the five leading sectors for COVID19 claims.
The data is updated every Monday and as of May 11th 331 claims had been allowed and 115 denied with many more pending. Not surprisingly, “Nursing and residential care facilities” had the largest number of claims with 162clims allowed, 8 not allowed and 1,172 pending. This sector was followed by “Hospitals” which had 77 claims allowed, 37 not allowed and 735 pending.
Construction does not appear on the list meaning that there have been less than five claims allowed in our industry. You can find the WSIB’s COVID19 claims data by clicking on the following link
Sherrard Kuzz Logo
24 Hour Advice for Employers – COVID-19:email@example.com or 24 Hour Line: 416.420.0738
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.
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