July 3 – July 9, 2020

Federal Government releases Economic and Fiscal Snapshot of 2020
The federal government released its Economic and Fiscal Snapshot 2020 today, providing details on its COVID-19 response spending, and its fiscal forecast for the year. Among the highlights are the revelation that the federal deficit for 2020-21 currently stands at $343.2 billion, compared to $28.1 billion forecasted prior to the pandemic.

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Ontario extends emergency orders
The Ontario government, in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force that were made under s.7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 22, 2020. The extension was made to ensure the province maintains the necessary flexibility to protect public health and safety as more businesses reopen and people go back to work.

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Recession to impact most Canadian construction sectors for rest of year: FMI
FMI Corporation, a North Carolina-based construction industry consultancy and investment banker, believes the industry in both the US and Canada will experience recessionary conditions for the remainder of 2020 and possibly into 2021.

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Ford government to fast-track construction of transit, as Ontario reports 154 new COVID-10 cases
The Ontario government wants to fast-track the construction of highways and transit systems to help the province financially recover from the impact of COVID-19, Premier Doug Ford announced Monday. Ford says his government is proposing legislation that “would make it easier and faster” to build provincial highways and major transit infrastructure projects, as well as affordable housing.

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Canada sees historic drop in construction spending
Statistics Canada is reporting historic drops in construction investment. The national statistics office noted that investment in building construction plunged 45.9 per cent this April compared to the previous month. Previously, the largest national decline on record for the current series, which dates back to 2010, was a 3.9 per cent decrease in August 2017.

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Ontario mayors call for COVID relief funding to prevent tax increases
Ontarians could face property tax increases and service cuts if upper levels of government don’t provide immediate financial support to municipalities coping with massive pandemic-related costs, leaders of the province’s largest cities and regions said Monday.

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Ontario building trades council affirms zero tolerance for racism in construction
The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario (PBCTCO) has released a statement to affirm there is zero tolerance for racism in construction.

“There is no place for racist activity on any construction site in Ontario,” said Patrick Dillon, business manager for PBCTCO. “Recent events in Toronto have reminded us that there is more work to do in fighting racism and promoting a more inclusive culture. The Ontario Building Trades Council has zero tolerance for any form of racism or intimidation. These hate crimes do not reflect the hardworking women and men who work together to build a better Ontario.”

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CDCO study examines LTC home conditions, structures amid COVID-19
The troubling spread of COVID-19 through long-term care facilities in Ontario over the past few months points to the need for an overhaul of not only how nursing homes operate but how they have been built and designed.

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Much of the infrastructure is old and in dire need of renewal, says Mark Lewis, general counsel for the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (CDCO), who, together with CDCO president Mike Yorke, is leading a study examining age and structural standards, including interior layouts, and the ownership mechanisms of nursing homes in the province.

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Good News
Southwestern Ontario town optimistic about post pandemic growth
Truth be told, times have been a bit tough. With an extended economic shutdown and a phased-in re-opening, everyone is feeling the effects of the pandemic. However, despite calamities from economic recessions, wars and famine to flu epidemics, studies show that humans are by nature optimistic.

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Skills Ontario receives additional $5 million in support from Government of Ontario to promote skilled trades
The Ontario government will invest an additional $3.5 million in Skills Ontario for the 2020-2021 school year to help the organization promote the skilled trades, Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development announced last week. This is in addition to $1.5 million in new funding the government provided earlier this year to support outreach and promotion to youth, educators, and parents, bringing the total investment to $5 million.

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Construction careers are viable option for youth seeking work in the COVID era
Ontario’s construction sector, which was deemed an essential service and therefore remained open for business during the pandemic, is well-positioned to attract a segment of youth who may have been thinking about careers in the hard-hit hospitality and restaurant industries.

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Ontario passes legislation to deliver subway faster
Ontario is building a modern, reliable and sustainable transit system for the 21st century that will get people moving, reduce congestion, and drive economic growth and job creation. Today, Bill 171, the Building Transit Faster Act, 2020, was passed by the Ontario legislature.

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Construction site sanitation improves during pandemic
COVID-19 restrictions have been difficult for everyone, but other than health, there is something positive coming out of recent events. Sanitation at construction sites, long a concern for workers, has vastly improved, notes Jim Noon, President of the Vancouver Island Building Trades Council. Government-mandated handwashing stations at construction sites is something Noon says is much appreciated by the approximately 6,000 unionized construction workers on the Island.