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President's Report

In the last newsletter, we issued a call to action to all of our members and are pleased to report there's been significant response from you, but there is more that is needed.

The use of litigation exclusionary clauses is one of the greatest challenges we have faced in many years. While not uncommon in the past, it is now becoming a regular statement in contracts and is totally unacceptable.

The use of these clauses challenges the very fabric upon which our law system is based. Instead of being subject to the rule of law, we are now subject to the rule of men and women. This is not acceptable.

I want to urge each and every one of you to take the time to read these articles and follow up with the actions that we’re asking you to do. Details on the next steps are included in this article and I hope that you will step up and support us, as many of you have already.

We are not alone in this battle. We have reached out to many, many other associations across the province and I'm pleased to say that the majority of them are responding quickly, supporting our motions on how to deal with this abuse of power that seeks to remove our rights under the Constitution to fair access to the law.

The remainder of this article is in the Members Only Section of the OGCA website. Please click here to access it.

More and more frequently, the Ontario General Contractors Association has heard from its members that municipalities and other governments are writing them about requests under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Generally, the government is the subject of a request to disclose copies of bid documents and related correspondence submitted by contractors on a specific tender call or request for proposal. The motives of the request are unclear. It could be disgruntled contractors wanting to know what the other bids were. It could be a competitor trying to get access to your suppliers or costs of labour. On the other hand, it could be citizens who made an overly-broad request and are about to be sandbagged with documents.

It’s time to register for OGCA’s Annual Leadership Conference that is designed to help you keep your workers safe. The March 6 conference is designed for leaders in the construction industry and their OH&S staff to check in on advances in health and safety and hear from the experts on improving your performance.

This is OGCA’s 20th Annual leadership conference. In 2000, OGCA was among the first sponsors of Safety Groups. Our program included member company CEOs meeting to support each member’s efforts in the program. The Leadership Conference has evolved into a forum where the industry, government and health and safety professionals meet to advance excellence in construction workplace health and safety.

Our program on March 6th includes a discussion of the new opportunities available, including the SOSE Accreditation program and COR’s 2020 update that meets the standard.

We now recognize there is a direct link between mental health and workplace safety, and a successful program must include mental wellness of your employees. We will also receive the results of a new study that informs us of cannabis use of Canadian workers. Then we will lean how you can update your fit for duty program to detect and manage substance abuse.

We offer this conference to all OGCA and League of Champions members at a very low price that covers a few of the expenses.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference.

For more information, please click here. You can print off the form, complete it and email it to Elizabeth. Then go online to pay, or send a cheque for payment to the OGCA Offices, 180 Attwell Drive, Suite 280, Toronto, Ontario M9W 6A9.

To register to attend Leadership Day on March 6, 2020, please click here.

If you wish to pay by credit card on the OGCA website, please click here.

Today, we are announcing the resignation of Steven Crombie.

Effective as of February 11, 2020, Steven is leaving to pursue other opportunities at the Ontario Waste Management Association.

Since Steven joined our team, he has been a valuable and well-respected member of the association. As an employee of the OGCA, he was appreciated by his co-workers.

The work and contribution, including the extended hours of dedication, are greatly honored. We will miss Steven’s professionalism, empathy and strength. We respect his decision and wish him all the best for his future endeavors.

On behalf of everyone at the OGCA please help us all wish Steve good luck for the future and bid him a happy farewell.

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League of Champions

OGCA President Clive Thurston spoke to Anne Sado, President of George Brown College, about health and safety in the construction industry, and the importance of joining the League of Champions (LOC). 

Click here to access the video.

The League of Champions and George Brown College - CCET partnership event “Work Safety Leadership Seminar” was held at the Casa Loma Campus on January 30, 2020.

We were honoured to have the Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister Ron Kelusky speak about health and safety.

Industry leaders from CIOB Novus Americas Region, Threads of Life, Ontario Building Officials Association, and Turner and Townsend joined the event.

Safety Champions from Ampere, BDA, Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA), Eastern Construction, Gillam Group, Harbridge & Cross Limited, Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA), M.J. Dixon Construction Limited, Matheson Constructors, NORCAT, Ontario Electrical Construction, Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA), PCL Canada, Pomerleau, Stuart Olson Construction, Toronto Construction Association (TCA), and Walsh Canada sat down in the panel to share their expertise and experience about health and safety. Champions answered questions from the audience about safety on-site, mental health related matters, leadership, advocacy and so much more.

Congratulations to GBC leaders, faculty, students and volunteers, and to LOC Safety Champions, industry leaders and guests who made the event a success.

LOC Patron, NORCAT, had their GTA Grand Opening and Open House on January 22, 2020. We were pleased to be part of the official grand opening of their new training and development centre in Mississauga.

As a WSIB Health and Safety Excellence Program provider, NORCAT gave their perspective on how they can help employers meet the accreditation requirements.

Speakers who graced the event were Dan Fleming, Manager of NORCAT GTA, Ontario Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Hon. Monte McNaughton, Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister Ron Kelusky, and Don Duval, CEO of NORCAT.

Congratulations to Safety Leader NORCAT! Leaders need to lead and leaders inspire other leaders to be health and safety champions. Together we will make a difference in Ontario construction health and safety.

Is your company or association a Safety Leader? Are you a Safety Champion and want to make a difference in Ontario construction industry? Do you want to join an organization that inspire leaders to be health and safety champions?

League of Champions Members and Patrons are committed to inspire leaders to be health and safety champions. Please visit LOC website, Facebook and Twitter page for more information about the League of Champions. To apply to become a Safety Champion, please contact Marjorie Javier by email at Marjorie@theLOC.ca or phone 905-671-3969.

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Legislative & Legal Updates

The OGCA’s #BuildOntario, available here is up on our website.

This tool allows OGCA’s members to participate in innovative and integrated approaches to grassroots advocacy that takes into consideration the fact that digital advocacy is just one piece of a larger public affairs strategy.

This tool creates a measurable impact on policy outcomes at the provincial levels of government.

#BuildOntario allows the association the ability to create a custom digital presence and strategy to help educate, engage, and nurture relationships with elected officials.

On Thursday, February 6, Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney spoke to the Economic Club of Canada. Mulroney outlined the government’s plans for the upcoming legislative session. According to Mulroney, the changes would “…enable us to build transit faster by getting shovels in the ground sooner.”

The Ontario Progressive Conservative government plans to streamline the environmental assessment and land expropriation processes for new transit projects, a move that will speed up construction.

These changes will require new legislation as well as regulatory changes, and would apply only to the province’s four priority transit projects in the GTA: the Ontario Line, Yonge North subway extension, Scarborough extension, and Eglinton West LRT.

Mulroney acknowledged that the current environmental assessment regime “does not offer the flexibility” required to build new transit projects quickly.

Under the current legislation, Environmental Assessments (EA) are required for all large-scale transit projects. The reviews are designed to determine projects’ environmental effects, but also take into account economic and social factors and set out consulting requirements.

Mulroney went on to share the government’s intentions to tackle delays to relocating underground utilities such as gas and phone lines, fibre-optic cables, and water mains in the path of new transit lines.

Earlier this month, BuildForce Canada released its national labour market forecast.The forecast showed the largest growth is expected to take place between 2020 and 2021 and is anticipated to slow by the latter half of the decade.

The report indicates employment in Canada’s construction and maintenance industry is anticipated to grow by 50,200 workers by 2029, and with 257,000 construction workers expected to retire over the same period, 307,000 workers will need to be recruited to keep up with demand.

While the labour market information provided by BuildForce is the most comprehensive and reliable figures that our industry has, it should be noted that the report does not account for municipal capital project work.

Their forecasts undershoot the overall new entrants actually needed over the next decade. The report also does not address the industry’s ability to train mass amounts of new entrants expected by 2029.

The legislature will resume sitting on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.

Although no new bills have been introduced, three of the Standing Legislative Committees, the Standing Committee on General Government, the Standing Committee on Justice Policy and the Standing Committee on Social Policy, have been considering bills (Bills 141, 145 and 159), that have been referred to them following second reading.

The latest issue of the Ontario Legislative Reports is now available. Click here to access it.

For earlier issues, please contact Mary Wademan at the OGCA.

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Member News

This note is to advise you all that, after careful consideration, Gold Seal has decided to cancel the April 17, 2020 exam.

In addition to ongoing technical issues with the portal, a subset of exam writers were served old questions during the Jan. 24 exam due to a deeply-rooted design flaw that was unknown until now. We want to be able to provide everyone involved an exceptional application and exam experience. Therefore, the most prudent thing to do is to cancel April’s exam, with a goal to have a better system in place by the fall. Work is already underway to:

1.  Modernize and streamline the occupational profiles and exams

  • We are looking to reduce the quantity of the exams by removing the discipline options for project manager, superintendent and estimator exams. This will reduce the number of exams from 18 to 6 exams (12 including French). We have had great success with these working groups that will wrap up by April.
    • This effort includes new occupational profiles, larger question banks and more sample questions.
  • Update construction safety coordinator, foreman and owner’s construction manager occupational profiles and exams. This project will kick off shortly and you will be contacted to source volunteers to participate in these working groups.
    • This effort includes new occupational profiles, larger question banks and more sample questions.
  • Convert to “multiple choice only” exams. Same competencies will be tested while improving the overall user experience within the program.    

2.  Better understand the overall Gold Seal user experience for all stakeholder groups to conceive an intuitive platform to support information seeking, application and exam related needs.

We will keep you all posted on how this project progresses. If you were planning to write the April 17 exam and have not heard from CCA, please contact Chanel Roberts, Manager, Education and Gold Seal Certification Program.

Industry News

The Surety Association of Canada, in partnership with MERX, Mobile Bonds and Xenex Enterprises, are pleased to be offering two upcoming webinars on the topic of E-bonding.

The first session is intended for sureties, brokers and contractors (principals/bidders) and for those who are interested in receiving a refresher or learning more about how e-bonding works and how to respond to tender requests that require e-bids and/or e-bonds.

The details are as follows:

E-bonding Webinar – A refresher on what it is and how it works
Date: Thursday, February 13, 2020
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST)
To register: CLICK HERE

The second session is intended for project owners and municipalities and for those who are seeking to gain a better understanding of the benefits of e-bonding and how their internal procurement process can be integrated to allow for the acceptance of bids and tenders electronically.

The details are as follows:

E-bonding Webinar – A refresher on what it is and the benefits
Date: Thursday, February 20, 2020
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST)
To register: CLICK HERE

Note: These sessions are being provided in English only at this time.

For more details about each session, please refer to the flyers linked above.

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Associate Partner News and Events

HALF-DAY INTENSIVE WORKSHOP

Every employment relationship comes to an end. Although termination of employment can trigger potential liability for an employer, liability can often be minimized or eliminated with planning and sound decision-making. This practical, half-day workshop provides participants with the knowledge and tools to make good decisions about when, and how, to terminate an employee. 

Using interactive learning and real life-scenarios, topics include:

  • What constitutes “just cause” for termination? 
  • Assessing liability for a “without cause” termination.
  • Human rights and WSIB considerations.
  • Strategies when preparing a termination offer.
  • Conducting an effective termination meeting. 
  • Managing the fall-out.

DATE & TIME:
Each workshop is from 9:00am – 1:00pm

Thursday, February 27, 2020
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

LOCATION:
Sherrard Kuzz LLP, 250 Yonge Street, Suite 3300, Toronto

COST:
$525 plus tax

RSVP:
As this is a small group workshop, space is extremely limited.

REGISTER: CLICK HERE