Ontario Construction Finishing Alliance calls for prompt payment legislation progress

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Letter to the editor:

Dear editor:

Governments don’t create jobs. Former premier Mike Harris correctly pointed out in his Common Sense Revolution that it is a government’s responsibility and obligation to create a positive economic and investment climate to allow businesses to create jobs.

Right now the Ontario government has an opportunity to do just that, yet seems to be stalling.

Vaughan MPP Steven Del Duca’s Bill 69, Prompt Payment Act, 2013, would oblige construction developers to pay their contractors and sub-contractors within a reasonable timeframe after work has been completed. This is not a novel concept for anyone outside of the construction industry. Just ask anyone who has ever had a utility or their cable tv or telephone cut off for non-payment.

Money flows in the construction industry from developers to general contractors to trade and sub-contractors and so on down the line. It is the trade and sub-contractors at the bottom of the pyramid who hire employees to do the work, creating jobs and driving the economy forward. Unfortunately, a different set of standards seem to apply in construction that wouldn’t be tolerated in any other sector.

Late payment has become more the norm than the exception, which in turn prevents a small contractor from hiring new employees, paying their own bills and tax obligations, and in extreme cases, from meeting payroll.

As an example, just one residential drywall contractor has recently been reported in the media as having account receivables of $7.6 million, $6 million of which is more than 120 days past due.

One would think that in a minority government if you have a piece of legislation that all three parties support, and which would appear to be the morally right thing to do, and which would seem to make economic and common sense, that it should be a no-brainer. Yet that’s not what is happening.

Mr. Del Duca, a Liberal MPP, introduced his Private Member’s Bill last May, six months ago. It passed second reading with support from all three parties and was referred to a committee for public hearings. But nothing has so far been scheduled for the committee to deal with the bill and the Legislature will adjourn for its Christmas break in a few weeks, returning in February.

The Conservative party seems more supportive of this legislation than Mr. Del Duca’s own governing party.  PC labour critic Monte McNaughton has raised the issue in Question Period for the second time in less than a month. “Premier, is Bill 69 a priority for your Liberal government? And if so, when do you expect to move forward on this important piece of legislation?”

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s response was: “The bill will move through the normal course of the process in the Legislature. There will be an opportunity for debate and a vote.”

The only problem with that is, in the normal course of process, most private members bills never see the light of day.

Sincerely,

Jeff Koller, industry compliance officer

Ontario Construction Finishing Industries Alliance

 

1 COMMENT

  1. S:The main purpose of exindnteg the Eglinton LRT to Square One would be to connect to the Square One bus terminal, and the future Hurontario LRT. It would not connect directly to the employment areas at 401/Hurontario and Meadowvale but connections would be provided by buses. It would however connect directly to the Airport Corporate Centre business park area.I don’t know exactly the origin destination data for trips to employment areas in Mississauga but the 2006 census shows 58,145 people commuting from Toronto and 55,375 from Brampton and the numbers have no doubt increased since then. The traffic congestion problems on Highway 401, Highway 403 east of Hurontario, Highway 410, Eglinton Avenue, Hurontario St and Dixie Rd are severe. Highway 401 just east of the 409 interchange has the dubious distinction of being the busiest section of road in North America and this is largely caused by reverse commute flow to Mississauga. Transit improvements in this area are desperately needed and this includes Milton GO train, Eglinton LRT to the airport (needs to be grade separated, given this can be done cheaply), Hurontario LRT, and various improvements to bus service (such as higher frequencies on the buses to Meadowvale Business Park, and exindnteg the Dixie Rd bus to Bramalea Town Centre).

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