PCA and CLAC support proposed legislation to end “construction labour monoplies”

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The Fair and Open Tendering Act ensures fairness and fiscal responsibility (news release)

The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) and the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) were in Toronto on May 17  to support the introduction of private members legislation to stop closed tendering of construction projects in municipalities and school boards in Ontario.

“We are calling on all MPPs in Ontario to put the interests of the public first and to pass this important piece of Legislation,” said Ian DeWaard, regional director for the CLAC.   “Publically funded infrastructure projects should be open to all Ontarians regardless of union affiliation – it is a matter of fairness”

Competition is restricted in certain cities and school boards across the province including Toronto, Sault Ste Marie, Hamilton and the Greater Essex County School Board, a news release said.  There is also an ongoing battle in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo to close tendering there. “In most cases, closed tendering restrictions have been forced upon public employers as a result of a loophole in the Labour Relations Act,” the news release said.  “This loophole defines these public employers as construction employers and only allows them to tender key taxpayer funded projects to select unionized contractors and their workers.  This restricts over 70 percent of contractors and workers from participating on major public construction projects and can drive up the cost of these projects by 40 per cent.”

“My business specializes in water and waste water construction for municipalities and we are currently shut out from participating on projects in areas where there are labour monopolies,” said Scott Taylor, president of Stone Town Construction Limited.  “If passed this legislation will ensure that my company can openly and fairly compete for taxpayer funded projects throughout Ontario.”

Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris introduced the private members bill. (Most private members bills, unless directly supported by the government, are not implemented.)  The news release said Harris has been working actively with PCA and CLAC on a legislative solution to this issue since he became aware of a construction certification application in the Region of Waterloo back in December.  PCA and CLAC have also been working with the Liberal Government on this matter and hope to have their support for this Bill, the news release said.

“Shutting out competitors for large, publically funded infrastructure projects leads to increased costs,” said Sean Reid, Director, Federal and Ontario for the PCA.  “We are pleased that MPP Harris has put forward this fair proposal to close an expensive legislative loophole.”

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