August 2021

Welcome to COCA's monthly Newsletter. Unless noted otherwise, all articles written by COCA President, Ian Cunningham.

FAO Reports on State of Municipal Infrastructure 

The Financial Accountability Office (FAO) published a report on the state of repair of infrastructure assets owned by Ontario’s 444 municipalities on August 17, 2021. The report estimates the current replacement value (CRV) of municipal assets in 2020 to be $484 billion, more than the Ontario infrastructure assets of the province and the federal government combined. The report states the following,  

“The FAO estimates that the current municipal infrastructure backlog is about $52 billion. This would be the cost to bring municipal assets that require capital spending into a state of good repair in 2020.  

However, there is uncertainty on the precise condition of many municipal assets. The FAO estimates that the backlog could range from $45 billion to $59 billion. 
On a sector level, municipal roads represent the largest share of the infrastructure backlog at $21.1 billion, followed by ‘other’ buildings and facilities ($9.5 billion), wastewater ($7.3 billion), potable water ($5.3 billion), bridges and culverts ($4.3 billion), stormwater ($3.8 billion) and transit ($1.0 billion). 

In addition, there is $47 billion of municipal assets whose condition is unknown. These assets are not included in the FAO’s infrastructure backlog estimates. If these assets were incorporated the size of the backlog would be larger.” 

For the full report, click on the following link: Municipal Infrastructure ( 
COCA 2020 Year in Review
COCA’s 2020 Year in Review takes a look back at 2020, at our accomplishments and a glimpse of what lies ahead.

Download/view the Year in Review in Magazine magazine view:

Download/view the Year in Review in Magazine single page view:
Addressing Substance Use and the Workplace

The opioid overdose crisis is disproportionately affecting people working in the trades and construction. Other substances such as alcohol and cannabis are also of concern. To support employers and workers in these sectors, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has partnered with Health Canada to produce a toolkit of resources. It’s called Substance Use and the Workplace: Supporting Employers and Employees in the Trades.
This collection of resources is aimed at helping employers address employee substance use, particularly among young men working in the trades. Employers can find ready-to-use resources from more than 30 organizations to learn how to reduce risks related to substances and substance use disorder, and to support workplace health and safety. The toolkit includes resources to help:
  • Educate employees about substances and their effects,
  • Prevent substance use harms,
  • Address employee substance use,
  • Find services and supports, and
  • Access related information from key reports and organizations.
Included among the resources are four new CCSA posters. Designed to be printed and shared, they provide accessible information on the opioid overdose crisis and ways to address it:
We encourage you to share this toolkit of resources across your networks, especially with employers in construction, trades and transport. Together, we can help prevent more deaths and harms from the opioid crisis and substance use in the workplace.
For more information on workplace safety and substance use, please visit CCSA’s Workplace Safety web page.
Latest Stats Canada Construction Employment Data 

Here are the results of Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey conducted during the week of July 11 to 17 and published on August 6, 2021 as they relate to construction employment in Ontario: 

  • In July 2021, employment in the construction industry in Ontario stood at 524,700, down 1.3% from a month earlier when construction employment totalled 531,800 
  • Construction employment in Ontario in July 2021 increased by 12,500 or 2.5% over July 2020  

The complete Statistics Canada report is available by clicking on the following links: 

Ontario Launches new Vaccination Policy 

On  August 17th Ontario launched its new vaccination policy. To protect vulnerable patients and staff in settings where the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 and the Delta variant is higher, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued a directive mandating hospitals and home and community care service providers to have a COVID-19 vaccination policy for employees, staff, contractors, students and volunteers, and for ambulance services to have a COVID-19 vaccination policy for paramedics. The vaccination policy must be effective no later than September 7, 2021, and at a minimum will require these individuals to provide proof of one of three things: 

  • Full vaccination against COVID-19; 
  • A medical reason for not being vaccinated against COVID-19; or 
  • Completion of a COVID-19 vaccination educational session. 

For complete details of the province’s new vaccination directive, click on the following link:  
Former Ontario AG Responsible for Prompt Payment Legislation Seeks Seat in Parliament 

Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s Attorney General in the former government of Kathleen Wynne, who took up the cause of prompt payment and Construction Lien Act reform and dragged it across the finish line, was recently acclaimed as the Liberal Party candidate in the riding of Ottawa Centre in the next federal election. The federal election is scheduled to take place on September 20th. 
Naqvi was first elected to the Ontario legislature in the left leaning riding of Ottawa Centre in 2007. He succeeded Richard Patten who had held the seat for the Grits since 1995. Naqvi was re-elected in 2011, 2014 and then lost to Joel Harden of the NDP in the 2018 election that was a repudiation of the Kathleen Wynne administration.   

The Ottawa Centre seat in the federal parliament is currently held by the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Catherine Mckenna who is not seeking re-election. 
Poll Reflects Canadians’ Opinions About COVID19 Vaccinations 

Vaccination against COVID-19 should be a public health issue not a political one. None the less, here are the highlights of an online representative survey of 1,615 Canadian adults conducted by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) between August 7 and August 12, 2021.   

Agree/Disagree – I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who chose not to be vaccinated and then got COVID-19 
  • 47% of respondents strongly agree, 28% agree, 16% disagree and 9% strongly disagree; results vary among those respondents who are fully vaccinated, those who indicate they will get the vaccine and those who will not get the vaccine  
  • Among CPC respondents it was 37% strongly agree, 29% agree, 19% disagree and 15% strongly disagree, Liberals 61%, 26% 11% and 2%, NDP 47%, 33%, 15% and 5% 

How do you think your provincial government should handle vaccine hesitancy? 
  • Across all respondents 8% preferred the use of incentives and 40% preferred regulations. However, among CPC respondents it was 12% and 40%, Liberals 6% and 54% and NDP 8% and 47% 

Which approach do you think your provincial government should take (with regard to vaccine hesitancy)? 
  • Among Ontario respondents 5% preferred incentives, 51% preferred regulations, 25% preferred a combination of both and 18% preferred neither; this compares with 18%, 30%, 29% and 23% in Alberta, 6%, 33%, 24% and 37% is Saskatchewan and 9%, 41%, 20% and 30% in Manitoba 

How often have you been wearing a mask when indoors/when you can’t keep distance from others over the past week or so? 
  • Across the board, 60% of respondents said always, 19% said most of the time, 10% said sometimes and 11% said never 
  • Among Ontario respondents, 72% said always, 17% said most of the time, 7% said only sometimes and 4% said never 
  • Among Alberta respondents 23% said always, 17% said most of the time, 19% said only sometimes and 40% said never 
For the full story, click on the following link:  
MPP Coteau Wins Liberal Nomination to Seek Seat in Ottawa 

Michael Coteau, has resigned his seat in the Ontario legislature in order to carry the banner of the Liberal Party of Canada into the upcoming federal election on September 20th in the electoral district of Don Valley East. Couteau recently won the right to serve as the Liberal Party’s candidate through a nomination process in the riding.   

A long serving school board trustee prior to entering provincial politics, Couteau was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2011 and 2014 and was one of only 7 Liberals elected in the 2018 province-wide contest that disposed of most of the Kathleen Wynne era Grits. Couteau served as a cabinet minister with four different portfolios from 2013 to 2018.   

Don Valley East seat in our federal parliament is currently occupied by Yasmin Ratansi. She was first elected as a Liberal in 2004 and re-elected in 2006 and 2008 then lost to a PC candidate in 2011 but regained the seat in 2015 and 2019. However, she resigned from the Liberal Party in late 2020 because of an office hiring scandal and currently sits as an Independent.   

His shift to the federal arena could prove to have been a safe bet by Couteau but his resignation from the Ontario legislature reduces the Grit number to just seven.
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COCA is the voice of our membership at Queen's Park.

We want to hear from you. All questions, ideas and comments are more than welcome.

Council of Ontario Construction Associations
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COCA Staff
Ian Cunningham
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Martin Benson
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