COCA Newsletter
January 2019

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

The Newsletter is early this month as we did not publish a members only Government Relations Report. We will return to our regular publishing schedule with the month-end January Government Relations Report.

2019 Pre-budget Consultations
The Standing Committee of the Legislature on Finance and Economic Affairs will be convening public hearings seeking your advice with regard to the provincial budget which will be tabled in the legislature sometime this spring. The Committee’s hearings are scheduled as follows:
  • January 15 and 29 — Toronto
  • January 21 — Dryden
  • January 22 —Timmins
  • January 23 — Ottawa
  • January 24 — Sarnia
  • January 25 — Kitchener-Waterloo
  • January 28 — Peterborough

We encourage you or your organization to apply to make a presentation to the Committee. To apply, contact the Committee Clerk by email at [email protected] not later than 9:00 am on Monday, January 7 th .  Alternatively, you may choose to make a written submission to the Committee. Your written submissions should also be sent to the Committee Clerk not later than 5:00 pm on Tuesday, January 29 th.

In parallel with the work of the Standing Committee, the Ministry of Finance is engaging with citizens and Finance Minister Vic Fidelli is expected to engage citizens in various locations around Ontario in discussions about the government’s upcoming fiscal blueprint. The locations and dates for those events are not yet known. You can also make a written submission not later than February 9 th . Email your written submission to [email protected]    

For more information about the Ministry of Finance’s consultation click on the following link

Among the issues you might raise in your submissions are the following:

1.      Bill 142
  • Implement the remainder of Bill 142, the parts that have not already been implemented that deal with adjudication and the payment scheme, as scheduled on October 1, 2019; this must be an urgent priority

2.      WSIB
  • Proceed with the implementation of the WSIB’s new Rate Framework on January 1, 2010
  • Develop a legislative or regulatory solution for the replacement of Rate Group 755 (non-exempt executive officers) in the new Rate Framework; the best solution may be to exempt all legitimate executive officers in construction who are not exposed to construction risk exempt and who affirm such by signing the current form for Rate Group 755

3.      Health and Safety
  • Provide the Prevention Office in the Ministry of Labour with the support necessary to significantly improve the performance of the province’s workplace health and safety system 

4.      Infrastructure
  • Develop a long term infrastructure plan
  • Create a Construction Advisory Committee to meet at least quarterly to advise the Minister of Infrastructure on industry issues and concerns
  • Commit to annual investments in public infrastructure renewal and expansion, especially investments that directly support the economy and economic growth
  • Community benefits/social procurement in tendering for public projects must be explicitly defined and must be voluntary and aspirational; hard quotas must not be considered

5.      Skilled Trades
  • Make the development of a modern and effective skilled trades and apprenticeship system a high priority to ensure that Ontario has the workforce to meet the demands of today and tomorrow

6.      Fiscal Concerns
  • Develop a plan to balance the budget and to restore the province’s Debt:GDP ratio back to historic normal levels around 25%

New Rules for Political Fundraising in Ontario
Bill 57 Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act 2018 which became law on December 6, 2018, amended the Election Finances Act changing political fundraising rules in the province. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The contributions that a person makes to any one registered party shall not exceed, in a calendar year, $1,600 plus $25 for each calendar year that has begun on or after January 1, 2020.
  • The contributions that a person makes to registered constituency associations and registered nomination contestants of any one registered party shall not exceed, in a calendar year, $1,600 plus $25 for each calendar year that has begun on or after January 1, 2020.
  • The contributions that a person makes to registered candidates of any one registered party shall not exceed, in a campaign period, $1,600 plus $25 for each calendar year that has begun on or after January 1, 2020.
  • The contributions that a person makes to any one registered leadership contestant of a registered party shall not exceed, in a calendar year that falls during a leadership contest period or during which the contestant is required to be registered by virtue of subsection 14 (2.1), $1,600 plus $25 for each calendar year that has begun on or after January 1, 2020.
  • A contributors no longer has to certify that his/her contribution comes only from funds belonging to him/her and not from funds given to them for the purpose of making a contribution.
  • MPPs are now (again) allowed to attend political fundraising events 

Tory Approval Remains High But Challenges Ahead
In the June 7, 2018 Ontario general election, the PCs won approximately 40.5% of the popular vote across the province. A recent Angus Reid poll published on December 20 th places Premier Doug Ford’s approval rating at 42%. So the popularity of our new government remains high.

In lockstep with its “Ontario, Open for Business” mantra,  our new government has taken steps to reduce taxes, cut unnecessary regulations and it has unwound the former Liberal government’s employment and labour laws. But there will be significant challenges going forward into 2019, including:

  • The controversial appointment of Ron Tavener, a Ford family friend, as Chief of the OPP
  • Fallout from GM’s plant closure in Oshawa in an Ontario that’s open for business
  • Implementing a new sex education curriculum following the recent consultation
  • Making spending cuts in order to restore fiscal order; it will be difficult if not impossible for the government to make any headway on the deficit without reducing spending on health, education and social services
  • Developing a path to a balanced budget and then reducing the province’s debt:GDP ratio to a more historic normal level

Government Offers Buy-Outs
To address its fiscal challenges and manage compensation costs, our new provincial government has extended buyout packages to thousands of its non-union workers and to its management group. If the offering is successful, the government will not have to resort to layoffs. Those wishing to take up the offer must apply not later than February 28 th and leave the public service by the end of the year. A buyout package for the government’s unionized workers has been in place since 2013.

Sherrard Kuzz Logo
Privacy and Surveillance:
Understanding an Employer's Rights and Obligations

As arbitrators and courts continue to struggle to balance an employer’s right to manage its business with employees’ right to privacy, employers are often left wondering what they can and cannot do. Join us at this HReview, as we address employer rights and best practices in the world of privacy, monitoring and surveillance, social media and IT-related misconduct:
1. Is there is a "Right" to Privacy?
  • Privacy legislation and its impact on your workplace
  • Unique considerations for unionized employers
2. Employee Monitoring and Surveillance
  • Can an employer monitor an employee's email, internet and smartphone use?
  • When can cameras be used in the workplace?
  • Surveillance outside the workplace - is it ever appropriate?
3. Privacy and Social Media
  • What is an employer permitted to learn about a job applicant?
  • Can an employer require access to an applicant’s social media account(s)?
  • Is an employer permitted to act on what it sees on the social media account(s) of an existing employee?
4. Addressing IT-Related Misconduct
  • Recent trends in discipline and discharge for IT-related misconduct.
5. What does the future hold?

Wednesday February 27, 2019, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
(Breakfast at 7:30 a.m.; program at 8:00 a.m.)
Hazelton Manor, 99 Peelar Road, Concord, ON L4K 1A3
By Monday February 19th, 2019. (spaces limited)
Details, including how to register, can be found on the back page of our newsletter and on our website.
Pinchin Complimentary Sessions

Pinchin Ltd. offers FREE learning opportunities across the province each month.  To see a list click here.
Upcoming Inspection Blitzes

The Ministry of Labour has published a list of blitzes for early 2018. For the full list click here.
Get IHSA training when and where you need it.

To see a list of contacts and the regions they serve c lick here.
Eye on ICI Economic Update

To view a copy of the newsletter, click here.
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
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 2001
Toronto, ON   M5G 1Z8
COCA Staff
Ian Cunningham x224   
Operations & Communications Manager
Martin Benson x222
COCA Website          WSIB            Ministry of Labour          Office of the Employer Adviser
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Suite 2001
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Phone: (416) 968-7200
Fax: (416) 968-0362