COCA Newsletter
November 2018

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

Fall Economic Statement
On the afternoon of Thursday, November 15 th, Finance Minister Vic Fidelli rose in the Legislature to present the government’s Fall Economic Statement. Features of this financial and legislative roadmap that will be of interest to contractors are as follows:

  • GDP is expected to grow by 2% in 2018, 1.8% in 2019, 1.7% in 2010 and 1.5% in 2021
  • To maintain business tax competitiveness for with the US, the provincial government will introduce accelerated depreciation measures, will maintain the lower small business corporate income tax rate and will increase the Employer Health Tax exemption threshold from $450,000 in payroll to $490,000
  • The provincial deficit was pegged at $14.5B, down $500M from the time when the Tories assumed office little more than five months ago; this is the result of $3.2B in savings already implemented and $2.7B in new spending or foregone revenue (tax spending)
  • The Fall Economic Statement did not prescribe the journey to budget balance (look for that in the March 2019 budget)
  • The government will introduce the Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax (LIFT) Credit, effective January 1, 2019, which will exempt low-income earners from paying provincial income tax; this measure is estimated to benefit 1.1 million people and cost the government $495 million in foregone revenue
  • The government will conduct a review of the workers compensation system to ensure it remains sustainable in the future
  • There will be a review of Metrolinx and possible amendments to the Metrolinx Act
  • Work will resume on the GTA West highway corridor
  • An Open for Business Action Plan will be initiated to reduce the burden of red tape and unnecessary regulation by 25% by 2022
  • The government will conduct a review of power prices for industrial power consumers with public input
  • The government will introduce an environmental plan to fight climate change
  • The government will launch a Housing Supply Action Plan to address housing affordability and grow supply
  • New rental units built after the date of the Fall Economic Statement will be exempted from rent control

The full document is available at the following link

Cannabis in the Workplace and Reporting Near Misses
Readers of this newsletter will be aware that the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) is a tremendous source of relevant and helpful accident and sickness prevention programs and health and safety management services specifically designed for the construction industry. The recent edition of the IHSA’s magazine, Magazine, which is available on their website, contained two articles that I’d like to draw to your attention. One is titled “Are you ready for CANNABIS in the workplace?” and the other “Never miss Reporting a near miss”. Here are the links:

Are You Ready For Cannabis in The Workplace?

Never Miss Reporting a Near Miss

Office of the Employer Adviser - Update from the Director
Big WSIB Changes on the Horizon - Update from the Director.

Ford Shuffles Cabinet
On the evening of Friday, November 3 rd, a spokesperson for the Premier announced that the Minister of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade and the MPP for Simcoe-Grey, Jim Wilson, had resigned from Cabinet and also from the PC Caucus to seek treatment for addictions. Then, on Monday, November 5 th, various media outlets reported that allegations of sexual misconduct had been made by a male Queen’s Park staffer against Wilson.  

Also, over the last few weeks, the Opposition has been raising questions about the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Michael Tibolo and in particular about the numerous lawsuits arising during his long career as a lawyer, prior to his election on June 7 th as the MPP for Vaughan-Woodbridge and also about allegations of past questionable management practices.

Poll Shows Ontario Liberal Support Increasing
An online poll of 1,628 Canadians aged 18 years or older conducted between October 26 and October 28 by Innovation Research Group conducted on behalf of the Ontario Energy
Association revealed the following:
  • Support for the PC Party is now “in the low end of their range.”
  • Is an election was held on the day the poll was taken, 31 per cent of decided and leaning respondents picked the Tories, 28 per cent chose the Liberals and 22 per cent would vote NDP
  • Among decided respondents the gap narrowed to 35% for the PCs and 32% for the Liberals
  • 37% of respondents felt ambivalent or alienated
  • Only 22% of respondents felt Ontario electricity consumers are well protected on price

The complete results are available in full graphic form by clicking on the following link:

Poll Shows Ontario Majority Supports Carbon Tax
A new poll from Angus Reid shows public support for the carbon tax is increasing. This is particularly so following the federal government’s announcement for a rebate plan. 

Here’s what the poll revealed:
  • More Ontarians approve of the tax than oppose it.
  • Support picked up significantly following the federal government’s rebate announcement
  • 50% of respondents support giving the federal government the authority to impose carbon pricing and 50% oppose; In a previous survey 64% thought the provinces should have jurisdiction on the issue

The Ontario government believes that Ottawa has overreached its authority with the implementation of a carbon tax and has joined with a number of other provinces to oppose the federal government’s authority on this matter in court.  
Angus Reid surveyed 1,500 Canadian adults between October 24 and October 29 and the poll is statistically accurate within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

COCA's 2017 Year In Review
COCA's 2017 year in Review includes A Message from the Chair, The President, A Review of the Work by COCA's Committees and a look back at COCA's 2017 events.

Sherrard Kuzz Logo
Out With The Old, In With The New:
2018 Year in Review
What to Expect in 2019

In 2018 we experienced significant, material change to employment and labour law in Ontario and across Canada and 2019 looks to be more of the same! Join us as we discuss how these changes impact employers as well as proactive steps to minimize the negative effects. 
Topics include: 

  1. Legislative Update: There have been significant changes to employment standards and occupational health and safety legislation in 2018. Are you aware?
  2. Drugs and Alcohol: Employers are understandably concerned about the potential impact of cannabis legalization. We will review recent cases on drug and alcohol testing and use in the workplace and how an employer can proactively address this issue.
  3. WSIB Update: Learn about the new Chronic Mental Stress policy and how it may impact the handling of workplace harassment claims. We’ll also address changes to WSIB rates and premiums in 2019.
  4. Case Law Roundup: A review of some of the most important labour, employment and human rights decisions of 2018 and what they mean for your operations.
Wednesday December 5, 2018, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
(Breakfast at 7:30 a.m.; program at 8:00 a.m.)
Mississauga Convention Centre - 75 Derry Road West, Mississauga
By Monday November 26, 2018 (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
180 Dundas Street West
Suite 2001
Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8
Phone: (416) 968-7200
Fax: (416) 968-0362