December 2021

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

COVID and Workplace Transmissions 

According to Public Health Ontario, between January 15, 2020, and December 6, 2021, 625,312 cases of COVID19 were confirmed in Ontario. 

As of December 3, 2021, the WSIB has received a total of 30,915 claims for workplace transmissions of COVID19; 177 claims are pending; of the claims that have been evaluated 28,546 (92.34%) have been approved and 2,192 have not been approved. 

A total of 827 claims from all construction classes have been approved 
Workplace transmissions from all Ontario workplaces (all sectors covered by the WSIB) represent approximately 4.94% of all COVID19 cases.
Workplace transmissions from construction sites represent approximately 0.13% of all cases confirmed in the province. 
Highlights From November Jobs Report 

Here are the highlights copied directly from Statistics Canada’s November 2021 jobs report that was published on December 3, 2021: 

Continuing employment growth 

  • Employment rose by 154,000 (+0.8%) in November and was 186,000 (+1.0%) higher than its pre-COVID February 2020 level. 
  • Employment among core-aged women (25 to 54 years) grew 66,000 (+1.1%), primarily in full-time work (+47,000; +0.9%). 
  • Among core-aged men, employment rose by 48,000 (+0.7%), with gains entirely in full-time work. 
  • The employment rate for women aged 25 to 54 reached an all-time high of 80.7%. 
  • Both full-time (+80,000; +0.5%) and part-time (+74,000; +2.1%) work increased. 
  • Total hours worked increased 0.7%, returning to its pre-pandemic February 2020 level for the first time. 
  • The number of private-sector employees rose 107,000 (+0.9%), while there was little change in public sector employment and self-employment. 
  • Two-year wage growth was 5.2% when controlling for changes in the composition of employment by occupation and tenure, and 7.7% when not controlling. 
  • Employment increased in both the services-producing sector (+127,000) and the goods-producing sector (+26,000) in November. 
  • Employment increased in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. 

Unemployment rate approaches pre-pandemic level 

  • The unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points to 6.0% in November—the sixth consecutive monthly drop and the largest decline since March 2021. 
  • Total unemployment fell to 1.24 million (-122,000; -8.9%) but remained 98,000 higher than in February 2020. 
  • The number of Canadians unemployed for 27 weeks or more fell 62,000 (-16.2%), the first monthly decline in long-term unemployment since August 2021. 
  • The decline in long-term unemployment was particularly sharp for those who had been unemployed for 52 weeks or more (-23.4%; -56,000).” 

Here are some Ontario-specific data points from Statistics Canada: 

  • In November 2021 employment in Ontario stood at 7,605,000, an increase of 0.9% from the previous month 
  • Ontario’s unemployment rate in November 2021 was 6.4%, a decrease of 0.6% 
  • In November 2018 employment in the construction industry in Ontario stood at 536,000, in March 2019 that number was 532,100, April 2019 – 545,200, September 2019 – 549,800, March 2020 -557,300, April 2020 - 458,300, September 2020 - 500,500, March 2021 -544,800, September 2021 – 534,200, October 2021 – 531,100 and November 2021 - 544,400 
  •  Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for November revealed employment in Ontario grew for the sixth consecutive month, with 68,000 more jobs added in November, for a total of 421,000 over the past half-year. Most of last month’s new jobs were in health care, social assistance, construction, finance, insurance, real estate, and wholesale and retail trade.  
  • Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli noted Ontario has 115,000 more jobs than when the pandemic started. “Our province is on the right track,” he declared. 
Government Business Completed - Legislature Adjourns for Winter Break
The Ontario Legislature adjourned for its winter break on the afternoon of Thursday, December 9, 2021. MPPs have returned to their ridings to meet with constituents, spend the Holiday Season with their families and friends and to take a break from the hurly-burly life around Queen’s Park.   

In the weeks leading up to the winter break, there were only four pieces of Government legislation before the Legislature: 

Bill 13, Supporting Businesses and People Act, 2021  

Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 

Bill 37, Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors and Building More beds Act, 2021 

Bill 43, Build Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2021 

All four Government Bills received Royal Assent before adjournment. 
The Ontario Legislature will resume sitting on February 22, 2022. 
Bits and Bites from the Pink Palace 

  • Former senior Queen’s Park political staffer Karim Bardeesy will carry the Liberal banner in the Parkdale—High Park riding into the June 2022 Ontario general election. While not considered an NDP stronghold, it has been held by the “dippers” for many years 
  •  The softer side of Government House Leader Paul Calandra was on public display when he made the following thoughtful comments in the Legislature as lawmakers wrapped up their fall session, 
  •  “None of us signed up for what we've had to go through over the last number of months, but I think that all members of parliament — even the ones that I very much disagree with — have risen to the occasion and represent their communities very, very well. It is an absolute honour to serve with all of you.” 
  •  Integrity Commissioner David Wake cleared Premier Doug Ford of any wrong- doing in the scandal surrounding the re-routing of the Bradford bypass around the Silver Lakes Golf Club which is co-owned by Conservative MPP Stan Cho’s father. Wake found that there was not enough evidence.  
  •  After asking her to leave the chamber twice, Speaker Ted Arnott had to call on Queen’s Park security to remove New Blue Party MPP Belinda Karahalios when she failed to abide by the Legislature’s COVID19 rules 
  •  The media are reporting that PC Party campaign director and founder and principal in government relations firm Rubicon is suing former Doug Ford supporter Charles McVety for defamation and seeking $3 million.  McVety is sore that his support for Ford did not win him degree granting status for his Canadian Christian College.   
 MPPs Not Seeking Re-Election in 2022 

Among currently serving MPPs who have announced that they will not be seeking re-election in June 2022 are the following: 

  • Amy Fee the first term PC MPP for Kitchener South-Hespler  
  • Gila Martow, the PC MPP for Thornhill who was first elected narrowly in a 2014 by-election, re-elected in the 2014 general election and again in 2018 
  • PC MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry Jim McDonnell who was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2011 and re-elected in 2014 and 2018 
  • Former PC, now Independent MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington and former Deputy Speaker Rick Nicholls; Nicholls was first elected in 2011 and re-elected twice 
  • One termer Lindsey Park, the former PC and now Independent MPP for Durham 
  • Long timer Jim Wilson who is a former PC, currently serving as an Independent and who was first elected in 1990 
  • Construction industry friend and NDP MPP for Essex, Taras Natyshak, who was first elected in 2011 
  • Another construction friend and all-around pleasant fellow, NDP MPP Percy Hatfield who has served as the member for Windsor-Tecumseh since 2013 
  • Ian Arthur the first term NDP MPP for Kingston and the Islands (the Libs are thought to have a good chance of re-taking this seat) 
  • Former Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne who has served as the MPP for Don Valley West since 2003 

This list may not be a complete listing of all MPP who have announced that they will not be seeking re-election in June 2022 and there could be additions to this list in the coming months. 
Fringe Parties in Ontario 

Disgraced former Conservative MP Derek Sloan, who failed to make it back to Parliament Hill in the last federal election, has been announced as the leader of a new fringe political party called the Ontario Party and is expected to seek election to the Ontario Legislature in a yet-to-be-named riding in June 2022.
Former Tory Belinda Karahalios who currently serves as an Independent MPP for Cambridge riding is affiliated with the New Blue Party. 

Former PC MPP Randy Hillier also sits as an Independent in the Ontario Legislature and he is affiliated with the Ontario First Party. 

What makes these candidates different from others who will carry the banners of fringe parties into the June 2022 Ontario general election campaign is that they have all won elections before and in the case of Hillier, he has been victorious in his Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding four times with solid margins. Interestingly, they have all been victorious as Conservative candidates.    

So what are their chances next June? Here’s our take: 

  • It’s extremely difficult for an independent candidate to overcome the huge money and volunteer advantages of the mainstream parties. These provide among other things research, tested platform development, targeted marketing and advertising, voter tracking and get-out-the-vote campaigns 
  • The often extreme positions of fringe party candidates in most instances do not enjoy wide voter appeal 
  • These three candidates are similar in that they are freedom fighters, anti-science, anti-vaccine, anti-public health measures 
  • Hillier probably stands a chance in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston but our prediction is that the voters will reject Karahalios and Sloan   
COCA Corporate Partners
HUB is a global insurance brokerage that puts you at the center of everything we do. Our reach and resources mean you have the insurance you need when you need it — and before you know you need it.

HUB provides complete protection: property, casualty, life and health insurance products; employee benefits and business risk management; and wealth management products and services.
Visit us at to learn more.
Sherrard Kuzz Logo
Sherrard Kuzz LLP is one of Canada’s leading employment and labour law firms exclusively representing the interests of management. 

Recognized as a leading provider of strategic advice and effective employment and labour relations representation within the construction industry, our team is consistently named among Canada’s Top 10 Employment and Labour Boutiques

Visit us at to learn more
TwoGreySuits (TGS) is a fully loaded on-line Human Resources Department specifically designed to meet the people management needs of small and medium sized enterprises. 

TGS has created a seven module core training product.

This core program will be enhanced over time with information webinars of specific interest and benefit to small and medium sized businesses. 

Visit us at to learn more

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
We have moved, our new address is:
926 - 123 Edward Street
Toronto ON M5G 1E2
COCA Staff
Ian Cunningham
Operations Manager
Martin Benson
COCA Website        WSIB          Ministry of Labour        
926 - 123 Edward Street
Toronto ON M5G 1E2
Phone: (416) 968-7200