August 2022

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

Ontario 2022 Budget Highlights 
Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, delivered his 2022 budget following the Throne Speech on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 9th. It was essentially the same budget he introduced in the dying days of the last parliament that was never passed, save except for a 5% increase in ODSP payments.   

Here are the fiscal highlights of the government’s financial roadmap: 

  • Real GDP growth in 2020 stood at -5.1% and is forecast to come in at 4.3% in 2021, 3.7% in 2022, 3.1% in 2023, 2% in 2024 and 1.9% in 2025 
  • CPI inflation in 2020 stood at 0.7% and is projected to come in at 3.5% in 2021, 4.7% in 2022, 2.5% in 2023, 2.1% in 2024 and 2.1% in 2025 
  • The budget document recognizes actual total revenues for 2020-21 of $164.9 B and forecasts $173.6 in 2021-22, $179.8 B in 2022-23, $188.2 B in 2023-24 and $196.2B in 2024-25 
  • Total expenses in 2020-21 were $181.3 B and are forecast to come in at $187.1 B in 2021-22, $198.6 B in 2022-23, $199.1 B in 2023-24 and $203.0 B in 2024-25 
  • The deficit in 2020-21 was ($16.4 B) and is projected to come in at ($13.5 B) in 2021-22, ($18.9 B) in 2022-23, ($10.8 B) in 2023-24 and ($6.1 B) in 2024-25 
  • The debt to GDP ratio stood at 43.1% in 2020-21 and is forecast to come in at 40.7% in 2021-22, 41.4% in 2022-23, 41.4% in 2023-24 and 41.3% in 2024-25 
  • The document outlines three scenarios, faster growth scenario, the budget middle ground scenario and the slow growth scenario; under the budget scenario Ontario’s finances will return to balance in 2027-28 

Read the complete COCA article here:
Statistics Canada’s July 2022 labour Market Survey Highlights 
Here are highlights copied from Statistics Canada’s July 2022 Labour Market Survey release

For the whole of Canada: 
  • Employment was little changed on a monthly basis in July (-31,000). Compared with May, employment was down  74,000  (-0.4%). 
  • The number of public sector employees fell by  51,000  (-1.2%) in July, while the number of self-employed workers increased by  34,000  (+1.3%). The number of private sector employees was little changed. 
  • Employment fell among women aged  55  and older (-33,000; -1.7%) and women aged  25  to  54  (-31,000; -0.5%) in July. For men aged  55 and older, employment rose by  32,000  (+1.4%). It was little changed among youth aged  15  to  24  and men aged  2 5 to  54. 
  • In the services-producing sector, employment fell by  53,000  (-0.3%) in July, with losses spread across several industries, including wholesale and retail trade, health care and social assistance, and educational services. 
  • Employment rose in the goods-producing sector (+23,000; +0.6%) in July. 
  • Total hours worked were down  0.5% in July. 
  • The average hourly wages of employees were up  5.2% (+$1.55 to $31.14) on a year-over-year basis in July, matching the pace of wage growth recorded in June. 
  • The unemployment rate held steady at  4.9% in July, matching the historic low reached in June. 
  • The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes people who were not in the labour force but wanted to work—remained at  6.8% in July, also matching its record low. 
  • Long-term unemployment dropped  23,000  (-12.2%) to  162,000  in July, the third consecutive monthly decline.  

Here are the highlights relating to the Ontario Labour Market: 

  • Employment in Ontario fell by  27,000  (-0.4%) in July 
  • declines in full-time work were partly offset by gains in part-time employment.  
  • The provincial unemployment rate rose  0.2  percentage points to  5.3%.  
  • Industries with notable employment losses in the month included wholesale and retail trade, and educational services.  
  • Employment rose in manufacturing and in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing.  
  • In the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto, both employment and the unemployment rate (5.7%) were little changed.  
  • Across the province, the unemployment rate ranged from a high of  6.5% in Windsor  CMA  to a low of  3.2% in Guelph  CMA  (three-month moving averages). 

Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Re-Elected Speaker 

To the surprise of many, Ted Arnott was re-elected to serve as Speaker in Ontario’s 43rd Parliament by way of a secret ballot vote conducted in the Chamber on the afternoon of August 8, 2022. The 59-year-old PC MPP for Wellington-Halton Hills defeated Nina Tangri, the one-term PC MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville who served as Associate Minister for Small Business and Red Tape Reduction from June 2021 to June 2022 in the last Parliament when Arnott served as Speaker.  

The smart, fair-minded and likeable Arnott was first elected in 1990 at the age of 27 and re-elected in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2018 and 2022. Over his many years at Queen’s Park, in opposition he served in various critic roles, committee vice chair positions, as Opposition House Leader and Deputy Speaker and in government he held several Parliamentary Assistantships and as already noted was speaker in the province’s 42nd Parliament. 

So why the surprise? How could an experienced parliamentarian who is also an expert in procedure possibly lose to a far less qualified, former insurance agent and one-term MPP? Well, Tangri was the hand-picked favourite of Premier Doug Ford. It’s believed by some that Tangri was not made a minister by Premier Ford in his lineup for the upcoming parliament because he wanted Arnott out of the Speaker’s chair and Tangri in it. Ford campaigned hard for Tangri and it’s alleged by Opposition Leader Peter Tabuns that the scrappy Government House Leader Paul Calandra even threatened to strip the NDP of their coveted committee vice chair positions if they did not support Tangri. Tangri was nominated by PC MPP Natalia Kusendova and seconded by PC MPP Vijay Thanigasalam while Arnott, a centrist “Red Tory” who has a history of working across the aisle, was nominated by NDP MPP Catherine Fife and seconded by Liberal MPP Lucille Collard.   

While the final tally will not be made public, in the end at least 22 members of the PC caucus (including Arnott) must have broken ranks with their party and their premier and voted for Arnott (that assumes that all 41 NDP, Liberal, Green and Independent MPPs voted for Arnott). Apparently, Ford is really pissed that members of his caucus didn’t follow his orders, broke ranks and secretly voted for Arnott so it’s rumoured that he’s applying certain penalties and restrictions on all Tory MPPs. 

We have no axe to grind with Tangri. Like most MPPs, she’s likely smart, well-intentioned, dedicated and driven to some degree by ego. And she would have been the province’s first female Speaker. But sometimes you’ve just gotta earn your spurs and wait your turn. We wish her much success in the 43rd parliament. 

It’s reassuring that sometimes the better-qualified candidate is successful. 

Congratulations to Speaker Arnott. 
Liberal Leader Announces Shadow Cabinet 
John Fraser, the Interim Leader of the small but mighty 8-member Liberal caucus in the Ontario legislature announced his shadow cabinet on Monday, August 8th. Each Liberal MPP will monitor more than one portfolio and in one instance five. Here’s the list: 
John Fraser – MPP, Ottawa South 
  • Interim Leader 
  • Intergovernmental Affairs 
  • Long-Term Care 
  • Children, Community and Social Services 
Stephen Blais, MPP Orleans 
  • Caucus Chair 
  • Municipal Affairs and Housing 
  • Transportation 
  • Economic Development and Trade 
Stephanie Bowman, MPP Don Valley West 
  • Finance 
  • Infrastructure 
  • Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs 
Lucille Collard MPP Ottawa Vanier 
  • House Leader 
  • Attorney General 
  • Solicitor General 
  • Francophone Affairs 
Ted Hsu, MPP Kingston and the Islands 
  • Energy, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry 
  • Citizenship and Multiculturalism 
Mitzie Hunter, Scarborough-Guildwood 
  • Deputy Leader 
  • Education 
  • Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development 
  • Treasury Board 
  • Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity 
Mary-Margaret McMahon, MPP Beaches-East York 
  • Environment, Conservation and Parks 
  • Tourism Culture and Sport 
  • Seniors and Accessibility 
  • Public and Business Service Delivery 
Dr. Adil Shamji MPP, Don Valley East 
  • Health 
  • Northern Development 
  • Indigenous Affairs 
  • Colleges and Universities 

2021 Year in Review
In 2021 we learned how resilient and resourceful we can be as individuals, organizations, industries, and communities. Every time the ground shifted, we all dug a little deeper into our reserves of energy and optimism. Together, we kept moving forward. After all, building for the future is what we do.

COCA’s 2021 Year in Review takes a look back at 2021, and at our accomplishments.

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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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Ian Cunningham
Operations Manager
Martin Benson
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