June 2022

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

COCA Recognizes Outstanding Achievement

The Council of Ontario Construction Associations honoured construction industry leaders from across Ontario with the presentation of the Cliff Bulmer Award, the Construction Hard Hat Award, the Chair’s Award, and the President’s Award. These recognitions were made at an awards ceremony and dinner held at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Niagara Falls Ontario on the morning of June 9th, 2022.  

COCA’s highest honour, the Cliff Bulmer Award, which recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in furthering the relationship between the construction industry and the Ontario Government was awarded to Graeme Aitken, Executive Director of the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario. Graeme has been dogged in pursuing Health and Safety issues with the Ontario Government, Ministers and Ministries. Many of these issues not only benefit electrical contractors but all areas of construction. 

COCA Construction Hard Hat Special Achievement Award. The Hard Hat is awarded to an individual or individuals who do something truly remarkable to advance the interests of the construction industry. 

  • Elizabeth Witmer has served the Ontario public for 36 years, including 22 years as the Kitchener-Waterloo Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) and as Chair of the WSIB. As an MPP she also served as the Deputy Premier of Ontario, Minister of Labour, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Minister of Environment and Minister of Education.
  • Michael Sherrard is recognized as one of Canada’s leading employment and labour lawyers His clients are national and international, public and private, and operate in a wide range of industries and sectors. Michael is the Chair of Skilled Trades Ontario (a Provincial Crown Agency under the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development) and sits on the board of directors of Skills Canada (Ontario), Support Ontario Youth and the Council of Professional Investigators of Ontario.

COCA’s Industry Ally Award is presented to an individual outside of the COCA federation who has made a significant contribution to the success of the construction industry or who has contributed to improvements to the industry environment in Ontario. 

  • Ian Howcroft, Chief Executive Officer of Skills Ontario.
  • Rod Cook, Vice President, Workplace Health and Safety Services and Matt Wilson, Director, Workplace Health and Safety Services at the WSIB.
  • Patrick Dillon recently retired as Business Manager and Secretary-Treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario. A position he held since 1997.
  • Craig LeSurf, President of Gillam Group Inc. and Chair of the League of Champions.
  • Ron Kelusky was appointed as Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer in March of 2018 and retired from this position in 2021.

The Chair’s Award, given at the discretion of the COCA Chair to individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their contributions to the success of our provincial federation was presented by Chair Romeo Milano.

  • Andy Pilat, who recently passed away was the General Manager of the Sarnia Construction Association. Andy served as General Manager of the Sarnia Construction Association for 40 years. The award was accepted by Andy’s son John, who has succeeded Andy at the Sarnia Construction Association.
  • Jim Lyons, Executive Director of the Windsor Construction.
  • Sue Ramsay, General Manager, Hamilton Halton Construction Association.
  • The Grand Valley Construction Association

The President’s Award is awarded at the discretion of the President and there’s a long list of criteria associated with it. It goes without saying that it’s always difficult to identify recipients for this award since each and every one of our member associations and volunteers contribute enormously to the success of our provincial federation.

  • Karen Sheldrick General Manager of the Niagara Construction Association.
  • Trina Hayden. Trina is a director at NORCAT, a not-for-profit technology and innovation centre headquartered in Greater Sudbury. Trina serves on the Board of the Northeastern Ontario Construction Association.

Photos from the event can be found on COCA's digital photo album at https://coca.smugmug.com/

Elizabeth Witmer
Michael Sherrard
Graeme Aitken
Election Roundup 

There were very few surprises in the results of the Ontario General Election on June 2nd . The major polls leading up to June 2nd converged and all agreed that Ontario was in store for the re-election of a Doug Ford PC government.  The race was predicted to be for second place and Official Opposition status between the NDP and the Liberals. Here are some surprises and non-surprises: 

  • Ontarians never really engaged in the election campaign. As a consequence, voter turnout was very low. Only slightly more than 40% of eligible voters showed up at the polls to exercise their franchise. And about 40% of those who did vote marked their ballots for the PC candidate. The NDP and Liberals were pretty much in a deadlock at around 24% of the votes cast. However, because of our first past the post electoral system and the way the parties’ votes were distributed or concentrated across the 124 electoral districts in the province, the PCs won 83 seats, the NDP won 31 seats, the Liberals 8, the Greens 1 with 1 Independent.   
  • The PCs held onto all but two of the 76 ridings they had won in 2018 and picked up another nine. This increase from 76 to 83 seats was to the surprise of some 
  • None of the candidates who were elected in 2018 as PCs who had left the party either on their own volition (e.g. Amanda Simard) or because they were booted out by the party and who sought re-election on June 2nd (e.g. Rick Nicholls, Belinda Karahalios) were re-elected. Their candidacies did not split the conservative vote as some had speculated it might 
  • First term PC MPP Jeremy Roberts who won a narrow victory in Ottawa West-Nepean in 2018 lost his seat in another squeaker to the NDP candidate he had defeated in the 2018 contest 
  • Gilles Bisson, the NDP MPP for Timmins who was first elected in 1990 and a fixture in the Ontario Legislature, was defeated by the PC candidate and Timmins Mayor, George Pirie 
  • In Kathleen Wynne’s former electoral district of Don valley West, Liberal candidate Stephanie Bowman defeated PC star candidate, former Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders to keep the riding in the Grit column 
  • Doug Ford’s nephew and Toronto City Councilor, Mike Ford, narrowly defeated NDP incumbent Faisal Hassan in York South-Weston, a riding where the Liberals also had a strong showing 
  • NDP MPP Taras Natyshak, first elected in 2011, did not seek re-election on June 2nd and his Essex riding flipped to PC 
  • The Windsor-Tecumseh riding was held by popular NDP MPP Percy Hatfield since 2013, but like Natyshak Hatfield did not seek re-election and the riding was also delivered to the PCs 
  • First term NDP MPP Ian Arthur did not seek re-election in Kingston and the Islands, and that seat returned to the Liberals 
  • The Barrie-Springwater-Oro Medonte riding was closely contested between the Ford government’s competent Attorney General Doug Downey and the popular three term Mayor of Barrie, Jeff Lehman. In the end it was Downey who squeaked out a narrow victory 
  • The PCs flipped Brampton Centre, Brampton East and Brampton North from the NDP and held Brampton South and Brampton West 
  • Perhaps the biggest surprise came in Haldiman-Norfolk where PC MPP Toby Barrett, who had served as the riding’s representative in the Ontario legislature continuously since 1995, decided not to seek re-election. He supported his longtime constituency assistant and loyal PC Bobbi Ann Brady as the party’s candidate. Party central ignored Barrett’s wishes and appointed Haldiman County Mayor Ken Hewitt as the PC candidate. With Barrett’s support Brady ran as an Independent and bested Hewitt by more than 2,000 votes. Some believe that once emotions have a chance to subside, Brady could join the PC caucus 
  • The Liberal campaign was totally ineffective and the party’s new leader, Steven Del Duca, never gained traction with the electorate. Del Duca failed to win in his own riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge losing, as he did in the 2018 election, to PC Michael Tibollo. Del Duca stepped down as OLP leader 
  • This election was Andrea Horwath’s fourth kick at the can as leader of the NDP and while she was successful in winning her own riding and her party retained its Official Opposition status in the Legislature, she could see that it was time and she too made way for new leadership 
Cabinet Rumours 

Premier Ford now has a large caucus of 83 MPPs. Each one was elected with personal goals and aspirations.   Keeping everyone satisfied can be challenging. One way a premier can keep caucus members happy is with appointments, appointments as cabinet ministers, appointments as parliamentary assistants, and appointments to the various standing committees of the Legislature. All of these appointments come with additional compensation on top of an MPP’s base salary. 
All of Premier Ford’s cabinet ministers from the 42nd Parliament that sought re-election on June 2nd were re-elected.   Selecting a cabinet that reflects the people of Ontario in terms of gender, ethnicity, region and them matching their background and experience with the various portfolios is a challenge for sure. Here are some of the questions being asked: 
  • Will most of Ford’s ministers from the last Parliament remain in the same portfolios. Most expect Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy will remain in place to pass the same budget that was tabled in the Legislature in the spring or one very similar 
  • Could Ford jettison a number of long serving ministers as he did back in June 2021 when Bill Walker, Jeff Yurek, Ernie Hardeman, Laurie Scott and John Yakabuski were dumped to make way for some new more diverse (and urban as it turned out) faces. Could under performers like Lisa Thompson, Lisa McLeod and Ross Romano find themselves on the chopping block? 
  • The big question is who will succeed Christine Elliott who served competently as Minister of Health through the pandemic but who did not seek re-election. Rumours are that the competent Solicitor General from the last Parliament, Sylvia Jones, could get the nod for the Health portfolio 
  • The construction industry’s favourite minister, Minister of Labour Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, is due for a promotion to broaden his experience in government. What assignment will the Premier give this trusted performer? 
  • If McNaughton is moved, who will succeed him? The popular rumour is the Minister of Colleges and Universities from the last Parliament, Jill Dunlop 
  • Stephen Lecce has had a rough ride through the pandemic as Minister of Education and things aren’t likely to ease up with collective bargaining in the sector heating up. Lecce would likely welcome a new assignment 
  • Rumours abound that Ford will increase the size of his cabinet from its already full size. What portfolios could be split up? Labour, Training and Skills Development? 
  • Are there any new PC MPPs that are cabinet-ready? One that comes to mind is Rick Byers, who succeeded Bill Walker in the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound riding. Byers might be a natural fit at Infrastructure 
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.

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 www.hubinternational.com 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 https://www.sherrardkuzz.com/ 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 https://twogreysuits.com/ 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
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