March 2023

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

To Be forewarned is to be Forearmed - Hygiene on Construction Sites, Inspection Blitz

As part of an inspection blitz, ministry inspectors are visiting washrooms at construction work sites to ensure they are correctly serviced and sanitized.

Workers may have to deal with unsanitary toilets and clean-up facilities on construction sites. Maintaining proper hygiene procedures and facilities on a worksite is an important way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. It is also required under Ontario health and safety law.
An advisory developed by IHSA in collaboration with the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council and COCA reviews the risks of having poor sanitary conditions, suggests ways to prevent or control those risks, and outlines the legal requirements and workplace responsibilities for having proper hygiene practices and clean-up facilities on a construction site. Read the Advisory.

The IHSA suggests that a safety talk be delievered as a reminder to workplace parties of the hazards, and more importantly re-establish safe practices and procedures. In additoon to the above Advisory, The IHSA has additonal tools that are FREE to download to help you take action:

  1. How to complete a risk assessment for infectious diseases
  2. Infectious Diseaeses Safety Talk
2022 Year in Review
We are proud to share with you COCA's 2022 Year in Review.

There are two versions of the magazine. 

  • The magazine and recommended view show the Year in Review in its intended form. 
  • The single-page view is best if you are reading on a mobile device.

Bill 75 Creates New Secretariat for Queen’s Park Restoration 
On the afternoon of Tuesday, March 7th the Minister for Legislative Affairs, Paul Calandra introduced Bill 75, Queen’s Park Restoration Act for First Reading.  It is another early step towards the modernization of the Main Legislative Building affectionately known as the Pink Palace. 
Anyone who has been inside the Pink Palace in the last ten years recognizes how this beautiful old building is badly in need of a total refit.  And Minister Calandra has publicly stated that following the next Ontario general election, legislators in the province’s 44th Parliament will convene at a temporary location to allow the restoration to begin.    
The Explanatory Notes posted onto the Legislative Assembly’s website with the Bill state the following: 
  • “Schedule 1 enacts the Queen's Park Restoration Secretariat Act, 2023. That Act establishes the Queen’s Park Restoration Secretariat. The Minister responsible for that Secretariat has the responsibility of carrying out the project to restore, refurbish, rehabilitate and preserve the Legislative Building (the “Queen’s Park Restoration Project”). Various consulting and reporting requirements are also enacted. 
  • Schedule 2 amends the Legislative Assembly Act to facilitate the Queen’s Park Restoration Project, for example by permitting regulations to adjust the definition of “Legislative Precinct”. In addition, the Act is amended to allow for alternate commissioners on the Board of Internal Economy. 
  • Schedule 3 amends the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to provide that that Act does not apply to records prepared by the Office of the Assembly and provided to an institution in connection with the Queen’s Park Restoration Project until 20 years after the Queen's Park Restoration Secretariat Act, 2023 is repealed.” 
While there is general all-party agreement with respect to the need for the restoration project, Schedule 3 has created significant controversy among opposition legislators.  Their concerns are that certain documents related to the Queen’s Park Restoration Project will not be subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) applications, that the project’s operations may not be open and transparent. 
The Bill passed First Reading on March 7th, Second Reading on March 9th and was referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.  It’s not known if the Committee will convene public hearings on Bill 75 before it conducts a clause-by-clause review and returns the Bill back to the Legislature for Third Reading. 
Government Introduces Grade 10 to Apprenticeship Pathway 
With Ministers Lecce and McNaughton at his side, Premier Ford recently announced that the province’s education system will be rejigged to allow students that have completed grade 10 to directly enter apprenticeships.  Once these apprentices achieve their Certificates of Apprenticeship, they can then apply for their Ontario Secondary School Diploma as mature students.  The announcement was made at St Mary’s Secondary School in Pickering on March 8th. 
It was also announced at the same event that consultations will be held in the fall to consider ways to make it even easier for young people to enter a career in the trades. The consultations will consider among other things the possibility of lowering entry requirements for some of the 106 skilled trades that currently require a Grade 12-level education. 
Details on the grade 10 to apprenticeship pathway and the mechanics of how it will work are scarce, probably yet to be worked out.  And although many construction leaders endorsed the pathway, reactions that we have received have been mixed.  With the average age of a first-year apprentice at 26 or 27, clearly a better route directly from high school to the trades should be created.  However, some maintain that most 16 year olds lack the experience, the knowledge and the maturity needed to take on the challenges of an apprenticeship.   
Statistics Canada’s Latest Labour Market Survey Results 

Here are the highlights copied from Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force market survey for February 2023 that was published on March 10, 2023: 

For all of Canada: 

  • “Employment held steady in February (+22,000; +0.1%), and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0%. 
  • Employment grew in health care and social assistance (+15,000; +0.6%), public administration (+10,000; +0.9%), and utilities (+7,500; +5.0%). At the same time, fewer people worked in business, building and other support services (-11,000; -1.5%). 
  • There was little change in employment among core-aged adults (25 to 54 years old) and youth (15 to 24 years old). Employment among those aged 55 to 64 rose by 25,000 (+0.7%) in February, continuing a strong upward trend since August 2022. 
  • The number of employees grew in the private sector (+39,000; +0.3%), while there was little change in public sector employment and in the number of self-employed. 
  • Employment increased in New Brunswick (+5,100; +1.3%), Manitoba (+4,900; +0.7%), Newfoundland and Labrador (+3,800; +1.6%) and Prince Edward Island (+1,700; +2.0%), and declined in Nova Scotia (-4,700; -0.9%). There was little change in employment in the other provinces. 
  • Total hours worked rose 0.6% in February and were up 1.4% on a year-over-year basis. 
  • Average hourly wages rose 5.4% (+$1.69 to $33.16) on a year-over-year basis in February, compared with 4.5% (+$1.42) in January (not seasonally adjusted). 
  • Employment rose for women in the six months to February. 
  • Employment in professional, scientific and technical services held steady in January and February, following strong growth in 2022.” 

For Ontario: 

  • The labor force increased by 20,700 workers in February 2023 from the previous month and the participation rate remained the same at 65.5% 
  • The unemployment rate in February was 5.1% down 0.1% from the previous month 

For Construction in Ontario: 
  • A total of 600,000 people were working in the construction industry in February 2023, a drop of 2,000 or 0.3% but an increase of 3% from February 2022 

For the full report, click on the following link:  
PC MPP Resigns from Caucus to Clear His Name 

Following a report by Global News that alleges he was involved in an election interference network with ties to the Chinese Communist Party and directed by China’s Toronto Consulate, PC MPP Vincent Ke resigned from the PC caucus and will sit as an Independent member in the Ontario legislature to clear his name. 

The allegations stem from a January 2022 Privy Council Office report that maintains the network directed funds to candidates in the 2019 federal election and that an Ontario MPP (Global’s sources have identified that MPP to be Ke) accepted $50,000.   

Ke has denied these allegations and has called them false and defamatory. 

Ford Shuffles Parliamentary Assistants 

The resignation of Vincent Ke from the Tory caucus caused some dominoes to fall in the ranks of the Parliamentary Assistants.  Prior to his resignation, Ke was the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery.  
  • Premier Ford has assigned Mississauga-Erin Mills MPP Sheref Sabawi to move over from the position as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport to serve as Ke’s replacement as PA to the Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery. 
  • Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith will shift over from the roles of Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Northern Development and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs to become Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport 
  • Thunder Bay – Atikokan MPP Kevin Holland was reassigned from Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Northern Development 
  • Perth-Wellington MPP Matthew Rae was one of two Parliamentary Assistants to the Minister of Education and has ben shifted over to become Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing 
Tories Ahead by 13% in Latest Poll 

Here are the highlights from an Abacus Data poll conducted between Match 2nd and March 4th 2023: 
  • If a provincial election was held at the time of the survey, the PCs would get 41% of the vote (an increase of 3% since the November Abacus survey), the Libs 28% (up 1%), the NDP at 22% (down 4%), and the  Greens 5% 
  • 34% of respondents had a positive impression of the Premier Ford (up 5%), 43% had a negative impression (down 2%) 9% are neutral and 4% unsure 
  • The four leading candidates for the Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party were deadlocked at 10%-11% positive, 26%-27% neutral, 17% 1- 20% negative and 44% - 46% unsure 
  • Only 7% of respondents said they were following the Ford family Stag & Doe Party and Wedding Reception issue very closely, 18% pretty closely, 45% only heard about it but not following it closely and 30% said they had not heard about it until today 
  • When told about the issue, 28% of respondents said they felt much more negatively about Ford, 22% said somewhat more negatively and 42% said it didn’t impact their opinion of Ford 
  • When asked about their views on the government’s plan to open up the Greenbelt for development, 22% of respondents said they support the plan, 49% oppose and 29% say they neither support nor oppose it 
  •  About 1 in 3 of PC voters say they are opposed to the plan while a majority of Liberal and NDP supporters say they are opposed. 

The full report can be accessed at the following link: 
Prompt Payment and Adjudication rules took effect on Oct. 1, 2019, and apply to all construction projects, with few exceptions. COCA has developed resources for COCA’s members to share with their members.

The Prompt Payment and Adjudication webpage can be found on the COCA website at: OR (

COCA has developed eight facts sheets to help you navigate Prompt Payment and Adjudication.

  • Prompt Payment and Adjudication for Owners
  • Prompt Payment for Contractors
  • Prompt Payment for Sub-Contractors
  • Prompt Payment and Adjudication 101
  • Prompt Payment for Holdbacks
  • How Does the Basic Holdback Work
  • What is a Proper Invoice
  • Adjudication Basics
COCA Corporate Partners
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
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