January 2020

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

Ad Campaign Promotes Fulfilling Careers in the Skilled Trades

At a ceremony held at George Brown College on February 10 th, the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, launched a promotional/advertising campaign designed to promote the rewarding and fulfilling careers in the skilled trades to young people and parents and to remove the stigma that some may have about those careers. 

The multi-channel campaign was developed by the same agency that developed the Toronto Raptors “WE THE NORTH” campaign and features the tag line “Find a career you wouldn’t trade”. The advertisements will run across the province online, in movie theatres and in Tim Hortons locations, with versions in English and French. 

Everyone is encouraged to amplify the Minister’s message in their personal conversations, in their corporate media and in social media. Materials can be found at  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1MxS1DBiDRKWX_Yxl83sB8eGtJL9XdioR

Links for sharing: 
Statistics Canada’s December Labour Force Survey Highlights

Here are the highlights of Stats Can’s December jobs report:

For Canada:
  • Employment across the country increased by 0.2% or 35,000 jobs in the month of December
  • The unemployment rate fell 0.3% to 5.6%; this is the same rate as in December 2018
  • For the period January 1 to December 31, 2019 employment increased by 320,000 or 1.7%
  • An increase of 57,000 jobs or 0.5% in the private sector offset job losses of the same amount in November
  • Employment in construction increased by 17,000, an increase of 1,2% with Ontario and BC leading the way
  • Youth employment was up 4.8% totalling 115,000 new jobs over the year
  • Employment of men aged 55+ increased by 107,000 or 4.8% in 2018
  • Increases were mainly in the services producing sector, largely in Ontario
  • Employment declined in the goods producing sector although construction employment was up 29,000 jobs

For Ontario:
  • Ontario added 243,000 jobs in 2019 up 3.3%
  • Employment gains were mostly in fulltime work
  • Manufacturing employment declined in the year
  • Ontario’s construction industry increased by 1.6% in December adding 8,500 jobs  for a total of 551,100 total jobs
  • Employment in Ontario’s construction industry increased by 3.9% December 2018 to December 2019
2020 Pre-Budget Consultations

The Standing Committee of the Ontario Legislature on Finance and Economic Affairs will meet to conduct Pre-Budget Consultations as follows:

  • January 17th in Toronto
  • January 20th in Sioux Lookout,
  • January 21st in Thunder Bay 
  • January 22nd in Belleville
  • January 23rd in Kitchener-Waterloo 
  • January 24th in Niagara

If you wish to make a written submission, it should be sent to the Clerk of the Committee, Julia Douglas, at [email protected] not later than 6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Should you choose to make a written submission, we suggest the following subjects:

  • Continue with the commitment to invest $144M over 10 years in public infrastructure that supports economic growth in Ontario
  • Begin the work to develop a new skilled trades and apprenticeship system to succeed the Ontario College of Trades
  • Work with the federal government to increase the number of immigrants coming to Ontario with in-demand trade qualifications
  • Eliminate the “72-month lock-in” WSIB entitlement

Province Extends Life of Pickering Nuclear Generating Plant

According to an article in the Toronto Star on January 13 th, the government of Ontario has quietly extended the life of the Pickering Nuclear Station. According to the Star, the decision to extend the life of the Pickering Nuclear Station was made at a meeting of cabinet before Christmas. Here are details about the Pickering plant:

  • The Pickering Nuclear Station was built in stages between 1966 and 1986
  • It substantially opened in 1971 with six reactors
  • It is one of the largest and one of the oldest nuclear power stations in the world
  • It supplies approximately 14% of Ontario’s electricity demand
  • At one time there were eight nuclear reactors at Pickering and over the years, reactors have been taken out of service and returned to service; today six are in operation and two are in safe shutdown
  • The plants operating licence was renewed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in August 2018 after an expenditure of $75M on plant maintenance
  • Pickering is believed to be a very safely managed nuclear generating station
  • It was announced in 2016 that Pickering would be taken offline in 2024
  • Total decommissioning of the Pickering site is estimated to take 40 years
  • It’s believed that Pickering will be in operation at least until 2025 or longer

Top Stories of 2019
Premier Doug Ford
After a disastrous first year in power and with his personal popularity in the basement, Premier Ford hit the reset button in June 2019 and totally overhauled his government and it’s approach to conducting business. He fired his autocratic chief of staff and replaced him with a qualified person. The language and tone of all government communications softened. Many of the government’s cuts were rolled back. During the summer recess there were daily happy announcements and re-announcements across the province. As a consequence, our government’s popularity has started to improve. 

Ontario College of Trades Registrar & CEO George Gritziotis
OCoT’s Registrar & CEO, Gritziotis, continues to go about his business of leading the province’s skilled trade and apprenticeship system with the same high level of commitment. energy and professionalism as he had on the day he started in the role despite the fact that our provincial government declared it will disband the College. It was a campaign pledge and schedule 40 of Bill 100 proposes a framework for a new model. Gritziotis and his organization continue to provide best in class service to the construction industry even while the dark cloud of the organization’s end hangs above it.  

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Minister Monte McNaughton
When he was shuffled into the Labour portfolio about six months ago, with the commitment and energy of ten people, Minister Monte McNaughton went on a personal crusade to meet with virtually every construction stakeholder group out there to learn about their challenges and issues. 

He has been everywhere listening and learning. Furthermore, he pushed the Accreditation Standard, which was more than 10 years in the making and ready to go for about two years, over the finish line. When the training and skills development responsibilities were added to his portfolio, he put an immediate stop to the two-year review of portable skill sets and restricted trades that the previous minister had announced but which had not commenced. He is a minister who is not afraid to make difficult decisions, who takes action and pursues results to make a better Ontario.  

WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer and President & CEO Tom Teahen
Elizabeth Witmer and Tom Teahen have continued to provide impressive leadership as they modernize our provincial compensation agency. The unfunded liability, which once stood at more than $14 billion, has been eliminated, the past claims cost has been removed from employers’ premium rates, rates were reduced in 2019 and again for 2020, the WSIB’s IT platform has been totally modernized.

Employers now have private access to their own information that will help them improve their experience and reduce future premiums and starting in 2020 employers will have a premium rates that reflect their own individual costs to the system with a new prospective experience rating program. Witmer and Teahen are leading more change than the WSIB has seen in decades.

A Business School Text Book Case for Collaboration
WSIB Vice President of Workplace Health and Safety Services, Rod Cook, Chief Prevention Officer, Ron Kelusky and IHSA President & CEO Enzo Garritano deserve recognition for leading their teams in working together to create Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers. 

The Ministry of Labour’s Prevention Office led by Kelusky rolled out the Accreditation Standard to recognize employers that effectively use health and safety management systems. Garritano and his team at the IHSA agreed to upgrade the Ontario version of the Certificate of Recognition (CoR) program by adding four additional modules to create Ontario CoR 2020. 

The WSIB’s Health and Safety Services team led by Cook created the Health and Safety Excellence Program which is designed to encourage employers, regardless of their current level of health and safety management, to get on board the journey to excellence; Cook was able to persuade the WSIB’s board of directors to set aside a significant envelope of money to reward successful employers. CoR aligns with Accreditation and the HSEP maps to Accreditation. 

This kind of collaboration should be a business school case study deserves recognition. The results are brilliant.
Sherrard Kuzz Logo
Just What the Doctor Ordered: An Annual Labour and Employment Check-Up for Employers

Date: February 26, 2020 @ 7:30 am - 9:30 am
Venue: Hazelton Manor - 99 Peelar Road, Concord ON
Cost: Complimentary
RSVP: February 17, 2020

As every HR professional will attest, employment and labour law is changing at a rapid pace. Compound that with a wide range of annual (and sometimes more frequent) employment-related administrative requirements, and the world of an HR professional can be overwhelming.

The good news is we can help by working with you to design a range of compliance audits and checklists to keep you on track and on top of the law. Join us as we break down our Annual Labour and Employment Check-Up for Employers:

Employment Standards
  • What employment standards-related agreements must be in writing?
  • What records must be maintained?
  • Which requirements are best suited for an annual audit?

Human Rights & Accessibility
  • When are policies and training required? When are they recommended?
  • What and when are the filing obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act? 

Workplace Safety & Insurance and Occupational Health & Safety
  • What are the record keeping, posting and reporting obligations?
  • What policies, programs and training must be reviewed annually?
  • What are the inspection and risk assessment obligations?
  • Which requirements are best suited for an annual audit? 

Employment Agreements
  • Which provisions of an employment agreement should be reviewed annually?
  • How to implement a new and updated employment agreement with an existing employee.

For more information, visit the Sherrard Kuzz events webpage.

Upcoming Inspection Blitzes

The Ministry of Labour - Get the schedules for workplace compliance initiatives. 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
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