February 2023

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

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.

Government Publishes New Emergencies Management Plan 

Here are the key features of the province’s brand-new Emergency Management Plan hot off the presses on Friday, February 3rd: 
  • Outlines the province’s strengthened governance and accountability approach to facilitate the one window approach for provincial emergency management coordination.  
  • Describes Emergency Management Ontario’s expansion under the leadership of a dedicated Commissioner of Emergency Management to coordinate and facilitate preparedness, information sharing, and proactive emergency supports for Ontario. 
  • Highlights key actions that Ontario is taking on emergency management through prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery to continue building a safe, practiced and prepared Ontario.  
  • Includes supports to refect the needs of partners including municipalities and Indigenous partners across Ontario.  
  • Demonstrates Ontario’s leadership in measuring progress towards implementing the strategy and action plan and committing to accountability and transparency as the first jurisdiction in Canada to annually and publicly report on emergency management progress. 

The plan has three goals: 

  1. One window for all Ontarians 
  2. Proactive planning and monitoring 
  3. Practiced and prepared emergency response 

To access the plan, click on the following link:  
Ontario Construction Employment Tops 600K in January 

Here are the highlights copied from Statistics Canada’s Labour Market Survey published on February 10, 2022.

For Canada: 
  • Employment increased by 150,000 (+0.8%) in January, and the unemployment rate held steady at 5.0%. 
  • Employment gains were driven primarily by people aged 25 to 54 (+100,000; +0.8%), split evenly between women and men in this group. Employment also increased among people aged 55 and older (+43,000, +1.0%), while it was little changed among youth aged 15 to 24. 
  • The largest employment increases were in Ontario (+63,000; +0.8%), Quebec (+47,000; +1.1%) and Alberta (+21,000; +0.9%). Employment declined in Newfoundland and Labrador (-2,300; -1.0%). 
  • There were gains across several industries, led by wholesale and retail trade (+59,000; +2.0%), health care and social assistance (+40,000; +1.5%) and educational services (+18,000; +1.3%). At the same time, employment declined in transportation and warehousing (-17,000; -1.7%). 
  • The number of employees grew in both the private (+115,000; +0.9%) and public (+32,000; +0.8%) sectors. The number of self-employed workers was little changed. 
  • Total hours worked rose 0.8% in January and were up 5.6% on a year-over-year basis. The proportion of employees absent due to illness or disability was 7.1% during the reference week. This was below the record-high 10.0% observed in January 2022 and on par with a typical January (not seasonally adjusted). 
  • Average hourly wages rose 4.5% (+$1.42 to $33.01) on a year-over-year basis in January, down from 4.8% (+$1.49) in December (not seasonally adjusted). 
  • There were large employment increases in both Canada and the United States in January. 

In Ontario: 
  • In January, employment in Ontario rose by 63,000 (+0.8%), the third notable employment gain in four months.  
  • The unemployment rate for the province was little changed at 5.2%.  
  • In the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto, employment increased by 28,000 (+0.8%), and the unemployment rate was 5.9%. 
  • For Construction in Ontario: 
  • Total employment in the construction industry in Ontario in January 2023 totaled 602,000 up from 599,000 in the prior month and up from 570,000 in January 2022 increase  

For the full story, click on the following link:  
Here’s the summary of findings by the Financial Accountability Office in their report published on January 31st relating to Ontario’s credit rating:   
  • The Government of Ontario’s (the Province’s) debt is rated by four principal international credit rating agencies, https://www.fao-on.org/en/Blog/Publications/credit-rating-2023  based on their assessments of Ontario’s economic and financial outlook, and future risks. These credit ratings represent the agencies’ opinions on the Province’s ability to meet its debt-related financial obligations. 
  • After dramatic improvements in Ontario’s finances stemming from a post-pandemic surge in economic activity, the four credit rating agencies have all recently reaffirmed their ratings for the Province in updated assessments and maintained the outlook as stable. In general, the agencies continue to rate Ontario as an “extremely strong,” investment-grade borrower. 
  • The credit rating agencies indicate that Ontario’s strong credit rating is supported by its large and diversified economy, high liquidity and prudent debt management program. Canada’s federal-provincial framework also provides provinces with the flexibility to adjust tax policy and program spending, in addition to continued and predictable federal transfers. 
  • All credit rating agencies indicated that continued fiscal improvement, in the form of declining budget deficits and a falling debt burden, could lead to a positive ratings action (either a rating upgrade or positive outlook). Conversely, rising deficits and an increasing debt burden could lead to a negative rating action (a rating downgrade or negative outlook). 
  • Since the FAO’s previous credit rating note, only Alberta saw its rating change, when it was upgraded by S&P. As a result, Alberta’s average credit rating moved up to tie Ontario as the fifth highest-rated province. 

You can find the full report at the following link:  
ARI Poll Shows Ontarian’s Opinions on Federal Health Care Funding Diverge From Other Provinces 

Here are some key findings copied from an Angus Reid Institute poll published on February 6th: 
  • The number of Canadians reporting poor health care where they live has risen seven points since August, from 61 to 68 per cent. This is reported as worst in Atlantic Canada where half (51%) say health care is in crisis where they live and another one-in-three say it is poor (33%). 
  • 41% Canadians say that it is right for the federal government to seek changes including system and reporting reforms from provinces as a condition of increased funding while 44% say that the individual provinces should receive additional funding to improve health care delivery without strings attached 
  • residents in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec are all more likely to say their province should receive the funding now and without conditions. 
  • 54% of Ontarians say the federal government should receive commitments from the province in order to access additional funding. 
  • 48% of Ontarians support the provincial government’s plan to move certain types of surgical procedures to private clinics and to pay for them with public funds; more than 50% from every other region of the country support such a move 

For the full story, click on the following link: https://angusreid.org/funding-faceoff-federal-provincial-health-accord/  
Most Canadians Favour Abolishing Notwithstanding Clause – ARI Poll 

Here are the key findings copied from an Angus Reid Institute poll published on January 26th:

  • three-in-five (58%) say they have been “concerned” (32%) or “very concerned” (26%) with the recent popularity of the clause with provincial governments. Nearly as many – 55 per cent – would like to see it abolished. 
  • majorities of Canadians believe the two uses of the clause by Ontario and Quebec in 2022 were unacceptable. Quebec’s Bill 96, which promotes the use of French by restricting the use of English in many settings in the province, is believed to be an unacceptable use of the notwithstanding clause by approaching three-quarters (72%) of Canadians. A plurality (44%) in Quebec disagrees. 
  • More than three-in-five Canadians (63%), including 64 per cent of Ontarians, believe Premier Doug Ford’s government’s use of the clause was unacceptable. Ontario has invoked the clause two times, and considered using it a third, all under Ford, though only one bill has been passed and not repealed 
  • For Canadians, the worry is that the notwithstanding clause, officially section 33 of the Charter Rights and Freedoms, weakens the rights and freedoms of their fellow citizens. Half (48%) say this, outnumbering those who instead believe the clause strengthens them (10%) or has no effect (19%). As well, there is significant belief the increased use of the clause is damaging national unity. Half (53%) of Canadians say this, nearly double those (28%) who disagree. 
  • Residents in the two provinces with the most recent uses of the notwithstanding clause find themselves on opposite sides of the spectrum of concern. Two-thirds (67%) in Ontario are concerned with the increasing use of the clause by provinces, the highest in the country. Concern is lowest in Quebec, at two-in-five (41%). 
  • Seven-in-ten (71%) who voted for Premier François Legault and Coalition Avenir Québec in the 2022 election believe Bill 96 was an acceptable use of the notwithstanding clause. 
  • Sentiment on the notwithstanding clause is largely unchanged in the 30 years since Angus Reid last asked this question. In February 1992, 59 per cent wanted to abolish the notwithstanding clause and 41 per cent wanted to keep it. Now, 55 per cent would abolish it and 45 per cent would keep it. Since 1992, the opinion of the clause has moved the most in Quebec. The proportion of the population in that province who would keep the clause has grown by 10 points, from 53 per cent to 63 per cent. 

For the whole story, click on the following link: www.angusreid.org
Liberal Leadership Rumors 

A list of 40 long-time Liberals recently published an open letter to Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner asking him to seek the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party. The list includes the likes of former Party leader Lynne McLeod, former Deputy Premier Deb Matthews and former cabinet Ministers Liz Sandals John Milloy and Greg Sorbara. The group has even developed a “Draft Mike” website to promote and recruit Schreiner and to solicit support https://www.draftmike.ca/ where you will find the open letter and Schreiner’s response.

The letter offended and outraged many Grits who accused its authors of being traitors and claimed a pool of capable future leaders already in the Party’s ranks. (Believed to be considering a run for the Party’s leadership are MPP and former Cabinet Minister Mitzie Hunter, MP and former Ontario Cabinet Minister Yasir Naqvi, former MP and newly minted MPP Ted Tsu and MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.)

Even though there are significant policy and organizational culture differences between the Libs and the Greens, Schreiner is smartly milking it for all it’s worth.
Tories Choose Candidate for Hamilton Centre By Election 

 The Ontario PCs have announced that Peter Wiesner, a sergeant with the Hamilton Police Service, will be their standard bearer in the by-election in the riding of Hamilton Centre. The by-election was caused by the resignation of former NDP leader Andrea Horwath who had been re-elected in the June 2, 2022, Ontario general election but shortly thereafter resigned to successfully seek the mayor’s chair in the City of Hamilton. The date of the by-election has not been set but the writ must be issued by mid-February.

According to the PC’s announcement, Weisner:

is a father of two who has been involved in coaching youth sports in Hamilton for over 15 years. He is currently a coach with the Hamilton Cardinals baseball team

has served as an officer with the Hamilton Police Service for 22 years, including as supervising sergeant of the crisis response branch since 2019.

on the crisis response branch, worked with community partners specializing in a co-response model to service those dealing with homeless, addiction and mental health crisis.

was instrumental in securing a grant worth $8.3 million, in part to pay the salaries of those specialized social service workers, creating a new service model called the rapid intervention and support team

Hoping to keep the riding orange for the NDP will be Disability Justice Network of Ontario executive director Sara Jama. Carrying the Liberal banner into the contest is Hamilton Spectator columnist and LGBTQ activist Deidre Pike. The Green Party has chosen hardware designed Lucia Iannatuono as their candidate. We have written about these candidates in more detail in previous issues
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: https://lnkd.in/gUCB8Uib OR https://lnkd.in/g9xEivtj (getpaidontime.ca)

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 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