September 2022

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

COCA Award Recipient Passes 

It is with profound sadness that I advise everyone affiliated with COCA of the sad passing of our friend and industry advisor Matt Wilson on Sunday, September 11th. 

Matt had worked at the WSIB for more than 32 years, most recently as Director of the WSIB’s Centre for Health and Safety Excellence. Over his years at the provincial compensation agency, he often attended meetings of COCA’s WSIB-OH&S Committee and our board of directors to share information about WSIB initiatives and respond to questions. He was always a reliable source of invaluable information and advice for our members. But beyond that, what made Matt so special was his ability to build relationships and make friends as he went about his important work with the provincial compensation agency. He was one of the good guys. 

Those who attended COCA’s Awards Presentation Ceremony in Niagara Falls in June of this year know that Matt had been ill for some time. At the event, his important contributions to improving occupational health and safety in Ontario were recognized with our 2021 Industry Ally Award. Matt played a key role in the development of the WSIB’s brilliantly designed Health and Safety Excellence Program, and the award presentation had been delayed because of the pandemic.  Because he was in hospice care at the time of the ceremony and not able to attend, Matt’s award was accepted on his behalf by his wife Linda and daughter Alayanna.   

 We extend the sincerest sympathies of the COCA family to the Wilson family, Matt’s WSIB family and to everyone who called him friend. He will be missed. 
A celebration of life has been planned for October 16 at 4 pm at Markham Green golf course. Everyone is welcome to attend, no RSVP is required. If you wish, donations in Matt’s memory can be made to the Yee Hong hospice in Scarborough online at
Government Business Completed – Legislature Adjourns 
Our provincial government introduced only three Bills in the special summer 2022 session of the Ontario legislature. They were high priorities and were:  
  • Bill 2, Plan to Build Act (Budget Measures), 2022, which allows the government to move forward with the implementation of its budget, passed Third Reading on September 1st and received Royal Assent on September 8th 
  • Bill 3, Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, which gives the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa more power over their councils in order to allow more homes to be built, passed Third Reading and received Royal Assent on September 8th 
  • Bill 7, More Beds, More Care Act, 2022, which authorizes the transfer of patients occupying beds in hospitals who are determined to require alternative levels of care (ALC patient) to long-term care homes without consent, passed Third Reading and received Royal Assent on August 31st 
With these three priorities passed into law, we had expected the summer session to adjourn on September 8th. But the death of Queen Elizabeth II caused the legislature to alter its schedule, and MPPs returned to the chamber on Wednesday, September 15th, to pay tribute to the late Queen.   
Following tributes, the legislature was adjourned until after the municipal elections. The Ontario legislature will reconvene on October 25th.   
Ontario Accession Proclamation 

The monarch’s representative to Canada, Governor General Mary Simon, signed a federal order-in-council proclaiming the accession of Canada’s new King, King Charles III, on Saturday, September 10, 2022 

Tradition has it that an accession proclamation should be read out in each jurisdiction in which the monarch presides. So in a brief ceremony on September 12th, Premier Ford advised Lieutenant-Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell  as follows, “As the chief adviser of the crown and right of Ontario, it is my solemn duty to call upon the Lieutenant-Governor to sign and make the proclamation now.” 

Dowdeswell  then signed and read the proclamation aloud in both English and French,   “With the advice of His Majesty's executive council of the province of Ontario, I proclaim that upon the death of our late beloved sovereign, the Prince, Charles Philip Arthur George, lawfully succeeded to the crown, as Charles III, the King may be assured of the continuing loyalty and affection of the people of Ontario and their desire that His Majesty enjoys a long and happy reign.” 

The ceremony ended with the singing of “God Save the King” 
On September 20th, there will be a provincial memorial service for the late Queen Elizabeth II at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto.
Angus Reid Survey on Private Health Care 

Here are some of the highlights from the Angus Reid Institutes survey published on September 12, 2022 that sought public opinion about the possibility of more private health care: 

  • 32% of respondents said that more private care would improve the healthcare system 
  • 18% of respondents said that they’re not sure where they stand  
  • 43 % of respondents from Saskatchewan and 40% from Quebec supported more private care 
  • 57% of respondents from Ontario opposed more private care, the highest level of opposition among all jurisdictions 
  • Among all respondents from across the country, 61% said care in their community is poor or terrible currently. 
  • Respondents are almost unanimously concerned about other significant health care issues, including 87% expressed concerns about doctors, 94% about staffing shortages, 92% about wait times and 93% about emergencies. 
  • 54% of past Conservative voters believe more private health care will improve Canada’s system, the most among any political base. Three-in-ten disagree 
  • 38% of men and 26% of women support more privatization  
  • 47% of men believe increasing access to private health care will worsen the system overall. 
  • Higher income households are more likely than lower-income households to believe in private health care could be a solution to the challenges facing Canada’s healthcare system 

For the full story, methodology and margin of error, click on  

To add some editorial comment on the survey, I think many Ontarians don’t realize the extent of private enterprise already in our health care system. Perhaps first and foremost, our primary care physicians (a fancy term for family docs) are private entrepreneurs. In addition, there are many specialized private clinics that perform such things as imaging services, colonoscopies, hernia treatments and so forth. What really distinguishes our system is that it is a “single payor” system, not a public system and that there is universal access regardless of one’s financial means. 
Financial Accountability Office Reports on First Quarter Spending 
The Financial Accountability Office’s  (FAO) report, published on September 15, 2022, outlines spending by the Province of Ontario in the first quarter (Q1) of the 2022-23 fiscal year (from April 1, 2022, to June 30, 2022). 

At the end of the first quarter (Q1), the Province had not made any changes to its spending plan for the year, which budgeted spending at $193.0 billion. 
In Q1 2022-23, the province spent $39.9 billion, which was $3.1 billion (8.3 percent) more than was spent in Q1 2021-22 but 1.9% less than the planned spending of $40.7 billion.  

All sectors spent more in the first quarter of 2022-23 compared to 2021-22, including: 
  • $1,398 more in the health sector, significantly attributable to payments to doctors, public health and hospital infrastructure 
  • $480 million more in interest on debt payments   
  • $453 million more in education sector spending for childcare and school board operating grants  
  • $285 million more for children’s and social services programs, including the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan, Autism, Supportive Services and Ontario Works 
  • The Province budgeted expenditures in Q1 2022-23 at $40.7 billion but spent $39.9 billion, 1.9% less than planned 

Underspending included: 
  • $889 million not spent in a category called “other programs” 
  • $195 million not spent in education 
  • $146 million not spent in post-secondary education 
  • $75 million not spent in children’s and social services  

Higher than planned spending included: 
  • $319 million in health 
  • $176 million on debt interest 
  • $35 million in Justice 

For the full story, click on the following link: 

Stats Canada - Ontario Construction Employment Declines in August 

Here are the highlights copied from Statistics Canada’s Labour Market Survey for August 2022: 

For Canada in August: 
  • Employment decreased by 40,000 (-0.2%) in August, bringing cumulative declines since May 2022 to 114,000 (-0.6%). 
  • Employment fell among youth aged 15 to 24 in August (-25,000; -0.9%), primarily among young women, as well as among people aged 55 to 64 (-34,000; -1.0%). It was little changed among those aged 25 to 54. 
  • Employment gains in various industries, including "other services" (+15,000; +2.2%) and professional, scientific, and technical services (+14,000; +0.8%), were more than offset by declines in educational services (-50,000; -3.3%) and construction (-28,000; -1.8%). 
  • There were fewer public-sector employees in August (-28,000; -0.6%), while the number of employees in the private sector and the number of self-employed workers held steady. 
  • Employment fell in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia, while it increased in Quebec. There was little change in the other provinces. 
  • Total hours worked were unchanged in August. 
  • The average hourly wages of employees rose 5.4% (+$1.60 to $31.33) on a year-over-year basis in August, compared with 5.2% in both June and July (not seasonally adjusted). 
  • The unemployment rate was 5.4% in August, up 0.5 percentage points from the record low of 4.9% observed in June and July. 
  • The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes people who wanted a job but did not look for one—rose 0.5 percentage points to 7.3% in August due to the rise in the number of unemployed. 
  • In August, more than 1 in 10 (11.9%) permanent employees were planning to leave their job within the next 12 months, 5.5 percentage points higher than in January 2022 (not seasonally adjusted). 
  • There were 307,000 Canadians in August who had left their job in order to retire at some point in the last year, up from 233,000 one year earlier and from 273,000 in August 2019 (not seasonally adjusted). 
  • The unemployment rate for immigrants who had arrived in Canada within the past five years was lower in August 2022 (7.6%) than in any month of August since comparable data became available in 2006 (three-month moving average, not seasonally adjusted). 

For Ontario: 
  • The province’s population increased by 15,800 from the previous month 
  • The labour force increased by 18,500 from July, and the participation rate increased by 0.1% 
  • Total employment fell by 19,200 from the previous month, and the unemployment rate increased by 0.4% to 5.7% 

For Ontario’s construction industry: 
  • Total employment in Ontario’s construction industry declined by 9,600 from 591,000 in July to 581,400 in August 
  • However, employment in our industry has increased from August 2021 by 48,300 or 9.1% 
Possible Ontario Liberal Party Leadership Contender 
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, the Member of Parliament for Beaches-East York, has let it be known that he is considering seeking the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party. Here’s what we know about Erskine-Smith: 

  • He was first elected to the House of Commons in 2015, at age 31, the youngest MP ever elected in the GTA (49.45% vote share) 
  • He was re-elected in 2019 (57.2% vote share) and again in 2021(56.58% vote share) 
  • He earned a BA in Politics (2007) and a Juris Doctor (2010) at Queens, and a Master of Common Law at Oxford (2013) 
  • Before his election in 2015, he practiced law as a commercial litigator in downtown Toronto 
  • He is a highly independent MP, having voted against his Party on numerous occasions 
  • As he considers his bid for the party’s provincial leadership, he has told the media that he wants to assemble a campaign team with a broad and diverse set of backgrounds  
  • He is married to Amy Symington, a nutritionist and Ph.D. student at the U of T and together they have two children 
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
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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
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