May 15, 2019
Toronto District School Board
5050 Yonge Street, North York, ON
Re: 2019-20 Proposed Balanced Budget Plan
Dear Dr. John Malloy and Trustees:
As you consider how to make up for your budget shortfall, we’d like to bring to your attention a solution that does not involve program or budget cuts.
As you are aware, the Ontario government’s Bill-66 will allow the Board to realize significant savings on construction and repair costs of anywhere from $26 million to $53 million annually. This makes many of your proposed budget cuts completely unnecessary.
As you know, Bill-66 opens up construction tendering at the Toronto District School Board so that ALL qualified contractors can bid for work. No longer is the board required to tender work to specific labour groups. Over the years, the TDSB has been paying hugely inflated costs for work at public schools carried out by tradespeople with an exclusive contract. For example, the installation of a school’s front lawn sign: $19,000, and an electrical outlet in a school library: $3,000. There was also the $143 bill to install a $17 pencil sharpener.
Our member companies at the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) employ thousands of unionized skilled workers across Canada represented primarily by the union, CLAC. Our membership is comprised of small, medium and large general contractors and sub-contractors involved in various types of construction including schools, water and wastewater facilities, roads, bridges and long-term care facilities. For years our member companies have not been permitted to bid on TDSB construction projects, until now. Bill-66 will end the construction monopoly at the TDSB, finally allowing the Board to realize major cost savings and allowing all local contractors to bid on its work.
You may have questions about opening up construction competition. There has been a lot of misinformation about this issue, such as the suggestion that your current unionized contractors are safer than other unionized and non-unionized contractors. It is also untrue that construction workers will lose rights to participate in a union. We would be happy to dispel these myths and ensure that you have all of the needed information to make informed decisions. To that end, we will be following up with a brief to explain the facts and benefits of opening up competition to all qualified contractors.
The TDSB has much to gain from a little competition. I’m urging you to embrace Bill-66. Providing parents and taxpayers with far better value on construction and repair work, will allow the Board to put its money where it should be: on students, educators, services and programs.
Vice President and Regional Director, Ontario
Progressive Contractors Association of Canada