PCA Urges Sault Council to Add Up High Cost of Construction Monopolies

Taxpayers Paying Way Too Much For Local Projects

Sault Ste. Marie (May 26, 2017) – Sault taxpayers are being over charged by as much as 30 percent each year for construction projects, according to the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada. PCA applauds the leadership of Councillor Shoemaker and supports his resolution that calls on council to review the high cost of municipal construction work and a potential challenge to local construction labour monopolies.

“There’s plenty of good research that shows Sault taxpayers are getting soaked on every single city construction project,” said Karen Renkema of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada. “When local taxpayers are paying between 20 to 30 percent more than they should for local projects there’s something seriously wrong. It’s about time that changed.”

Ontario’s outdated labour laws make construction work more expensive in the Sault by forcing the city to award all projects to contractors affiliated with two unions only. Any local companies and workers who aren’t affiliated with those unions are not allowed to bid or work on the projects, no matter how qualified they are. Research from the Cardus think tank shows this lack of competition drives up construction costs in the Sault by as much as 20 to 30 percent each year – with taxpayers footing the bill.

“The $6.5 million civic centre facelift is a perfect example of just how unfair things are for taxpayers, local companies and workers,” added Renkema. “Taxpayers will be overcharged by at least $1 million on this project and many local companies and skilled workers will have no chance to work on that project. How fair is that?”

PCA has been urging the Ontario government to amend its outdated labour laws so that all cities, including the Sault can openly tender construction work. Allowing greater construction completion is about fairness. It ensures taxpayers are getting the best possible value for their tax dollars and allows the Sault to maximize its infrastructure investments.

The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) is the voice of progressive unionized employers in Canada’s construction industry. Our member companies employ more than 25,000 skilled construction workers across Canada.

For further information, contact:

Danna O’Brien: Danna@obriencommunications.ca 416.500.0699

Karen Renkema: krenkema@pcac.ca 416.768.4848