Toronto Council Urged to Reject Deal That Plays Favourites

(June 17, 2019) – The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) is urging Toronto City Council to reject a proposed deal that would allow one more select labour group (LIUNA) to bid on city construction work while shutting out the vast majority of workers and companies from city projects. The move could make Toronto the only Ontario city that deliberately chooses to ban workers and companies from building taxpayer-funded projects because of their union affiliation. If this deal is passed, it will cost Toronto taxpayers tens of millions more in construction costs and could lead to significant labour disputes and project disruptions.

“It’s shocking that Toronto City Council would consider willfully shutting out thousands of highly skilled workers and respected companies from work their tax dollars help fund,” said Sean Reid, Vice President and Regional Director, Ontario, for PCA. “We should all be asking how any elected official could possibly consider supporting this deal. It’s unfair, it’s fiscally irresponsible, and it’s just plain wrong.”

City Council will decide tomorrow or Wednesday on whether to embrace Bill 66 which opens up Toronto’s construction market to competition, opt out of the legislation, or grant LIUNA a special deal.

It is widely accepted that when there are more bidders on construction projects, costs come down. Research shows that an open construction market could save Toronto taxpayers between 8 and 15 percent at minimum on public projects. That translates into anywhere from $48 million to $90 million, which could go a long way in addressing Toronto’s budget shortfall.

“This should be a simple choice for Council,” added Reid. “Treat all workers equally and save millions in tax dollars by embracing Bill 66, or make a deal with a special labour group that drives up costs and creates massive project uncertainty.”

A legal opinion on the proposed LIUNA deal obtained by PCA’s labour partner CLAC shows the arrangement violates the City of Toronto Act and the city’s own bylaws and procurement policies, by privileging one group over others. It is believed this arrangement would not stand up to a legal challenge and would likely to lead to more costly jurisdictional challenges between unions at the public’s expense.

About the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)

PCA is the voice of progressive unionized employers in Canada’s construction industry. PCA member companies are leaders in infrastructure construction across Canada, employing more than 25,000 skilled construction workers who are represented primarily by CLAC. PCA promotes fair and open construction tendering in ALL Ontario municipalities.

For further information, contact: Danna O’Brien, 416-500-0699

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