Toronto Urged to Fix Budget Shortfall by Doing Nothing

Toronto (June 6, 2019) – The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA), representing companies that employ thousands of skilled workers across Ontario, today urged Toronto City Council’s Executive Committee to follow the recommendations of the City Manager and do nothing in order to cover the City’s $87 million funding shortfall.

“Toronto has a golden opportunity to wipe out its budget shortfall and save millions of dollars going forward, by doing absolutely nothing,” said Sean Reid, Vice President and Regional Director, Ontario, for the PCA. 

Bill 66, passed by the Ontario government in April, opens up Toronto’s construction market, allowing all qualified companies and workers to build city projects, from splash pads to recreation centres. A universal body of research confirms that when there are more bidders for construction work, project costs come down.

It’s widely accepted that opening up competition will save Toronto taxpayers between eight per cent and 15 per cent, at minimum, on taxpayer-funded construction work. That translates into annual savings of anywhere from $48 million to $90 million, which could wipe out Toronto’s budget shortfall.

However, Bill 66 includes an opt-out clause. Toronto City Council can only take advantage of these savings if it decides to do nothing and not opt out of the legislation by the July 3, 2019 deadline. That’s the recommendation of the City Manager, who suggests Toronto “take no action.”

City councillors are under intense pressure from the Building Trades Unions (BTUs) to maintain the status quo and opt out of the legislation, despite the clear benefits. The BTUs want to maintain their construction monopoly and shut out competition by claiming that safety will be compromised, that workers will lose their rights and that the Fair Wage policy will not be maintained. These claims are untrue and completely unfounded.

“Besides major cost savings, opening up competition gives many highly qualified local companies and thousands of workers a shot at building city projects,” added Reid. “Toronto City Council has a chance to maximize public savings and treat all workers and companies fairly and equally. There’s a lot to be gained by getting behind Bill 66.”

The matter goes before City Council on June 18, 2019.

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.

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

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