Waterloo Regional Council Misses Opportunity To Help Local Construction Businesses

Kitchener (Nov. 23, 2017) – Local construction companies who’ve been improperly prevented from bidding on an increasing number of local taxpayer funded construction projects will not get help anytime soon from Waterloo Regional Council.

Local contractors, represented by the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA), the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association (OSWCA) and the Conestoga Heavy Construction Association (CHCA), urged Council to seek a determination from the Ontario Labour Relations Board. This would have clarified when contracts can be awarded to local contractors that have no affiliation with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Instead, Council deferred a decision on the issue until it receives further information from staff.

“Unfortunately, council has missed an opportunity to show it supports fairness for local businesses, workers and taxpayers,” said Karen Renkema, Public Affairs Manager for PCA. “Increasing competition lowers construction costs by up to 30 percent and ensures taxpayers are getting good value.”

Although Ontario’s labour laws force the Region of Waterloo to restrict tendering on certain municipal projects, a review of several recent contracts shows those restrictions have been applied to more work than necessary.

“It’s frustrating for local contractors who’ve been shut out of local projects, including airport and bus stop construction for no good reason,” said Mike Doupe, Vice President, McLean Taylor Construction Limited, a member of CHCA.

“We’re disappointed that Council is putting off a decision on an issue that it should be all too familiar with,” said Patrick McManus, Stakeholder Relations Manager at OSWCA.

The three associations also urged councillors to publically advocate for legislative change so that all construction projects funded by Waterloo Region taxpayers can be fairly and openly tendered to all qualified contractors.

PCA is the voice of progressive unionized employers in Canada’s construction industry. PCA member companies are leaders in infrastructure construction in Canada, employing more than 25,000 skilled construction workers, represented primarily by CLAC.

OSWCA fosters health and safety, professionalism, ethical processes, sound infrastructure investments, good governance and fiscal responsibility on behalf of Ontario’s sewer and watermain construction industry.

CHCA, founded in 1979, develops and maintains the highest standards of construction and business methods in the heavy construction industry, on behalf of its member companies. 

For further information contact: danna@obriencommunications.ca 416-500-0699