We Agree! Report Finds Construction Costs Way Too High in Ontario

Toronto (February 10, 2022) – The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) whose member companies build major infrastructure and capital projects across the country, welcomes the report of an independent Montreal based public policy think-tank, that finds Ontario taxpayers are needlessly spending millions of dollars too much for construction.

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) found glaring “blind spots” in Ontario’s Bill 66, which is aimed at opening up construction competition. Blind spots, according to the MEI, allowed The Ottawa Hospital to restrict competition on a contract to build a new $2 billion campus, costing Ontario taxpayers as much as $525 million in additional construction costs.

“It’s shameful that millions in public tax dollars are still being wasted by those who have managed to skirt the law,” said Karen Renkema, PCA’s Vice-President, Ontario. “The province has a responsibility to protect the public, and see to it that taxpayers are getting good value on infrastructure investments, not taken advantage of.”

The MEI also finds that Toronto taxpayers could have saved anywhere from $122 to $391 million in 2019 alone. Toronto is the only city in Ontario to opt-out of Bill 66, which would have opened up the city’s construction projects to competition. Instead, Toronto as well as the Toronto District School Board. (TDSB) chose to continue awarding construction work to the same group of select companies and their affiliated unions.

“We believe this is an issue that goes much deeper than just the City of Toronto, Toronto District School Board, and The Ottawa Hospital,” said Karen Renkema, PCA’s Vice-President, Ontario. “For example, Bill 66 does not currently apply to all publicly owned and operated entities in Ontario’s energy sector. That means Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation rack up much higher costs for construction work because that work is tendered to only a select group of contractors and their affiliated unions. That’s just plain wrong.”

PCA agrees with MEI’s recommendations, which include incentivizing Toronto to competitively tender construction contracts. It is also recommended that Infrastructure Ontario be mandated to provide a clear regulatory framework that ensures no qualified worker or company is shut out of building public projects based on union affiliation.

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, Danna@obriencommunications.ca 416-500-0699

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