October 11, 2016 by On-Site Magazine
The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) applauds a ruling by the Ontario Labour Relations Board that will allow the Greater Essex County District School Board to openly tender construction work. Until now it’s been forced to award construction work to contractors affiliated with select unions only, driving up construction costs.
“We congratulate the school board on a significant victory for taxpayers, local construction companies and their workers,” said Darrel Reid, VP, Policy and Advocacy at the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada. “Opening up construction competition translates into greater fairness for local workers and better value and savings for the public.”
Under Ontario’s Labour Relations Act, the Greater Essex County District School Board was deemed a “construction employer.” It had no choice but to restrict tendering, shutting other local qualified companies and workers out of the bidding process. Studies show that lack of competition on publicly funded construction work drives up costs by as much as 30 per cent.
The school board’s successful appeal on Sept. 27th, of its “construction employer” status under section 126 of the Labour Relations Act, means it can fairly and openly tender construction work. The same section of the act continues to restrict the Toronto District School Board and several municipalities including Toronto, Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie and the Region of Waterloo in who they can contract and hire for construction.
“The ruling helps pave the way for other school boards and municipalities to free themselves from construction labour monopolies,” added Reid. “It’s an important step forward in making construction tendering fair and putting the public interest first.”
PCA has galvanized support for its “Fair Construction” campaign aimed at amending Ontario’s Labour Relations Act so that ALL municipalities can fairly and openly tender construction work.