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Steel industry wants prompt payment legislation and local content rules


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April 6, 2016 by On-Site's sister publication Canadian Consulting Engineer

Delegates from the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) visited Parliament Hill in Ottawa in March to lobby for prompt payment legislation. It also wants local procurement policies for infrastructure projects.

First CISC is requesting that the government enact Federal Prompt Payment legislation “to provide immediate relief to construction industry trades – the life blood of the Canadian construction industry.” Its statement explains: “The lack and delay in payment is one of the biggest issues impacting Canada and the Canadian construction industry. Canadian subcontractors and construction trades that perform 80 per cent of the work and employ 80 per cent of the people are being severely impacted by slow payment. This withheld money is taking billions out of the economy, putting working families at risk of job losses and bankruptcies. If the government intends to kick start the economy and help the middle class then policies and legislation to stop the payment abuse needs to be acted on immediately. ”

The association is also urging the government to develop policies that require minimum Canadian and regional/local content in all government funded infrastructure projects “in order to truly benefit local communities and Canada in general while respecting any existing trade obligations.” It points out that the commitment to spend up to $125 billion over 10 years on federal and municipal infrastructure is intended to rebuild Canada’s infrastructure while strengthening the middle class by putting thousands to work.

“However,” the CISC statement points out, “There is currently a lack of procurement policies, at all government levels, that fairly compare Canadian companies to foreign suppliers taking into consideration Canadian content, minimum wage, environmental costs (e.g. carbon policies), health and safety, public safety (standards), and the spinoff multiplier benefits to the local economy.”

The association therefore wants procurement practices that hold foreign bidders to the same standards as Canadian companies bidding on the same projects. And it wants the government to disqualify bids coming from foreign jurisdictions that do not permit equal access to Canadian products and services.

The statement points out that Canada’s current trade policies and agreements allow other countries open access to our markets while many of them deny Canadian manufacturers equal and reciprocal access. This creates an unfair trade environment for Canadian steel manufacturers.

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