October 5, 2012
COCA’s Construction Day hits Queen’s Park
Construction leaders recently met at Queen’s Park to make their concerns known to MPPs during the Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA) fourth annual Construction Day.
“Construction Day is a tremendous opportunity for COCA to elevate its profile at Queen’s Park, strengthen relationships with decision makers there and to advance solutions to public policy hurdles that confront contractors” said COCA chairman Don Gosen.
Main issues discussed this year were the Construction Lien Act (CLA), prompt payment legislation and recommendations on reform at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
At total of 71 MPPs from all three parties participated in the day, including New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Andrea Horwath.
The day began with a breakfast with Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees who presented his ideas on infrastructure renewal.
Question Period brought about a lively exchange where the COCA group was recognized from the floor of the legislature.
During a luncheon address, Essex MPP Taras Natyshak praised the good paying jobs that construction has to offer.
In the afternoon, nine volunteer teams, representing 16 COCA member associations took part in meetings with the Premier’s office, one-third of Cabinet, MPPs from all parties and other senior officials.
COCA calls the CLA “antiquated” and highlighted the need for CLA reform as it argues that there appears to be little appetite for amending the CLA at the Ministry of the Attorney General “as the government focuses on its key priorities, seeks to minimize opportunities for controversy and has put most ministries on a ‘steady as she goes’ course,” said COCA in a recent update.
COCA remains hopeful that prompt payment legislation will be introduced in the Ontario Legislature during the fall session as there was support from all three parties during the 2011 election campaign.
During Construction Day, recommendations were made on WSIB reform to “ensure it serves as a competitive advantage for Ontario.”
“COCA believes that it’s time for the appeals program to be streamlined and that the new process must be fair to both workers and employers, that reasonable timelines be provided for the exchange of information and that the rules be strictly enforced to avoid unnecessary delay,” it said in the update.
COCA has been alerting its contractors to a possible rate increase of between five and 10 per cent in order to maintain the current level of benefits and address the WSIB’s over $14 billion unfunded liability.
DCN NEWS SERVICES
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