Federal Government Acts to Repeal Outdated Federally Regulated Wages

A positive move for Canadian construction workers

OTTAWA, April 26, 2012 /CNW/ - Merit Canada, the voice of Canada's open shop construction associations, today praised the federal government for finally including the repeal of the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, known commonly as the Fair Wages Act in the Budget Implementation Act.  Merit president Terrance Oakey called the government's action a good one for Canada's construction industry in general and the open-shop sector in particular.

"Merit Canada is pleased the Government is committed to reducing red tape for the construction sector, especially for small businesses," said Oakey.  "The measures announced today will increase the ability of small and medium size open shop construction companies to efficiently perform work on federal construction projects and we call on Members of Parliament from all parties to ensure the budget implementation act is passed without delay."

Oakey called the changes long overdue.  "Wages and working conditions today are a far cry from 80 years ago when this Act was brought in," he said.  Back then, there were few, if any, laws and regulations in place at any level to protect the interests of construction workers. Today "there are a host of provincial and territorial measures in place to enhance and protect working conditions, employment standards, labour relations, wages and hours of labour."

Oakey also noted that regulated minimum wages generally have a negative impact on young workers with little experience.  They increase the marginal costs of labour and discourage employers from hiring additional workers even in times of great need. Moreover American studies indicate  that construction industry productivity is lower in jurisdications that stipulate minimum wages for public construction  projects compared to jurisdictions that use strictly labour market based approaches. For Oakey, "both wages and working conditions should be determined directly between employers and employees, or through a collective bargaining process within the boundaries of the law."

Merit Canada was established in November 2008 as a united national voice for eight different provincial Open Shop construction associations.  Open Shop construction represents approximately 70% of the Canadian construction industry, and our member companies directly employ approximately 60,000 people.

For further information:

Terrance Oakey
President, Merit Canada
terrance.oakey@meritcanada.ca
(613) 601-2350