TORONTO, Jan. 19 /CNW/ - Last Friday, over 60 representatives from a wide
cross-section of labour and management organizations, along with engineers and
government officials, gathered to create an agenda for concrete change and
revitalization for infrastructure in the province. All members were in
agreement that infrastructure investments must lead to more sustainable
Representatives from the group will be meeting with Government of Ontario
today to discuss their recommended opportunities to stimulate the economy over
the short, medium and longer-term horizons.
"There is no doubt that investing in infrastructure will do more to speed
a recovery, support local industry and create jobs than anything else," says
Andy Manahan, Executive Director of the Residential and Civil Construction
Alliance of Ontario. "There is a large group with considerable bench strength
that is ready to partner with the government once commitments have
"Infrastructure is a long-term asset of value," added Michael O'Brien of
Local 183. "It can't be stressed enough that both rehabilitation and new
investment are required in upcoming government budgets to ensure that value is
The thrust of the recommendations focused on fast-tracking priority and
'shovel-ready' projects, and the main elements of the group's "move forward"
Working Together in Difficult Times:
- All sectors of the construction industry (unions, contractors,
builders and engineers) want to work in partnership with governments
to deliver infrastructure in a timely fashion and to act as a catalyst
for an economic recovery.
- Most construction projects result in jobs which are generated locally
- Ontario has a highly skilled and experienced construction workforce
combined with knowledgeable construction management.
Investing in the Future:
- Construction will have a broader and more immediate impact than other
forms of government spending.
- Productivity and multiplier effects are well-established when
investments are made in public infrastructure.
- While there are many larger scale construction projects ongoing across
Canada, Ontario is being hit relatively hard by manufacturing layoffs
and closures, particularly related to the automotive sector.
- Federal investments and programs must recognize this
disproportional impact by making relatively larger investments in
southern and central Ontario where road and highway networks are
crucial to goods movement and continued trade with the United
Able and Ready:
- Perceptions about insufficient capacity to deal with a major infusion
of infrastructure capital are no longer valid.
- At the moment, there exists higher than normal unemployment in a
number of construction trades, and there are many experienced trades
people out of work in certain market areas of Ontario.
- Additional infrastructure investment will assist with the absorption
Catching up and building for the future:
- Our built environment is the main determinant of where we are as a
society and where we stand in the world.
- Infrastructure investments have not kept pace with population and
economic growth over the past few decades.
- Now is an opportune time to catch up by considerably increasing
- This recession is unlike previous ones, and a lack of confidence is
- The high visibility of construction projects will instill confidence.
- Moreover, eighty per cent of materials and resources used in
construction are locally-based - local procurement will build
confidence, support employment and provide many positive spin-offs.
- Notwithstanding red tape, shovel-ready projects have passed the
environmental requirements and are poised to help not only in economic
recovery but, in many cases, in the greening of our communities.
- Investment in infrastructure will bolster environmental efforts in
core areas such as transit and water and sewer projects.
- Opportunities also exist in developing more energy efficient housing
- Innovative techniques and construction technologies will foster many
new economic opportunities globally.
Innovation and Efficiency:
- Opportunities exist for further innovation in technology, materials,
and systems, with an appropriate environment.
- The industry is committed to work with the government to utilize
benchmarking and strategic planning to develop a more sustainable
construction sector, as has been achieved in other jurisdictions.
- The regulatory framework has become much more complex over the past
- Streamlining of infrastructure and housing projects will be critical
to delivering economic stimulus when it is needed - now.
- The industry intends to take this infusion of cash as a launching pad
for a more agile and competitive construction sector in Ontario.
- With sufficient advance notice about major project investments, the
construction industry will be able to respond appropriately with a
trained workforce, especially if there is a steady stream of projects
(this includes retraining of construction workers and improved labour
It is important to point out that, unlike many other jurisdictions, the
institutional framework of government does not allow for one-stop approaches
for the construction industry to address policies and regulations. Moving
forward, the industry wants to play more of a policy advisory role in this
Editors Note - The individual organizations and unions involved with the
joint statement will communicate individually with government members on
For further information:
For further information: Dorenda McNeil - Counsel Public Relations, Tel:
(416) 961-5898 x 216, firstname.lastname@example.org