Joint Construction Industry Group Vision Statement: Infrastructure Investment Benefits All



    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
economic activity.
    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
materialized."
    "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
realized."
    The thrust of the recommendations focused on fast-tracking priority and
'shovel-ready' projects, and the main elements of the group's "move forward"
vision include:

    
    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
       and regionally.
    -  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
          States.

    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
       of apprentices.

    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
       investment levels.

    Building Confidence:
    --------------------

    -  This recession is unlike previous ones, and a lack of confidence is
       pervasive.
    -  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.

    Sustainable Communities:
    ------------------------

    -  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
       and communities.
    -  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
       two decades.
    -  Streamlining of infrastructure and housing projects will be critical
       to delivering economic stimulus when it is needed - now.

    Lasting Impacts:
    ----------------

    -  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
       mobility).

    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
area.

    Editors Note - The individual organizations and unions involved with the
    joint statement will communicate individually with government members on
    specific recommendations.
    





For further information:

For further information: Dorenda McNeil - Counsel Public Relations, Tel:
(416) 961-5898 x 216, dmcneil@counselpr.ca

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RESIDENTIAL AND CIVIL CONSTRUCTION ALLIANCE OF ONTARIO

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