MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The Fair Construction campaign launched today, to forewarn municipalities that could be targeted next by construction labour monopolies - a growing and alarming trend in Southwestern Ontario.
"Our goal is to ensure municipalities know how to reduce their risk, so they aren't forced to pay inflated construction costs," said Karen Renkema, Chair of the Fair Construction campaign. "When labour monopolies drive up the cost of construction, it isn't fair to anyone, especially taxpayers."
The Fair Construction campaign is making stops across Southwestern Ontario to inform municipalities, associations, elected officials and industry about the issue and steps that can be taken to prevent a construction labour monopoly from taking hold in their town, city or region.
A loophole in the Ontario Labour Relations Act has allowed construction unions to certify public sector employers, including Toronto, Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie, and more recently the Region of Waterloo as "construction employers." These municipalities are subject to a provincial wide collective agreement that forces them to restrict who they can contract and hire for construction projects. These restrictions:
- Reduce competition. Up to 70 percent of qualified companies and workers are prevented from competing for local projects;
- Raise costs. With less competition, municipalities pay 20 to 30 percent more ($188 to $283 million annually) for construction projects, at a time when all levels of government are looking for ways to stretch their infrastructure dollars.
With competition now restricted in the Region of Waterloo, the pool of companies who qualify to compete on one of its publically funded projects has shrunk from 9 to 2.
"When all qualified companies and workers are allowed to compete on local projects, regardless of union affiliation, or lack thereof, we all benefit," added Renkema. "Municipalities save money, and taxpayers get good value. That's what Fair Construction is all about."
Leading the Fair Construction campaign is the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada. PCA is the voice of progressive unionized employers in Canada's construction industry. Its member companies employ more than 25,000 skilled construction workers across Canada.
Image with caption: "Fair Construction (CNW Group/Progressive Contractors Association of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141120_C9777_PHOTO_EN_43223.jpg
SOURCE: Progressive Contractors Association of Canada
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