PM #40020055

A FORUM ON OPEN SHOP CONSTRUCTION
Labour Law: The dilemma of how construction rules vary from one jurisdiction to another
CONSTRUCTION
OWNERSHIP EVOLUTION
Canadian companies share
lessons learned
CHARTER
CHALLENGE
Do open shop workers
have the same rights as
unionized employees?
Volume 21 • Issue 2 • 2013
PLUS: Detailing the purpose
of productivity in business
Levelling the Playing Field
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p01.indd 1 5/3/13 9:31:28 AM
| H E AV Y I ND US T R I A L | B UI L D I NG S | C I V I L I NF R A S T R UC T UR E |
tĞĂƌĞŵŽƌĞƚŚĂŶďƵŝůĚĞƌƐ͘tĞĂƌĞĐŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŽŶ
partners who are passionate about what we do
and about our partners’ success.
Watch us build at PCL.com
000OM-PCL-FP.indd 1 4/17/13 11:25:08 AM NAT_OPENMIND_13_p02-05.indd 2 5/2/13 9:11:28 AM
OPENMIND 2013
| H E AV Y I ND US T R I A L | B UI L D I NG S | C I V I L I NF R A S T R UC T UR E |
tĞĂƌĞŵŽƌĞƚŚĂŶďƵŝůĚĞƌƐ͘tĞĂƌĞĐŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŽŶ
partners who are passionate about what we do
and about our partners’ success.
Watch us build at PCL.com
000OM-PCL-FP.indd 1 4/17/13 11:25:08 AM
ON THE COvEr
National Agenda
Bill C-377 makes waves across the
country and Merit Canada’s role in
levelling the playing field
By Terrance Oakey
Illustration by Isabelle Cardinal
25 The Demographic Cliff
The federal government retools its former
programs, addressing the country’s shortage
of skilled tradespeople
By Bill Stewart
30 Quiet Revolution
Quebec’s corrupt construction industry takes
the country’s headlines by storm
By Ben Freeland
36 Productivity and Purpose
It’s about more than working harder.
Companies are realizing the benefits of
investing in efficiency
By Elizabeth Chorney-Booth
38 By the Numbers
Canadian construction statistics
30
5 Message From Merit
Canada’s Chair
By Curtis Monsebroten

6 Construction
Ownership Evolution
Leadership styles and ownership
transitions set the stage for a
company’s success or failure
By Carissa Halton
12 The State of Labour Law
Construction labour laws vary by jurisdiction
and current government
By Peter Pilarski
16 Charter Challenge
Open shop workers challenge the legality of
mandatory union membership requirements
on construction projects
By Nicholas Malone
20
12
Volume 21 • Issue 2 • 2013
6
Contents
16 25
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p02-05.indd 3 5/2/13 11:59:14 AM
That’s a Merit Contractor.
Merit contractors give you the best value and ensure your job is completed efficiently – with quality,
budget, safety and on time delivery as the top priorities.
Merit contractors
• complete your projects on time and on budget
• handle any size project, of any design
• have the qualified manpower to get your project done to your specifications
• are flexible and dependable
• have excellent safety records
Representing the voice of open shop construction in Canada, the eight provincial associations that
make up Merit Canada focus on the human resource needs of contractors by offering employee
benefits, training, retirement programs, tuition refunds, and more. Member companies work in all areas
of the construction industry including residential, commercial, institutional, civil, and industrial.
www.meritcanada.ca 1.877.41MERIT (63748)
000OM-Merit-FP.indd 1 4/12/13 3:27:02 PM NAT_OPENMIND_13_p02-05.indd 4 5/2/13 9:13:16 AM
Message From Merit Canada’s Chair
Publisher Ruth Kelly
Executive Editor Stephen Kushner
Associate Editor Suzanne Pescod
Editor, Contract Magazines Michelle Lindstrom
Production Manager Betty-Lou Smith
Production Technician Brent Felzien
Production Technician Brandon Hoover
Circulation Manager Sharlene Clarke
Vice-President Sales Anita McGillis
Advertising Representative Shane Kelly
Sales Assistants Karen Crane,
Jennifer Rush

Art Director Charles Burke
Associate Art Director Andrea deBoer
Assistant Art Director Colin Spence
Contributing Writers
Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Ben Freeland,
Carissa Halton, Nicholas Malone, Terrance Oakey,
Peter Pilarski, Bill Stewart
Contributing Illustrators and Photographers
Steve Adams, Michael Byers, Isabelle Cardinal,
Dushan Milic, Heff O’Reilly
Open Mind is published two times per year by Venture
Publishing Inc. for Merit Contractors Association.
Venture Publishing Inc.
10259-105 Street,
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 1E3
Tel.: (780) 990-0839
Fax: (780) 425-4921
admin@venturepublishing.ca
www.venturepublishing.ca
Merit Contractors Association
103-13025 St. Albert Trail,
Edmonton, Alberta T5L 4H5
Tel.: (780) 455-5999 or 1-888-816-9991
Fax: (780) 455-2109
meritedm@meritalberta.com
www.meritalberta.com
Merit Contractors Association is a non-profit
organization that offers human resource services
to the open shop construction industry.
Printed in Canada by Transcontinental LGM Graphics
The opinions conveyed by contributors to
Open Mind magazine may not be indicative
of the views of Venture Publishing Inc. or
Merit Contractors Association. While every
effort is made to ensure accuracy, neither
Venture Publishing Inc. nor Merit Contractors
Association assume any responsibility or
liability for errors or omissions.
Canadian Publications Mail Product Agreement
#40020055
Copyright © 2013 by Merit Contractors Association
No part of this publication should be reproduced without
express permission of Merit Contractors Association.
Volume 21 • Issue 2 • 2013
OPENMIND 2013 5
That’s a Merit Contractor.
Merit contractors give you the best value and ensure your job is completed efficiently – with quality,
budget, safety and on time delivery as the top priorities.
Merit contractors
• complete your projects on time and on budget
• handle any size project, of any design
• have the qualified manpower to get your project done to your specifications
• are flexible and dependable
• have excellent safety records
Representing the voice of open shop construction in Canada, the eight provincial associations that
make up Merit Canada focus on the human resource needs of contractors by offering employee
benefits, training, retirement programs, tuition refunds, and more. Member companies work in all areas
of the construction industry including residential, commercial, institutional, civil, and industrial.
www.meritcanada.ca 1.877.41MERIT (63748)
000OM-Merit-FP.indd 1 4/12/13 3:27:02 PM
On behalf of Merit Canada,
welcome to the 21st anniversary
edition of Open Mind magazine
and the third edition for Merit
Canada.
Curtis Monsebroten
CHAIR
MERIT CANADA
Open Mind is Canada’s only magazine dedicated
to the open shop construction sector,
focusing on issues that affect the livelihood
of an industry employing over one million
across Canada.
Terrance Oakey has been leading Merit
Canada’s advocacy since 2011. The past year
has been an interesting and progressive one for changes to national legislation
and the construction industry. In the article “Merit Canada’s Progress”
(page 20), Oakey breaks down the advancements in Bill C-377, changes to
outdated wage legislation, the issues of open tendering and the updates to the
Federal Skilled Trades Program. Mr. Oakey’s time spent meeting with federal
representatives is one of the reasons Canada is seeing these new progressive laws
take shape.
Does the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect the rights
of open shop or non-unionized construction workers? Merit Manitoba is
supporting a group of construction workers who have fled a Charter challenge
against Manitoba Hydro for requiring them to associate with a designated
union in order to work on government projects. Read about the journey that
has brought these workers to court to fght for their right to work in the article
“Charter Challenge” (page 16).
“The Demographic Cliff” (page 25) takes a look at the changes to federal
immigration policy in order to accommodate Canada’s need for a sustainable
labour force. With an estimated shortfall of hundreds of thousands of
tradespeople, how are the policy makers and the construction industry
working together to address this concern?
“Construction Ownership Evolution” (page 6) is an article that looks at the
ways contractors are either building, buying, selling or passing down their
businesses. With retirement just around the corner for many founders and
CEOs, what are the challenges they face when taking those next steps?
Productivity affects a company’s ability to remain competitive and the
article “The Importance of Productivity” (page 36) outlines the strategies
some companies use to increase their productivity through communication,
planning and scheduling tools.
We hope you enjoy the 2013 edition of Open Mind, and as always we encourage
you to give us feedback or suggestions on future topics.
From all of us at Merit Canada, have a great 2013!
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p02-05.indd 5 2013-05-02 10:09 AM
EVOLUTION
OPENMIND 2013
ByCarissaHalton
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EVOLUTION
OPENMIND 2013
Expansions, mergers and retirements mean
companies may experience signifcant
changes in the workplace. How are these
changes being handled by various frms?
lot can happen to a company in the span of a century.
In 1912, when oil wells were dug by hand at the
start of the Texas oil rush, Bill Flint Sr. started
a company building wooden barracks in the
oilfield. His company grew and when oil gushed from
the ground in Leduc, Alberta, the Flint family moved its
operations north of the border.
One of the frst in energy feld construction, Flint Energy
Services Ltd. expanded and, in 1998, caught the interest of
a venture capital company, SCF Partners. These wealthy,
Texas oilmen were consolidators; they bought the Flint
family’s Canadian operation and went on to make
numerous acquisitions. In 2001, Flint Energy went public
on the Toronto Stock Exchange and a hundred years after
Flint’s first sales in the Texas hinterland, the company
was acquired for $1.25 billion by U.S. engineering company
URS Corp.
Ownership changes are often an integral, strategic part
of growth for the construction industry. “It’s a very dynamic
sector. This is the normal business model,” says Guy
Cocquyt, vice-president of communications and research
for URS Flint. “Companies are constantly being acquired,
consolidated or spun off.”
Changes in leadership also represent a natural trans-
formation for a company. “A company’s evolution of
ownership and governance happens often by default,” says
Dr. Lloyd Steier, vice-dean and faculty at the University of
Alberta’s School of Business.
“Usually in response to the challenge of succession, there
comes a time when all owners/founders must confront this
important issue. They then seek ways and means to pass it on.”
Sometimes these founders have a son or daughter who is
interested in taking the company on. Sometimes founders
turn to employees to buy them out. Others seek companies
A
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p6-11.indd 7 5/2/13 9:18:20 AM
with whom they might merge or partner
with, or they take the company public.
No matter whether the impetus for
change is strategy or opportunity, every
ownership transition presents different
opportunities and challenges irrespective of
a company’s own strengths, weaknesses and
objectives. A company’s evolution is unique
to its position in the local marketplace, the
status of the global marketplace, and its
company goals and culture.
Three Companies,
Three Ownership Transitions
Don Daly started up Territorial Electric Ltd.
in 1980 and based it in Edmonton, Alberta.
More than a decade ago, he wondered about
how he would transition into retirement.
“A lot of companies I associate with are in
the same state as we are,” he says. “The owners
are getting close to retirement and looking
for ways to sell off their company. At least a
half dozen of my competitors have wanted to
talk to me about what we’ve done.”
Daly wanted to recognize the work of
loyal employees that had stuck with him
in good times and bad. After reviewing the
options, he presented employees with what
his accountant called “golden handcuffs.”
Initially, he sold a quarter of the company to
eight employees, after devaluing the company
so it was easy for employees to buy in.
Within a couple years, the employees’ initial
investments were fully paid out in dividends.
“It’s been a success,” says Daly. Twelve
years after the process began, the employees
reorganized themselves and are now in the
stages to buy Daly out completely.
Clark Builders started in Yellowknife
in 1974 with two primary partners. As the
company grew, it moved to Edmonton
and the initial partnership was extended
to senior staff with an offer to buy shares
in the company. As the company expanded
further, the employees sought to buy out
the initial two partners. After reviewing
all the options, a strategic partnership was
pursued, which allowed the employees to
maintain the company brand, management
control and employee ownership model
they liked. A partnership with U.S.-based
Turner Construction Company was
completed in January 2012 when Turner
bought 51 per cent of the company, and 49
per cent remained employee-owned. The
Construction Ownership Evolution
deal provided Turner with a strong presence
in the Canadian marketplace. Addition-
ally, Clark Builders has access to additional
human resource support, staff development
opportunities, expertise in different market
types, and emerging technologies.
Whi l e Cl ark Bui l ders sought a
partnership with another similar company,
Flint Energy Services sought a way to
expand its expertise to broader projects
within the oil and gas market. Flint shared
no overlapping services with URS Corp.
when it was acquired in 2012.
At the point of acquisition, Flint was
on target to hit $2 billion in revenue. Even
at the size and scope of Flint’s operations,
the oil and gas company found itself shut
out of many larger oilsands projects where
Engineering, Procurement and Construc-
tion (EPC) contracting was increasingly
being used. EPC contracts require
contractors to bid on the whole project:
design, build and commission. “The only
way to do that is with a large engineering
company,” says Cocquyt. “Flint couldn’t do
this alone, so we looked at different options:
mergers, joint ventures.” At the same time,
URS Corp. began looking for new oppor-
tunities in the energy sector. A year after the
ownership change, Flint URS has already
begun to introduce Flint customers to the
additional suite of services URS brings to
Alberta and, as hoped, the company is now
bidding on EPC projects.
Keys to Success
When it came to its strategic partnership,
Clark Builders spent approximately two
years on due diligence, “We took a deep dive
into each other’s business to get an under-
standing of what is ‘below the clothes,’ ”
says Brian Lacey, vice-president construc-
tion at Clark Builders.
In this “deep dive” Clark didn’t just look
at fnancials, legal and safety issues; it also
broadened the scope to include a review of
company culture. “You run a real risk by
looking at the fnancial deal and not paying
attention to the cultural concerns,” Lacey
says, noting such risks include a company
8 OPENMIND 2013
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10 OPENMIND 2013
that they were all working towards a
common goal,” says Lacey. “That gave us
a good feeling for the pulse of the project
and the company.”
Lacey is confident that the transition
has gone so successfully because they
addressed company culture as being an
important symmetry. He does caution,
“It is a demand on the business – the
time and resources required need to be
fully recognized and the time set aside. It
could be a year, year-and-a-half, of major
disruption, but the investment is in the
future success of the company.”
Territorial Electric’s Daly stresses
one thing to people who ask him about
the success of his company’s ownership
transition, “If you think it’s going to take
five years, double it. Everyone is busy
running a business. If something is going
to get pushed to the back burner, this is it.”
Successful ownership changes take
time, not only for due diligence, but also for
the transition of new people, processes and
expectations. For instance, Cocquyt now
coming in and changing things overnight.
Both companies sent staff to visit the
other’s sites. Clark Builders brought a
range of people, from upper management
to day-to-day operators, to Turner projects
in Chicago and Seattle. “The day-to-day
operators are the ones who have to live
with outcomes. They ask the questions that
senior management aren’t considering,”
says Lacey. “They see the work
through a different paradigm
and I think it is critical companies
value that perspective.” Staff
members were also encouraged to
go out for dinner, exchange stories
and “let their guard down.”
Clark Builders shared its
employees’ feedback regarding key
symmetries in safety, schedule, quality and
budget that was assessed on score cards on
a Turner Construction job site. “You can get
a good idea of a company’s approach after
just a half hour on a job site,” says Lacey.
On site, they asked: What is the level of
control and management that’s supplied? Is
everyone getting along? Are superintendents
getting phone and radio calls about things
that could have been organized through
planning? It was important to Clark Builders
to indicate to its partnering company what
was important to its existing staff.
“We found that any one of their people
could tell us the end date, which told me
ConstructionOwnershipEvolution
Successful ownership changes take
time, not only for due diligence,
but also for the transition of new
people, processes and expectations.
has a new ownership team to report to and
there is extra work required in educating
new people to the business. Also, no
matter how much or how little operational
overlap there is, it takes time to integrate
large accounting and data systems. Flint’s
accounting team, for instance, had to
convert its reporting system from IFRS
(the system for publicly traded companies
in the Canadian industry) to the American
GAP system. “It went really smoothly,” says
Cocquyt, “because we have good people.”
People cannot be overlooked in the
success or failure of a transition. Daly hired,
retained and rewarded employees who
showed passion and trustworthiness. He
also relied heavily on his accountant and
lawyer so that the ownership transition was
done properly.
When it comes to actually making the
changes, the key to a successful transition
is managing these changes carefully. “We
recognized it can be very disruptive,” says
Cocquyt. “What I liked about this transition
with URS is that Flint’s employees woke up
and experienced no management or system
changes. With very little distraction, we were
able to focus on customer service.”
Poorly managed transitions can threaten
the very thing that made a company
successful in the frst place, such
as positive relationships with
clients and the community. In
the event of making big changes,
like integrating operations,
Cocquyt recommends doing
them as quickly as possible.
Of course, less overlap or
redundancy makes for less change in the
company, its staff and client experience.
Cocquyt says the successful mergers tend to
be the ones with little to no redundancy.
It is a Global Marketplace
Alberta’s construction industry is dynamic
and growing and, with further instability
in global markets expected, companies can
be certain that even more international
companies will invest in Alberta’s construc-
tion industry. “We’ve really been sheltered
from recession in Alberta,” Lacey says. “When
frms realized loss of opportunity in the U.S.
or Europe, everybody has focused on Alberta
(and Canada) as a land of opportunity.”
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p6-11.indd 10 5/2/13 9:20:24 AM
GOLDEN HANDCUFFS
Employee-owned companies represent some of Alberta’s largest construction
organizations, like PCL and Graham Construction.
Dr. Lloyd Steier, vice-dean of the University of Alberta’s School of Business,
says, “It is often in a company’s best interest to share the profts of a company
with those who helped make the profts. It’s simply good business (and) a great
way to motivate people who, in turn, work hard and stay with you.”
Often used as a human resources strategy, employee ownership can also
represent a growth opportunity. “Look at the example of WestJet,” says Steier.
“Their profit-sharing may have been a HR strategy but it is pivotal to their
success in the marketplace.”
For Don Daly, founder of Territorial Electric, sharing the company ownership
with his employees ensured that his hardest-working employees didn’t leave
to start their own companies, effectively becoming competition. “I wanted my
long-term, loyal employees to be rewarded. They all demonstrated over the
years that they had gone over and above their call of duty. They showed passion
and were absolutely trustworthy.”
By keeping senior leaders, the company was able to ramp-up quickly and
effectively. “We had trusted people to run feld offces on the larger projects,”
says Daly. Thanks to the golden handcuffs, this capacity for growth positively
impacted the employee-shareholders at the most basic level: fnancially. For
everyone, founder and staff-owners, it made good dollars and sense.
“Globalization is a fact of life,” Dr. Steier
says. “Our industry has to be resourceful
and resilient to survive.” Lacey and Clark
Builders know this first-hand. “There
is no option; we must be economical and
efficient in order to compete,” says Lacey,
adding that the partnership with Turner
strategically positions Clark to achieve
this goal.
When it comes to Daly’s goal to retire,
he’ll soon realize it … sort of. He was asked
by the new owners to stay on to make coffee
and steer the ship every once and a while. “I
don’t think I can go from 100 miles an hour
to one overnight,” he says.“Besides, my wife
told me I better not plan to sit across the
table from her all day: she says one of us
won’t survive.”
No matter how retirement treats Daly, at
least he knows that his company has been
left in good hands. It is owned by people he
trusts who will not only see that Territorial
Electric survives, but thrives.
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NAT_OPENMIND_13_p6-11.indd 11 5/2/13 9:20:56 AM
12 OPENMIND 2013
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OPENMIND 2013 13
By Peter Pilarski
Provincial governments play
a signifcant role in shaping
the construction industry.
How do the political intentions
affect the market?
anada’s labour laws are different provincially and
federally, with the construction industry generally
falling under provincial jurisdiction. As such, laws are
subject to change depending on the shifting political
priorities of the government of the day. It is not unusual
to see labour laws change signifcantly when a new party is elected
and forms government.
When the House of Commons debated and eventually passed
Bill C-377, the issue of union financial disclosure became a hot
topic in Canada. The bill, “An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act
(requirements for labour organizations)” was a private member’s
bill introduced by Russ Hiebert, Conservative MP for South
Surrey – White Rock – Cloverdale. Assuming its approval by the
Senate, Bill C-377 makes it mandatory for unions and related
organizations to file an annual standardized set of financial
statements and schedules with the Canada Revenue Agency.
This degree of transparency will allow Canadians access to
crucial information in a manner similar to that found in the
U.S., U.K., Australia and many other countries where unions are
held to higher degrees of accountability. Canadians will finally
be able to see, in online statements, how more than $4 billion in
tax-free dues are spent.
BRITISH COLUMBIA
B.C’s political fluctuations have jeopardized the province’s posi-
tive advancements made in its labour code provisions. Although
we don’t know which party will form the next B.C. government,
Adrian Dix, the leader of the B.C. NDP, said in a November 2012
speech, “I want to make it clear that I am proud of the work I’ve
done for years, side by side with labour unions.” He continued,
“The labour movement and NDP have done great things, but
our best days are still ahead of us.”
In December 2012, Dix supported eliminating the secret bal-
lot when workers vote on whether to join a union. Abolishing
this practice eliminates a worker’s ability to fairly express his
opinion without fear of intimidation.
ALBERTA
The Alberta government has not changed its labour code since
2008 when Bill 26, the Labour Relations Amendment Act was
passed. It dealt with unfair union organizing and job targeting
bid-subsidy schemes.
Since then, a group of Alberta’s leading industrial contractors
formed the Construction Competitiveness Coalition (CCC) to
analyze Alberta’s labour environment and provide recommen-
C
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p12-15.indd 13 5/2/13 9:26:30 AM
14 OPENMIND 2013
bargaining in construction and health-
care sectors.
The “Saskatchewan Employment Act”
has yet to be passed.
MANITOBA
A group of construction workers support-
ed by Merit Manitoba is currently taking
Manitoba Hydro to court to challenge the
legality of project labour agreements being
imposed on all major hydroelectric con-
struction projects.
The court challenge argues that the
Manitoba Hydro agreements violate the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
by requiring workers who have not selected
a union, to join a union and pay union
dues as a condition of employment.
The court proceedi ngs are at an
early stage, and it will take time before a
decision is rendered.
ONTARIO
Liberal leader and Premier Dalton
McGuinty announced his resignation
shortly after winning a minority gov-
ernment, and prorogued the provincial
legislature. His government is supported
by Working Families, a coalition of unions.
It brought in legislation that revoked the
secret ballot vote on unionization elec-
tions for the construction industry. The
Ontario Liberal Party selected Kathleen
Wynne as its new leader. At this time, it’s
too early to know her planned approach
on labour legislation.
The Ontario Liberal government, also
at the behest of unions, introduced leg-
islation creating the Ontario College of
Trades – perceived by industry as turning
control of apprenticeship over to the prov-
ince’s unions.
Ontario’s Official Opposition Pro-
gressive Conservative caucus released a
white paper in June 2012 titled “Paths to
Prosperity – Flexible Labour Markets,”
which contained a series of compelling
recommendations on labour reform. It
suggests that no clauses in any provin-
cial legislation, regulation or collective
agreement, should require a worker to
become a member of a union or pay union
dues as a condition of employment. Also
included is that union leaders should be
more accountable for how union dues are
spent. Further, employers should no lon-
ger collect union dues through paycheque
deductions and should not have to collect
dues on behalf of the union. The paper
recommends amendments to legislation
ensuring unions provide transparent
disclosure on union revenues and union
spending.
The PC white paper encourages the res-
toration of secret ballot voting to ensure
workers are shielded from potential
intimidation from union organizers and
employers – a right taken away in construc-
tion by the provincial Liberal government
in 2005.
QUEBEC
It is still illegal in Quebec to operate a
non-union construction company, even
though the province’s high-profile Char-
bonneau Commission conti nues to
expose the corruption and scandal that
defines the way organized crime operates
in the construction industry.
The Charbonneau Commission is
scheduled to hear evidence for years to
come, and it seems unlikely that any
changes will be introduced before the
commission concludes its work.
NOVA SCOTIA
In 2011, Nova Scotia’s NDP government
passed Bill 100 and 102. Bill 100, an “Act
to Establish a Unified Labour Board,”
effectively guarantees successor rights to
public sector unions. And Bill 102 allows
an arbitrator or the Nova Scotia Labour
dations to reform Alberta’s l abour
relations rules, improving the competi-
tiveness of its construction industry.
Some of these recommendations formed
part of the PC election platform.
During the 2012 provincial election,
the PC party’s election campaign pro-
posed amending Alberta’s Labour Code.
This included introducing the “Paycheque
Protection, Transparency and Freedom
to Choose Act”, making it mandatory for
unions to provide members with annual
financial statements disclosing union
spending, providing members the ability
to opt out of paying the portion of dues
spent on activities unrelated to collective
bargaining and grievance administration.
The PC party platform promised to
amend the Labour Code banning the
imposition of fines against members
who work for non-union employers or
employers with a non-signatory union
and enabling parties to negotiate single
collective agreements for all company
workers or projects, rather than separate
agreements for each trade group.
Since the election, the PC government
has not implemented any of these pledges.
SASKATCHEWAN
On May 2, 2012, the Government of Sas-
katchewan issued a call for submissions,
in response to a consultation paper on
reforming provincial labour legislation.
The government’s consultation paper
asked stakeholders for feedback on 15
pieces of legislation, governing every-
thing from employment standards to
occupational health and safety to collec-
tive bargaining legislation and the “Trade
Union Act.” The government received
more than 3,800 submissions.
On December 4, 2012, the Govern-
ment of Saskatchewan introduced the
“Saskatchewan Employment Act,” which
consolidated 12 acts into one updated and
comprehensive act. The new act included
the ability of employers or employees to
decertify a union that has been inactive
for three or more years and made it more
difficult for a union to fine a member for
crossing a picket line. Following an unsuc-
cessful application to decertify a union,
and after waiting 12 months, employees
could apply to decertify the union again.
The new law will maintain province-wide
TheStateofLabourLaw
Assuming its approval by the Senate, Bill C-377
makes it mandatory for unions, and related
organizations, to fle an annual standardized
set of fnancial statements and schedules with
the Canada Revenue Agency.
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p12-15.indd 14 5/2/13 9:27:02 AM
quickly passed Bill 37 in July 2012, which
denies workers basic democratic rights to a
secret ballot vote in a unionization election.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s new card-
check certification removes the requirement
for a secret ballot vote if the union submits
evidence that 65 per cent or more of employ-
ees in the bargaining unit sign a union
membership application.
Bill 37 included a one-time final offer bal-
lot option, giving an employer the right to
request that its final offer be put to the mem-
bership in a provincially supervised vote.
The bill introduced potential access to first
contract interest arbitration at the labour
board’s discretion. Section 25 of the code
was changed to give employers the right to
engage in non-threatening and non-coercive
speech, and to give the labour relations board
remedial powers to deal with unfair labour
practices.
These changes came as a surprise to
employers in Newfoundland and Labrador
and were introduced quickly after very little
consultation.
CONCLUSION
Employee or employer rights can be easily
stripped with changes to legislation. Gov-
ernments need to take time to listen to all
stakeholders before considering labour
law reform. As we have seen, an election
can mean costly changes, and the ever-
shifting political priorities of those in
power have a significant affect on indus-
try and the individual.
Relations Board to impose a first collec-
tive agreement. Merit Nova Scotia fiercly
opposed both pieces of legislation as
did the rest of Nova Scotia’s business
community.
Nova Scotia’s business community is
united in its opposition to first contract
arbitration and has urged the NDP gov-
ernment to reconsider its legislation.
Progressive Conservative Party leader
Jamie Baillie promised that, if elected, he
would focus on economic and job creation
measures while eliminating the harmful
labour legislation brought in by the NDP.
Liberal leader Stephen McNeil stated
that first contract arbitration is “against
the spirit of the collective bargaining pro-
cess, slanting it in favour of the union,”
but he has not committed to any changes
should his party form government after
the next election.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Newfoundl and and Labrador Con-
servative Premier Kathy Dunderdale
Merit Contractors Association, Alberta Venture and the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction
Association extend their thanks to the generous sponsors and to everyone who attended the
Contractor of the Year Awards Gala!
THANK YOU
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE FINALISTS AND WINNERS OF THIS YEAR’S
CONTRACTOR OF THE YEAR AWARDS!
Presented by Sponsored by Dessert Sponsor
The State of Labour Law
It is not unusual to see labour laws
change signifcantly when a new party is
elected and forms government.
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p12-15.indd 15 5/2/13 9:46:30 AM
16 OPENMIND 2013
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OPENMIND 2013 17
Manitoba construction workers
question having to join and pay
union dues to be able to work on
government hydroelectric projects
o what extent can a government require an
individual to become a member of a union, and to
pay dues to that union, as mandatory conditions
of employment? Does the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms protect the right of open shop or non-
unionized construction workers? Does it allow them to
work on hydroelectric projects without being compelled
to join and lend fnancial support to a union they have
never belonged to? These questions are at the core of
a legal action filed in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s
Bench last summer.
T
By Nicholas MaloNe
Charter
Challenge
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p16-19.indd 17 5/2/13 9:30:56 AM
18 OPENMIND 2013
Five local construction workers, with
the support of the Merit Contractors
Association of Manitoba as co-plaintiff,
are challenging Manitoba Hydro’s author-
ity to require them to join and pay dues to
a union in order to work on hydroelectric
construction projects.
Although focused on the provisions
of two collective agreements imposed
by Manitoba Hydro on open shop
contractors and their employees,
the case should serve to highlight a
widespread and deeply entrenched
labour policy in Manitoba that
puts the interests of trade unions
over the charter-protected rights
of workers who chose to remain
non-unionized.
The Floodway Expansion Project
The case can trace its origins to the
Manitoba government’s decision to
impose a collective agreement on a con-
struction project known as the Floodway
Expansion project in 2005. The original
proposal attempted to force open shop con-
tractors to have their employees sign union
cards and pay union dues as a condition
of employment. The government justifed
its decision by asserting that these clauses
were necessary to complete the project “on
time and on budget” by preventing strikes
or lockouts. However, faced with prolonged
media attention and lobbying efforts by
local industry partners, the government
eventually agreed to remove the mandatory
union membership clause from the agree-
ment. As much as they found the remain-
ing provisions of the agreement distasteful
with respect to the mandatory payment of
dues, a number of open shop companies
nevertheless decided to bid on the project.
Unfortunately, this relatively success-
ful challenge to the terms of the Manitoba
Floodway scheme failed to produce any long-
term change in the government’s labour
policy agenda. In fact, as recent develop-
ments have shown, the use and imposition
of restrictive Project Management Agree-
ments (PMAs) are likely to continue to affect
large-scale public infrastructure projects
in the province for years to come. Of even
greater concern to open shop contractors is
the lack of any meaningful con-
sultations or compelling jus-
tifications for these policies,
which, to a large extent,
primarily impact the
rights and employment
prospects of thousands
of open shop or non-
unionized workers in
the Manitoba construc-
tion industry.
The East Side Road Project
Decisions surrounding the East Side Road
Transportation Initiative illustrate the on-
going concerns and frustration that open
shop contractors and their employees
experience on this issue. With a budget of
approximately $3 billion, and with more
than $50 million in awarded tenders, the
East Side Road project will lead to the con-
struction and maintenance of an all-sea-
son road running 156 kilometres along the
east side of Lake Winnipeg. This project is
among the most signifcant and ambitious
transportation initiatives in recent Mani-
toba history, both in scale and by reference
to the extent of public and environmen-
tal consultations involved. This project
undoubtedly holds significant opportu-
nities for a wide range of Manitoba com-
panies and workers, whether union or
open-shop, and should have attracted bids
by a number of open shop contractors.
It was only after the tendering docu-
ments for some of the initial East Side
Road projects became available in 2011
that contractors first became aware that
another PMA (largely modelled on the
Floodway agreement) would again subject
open shop contractors and their employ-
ees to mandatory union dues and fees as a
condition of employment.
Manitoba Hydro
By 2011, open shop contractors and their
employees learned that another govern-
ment-directed collective agreement would
apply to the Bipole III Transmission Line
Project, a project Manitoba Hydro under-
took for the construction of converter sta-
tions and a new transmission line spanning
over 1,300 kilometres from the Lower Nel-
son River generating station
to southern Manitoba. The
construction
and maintenance of Bipole
III is expected to create economic oppor-
tunities for local and out-of-province com-
panies for years to come. The Bipole III
PMA not only requires its workers to pay
union dues and fees but also forces them,
as mandatory conditions of employment,
to join either IBEW Local 2034 or IUOE
Local 987. The government made the
decision to impose this collective agree-
ment on open shop contractors and their
employees, once again, without any prior
consultation.
Open shop contractors immediately
expressed their concern that, absent any
compelling justification, these offensive
and restrictive provisions amounted to a
breach of their employees’ charter rights.
Merit Manitoba urgently requested to meet
with the premier or the minister responsible
for Manitoba Hydro, but the government
CharterChallenge
Does the Canadian
Charter of Rights and
Freedoms protect the
rights of open shop
or non-unionized
construction workers?
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p16-19.indd 18 5/2/13 9:32:42 AM
denied the request. Instead the govern-
ment provided a letter stating its rationale
for requiring open shop or non-unionized
workers to join IBEW or IUOE, and to
pay dues to these unions, as conditions of
employment on the Bipole III project. Aside
from an unequivocal position that this
policy was simply “good business” for
Manitoba, the letter also disclosed a famil-
iar set of justifications, namely to ensure
workplace safety and to prevent strikes or
lockouts. Needless to say, these purported
justifications proved even more perplex-
ing to open shop contractors. Manitoba
contractors, whether union or open-shop,
are all subject to the same Certifcate of Rec-
ognition safety standards program, which
is administered by the Manitoba Construc-
tion Safety Association.
Both in form and substance, the Bipole
III collective agreement is not without prec-
edent. Beginning in the late 1960s, major
hydroelectric projects in northern Mani-
toba were traditionally subject to manda-
tory (and similarly restrictive) collective
agreements. These ad-hoc agreements, as
negotiated between local trade unions and
the Hydro Projects Management Asso-
ciation (a negotiating
and contracting agent
for Manitoba Hydro)
are now embodied in a
model PMA known as
the Burntwood Nel-
son Agreement (BNA),
providing for union
membership and the
payment of dues as
mandatory conditions
of employment.
The practical and intended effect
of the BNA and Bipole III agreement
on open shop contractors and their
employees became clear when employ-
ees reported to a BNA-covered project
last spring. One of these employees, a co-
plaintiff in the case launched last sum-
mer, signed a union membership card
only under threat of being removed from
the worksite if he didn’t. Mirroring the
experience of most, if not all open shop
contractors who worked on the Floodway
project, the employee’s refusal to consent
to the deduction of union dues from his
wages also forced his employer to make
these payments on his behalf.
The legal action fled in June 2012 will
focus on the provisions of the BNA and
the Bipole III PMA. The action puts for-
ward two principal arguments.
The frst argument is that the require-
ment to join a designated trade union in
order to work and/or to remit dues to
that union, whether or not the employee
wishes to be a member of that union vio-
lates the affected employee’s freedom
of association under section 2(d) of the
charter. This argument follows a 2001
decision by the Supreme Court of Can-
ada (R. v. Advance Cutting & Coring Ltd.,
[2001] 3 S.C.R. 209, 2001 SCC 70), which
recognized that the freedom of associa-
tion guaranteed under section 2(d) of the
charter includes an individual’s right not
to associate.
The second argument is that, hav-
ing been compelled to join a union or
to remit union dues in order to work
on the project, the employee’s freedom
of expression, protected under s. 2(b) of
the charter, is violated. This is because
unions publicly support political parties
or policies that employees do not nec-
essarily support. Employee-compelled
union dues sometimes provide fnancial
support to political or ideological causes
not supported by the employee.
Preliminary motions filed by Mani-
toba Hydro and other co-defendants are
scheduled for May 2013. The law frm of
Heenan Blaikie LLP is representing the
plaintiffs, including Merit Manitoba,
with a team of counsel led by Peter Gall,
Q.C., who appeared before the Supreme
Court of Canada representing open shop
contractors from outside Quebec in the
Advanced Cutting and Coring Case.
Open shops are eagerly awaiting the
results.
A co-plaintiff in the case
signed a union membership
card only under threat of
being removed from the
worksite if he didn’t.
Elan Construction Limited
#100, 3639-27th St. N.E.
Calgary, AB T1Y 5E4
Tel: (403) 291-1165
Fax: (403) 291-5396
elanconstruction.com
General Contracting
Project Management
Butler Building Systems
Design/Build Contracting
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p16-19.indd 19 5/2/13 9:34:30 AM
20 OPENMIND 2013
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OPENMIND 2013 21
By Terrance Oakey
Reviewing the progress of Canada’s open shop sector
and Merit Canada’s work
Union Financial Transparency
The House of Commons passed an impor-
tant piece of legislation in December 2012:
Bill C-377 (An Act to Amend the Income Tax
Act – Labour Organizations). It was sponsored
by British Columbia MP Russ Hiebert and will
require unions and other labour organizations
in Canada to fle annual public reports detailing
their financial statements, salaries paid to top
employees, time spent on lobbying and political
activities, and certain information about expen-
ditures over $5,000. If this legislation is passed
by the Senate, it will shine a light on the more
than $4 billion that unions collect annually in
forced contributions from workers and bring
Canada’s union fnancial disclosure laws in line
with those in Australia, New Zealand, Germany,
France, Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S.
Canada’s union leaders spent vast amounts
of money trying to defeat this bill – a massive
lobby that is expected to continue as the Senate
reviews the legislation. This is despite the fact
that the House of Commons already amended
Bill C-377 to address most of the concerns union
leaders raised. The interventions from union
leaders that resulted in amendments made it
a better piece of legislation, and contrary to
union rhetoric, the reporting requirements are
not onerous and will be easy to implement with
basic accounting practices. Yet union leaders
still oppose the bill, suggesting the real moti-
vation for their campaign against it is a refusal
to concede that they need to operate in a more
transparent manner.
he open shop sector and the forces of free enterprise
saw another year of substantial progress in 2012. Merit
Canada’s progress was met with opposition at every turn by
the leadership of the building trades unions and their allies
in the broader left-wing labour movement. Positive reforms
took place dealing with immigration reform, union fnancial
disclosure, the Federal Fair Wage Act and open tendering.
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p20-24.indd 21 5/2/13 9:36:04 AM
22 OPENMIND 2013
1930s to regulate the wages and hours of
labour for construction workers engaged
in projects funded by the Government of
Canada. Back then, there were few, if any,
laws and regulations in place at any level to
protect the interests of workers. The world
is much different today and there are a host
of provincial and territorial measures in
place to enhance and protect working con-
ditions, employment standards, labour rela-
tions, wages and hours of labour.
There is no longer any valid need for
federal government regulation in this
area. According to Statistics Canada, con-
struction workers are paid an average rate
of $28.35 per hour in our country. This
makes them the second-highest-paid
workers, exceeding the national average by
some 30 per cent.
After 80 years, the Fair Wages Act was
outdated, created unnecessary adminis-
trative costs for the government and the
construction industry, infringed on the
jurisdiction of the provinces and territories,
and signifcantly increased the burden on
Canadian taxpayers.
The Fair Wages Act obliges companies
to establish dual-wage structures for pri-
vate- and public-sector work. Many small
and family-run open shop construction
companies simply refuse to bid on federal
projects because of this costly
and burdensome legislation.
And what is the result? Lower
levels of competition and
increased construction costs
for the government.
Repealing the Fair Wages
and Hours of Labour Act
sets the stage for millions
of dollars in savings for gov-
ernment and taxpayers. The
antiquated wage regulations
needlessly increased the mar-
ginal cost of labour. This, in
turn, discouraged employ-
ers from hiring additional
workers, even during times
MeritCanada’sProgress
of peak demand. Who gets hurt here? New
job seekers, in particular, young people and
other groups under-represented in the con-
struction trades, such as women and First
Nations. The construction industry is vital
to Canada’s economic health. We need com-
petition governing legislation that refects
the society and market conditions in which
we live today – conditions far different than
those of the Great Depression.
Open Tendering
What rules should the federal government
use when spending federal monies on infra-
structure projects? As governments across
the country face fnancial pressures, there
is a renewed need to take action on out-
dated regulations and red tape that increase
construction costs. While the federal gov-
ernment requires open and competitive bid-
ding for its own infrastructure projects, the
same is not true for all jurisdictions across
the country.
Instead of allowing open tendering,
many jurisdictions have rules that allow
only certain companies, with agree-
ments with pre-selected unions, to get all
of the contracts. Non-union construction
companies or companies with members
of the wrong union aren’t even allowed
to bid.
In Hamilton, Ontario, of approximately
260 contractors, only 17 contractors had
workers registered with the proper union
that city rules require. Ninety-four per
cent of the available companies aren’t even
allowed to bid on projects. In one case, the
city disqualifed four out of seven bids for a
Repealing the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act
sets the stage for millions of dollars in savings for
government, open shop companies and taxpayers.
While union leaders applied intense
pressure on MPs who supported the legis-
lation to change their position, those MPs
recognized something that labour leaders
did not: 86 per cent of unionized workers
support greater fnancial transparency for
unions. Therein lies the fundamental dis-
connect between union leaders and Bill
C-377. The disclosure provisions of the
legislation should empower union lead-
ers since their members will easily be able
to see how the union spends their dues.
In fact, the whole union model of forced
contributions and generous tax breaks will
be enhanced when the general public is
able to see how unions spend their money.
If unions want to continue to beneft from
the public trust, they need to earn it by
operating in a transparent manner.
We should applaud the members of
Parliament who voted in favour of Bill
C-377 for their support of transparency
and accountability. They recognize that
unions cannot beneft from the public trust
through forced contributions from workers
while simultaneously receiving generous
tax breaks worth more than $400 million
annually. To argue that unions have no
public disclosure obligations simply defes
common sense.
Federally Regulated Wage Rates
In the 2012 spring budget, the Harper
government repealed the Fair Wages and
Hours of Labour Act, better known as the
Fair Wages Act. This was a long overdue
policy change that treats the construction
industry like any other industry that does
business with the federal government. It
was a good policy change for workers, gov-
ernments and taxpayers.
Merit Canada is a strong supporter of the
government’s decision as Merit believes that
construction contracts, employment and
individual compensation in the construc-
tion industry should be based on merit,
regardless of employee affliation.
The Fair Wages Act was adopted in the
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p20-24.indd 22 5/2/13 9:36:34 AM
multimillion-dollar construction contract
because bidders weren’t affliated with the
proper union.
This also creates problems for workers.
If the companies they work for aren’t even
allowed to bid on construction projects,
how can their company compete and keep
workers? As Penny Allen, the Greater Essex
County District School Board’s super-
intendent of business argues: “It’s not
fair. All contractors pay taxes, but we, as a
publicly funded body, can only put our
tenders out to certain contractors that
are unionized.”
It is surprising that in 2012, so many
Canadian cities still have rules on the
books that allow contracts to only be bid
on by those affliated with certain unions
and exclude all others. Cities such as
Toronto, Hamilton, London, Oshawa,
Thunder Bay, New Westminster and
Burnaby, and provincial agencies such
as Ontario Power Generation and Hydro
One, and even school boards have rules in
place that restrict open bidding.
Recent media reports on the Toronto
District School Board’s problems with
repair work show all too well the conse-
quences of such restrictive bidding proc-
esses. Costs are infated ($143 to install a
pencil sharpener), productivity is reduced
(bills were inflated to cover workers who
did not show up), and who is left with the
bill? The taxpayer.
Canadians know that allowing only
one pre-selected bidder on every single
construction contract is not the best way
to go. No Canadian family would operate
that way with their own home renovation
projects. Opening up bidding allows for
competition and leads to lower costs and
higher productivity.
The Canadian government is invest-
ing $2.275 billion under the Provincial-
Territorial Base Fund. Considering
that labour costs amount to as much as
40 per cent of a construction project,
and that open-shop contractors offer the
same services at up to 10 per cent lower
costs, savings to Canadian taxpayers
from this policy could amount to up
to $91 million – and that’s just one
infrastructure agreement.
U.S. studies suggest that closed tender-
ing rules increase the cost of construction
between 12 and 18 per cent. The City of
Hamilton estimates that restrictive clauses
inflate the prices of its construction
projects by up to 40 per cent. By allowing
provinces and municipalities to spend fed-
eral funds through their closed tendering
processes, the costs of projects increase,
fewer projects get funded and fewer jobs
are created. Higher costs mean lost oppor-
tunities and wasted tax dollars. Providing
equal opportunity for all contractors to
submit their best bids will increase com-
petition and ensure that Canadian taxpay-
ers receive the best value for their money.
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p20-24.indd 23 5/7/13 9:02:39 AM
Merit Canada’s Progress
Federal rules would ensure that local gov-
ernments would behave more equitably
when spending federal tax dollars.
Federal Skilled Trades Program
According to the Construction Sector
Council, there will be a shortage of over
300,000 skilled tradespeople in Canada
by the end of the decade. Merit Canada
strongly supported the new Federal Skilled
Trades Stream announced by Citizenship
and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
This change is long overdue.
Canada’s immigration system must
respond better to the needs of employers to
ensure those immigrating to Canada have
the skills required to obtain long-term sta-
ble employment. It is sound public policy
to have an immigration system that works
to ensure long-term growth and prosperity
for Canada.
Merit also welcomed announced
changes to the Skilled Worker Program.
Changes to the criteria for acceptance of
admission outlined by Minister Kenney
ensures immigrants will have jobs waiting
so they can provide for their families.
The fnal changes to the Federal Skilled
Worker Program selection criteria include:

Minimum official language thresh-
olds and increased points for official
language profciency, making language
the most important factor in the selec-
tion process;
As governments across the country face fnancial
pressures, there is a renewed need to take action
on outdated regulations and red tape that increase
construction costs.

Increased emphasis on younger immi-
grants who are likelier to acquire
Canadian experience, likelier to adapt to
changing labour market conditions, and
who will spend a greater number of years
contributing to Canada’s economy;

Introducti on of the Educati onal
Credential Assessment (ECA), so that
education points awarded refect the for-
eign credential’s true value in Canada;

Changes to the arranged employment
process, allowing employers to hire appli-
cants quickly, if there is a demonstrated
need in the labour market; and

Additional adaptability points for
spousal language ability and Canadian
work experience.
Merit Canada’s Ottawa offce has been
operating for almost two years, yet its
impact to industry has already been sub-
stantial. Merit Canada will continue to
liaise with government officials on these
and other priorities of concern to the open
shop contractor.
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p20-24.indd 24 5/2/13 9:41:18 AM
OPENMIND 2013 25
Federal immigration reforms can help the construction
industry cope with a shortage of skilled workers
espite the best efforts of governments, business associations
and contractors to promote apprenticeship programs, improve
productivity and reach out to under-represented communities,
forecasts continue to indicate that there is an imminent and signifcant
shortfall in domestic human resources. In short, Canada’s labour force is
dangling on the edge of a demographic cliff.
According to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
(HRSDC), the median age of Canada’s population in 1971 was 26.2 years
old. As of 2011, the median age was 39.9 years. Our working-age population
is expected to decrease by 13 per cent over the next few decades.
by Bill Stewart
Cliff
D
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p25-29.indd 25 2013-05-02 10:10 AM
26 OPENMIND 2013
More than 20 per cent of the current
construction industry workforce is
expected to retire over the next seven
years. According to the Construction
Sector Council, this will contribute to
a nationwide shortage of 300,000
construction workers, and our
industry will feel the impacts.
The Const ruct i on Owners
Association of Alberta (COAA)
is a major group of purchasers of
construction services – many of
which are involved in developing
oil- sands in northern Alberta. The
industry estimates current and
intended investment to be $250
billion, and COAA members have
a significant interest in construction
workforce issues. In 2011, they estimated
that industry would need almost 160,000
offshore construction workers over
the next seven years to meet projected
construction needs.
For years, most of the 250, 000
permanent immigrants coming to Canada
annually came in under the Federal
Skilled Worker sub-category. Changes
in immigration legislation in 2002
established selection criteria based on
the theory that the more education an
immigrant had, the more likely he or she
would be to succeed in resettling.
Consequently, 46 per cent of admissions
under the Skilled Worker program held a
master’s degree or PhD whereas only three
per cent of admissions held a formal trade
certificate. The result for construction
was that fewer than 700 immigrants with
The Demographic Cliff
trades training were admitted to Canada
annually while countless numbers of
foreign-trained doctors, accountants and
nuclear physicists were underemployed
as janitors, caretakers or taxi drivers. The
law at the time also stipulated that all
applications be processed in the order
in which they were received, which
resulted in a backlog of hundreds of
thousands of applications.
With apprenticeship training
programs running at unprecedented
levels and the industry experiencing
full employment, many contractors
were forced to resort to short-term
international recruitment through
the controversial federal Temporary
Foreign Worker (TFW) program. However,
this program was fraught with bureau-
cratic red tape and delays too.
Many of the problems associated with
the TFW program are attributed to it
being jointly administered by two federal
departments. Prior to offering temporary
employment to a foreign national,
Our wOrkINg-agE POPulatION
Is ExPEctED tO DEcrEasE by
13 PEr cENt OvEr thE NExt
fEw DEcaDEs.
– Human Resources and
Skills Development Canada
NAIT ENERGIZES INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS.
We promise relevant knowledge, real skills and rewarding careers to
our students in technology and trades programs. We deliver on that
promise every day.
As a leading polytechnic, NAIT offers hands-on, technology-based
learning. We meet current and emerging needs with career-ready grads
and applied research solutions. We are global competitors, essential to
Alberta and to serving the needs of our communities. From this position,
we’re recognized at home and around the world.
EDUCATION FOR
THE REAL WORLD
nait.ca
@NAIT Connect with us
000AV-NAIT_ROP-FP.indd 4 3/5/13 1:44:18 PM NAT_OPENMIND_13_p25-29.indd 26 2013-05-02 10:10 AM
NAIT ENERGIZES INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS.
We promise relevant knowledge, real skills and rewarding careers to
our students in technology and trades programs. We deliver on that
promise every day.
As a leading polytechnic, NAIT offers hands-on, technology-based
learning. We meet current and emerging needs with career-ready grads
and applied research solutions. We are global competitors, essential to
Alberta and to serving the needs of our communities. From this position,
we’re recognized at home and around the world.
EDUCATION FOR
THE REAL WORLD
nait.ca
@NAIT Connect with us
000AV-NAIT_ROP-FP.indd 4 3/5/13 1:44:18 PM NAT_OPENMIND_13_p25-29.indd 27 2013-05-02 10:11 AM
28 OPENMIND 2013
the employer must obtain a Labour Market
Opinion (LMO) from HRSDC. HRSDC’s
role is to certify that the employer made
reasonable efforts to recruit within Canada
frst and that the terms and conditions of
employment are not fraudulent and in
accordance with prevailing local wage
rates and employment standards.
Once the employer obtains the
LMO, the employer and prospective
employee must then satisfy both CIC
and provincial regulatory authorities
responsible for accreditation, that
they are eligible to work temporarily
in Canada.
Employers experienced tremen-
dous difficulty with the TFW
program. The Auditor General of
Canada (AGC) delivered a scathing
critique of how the LMO process
was administered. An audit noted,
“We found that directives on how
to assess whether employers meet some
or all of the factors outlined in the
regulations are not clear or incomplete;
interpretations vary from one regional
office to another and even within the
same offce.”
That Was Then, This is Now
In spring 2012, the federal government
began retooling its policies and procedures
for permanent and temporary workers.
To reduce a backlog of 300,000 applica-
tions, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney
announced that all applications received
prior to February 28, 2008, under the
Federal Skilled Worker program, would be
returned to applicants. This paved the way
for the Immigration Department to process
applications based on labour market needs,
instead of their place in the queue.
In April 2012, HRSDC Minister Diane
Finley announced the Accelerated Labour
Market Opinion (A-LMO) program
to expedite the processing for targeted
TFW applications. The program enabled
employers with a positive compliance
record of two years to have new applications
fast-tracked. This new approach is working
exceedingly well.
I n J ul y 2012, Mi ni st er Kenney
announced the extension and expansion
to the Alberta Pilot Project. Employers
no longer need HRSDC approval and
an LMO to recruit internationally for
skilled workers in seven high-demand
occupations. This move signifcantly helps
companies – particularly construction and
maintenance companies – to respond more
quickly to the needs of resource developers.
In most cases, TFWs brought in under
this stream are allowed to move between
employers in Alberta over a two-year
period – a feature unavailable in other TFW
streams. While the pilot project provides
much-welcome relief in expediting inter-
national recruitment, it is for the most part
only available to construction companies
and not other industries experiencing
acute shortages. Moreover, it is restricted
to Alberta operations only. Industry
is also critical of provincial regulatory
rules that create different credential
recognition streams and the process
and length of time it takes to recognize
trade credentials for optional and
compulsory certifed trades.
To deal with the bias in the FSW
program favouring applicants with
university education over those
with trades skills and experience,
a new, dedicated skilled trades
class was created in 2012 within
the permanent immigrant stream.
Rather than having to qualify under
the “points” system, applicants in
this class are now assessed on whether
they have a valid long-term employment
offer or appropriate working credentials
and experience in a trade. They must also
demonstrate that they have language
skills appropriate for their occupation.
The Demographic Cliff
ThE C.D. hOwE INsTITuTE
rECENTly CalCulaTED ThaT
IMMIgraTION NuMbErs wOulD
NEED TO INCrEasE TO bETwEEN
625,000 TO ONE MIllION
aNNually TO fully aDDrEss
CaNaDa’s agINg wOrkfOrCE
aND ThE shOrTagE Of wOrkErs.
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p25-29.indd 28 2013-05-02 10:26 AM
Invest in your team.
nait.ca/cit | 780.378.1230
YOUR CORPORATE TRAINING PROGRAM
TRANSFORM
As a leading polytechnic, NAIT
offers hands-on, technology
based learning. We are global
competitors, essential to serving
the needs of business and
industry, at home and abroad.
NAIT Corporate Training draws on
the Institute’s more than 200
programs to customize and
deliver training across a range
of competencies, including:
• Information
Technology
• Telecommunication
• Project
Management
• Engineering
Technologies
• Environmental
Management
• Trades
• Business and
Leadership
• Health and
Safety
• Aboriginal
Initiatives
• International
Training
EDUCATION FOR
THE REAL WORLD
In December, Minister Kenney announced
that 3,000 spots were being allocated to
applicants under this stream.
The introduction of this new and
distinct category coincides with a series
of other proposed changes to the Federal
Skilled Worker program point-system
grid the government implemented in
January 2013. The changes included:
• Making language the most important
selection factor including introducing
minimum language fuency thresholds
and increasing the number of points
awarded for linguistic ability;
• I ncreasi ng poi nts f or younger
immigrants on the basis that younger
immigrants are more likely to “gain
valuable Canadian experience” and will
be in the workforce and contributing
to Canada’s economy for longer;
• Increasing points for Canadian work
experience and reducing points
awarded for foreign work experience;
• Simplifying the arranged employment
process to prevent fraud and allow
empl oyers to more qui ckl y fi l l
vacancies;
• Awarding additional points for spousal
language ability and Canadian work
experience.
While both temporary and permanent
immigration are important tools in
helping employers meet their human
resource needs, immigration is not a
stand-alone “silver bullet” solution to
solving the shortage of skilled workers
in Canada. The C.D. Howe Institute
recently calculated that immigration
numbers would need to increase
to between 625,000 to one million
annually to fully address Canada’s
aging workforce and the shortage of
workers. While other strategies and
policies, in terms of apprenticeship,
improving productivity and outreach
engagement are all key to solving
human resource problems, 2012 will be
seen as a watershed year since the federal
government made remarkable progress
in reforming our immigration system to
making it more responsive to the needs
of Canada’s changing labour force.
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p25-29.indd 29 2013-05-02 10:12 AM
i
l
l
u
s
t
r
a
t
i
o
n

b
y
:

s
t
e
v
e

a
d
a
m
s
30 OPENMIND 2013
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p30-35.indd 30 5/2/13 9:54:52 AM
The Coming
Quiet
OPENMIND 2013 31
Revolution
n October 2010, Maclean’s magazine released an issue with an
infammatory cover image that caused all hell to break loose in the
province of Quebec. The cover featured the beloved Bonhomme
Carnaval snowman carrying a briefcase overfowing with money; the
headline read: “The Most Corrupt Province in Canada.”
The backlash in Quebec was fierce, prompting Rogers Publishing to
issue an apology. At the same time, however, a small but vocal chorus of
Quebecers, including a number of prominent journalists, came to the
defence of Maclean’s journalist Martin Patriquin and his report on the
state of institutionalized corruption in Canada’s second-largest province.
For the locals, the allegations were not only undeniable, but also old news
that the rest of the country needed to hear.
I
By Ben Freeland
For nearly half a century, Quebec’s construction industry
has been held hostage by overregulation, opacity
and heavy-handed big labour machinations. For most
Quebecers, an open shop revolution is long overdue
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p30-35.indd 31 5/3/13 9:33:57 AM
32 OPENMIND SPRING2012
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102027 (03/2013)
000OM-RBC-FP.indd 1 3/25/13 8:49:11 AM NAT_OPENMIND_13_p30-35.indd 32 5/2/13 9:55:50 AM
OPENMIND 2013 33
The Maclean’s exposé did much to draw
national attention to Quebec’s deep
economic and political dysfunction. It also
correctly identifed the major driving forces
behind the corruption: the enormous
inf luence wielded by the province’s large
construction unions and an extraordinary
level of intrusion into the industry by the
provincial government.
Since 1968, union membership has been
mandatory for construction workers in
Quebec, making it the only jurisdiction
in North America with such regulations.
Coupled with legislation passed in 1976,
which gave the provincial government
sweeping power over labour supply at the
behest of the province’s fve big construc-
tion unions, this resulted in a closed and
rigged system characterized by inf lated
costs and a lack of transparency
permitting a deep penetration
of organized crime.
I n 2011, t he embat t l ed
Liberal government of Jean
Charest finally took decisive
action against this culture of
corruption with the launch of
the Charbonneau Commission.
Meanwhile, recent legislative
moves in and out of the prov-
ince give fresh hope to Quebec-
ers who view the province’s domineering
unions with the same acrimony they once
reserved for the heavy-handed clergy of
pre-Quiet Revolution Quebec.
The roots of this closed system are not
difficult to comprehend. At the dawn of
Quebec’s Quiet Revolution in the 1960s,
support for organized labour was wide-
spread in the wake of autocratic regime
of Maurice Duplessis and his Union
Nationale party. The period after Dup-
lessis was characterized by the wholesale
transfer of authority over education and
health care from the Catholic Church
to the provincial government, as well as
the rapid expansion of unions. But while
unionization offered workers better work-
ing conditions than before, it did nothing
to ensure industrial harmony. Union fac-
tionalism lead to well-publicized spates
of violence at many mega-projects and
threatened to derail the province’s break-
neck industrialization.
Prior events all led to the 1976 creation
of the Commission de Construction du
Québec (CCQ) – a special government
department charged with overseeing
construction industry manpower. The
provincial government essentially estab-
lished itself as a tributary to the Quebec’s
five main construction unions, institut-
ing wage schedules and controlling the
number of union cards issued. In doing so,
the provincial government allowed itself
“to be taken hostage by the disreputable
elements of the trade union movement,”
journalist and political scientist L. Ian
MacDonald wrote.
The arrangement curbed building-site
violence and decreased work stoppages,
yet this labour peace was a straight-jack-
eted industry characterized by the CCQ’s
intimidation. (Between 1978 and 1996, the
CCQ levied close to $25 million worth of
fines for work done without the required
union card.) The resulting system also
made it virtually impossible for skilled
tradespeople outside of Quebec to work in
the province since it barred out-of-province
frms from bidding on building projects.
Alternately, many skilled tradespeople
within Quebec were forced to seek oppor-
tunities outside the province while starv-
ing the province’s industry of fresh talent
and competition.
Michel Kelly-Gagnon, president and
CEO of the pro free market Montreal Eco-
nomic Institute said in his presentation at
the 2012 International Open Shop Confer-
ence in Ottawa, “Quebec’s construction
industry is special, and not in a good sense.
It’s a shame because Quebec’s construc-
tion workers actually have an excellent
reputation in terms of actual skills and
work ethic.”
The formation of Alberta’s Merit Con-
tractors Association in 1986 started the
open shop model of construction from a
small movement widely perceived as a tem-
porary blip to the sector. The Merit phe-
nomenon did not go unnoticed in La Belle
Province, leading a small, but vocal, con-
tingent of contractors to publicly question
why the “freedom of association” guaran-
tee outlined in the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms was systematically
denied for Quebec workers.
Finally, the issue came to a head with
the initiation in 1993 of the R. v. Advance
Cutting and Coring et al. Supreme Court
case. The case was led by Jocelyn Dumais,
a Gatineau concrete contractor wel l
known for his acts of civil disobedience
against Quebec’s closed shop system.
Dumais also brief ly ran as a candidate
for the centre-right Action Démocratique
du Québec party but withdrew from the
political scene in order to focus on his lob-
bying efforts. The plaintiffs in
Advanced Cutting and Coring
argued that Quebec’s policy of
mandatory union membership
for construction workers con-
travened their constitutional
right to freedom of associa-
tion. The court heard the legal
arguments in March 2000, and
decided after 18 months by a
vote of five to four, that Que-
bec’s turbulent labour relations
history made its mandatory unionization
law a justifable and permissible exception
to the Charter.
For a decade after that rul ing, l it-
tle changed on the labour reform front,
despite the many scandals besetting the
province’s construction industry. In 2011,
prospects of change resurfaced with the
launch of a massive public inquiry into
the management corruption of a public
construction contract: the Commission
of Inquiry on the Awarding and Man-
agement of Public Contracts in the Con-
struction Industry or the Charbonneau
Commission. In the midst of this highly
publicized inquiry, Quebec’s then Labour
Minister Lise Thériault took an unchar-
acteristically bold step by introducing
Bill 33 in December 2011. The bill’s aim
was to end the practice of union placement
of employees (or placement syndicale) and
force the CCQ to actually assign workers
based on employers’ needs.
In the same year, B.C. Conservative MP
Russ Hiebert tabled a groundbreaking
RBC Group Advantage
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As part of Merit Canada

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to all-inclusive banking packages that could save
you up to $1,113 a year
^
. Make the switch today
and receive up to $625 in gift cards
+
!
Ask us about the
RBC Group Advantage program.
Visit rbc.com/meritcanada
TM
Save up to $1,113 a year
^
on your everyday banking.
®/

Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner(s).
^ Savings were calculated assuming the use of all banking services available within the RBC VIP Banking package. The amount actually saved will vary depending on the extent to
which you use each of the account services. For this calculation, the following assumptions regarding service use were made: overdraft protection, 1 cheque order annually, 2 Interac

e-Transfers per month, $2,500 CDN of travellers cheques purchased annually, plus use of 4 drafts/ services annually, travel coupon; the annual rental of a small safe deposit box.
Monthly savings also include 100 debits (operating and alternate accounts), 3 Interac ATM withdrawals per month, 1 PLUS

ATM withdrawal, 2 cross-border debits per month, 2 certifed
cheque services, annual fee of the applicant/co-applicant credit card, 1 assisted stop-payment annually and Self-Directed RRSP.
+
To get $625 worth of gift cards/certifcates, you will
need a total of 75,000 RBC Rewards points. For more details, go to www.rbcrewards.com For complete terms and conditions of the group banking offer, go to www.rbc.com/groupterms
102027 (03/2013)
000OM-RBC-FP.indd 1 3/25/13 8:49:11 AM
For a decade after that ruling,
little changed on the labour
reform front, despite the many
scandals besetting the province’s
construction industry.
The Coming Quiet Revolution
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p30-35.indd 33 5/2/13 9:56:18 AM
private member’s bill that, if passed, would
require unions to publicly open their
books. Bill C-377 found vocal champions
in Quebec, most notably the Montreal Eco-
nomic Institute and the Quebec Employ-
ers Council. While Quebec’s construction
unions rallied against the bill,
a Quebec Employers Council
survey (conducted by Léger
Marketing) indicated that a
staggering 97 per cent of Que-
becers believed that unions
should be legally required to
disclose their spending.
For the time being, a wholesale
repeal of Quebec’s mandatory
unionization law remains unlikely. The cur-
rent Parti Québécois government remains
steadfast in its defence of the labour status
quo: current PQ Labour Minister Agnès
Maltais took a vocal stance against Bill
C-377 and Minister Maltais articulated
similar feelings in a December 2012 letter to
federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt.
Nevertheless, Quebec’s advocates for
worker freedom in the construction indus-
try are more optimistic now than they have
been in a long time. “Public opinion is on
our side,” asserts Dumais. “The unions
have lost a lot of public support in Quebec
and, as a result, you’re hearing a lot less out
of them.” He contends that if the issue were
brought before the Supreme Court once
again, the results would be quite different.
“I think the time is right for another run at
overturning the law,” he says, adding that
he has spoken with experienced legal coun-
sel who supports this view as well.
Dumais asserts that the impact of
over t ur ni ng Quebec ’s uni on- onl y
legislation would be felt well beyond
just Quebec. “In my opinion, overturn-
ing this legislation would bring to an
end attempts l i ke the heavy-handed
union tactics like we’re see-
ing with Manitoba Hydro at
the moment,” he says. “A lot of
these union leaders think that
as long as they have the upper
hand in this province, there’s
still hope for the same kind of
thing elsewhere. Breaking their
lock in Quebec would send a
powerful message.” As for the
“labour harmony” canard forever trotted
out by defenders of Quebec’s closed shop
construction regime, Dumais dismisses
the argument as ridiculous and insulting
to Quebecers. “It ’s 2013. We’re way
beyond all that. The issue of labour-related
violence is in the past. It’s the future we’re
concerned about.”
The Coming Quiet Revolution
For the time being, a
wholesale repeal of Quebec’s
mandatory unionization law
remains unlikely.
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p30-35.indd 34 5/2/13 9:57:21 AM
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NAT_OPENMIND_13_p30-35.indd 35 5/2/13 9:57:47 AM
36 OPENMIND 2013
ByElizabEth ChornEy-booth
t’s no secret to people in the
constructionindustrythatacom-
pany’ssuccessdependsonitspro-
ductivity.Afterall,efficientand
effectiveworkpracticesdirectlyimpact
abusiness’sbottomline,soincreasing
productivitystandardsisessentiallya
no-brainer.Butasobviousastheneed
forincreasedproductivitystandards
isforanycompany,actuallyachieving
thosestandardsandidentifyingareas
thatneedtobetweakedcanbecome
diffcultandcomplex.
i
The
of
Productivity
Importance
tition.Manyfrmsevenbuildproductivity
measuresintotheircontractsasawayto
assureclientsthattheywilldowhatever
ittakestocompletejobseffcientlyand
cost-effectively.Toevenbeconsidereda
contenderforthebestjobsavailable,itis
essentialforallorganizationstoraisethe
barforproductivitystandards,oratleast
keepupwithrivalcompaniesthatdo.
“Sayyou’reupintheoilsandsin
Alberta,themarkethasbeensomewhat
soft[because]themarginsarebeing
squeezed,”Magnussays.“Foran
organizationtomakeasmuchmoney
astheyhaveinthepast,they’vegotto
figureoutproductivityissues.It’sthe
onlyplacetogotofgureouthowtodo
ajobfasterandmoreeffciently.”
WhenMagnusconsultswithclients,
heencouragesthemtolookatthebig
pictureofproductivitybeforegetting
miredinthedetails.Oncethatoverviewis
inplace,hehelpsorganizationstomodel
aproductivityplanandsettangible
behavioursthatwillresultinincreased
effciency.Thosebehaviourscaninclude
strategiestoenhanceplanningand
scheduling,andtacticstorectifysome-
thingassimpleasunnecessarytripsback
totheshoptopickupequipmentthat
hasn’tbeenbroughttotheworksite.
Magnussaysthattheroadtoimproved
productivitystartswithanattitudeshiftat
Canadian construction companies fnd their
competitive edge in effciency processes
thetoplevelofanorganization,whether
it’salargefrmorasmallcontractorwith
onlyafewemployees.Ifmanagement
takesabig-pictureapproachandencour-
agesacultureofproductivitythroughout
thecompany,employeeswillmorelikely
adapttotangiblechangesthataffectthe
waytheywork.
JanakaRuwanpura,vice-provost(inter-
national),formerCanadaresearchchair
RonMagnus,managingdirectorof
FMI’sCenterforStrategicLeadership
inDenver,Colorado,saysthatwithour
stalledeconomypushingcompaniesto
competeforthesamejobs,increased
productivityismorethanjustawayto
managecosts–it’sawayforcompanies
tosetthemselvesapartfromthecompe-
Even if you’re
busy, take time
to step back and
evaluate your
processes.
If the owners/managers feel
too close to the processes
to see the problems,
then connect
with a consult-
ant – they’re out
there.
Know that each
company has its
own needs and
solutions. A plan
of action for one
company may not
work for yours,
and that’s OK.
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p36-37.indd 36 5/2/13 9:59:02 AM
OPENMIND 2013 37
and professor in project management
systems, Schulich School of Engineering
at the University of Calgary, studies 10
specific targets that he says construc-
tion company leaders should examine
because they can affect company output.
Some of those targets include employee
motivation/satisfaction, the relationship
between subcontractors and main
contractors, material management to
reduce wasted trips, “tool time” (actual
hands-on, working time) optimization,
office to on-site communication and
weather-related issues.
Another problem, Ruwanpura says,
is that most companies focus so much
on working quickly and taking on as
many jobs as possible that they don’t
see the obvious internal productivity
problems they would if they took a step
back for self-examination. “Productivity
is not about working hard and fast. It’s
about how you really analyze where the
problems lie,” he says. “When you’re
in a chaotic environment, you don’t
pay attention. You just run projects.
You don’t have time to make changes;
you’re just running.”
For some companies, Ruwanpura
suggests they place a dedicated per-
son on the ground to communicate
productivity needs – called a construc-
tion productivity improvement offcer.
“They use this person as a facilitator
for the entire team so they can identify
the problems and mitigate the solu-
tions, and then measure the output,”
he says, adding that, at the end of the
day, companies need to measure two
things: how much they produce and
how much tool time is being netted.
Ruwanpura suggests company
leaders question how communication
occurs within their organization; how
they determine employment skill sets
for future staff; and how they deal
with existing employee motivation and
morale. It also helps if the harder aspects
are examined, like the management of
material resources and the accuracy of
estimates. If any of the findings aren’t
satisfactory, adjustments and changes
must be made.
Each company has different specifc
needs, and Ruwanpura agrees with
Magnus that productivity is not about
the small details, but rather the bigger
picture improvements involving com-
munication and organization. Since
the solutions vary from company to
company, improvements come from a
series of changes and tweaks rather than
a single magic bullet.
Ethan Cowles, senior consultant
at FMI, works directly with contractors
looking to make productivity improve-
ments. He says that it can be tricky
to implement productivity measures
because construction professionals are
notoriously reluctant to change. “Con-
struction is one of those industries
where, for whatever reason, people are
wired to think that planning is a waste of
time,” Cowles says. “Many people think
that if they’re not actively installing work,
then they must be goofng off.” Activity
then gets confused with productivity.
Cowles says that raising productivity
standards in the feld includes the impor-
tant step of management empowering
its foremen. Managers accomplish this
through effective communication in
which they state job expectations clearly.
It also means proactive measures are
required to ensure required materials
and resources will be on site, and on
time. When the project begins, responsi-
bility and accountability must be shared
so everyone on the site feels a part of the
process to complete their jobs as effi-
ciently and budget-friendly as possible.
Companies should develop a clear
plan of what needs to be accomplished
weeks before a job even starts, says Cow-
les, so crews can hit the site with a sense
of momentum. Aiding that momentum,
employees also need proper training,
appropriate work materials, and hard
copies of the overall plan and checklists.
It’s imperative, once the job is in progress,
that foremen and crews track relevant
progress (such as completion dates, mate-
rial use/waste, unforeseen/unbudgeted
challenges) for productivity measure-
ments to be recorded and adjustments to
be made to the plan, if needed.
Modifying long-standing company
procedures requires managerial fore-
thought as well as a buy-in from field
employees. Both Cowles and Ruwanpura
say it is possible to get all the players on
the same page and signifcantly increase
productivity by setting clear expectations,
defning processes and developing effec-
tive channels of communication. “Inter-
nally, a company needs to know that
productivity is valuable and it’s got to be
somebody’s responsibility,” Cowles says.
“Sometimes it’s a combination of people,
but somebody needs to feel the weight
and the responsibility to know that
they’re following their own best prac-
tices.” If nobody has the responsibility
to create a successful culture, the impor-
tance of the idea falls by the wayside.
Productivity is obviously a game-
changer in construction and is not
something to be swept aside. For
companies who are struggling with
profits and just don’t know why, there
are consultants out there who can point
out issues that company leaders are just
too far into the processes to see. Taking
a step back every now and then may be
all an organization needs to do in order to
move forward.
Improved productivity comes from all
staff levels being on board with change.
Change requires bigger-picture
thinking and changing the
company culture.
Productivity can and should be used to
give companies a competitive edge in
the construction industry.
NAT_OPENMIND_13_p36-37.indd 37 5/2/13 9:59:41 AM
38 OPENMIND 2013
(Source: Statistics Canada)
6
2
Capital expenditures for construction
in Canada (in $ millions):
205,373.9 243,866.6 260,919.4 280,887.9 283,618.0
Construction price index for
apartment buildings in:
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Halifax 128.9 130.4 131.8 135.7 138.8
Toronto 139.9 136.8 136.7 141.7 144.4
Calgary 174.4 160.7 156.6 160.1 166.4
Vancouver 159.9 136.0 134.1 138.9 144.0
2009 2010 2011 2012
P
2013 (est.)
Wholesale merchants’ sales by industry
unadjusted ($ millions) across Canada
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Building Supplies 77,235.9 66,932.4 73,935.3 78,723.3 81,522.1
Metal Products 18,972.7 13,163.1 15,022.7 17,750.4 18,827.8
Lumber and Millwork 34,099.6 31,986.1 35,666.7 35,811.8 37,033.4
Machinery and equipment 115,358.6 103,460.8 110,411.2 123,189.8 128,177.2
Average number of employees covered
under the Merit Hour Bank
Beneft Plan:
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
33,875 38,314 38,187 39,371 43,089 48,015
Total man-hours worked
under the Merit Hour
Bank Beneft Plan:
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
69,743,223
77,595,931
74,140,547
79,583,013
87,908,004
96,729,350
BY THE NUMBERS
(Source: Merit Contractors Association) (Source: Statistics Canada)
New housing price index ($ thousands)
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
St. John’s
119.6
133.3
141.2
146.9
147.2
Saint John, Moncton,
Fredericton
102.5
105.8
107.5
108.1
108.0
Halifax
107.9
109.1
110.1
112.0
114.4
Toronto
103.6
103.4
106.1
111.0
116.7
Winnipeg
110.2
113.0
118.4
124.1
129.3
Saskatoon
120.6
111.4
114.6
116.2
118.8
Calgary
100.6
93.9
95.6
95.5
97.1
Vancouver
102.3
95.8
99.0
98.7
90.7
Yearly value of all building
permits by province ($ million):
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
Newfoundland
& Labrador
802.5
766.4
1,205.2
1,057.3
1,184.6
Nova Scotia
1,326.7
1,368.7
1,633.8
1,464.6
1,551.1
New
Brunswick
1,113.8
1,148.2
1,133.3
965.9
968.5
Ontario
25,414.6
21,880.5
28,138.6
28,024.4
29,547.5
Manitoba
1,636.7
1,560.7
1,757.4
1,842.1
2,485.7
Saskatchewan
2,185.8
1,890.3
2,077.0
2,613.9
3,114.1
Alberta
13,141.2
11,276.9
11,425.4
12,768.1
14,662.9
British
Columbia
10,577.2
7,629.9
9,723.8
9,249.8
10,759.6
comfort
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000OM-Imagewear-FP.indd 1 3/20/13 10:23:58 AM NAT_OPENMIND_13_p38-39.indd 38 2013-05-02 10:13 AM
comfort
safety
Imagewear, like employers across Canada,
believe that for their employees to keep working,
they need to be comfortable and safe.
Imagewear has the largest selection of leading
innnovative industrial wear and footwear
available anywhere in Canada.
To ensure your workers are comfortable and
have the safest gear, we offer a voucher
program and/or employee savings card that’s
truly unique in it’s ability to give workers the
chance to try on and pick up exactly the right
clothing and footwear at any of our 380+ Mark’s stores
across Canada.
To find what works best for your company,
contact one of our knowledgeable sales consultants at:
P 1.800.663.MARK (6275)
E imagewear@erequest.ca
W imagewear.ca
&
000OM-Imagewear-FP.indd 1 3/20/13 10:23:58 AM NAT_OPENMIND_13_p38-39.indd 39 5/2/13 10:02:31 AM
000OM-ACSA-FP.indd 1 3/20/13 11:02:00 AM NAT_OPENMIND_13_p40.indd 1 5/2/13 10:03:44 AM

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