MCA of Canada expands members’ services and leads in advocacy as Canada’s largest trade contractor association


Canadian Design and Construction Report special feature

The Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada (MCA) is Canada’s largest trade contractor association with offices in each province and 15 regional offices in Ontario. In November, the association held its 74th annual general meeting and conference, heard a report on the success of its most recent three-year strategic plan, and looked ahead to future activities.

MCA of Canada CEO Richard McKeagan has been at the helm of the association since he joined in the 1990s. Since that time, he says the amount of and quality of services to members has grown exponentially. “From the beginning the potential of the association was evident but we needed time to build the human and financial resources to achieve our goals.”

Adding management education, a strong advocacy mandate and involvement with other related groups he says is a constant and growing effort but has positioned the association to be the best it has ever been. While he says some members like the new tangibles including benefits such as educational tools, guides and management education, others appreciate the intangibles. “We lobby and work with government on issues ranging from tenders and change orders to apprenticeships.”

McKeagan says one key focus of MCA of Canada has been prompt payment legislation. He says the association successfully brought the issue to the federal government level and got other associations, including the Canadian Construction Association, to identify the issue as one of their priorities.

While he says MCA of Canada is excited by the recent Charbonneau report, recommending prompt payment legislation be introduced in Quebec, he also says the battle is far from over and this will remain one of the association’s focuses into 2016.

MCA of Canada also collaborated with the United Association, Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship of Plumbers and the Federal Department of Employment and Social Development Canada to help develop a new national standard for the trade under the pilot project ‘Strengthening of the Red Seal’ and will move forward with an agreement on new ways to assess skills.

Another area of concern that regularly impacts members is project change orders. Here McKeagan says MCA of Canada continues to work with designers and owners to help them understand the true cost of change orders and the wider impact on projects.

MCA Canada also collaborated with the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association and the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction to ask Public Works and Government Services Canada to initiate its own policy regarding the naming of subcontractors at the time of tender closing. A decision on this is expected soon.

This past year MCA Canada also transformed the former Canadian Mechanical Contracting Education Foundation into the Construction Education Council. The change involved new educational programs, and an updated governance structure and terms of reference.

“We’ll continue in 2016 to launch and to provide more educational programs and we’re always looking to increase our services and benefits to members,” he said.

MCA Canada also supports the Operation Eyesight Wells in Africa Campaign. At the AGM, members heard that over the past several years they have “literally saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives through their contributions.”

Next year’s MCA annual general meeting and conference, scheduled for Nov. 14 through 17 at Disney, will be a “celebration of the industry, of the association and of our members.”

MCA of Canada works with manufacturers, distributors and supplier organizations and represents the industry before the federal government and through its membership in partner associations.

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