Construction industry and and federal public sector leaders discussed community benefits, infrastructure and prompt payment, among other topics, at joint Government of Canada – Canadian Construction Association (CCA) – Defence Construction Canada (DCC) meeting – also called the Meech Lake meeting after the location – on April 15.
The day-long meeting was co-chaired by Kevin Radford, assistant deputy minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and John Bockstael, CCA chair, the CCA says on its website. “Special guests Steven MacKinnon, parliamentary secretary, and Bill Matthews, deputy minister, offered their insights on the government’s priorities and challenges.”
Topics included as reported by CCA:
Effective approach to address workforce shortage
CCA says it received an update on the progress of the community benefits Bill C-344. Not only are there no facts to support that these requirements achieve their intended objectives, CCA argued that requiring community benefits may create an uneven playing field when ill or not defined, add red tape to the process, and work against the mutual goal of attracting and retaining workers from under-represented groups. CCA renewed its call for the government to work together on the real issue which is workforce shortage.
Long-term infrastructure plan needed
The government provided an update on the flow of funds between the Government of Canada and the provinces. Despite the government’s commitment to infrastructure, there appears to be a disconnect between the provinces and the federal government. CCA offered to assist the government in rolling out the planned program and also called for a 25-year plan with provinces and municipalities to effectively tackle this problem.
CCA says it was pleased to see prompt payment addressed in the budget and will continue to provide contractors’ input in the development of a federal prompt payment legislation. There were discussions on the next steps after legislation, e.g. developing metrics to measure improvements, education, prompt payment codes and protocols for the industry and other issues.
CCA says it has long been calling for PSPC to adopt our policy on the requirement of naming subcontractors. PSPC agreed to implement a pilot project in March 2019 to require the naming of subcontractors. CCA is closely monitoring the results of this pilot project.
Focus on training and work placements
In discussing indigenous partnerships, CCA expressed our support for the government to provide training and work placement opportunities in construction to increase the number of qualified candidates. However, CCA wants to ensure that procurement is efficient and not subject to increased red tape that may result in project delays or increased costs.
CCA says the next joint meeting will be in November 2019 following the federal election.