CaDCR staff writer
In its pre-budget submission, the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) is urging the Ontario government to make policy changes to ease the skilled trades shortage and open up competition on all taxpayer-funded projects.
For example, PCA is recommending reform of the Training Delivery Agency (TDA) model, to improve access to in-class training for tradespeople in ALL regions and from ALL labour models.
“Tradespeople in every region of the province, especially in rural and northern Ontario should have access to in-class training,” said Stephen Hamilton, public affairs director, Ontario at PCA. “Unfortunately, the TDA is still stuck in the 1970s, putting too many workers and companies outside the GTA at a great disadvantage.
“That has to change, to help more tradespeople put their needed skills to work.”
Citing long-standing policies that undermined innovation and productivity in the construction industry, PCA is looking for ways to improve Ontario’s competitiveness, by ending restrictive Project Labour Agreements (PLAs) along with restrictive municipal procurement policies that still exist in the City of Toronto.
“As Ontario makes major investments in building more hospitals and other crucial infrastructure projects, it has a responsibility to ensure taxpayers get good value and that all qualified workers and companies have a chance to build these projects,” added Hamilton. “A fair, open and competitive procurement process is the way to do that. There should be no exceptions.”
The pre-budget submission states that currently, Toronto is the only city in the province to resist competition on municipal construction work. It also points to the Ottawa Hospital as a “glaring exception.”
“It’s building a $2.8 billion Civic Campus through a restrictive Project Labour Agreement (PLA) that shuts out contractors and workers that are not affiliated with select unions.”
I personally bid on a procurement project with the city of Toronto. Though it was not exactly painting related, the process opened up my eyes and gave me experience of that business model. I can say this, that the amount of investment a supplier must make (time and and energy spent researching) to be able to comply with the enormous contracts that are so under cut financially. It’s a question of does the cause justify the means when deciding if investing this much into an effort that puts you in a business relationship with, I don’t want to say the government, because who over sees the bids and decides who to award the contract to is simply a group of people who don’t really have any tangible experience in the labour markets that they are deciding what is or what isn’t a good deal for them to take. I also read a study that was done by the Ombudsman who analyzed how the procurement operations happens for the federal and provincial government officials and they said that although there is all this talk about social procurement ideology in the contract outlines, when observed in a real life day to day operations of the people who make the choices and their motives that are handed down to them by their more senior management personnel, the only thing that decides who gets awarded a contract is Lowest Dollar Value. And that when you think about it having an element like social Procurement philosophy attached to their directives is an awefully strange bed fellow to have in a capitalist society, meaning that you really can’t have social Procurement take place without quasi installing a form of socialism into government policy practices. Though the article not wanting to sound too cavalier didnt say it, I will social Procurement is a dog and pony show that political figures use to help create and image of their values being all inclusive, looking out for the economically insecure parts of society to buy their votes. It’s a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit.