President’s message

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            Significant changes and developments as BCA reaches out to the membership and government

By Katherine Van Leeuwen

It’s hard to believe that 18 months of my two year term as the president of the Barrie Construction Association (BCA) have already passed. Barrie, Simcoe County and the province have seen some significant changes and developments in such a short time and it appears there is much more to come.

The dedicated staff and board of directors of the BCA have been working hard to keep up with these changes and I’m proud and honoured to say that we continue to be a leader in how we support the construction industry in Simcoe County and the communities we serve.

I could likely fill the magazine with every event we have organized and all the exciting new initiatives we have planned, however I’ve been told to focus on just the highlights. For complete details of all the goings-on at the BCA, be sure to log on to the website at www.barrieca.com.

Government relations

Leading up to and during this spring’s provincial election, the construction industry found strong support from the Conservative Party, with a promise to abolish the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT). Many in the industry had hoped that a change of leadership would mean positive changes for all.

With the re-election of Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal Party, it appears, for now, that the OCOT will continue on as regulatory body for all skilled trades in Ontario. The BCA remains committed to keeping our members informed about the ongoing development and happenings with the OCOT and its impact on our members, their businesses and their employees.

Monday, Oct.  27, 2014 marks the municipal election date for all of Ontario.  The BCA has begun plans to host an all-candidates’ debate for our members in early fall and will keep members informed of important election developments.

Although building sound government relations and bringing our concerns and issues to all levels of government has always been a mandate of the BCA, this spring the board struck a special committee to provide dedicated focus to sharing the ideas and concerns of our membership to municipal government throughout Simcoe County.

Provincially, we will continue to attend Construction Days at Queens Park and support the Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA) as a liaison with the Provincial Government.

Local work for local business

Both BCA staff and directors of the board continue to hear concerns from our members about access to local work. In April of this year we hosted the first of its kind round table discussion called “Constructing Relationships, Constructing Solutions,” with attendees from all levels of local municipal procurement staff and representatives from our member companies.

The event drew more than 100 in attendance and overwhelmingly the response was that more of these discussions were needed in order to ensure the members have the opportunity to develop strong working relationships and share ideas to develop more opportunities for local business.

The BCA Procurement Committee is planning a follow up to this event in the fall with the intent of doing just that.

Throughout late fall of 2013 and this past spring, City of Barrie staff and Mayor Lehman held numerous open discussions with the BCA, the community and key stakeholders regarding the development of the annexed lands in Innisfil.

The city openly shared their challenges with funding this growth and will be relying on the development community to pay for this new development. Complete details of the plan and summaries from all discussions can be found on the City of Barrie website.

The BCA intends to remain involved and keep members informed of updates and town hall meetings as they occur.

Community support

The generosity of the BCA and its commitment to the community never ceases to inspire me. This spring our annual Ride for Cancer raised $8,300 for the Cancer Society and our 24th Annual Spring Golf Tournament raised $3,000 for the Barrie Learning Centre to help children with dyslexia.

As one of the proud leaders and founders of the Base Borden Run, this fall we will once again be supporting this event that raises money for Operation Hero; a bursary designed for the families and dependants of our troops through annual scholarships.

Since its inception in 2010, this event has raised an amazing $103,773 for Operation Hero.

Please visit basebordenrun.ca/registration and sign up for the 5km, 10km or half marathon on Sept 28, 2014 and help us raise much needed money for an incredible initiative.

Health and safety

With a fully outfitted training room in our new facilities at 200 Brock St., Barrie, the BCA is the ideal location to host ongoing Health and Safety and general information training to our members. We’ve added a complete calendar of training for our members that can be found on our website at www.barrieca.com.

July 1 also marked the first day of mandatory compliance of the Ministry of Labour’s new “Safety Awareness” regulation for all workers in Ontario. The ministry has also mandated changes to Working at Heights training, with specifics about approved training regulations to come sometime in fall of 2014. The staff at the BCA can help you find the training that ensures you’re in compliance.

Thank you!!

As this message is to be my last before the completion of my term as president, I want to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to the incredible and talented staff as well as the 400 plus members of the BCA for granting me the opportunity to serve as your president. The experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve come to know and call friends will be held in fond regard throughout the rest of my career. As always, I look forward to meeting you at the next BCA event.