We are all aware of the challenges our industry is facing and the economic uncertainties of the present times. I’m not overly concerned as I know one thing our industry is very good at is overcoming challenges.
Looking forward, I’m excited about the opportunities in our marketplace. The recent re-election of the provincial Progressive Conservative government appears to bode well for us with their commitment to building infrastructure in a large way. We are seeing a good volume of government funded projects presently and the promise of many more to follow.
The project diversity of the commitment across a large spectrum of industries; healthcare, transportation, education, buried infrastructure, environmental and climate change, holds great promise for us.
Combined with the recognition of the skilled trades shortages impacting construction, government funding is being provided to employers for apprenticeship investments and we are seeing multi-level government co-operation for immigration of foreign skilled trades persons to Ontario.
Gender diversity in the trades is moving forward also, but as employers we need to continue our efforts for the inclusion of larger number of women within the construction industry workforce. The BCA’s Women in Construction Committee is doing a great job of supporting the entry of women to our great industry with bursaries available for registered apprentices to assist with the cost of trade school and tool expenses.
COCA (Council of Ontario Construction Associations) continues to do an amazing job of working closely with the Ontario government in the productive forward movement for our industry. COCA’s efforts contributed to qualified construction industry employers sharing in $1.3 billion in rebates on premiums of future WSIB payments. The WSIB has also committed to providing financial incentives to small business employers (less than 100 employees) for their investment in training and program costs.
Safety is an area of expertise where great strides have been taken during my many years in the construction industry. This is something we can never stop pushing for continual improvement. It is very encouraging seeing the combined efforts of government and industry associations to maintain their mutual commitment to open dialogues pushing for a better safety future.
COCA, along with the OGCA (Ontario General Contractors Association) and local construction associations including the BCA are on the forefront of this improvement providing education and training.
I wish to thank our BCA members. Without our members support the staff and the board would not be able to provide the many services to the industry and our local community. During the challenges of the recent COVID times, you have remained loyal and committed. Adapting to picking up drawings from the lobby, switching to virtual learning and training while always being patient and understanding of the challenges the staff faced.
The upside is we are back to full operation and the office has its energy back!
A special thank you to Alison Smith our executive director, Bryony Buchanan our membership services coordinator and Alicia Blow our plan room/safety training coordinator. These three people are the heart of the BCA; member focused, hardworking, and genuinely nice people.
Faced with challenges from the pandemic, they did what they had to do to get the job done. Whatever our members needed, even if it meant getting up early to go to the empty office to print documents a member required first thing that morning, they did it. This is but one example of their commitment to; “get it done” this team demonstrates always.
It has been an honour to represent our Board as your president for the past two years. Working with energized, knowledgeable people who are always willing to contribute and help where needed is amazing. Thank you for all your support and making my job easy!
Wishing all a safe, productive, and busy year ahead.
Blair Chalmers, President BCA Board of Directors