Ontario Construction News achieves milestones, thriving as a daily construction newspaper

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Barrie Construction Report staff writer

Ontario’s new daily construction newspaper has reached editorial and business milestones in its initial months of publication, says publisher Mark Buckshon.

“The newspaper is achieving its goals of delivering reliable, fast, industry-specific news – with exceptionally rapid delivery of time-sensitive Certificate of Substantial Performance (CSP) notices,” he said.

When Ontario Construction News (OCN) launched as a daily title on May 1, it ended another publication’s monopoly in publishing the legal notices required by the Ontario Construction Act.

The new Act, which went into effect last July 1, retained the same legal requirements for a “construction trade newspaper” as the former Construction Lien Act, but allowed the newspaper to be published in a digital rather than printed format.

“We realized we couldn’t just put up a simple website – we needed to figure out how to publish a real newspaper in every sense except that the publication is not printed on paper and delivered by mail,” he said.

Fortunately, the business behind OCN-Daily has more than 30 years of experience in publishing for Ontario’s construction market.

“We’ve published Ottawa Construction News since 1989, and produced Ontario Construction Report and GTA Construction Report since the early 1990s,” Buckshon said. “These monthly online magazines were originally published in newsprint form, and each month, we would receive inquiries to publish the CSP notices, but had to decline them because we weren’t publishing on a daily schedule.”

In planning for OCN-Daily, the publishers considered the challenges of maintaining a daily publishing schedule, while providing valuable information, and making it easy for anyone searching for background on the CSP notices to find the information they are seeking.

“Accordingly, we created an easy-to-use searchable database, and through our alliance with DataBid.com, can provide daily business leads and tender opportunities – all without a need for a paid subscription,” he said.

“Eventually, we may build a paywall around the content, but right now, the only place readers need to register is if they want to access current DataBid.com information. This information is also published in the newspaper’s daily PDF edition.” (To preserve copyright and control access, one area where you need to pay for a subscription at the moment is to view the PDF publication’s historical archives.)

Meanwhile, CSP notices continue to be published at much lower cost than the other publication – the basic price of $249 will save most businesses well more than $130 per notice; and significantly more if they must publish several notices through the year.

“While we’ve set a three day business standard to publish the certificate ads, we do our best to accelerate the process. If your notice is received early enough and you can sign back the approved proof, we’ve often been able to publish in two days, and sometimes the next day,” he said.  As well, we’ll generate the certificate/publication confirmation and return it to you within one business day from publication by email as a PDF – allowing you to complete your filings and receive your holdback payment much more quickly than before.”

OCN-Daily has also published significant stories, often within hours of the breaking news, especially relating to unionized construction labour disputes and the impact of Bill 66. “We’re going to maintain the pace, and allow readers to see most of our content without fee or restriction, because this adds to the publication’s value,” Buckshon said.

You can learn more, including how to access the CSP Form Nine (and other forms set out by the Construction Act) at www.ontarioconstructionnews.com/certificates. Or you can call Chase at 888-627-8717 ext 212 for more information.