Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Shoemaker released the following statement with respect to the proposed changes announced Thursday by the provincial government in the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018
After two years of renewed effort to have the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s construction employer designation changed, I am thrilled to see the Provincial Government introduce legislation today to do just that.
With the introduction of the “Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act” the Provincial Government will save municipalities millions not just in legal fees from fighting a broken legislative system, but will also save them up to 30% of every infrastructure project they undertake.
This is great news for fair and open tendering across Ontario.
Since 1987, the City of Sault Ste. Marie has been a designated construction employer which has meant that two provincial unions have had a monopoly on City work to the exclusion of all other local businesses, whether unionized or non-unionized. This means that small businesses who have the capacity and expertise to do the work the City needs done are being excluded from City contracts. They’re paying local taxes but being shut out of local work.
Efforts over the last three decades to fix this broken system have fallen on deaf ears. It is great to see the Provincial Government have the foresight to do what’s right for millions of taxpayers across the province.
Sault Ste. Marie’s City Council has, for many years, led the charge on changing the Labour Relations Act. In 1998 and 2001 the City challenged our construction employer designation before the Labour Relations Board.
In 2016 and 2017, the City passed four resolutions seeking a change to our designation, supporting efforts to change the Labour Relations Act, or trying to change our internal practices to be in a position to challenge our construction employer in the years ahead.
All the while, the City acknowledged that a change in the legislation was the only way to guarantee the City was not designated a construction employer.
Sault Ste. Marie should be proud that they’ve fought this broken system for the last 30 years, and that those efforts are now paying off thanks to the Provincial legislation tabled yesterday.