Contractors in Sault Ste. Marie say with the passage of Bill 66 marks a significant step forward for fair and open construction tendering in the city and the province.
According to the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA), The legislation opens up a competitive construction market, where all Ontario workers, businesses and public entities are treated fairly.
“We thank the Ford government for allowing ALL qualified Ontario workers and businesses to work on and compete for public construction work, with the passage of Bill 66,” said Sean Reid, Vice President and Regional Director, Ontario, for PCA. “Now that municipalities, school boards and other public entities will soon be able to competitively procure their construction projects we are urging them to embrace the legislation by giving all of their local contractors and construction workers a shot at working on taxpayer funded infrastructure.”
Ward 3 councillor, Matthew Shoemaker agrees. In a email to SaultOnline.com, Shoemaker said, “A 30 year struggle to ensure that local companies, paying local taxes can bid on local work has finally come to an end. I am pleased to see Sault Ste. Marie will be joining the remaining 440 municipalities in Ontario in being able to accept bids from companies regardless of whether they are bound to two specific unions, any other union, or they’re non-unionized.”
“Now that Bill 66 has passed third reading, the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) is urging Sault council to embrace the legislation and give all local contractors and workers a chance to build local construction projects.” commented Danna O’Brien on behalf of PCA locally.
Bill 66 closes a legislative loophole that unintentionally deemed some of Ontario’s largest municipalities, including Toronto, Hamilton, the Region of Waterloo and Sault Ste. Marie, as “construction employers”. This designation also applied to public entities including the Toronto District School Board, Toronto Community Housing, the University of Toronto and others. This unfair and unintended loophole prevented the vast majority of Ontario construction companies and their workers from bidding and working on public projects, no matter how qualified, innovative or well-respected they are.
Once the legislation is proclaimed, municipalities and other public entities can benefit from qualified local workers and contractors building local community infrastructure. However, municipalities, school boards, universities and community housing corporations will be pressured to vote against fairness by certain labour groups that have benefitted from a closed construction market. Despite all of the benefits of Bill 66 (including fairness and cost-savings), they will be encouraged to reject Bill 66 by opting out of its requirements for fair, transparent and inclusive procurement.
“We’re urging municipalities to stick up for taxpayers, workers and local businesses,” added Reid. “The choice is simple: embrace a fair and transparent procurement system, benefitting ALL local workers, or cave in to special interest groups who’ve been profiting from a monopolized system for far too long.”