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  • The Canadian Construction Association Matters

    April 4, 2019

    The Canadian Construction Association

    Matters


    Next week, April 8 to 12, will be the third annual Saskatchewan Construction Week. I am pleased that Canadian Construction Association President – Mary Van Buren – and  new Chairperson – John Bockstael – will be joining us in Saskatchewan for three days of the week. It will be our pleasure to showcase the great things that you and your peers are doing, every day, to build Saskatchewan. I hope you will take some time, next week, to celebrate construction!
     
    And while I’m on the topic of the CCA, I’d like to highlight some things. Every time I attend a CCA event I come away with insight, information and perspective that enhances my effectiveness as CEO of the SCA. The recent CCA Conference was no different. After speakers, sessions, workshops, and Board and Committee meetings, I am better able to serve you because of time spent engaging with Canada’s construction industry leaders.
     
    As an SCA member, you contribute approximately $175 per year in CCA membership fees. While I’ve always believed that this represents an extraordinary value for individual companies, I recognize that when margins are tight and the economy is slow, every dollar counts. So, if you’ve ever questioned why your company needs to belong to the CCA, please allow me to share some of my thoughts on the value you’re receiving as a member.
     
    Reaching every level of government
     
    In 2018 the CCA led a significant contingent of construction leaders on Parliament Hill to meet with Members of Parliament (MP) from all parties and provinces. Each meeting was an opportunity to engage with MPs on issues that matter to you: improved procurement; pipelines; attracting investors; developing our workforce; prompt payment; and community benefits (more on this in a second). The meetings raised the profile of the construction industry on the Hill and helped establish relationships that enable MPs to reach out to the CCA for industry’s perspective on the political and economic issues affecting our country and their ridings.
     
    Advancing National Prompt Payment Legislation
     
    At the CCA conference we heard about progress being made across the country towards prompt payment legislation. While Saskatchewan will be the second province in the country with prompt payment legislation, several other provinces are following close behind – Manitoba and Nova Scotia most notably. I think we can reasonably expect this legislation to be in place across the country within five years. With respect to the federal government, it looks like prompt payment legislation could potentially be in place before the fall election. The CCA is helping to advance this agenda.
     
    Pushing Back on Unfair Procurement Practices
     
    We also heard about the CCA’s success so far in blunting the federal government’s push towards “Community Benefits.” If you’re unfamiliar with community benefits, the concept is often used by governments to tie particular social agendas to infrastructure procurement. For instance, it could involve requiring contractors to use unionized labour, or forcing employee quotas with respect to apprenticeship ratios or diversity. The concept has also been used to encourage contractors to “sweeten” deals by donating work.
     
    The CCA has championed industry’s opposition to community benefits by both highlighting the drawbacks of the approach and demonstrating the wonderful things that Canadian construction companies already do every day in support of their local communities. Using the hashtag #CDNConstructionGives, the CCA has raised awareness of the generosity and benefits construction companies across the country already provide. The CCA’s work on this file will ensure that your company won’t be disadvantaged when it comes to competing on public projects.
     
    Bringing Value Home
     
    Sitting in rooms with my peers from across the country, I was able to learn about their strategies for tackling community benefits and other issues. Understanding their victories and challenges ensures we will be well positioned here when we need to tackle issues. Without this knowledge, we would be less successful.
     
    Finally, I want to quickly highlight two upcoming CCA initiatives that will provide additional benefit for the local industry, your association, and by extension your company.
     

    • Early this summer the CCA will be supporting Local Construction Associations (here in Saskatchewan that includes the SCA and the Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, and Moose Jaw associations) in meeting with local MPs in advanced of the federal election. This “Hill at Home” initiative will ensure that most, if not all, MPs across the country hear directly from the construction industry right before their next campaign. Hill at Home will produce long-term profile and benefits for the construction industry and is only possible through the kind of leadership the CCA provides and our extensive network of associations cooperating.
     
    • On November 26, 2019, the CCA will lead the first ever National Construction Day. Based on the work that we and our partners have done in Saskatchewan to promote Saskatchewan Construction Week, National Construction Day will celebrate the incredible contributions that construction makes to building Canada and enhancing our quality of life. Your Saskatchewan associations will work to promote National Construction Day. Every time our industry gets engaged in these types of promotional activities, we are drawing attention to the importance of the work you do. This creates a more fertile investment environment and the opportunity for better relationships between the buyers of construction services and the companies that build our communities.
     
    While I am absolutely convinced that your CCA membership provides real benefit to you as a company, I know that there is always room for improvement. So does the CCA. That’s why CCA leadership is hyper-focused on enhancing the value proposition of membership in its network of associations. I am very confident in their ability – with all of us helping out – to drive better value for you in the months and years to come.


    Mark Cooper, MBA, PMP

    President and CEO
    Saskatchewan Construction Association

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