Phil Rubinoff, founding chair of the board for the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO), says he stepped down from the longtime position to make way for fresh blood.
Rubinoff officially retired from the role at the RCCAO’s recent annual general meeting, held virtually this year. He served as the head of the board for 15 years.
“I was the original chair,” said Rubinoff, who is also principal of the Laurier Group, a real estate development and residential homebuilding firm. “In my mind, someone shouldn’t be the chair so long. You need new blood coming in with new ideas.”
The RCCAO’s mandate is to help elevate the infrastructure investment agenda and Rubinoff has been there since its inception in 2005. Over the years the alliance has produced over 50 reports and videos and lobbied all levels of government on infrastructure matters.
“Over that period RCCAO has evolved and progressed under the direction of its board members and under the excellent leadership of our executive director Andy Manahan,” said Rubinoff in a letter to the board of directors.
“We have made great strides together in advancing the infrastructure agenda and we have also received accolades for the range of our research agenda.
“I found it very exhilarating,” he added. “The accomplishments I felt were helping our industry and helping the province.”
The new chair of the board is Peter Smith who is also executive director of the Heavy Construction Association of Toronto.
“Phil has done an amazing job,” said Smith. “The board has been very fortunate to have him at the helm.”
Rubinoff has been a strong advocate for the residential construction sector for many years. He was instrumental in the creation of labour legislation specific to the sector which helped bring stability to an unstable labour environment. He also helped negotiate more than 20 collective agreements for the management side of the Greater Toronto Area’s residential housing sector.
While a lot has changed during his 15-year term as chair, the alliance is still tackling the same key issues and challenges in the industry.
“The type of work we did was probably not that much different,” explained Rubinoff of the past, adding the alliance’s first few reports were about infrastructure funding deficits and transportation challenges in the Greater Toronto Area. “The issues still remain for underfunding infrastructure, especially the federal government.”
Manahan thanked Rubinoff for his service to the alliance.
“RCCAO has achieved great respect and our advocacy efforts, including the release of 56 reports, has influenced the infrastructure agenda,” Manahan told the Daily Commercial News. “Phil has been a fountain of ideas and has been involved with charitable efforts not for recognition but for doing good.”
Rubinoff, also the former chair of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario, is especially proud of spearheading a fundraising initiative that helped raise $1 million to help pay for an intensification project in Toronto.
The project included the construction of 22 new apartments by St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society, a non-profit landlord that builds and operates housing with the intent of helping the chronically homeless population. The building was constructed as an expansion of St. Clare’s existing 77-unit building on Leonard Avenue, just east of Bathurst Street in the Kensington Market neighbourhood of Toronto. It’s the first purpose-built affordable homes project for homeless people in the city in more than 10 years.
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