SAULT STE. MARIE, ONT. — Sault Ste. Marie Council recently passed a motion that calls on Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano and Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to work to amend Section 126 of Ontario’s Labour Relations Act (OLRA) which would open up tendering and put an end to “construction labour monopolies.”
In December, council passed a resolution to begin the process of changing its construction employer status and committed to pressing for legislative change at the provincial level.
The latest motion, tabled by Councillor Matthew Shoemaker, was applauded by the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) and the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC).
“Council recognizes that it’s time all qualified local workers, regardless of union affiliation, are allowed to work on projects in their own communities,” said Ian DeWaard, provincial director, CLAC, in a statement.
Currently Sault Ste. Marie is designated as a construction employer which prevents up to 70 per cent of qualified contractors from bidding on local projects, claims a media release, adding the lack of competition drives up construction costs.
“Sault Council’s stand could have major benefits beyond this city,” said Karen Renkema, public affairs manager at PCA.
“A small change in Ontario’s labour laws translates into huge tax savings and a giant step forward in gaining greater fairness for taxpayers, workers and contractors across the entire province.”