TORONTO – The Ontario government has passed Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, in a measure it claims will cut red tape and reduce regulatory burden in 12 sectors, including the construction industry.
The bill received Royal Assent on April 3.
Through the act, the government is taking over 30 actions, along with regulatory changes, to cut business costs, harmonize regulatory requirements with other jurisdictions, end duplication and reduce barriers to investment, indicates a government release.
As part of the legislation, the Labour Relations Act, 1995 will be amended to deem public bodies, including municipalities, school boards, hospitals, colleges and universities, as “non-construction employers.”
This means municipalities that are considered construction employers, and are restricted to accepting bids for infrastructure projects from certain unions they are affiliated with, will be able to open up the tendering process, allowing all qualified contractors to bid.
“Certain broader public-sector entities had become subject to the specialized construction labour relations model in the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and bound to collective agreements for the construction industry, even though they are not actually in the construction business,” explains the release.
The issue has had industry stakeholders on both sides strongly voicing their opinions on the matter.
Also included in the bill is the expansion of the Environmental Activity and Sector Registries (EASRs) for permits to take water for low-risk water takings — such as ones in which water is removed for a short time only and then returned to a nearby point. Moving these activities to a permit-by-rule system allows businesses to begin operations faster.
“We’re not against regulation — just overregulation,” said Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Todd Smith, in a statement. “We’re eliminating regulations that are outdated, inflexible or ineffective, or that duplicate federal or municipal regulations. And we’re maintaining regulations that make sure that Ontario workers and families have clean air and water, safe products and safe working conditions. This is about cutting through the red tape holding businesses back, while maintaining the regulations that protect consumers, workers and the environment.”
The Daily Commercial News will have more on this story in an upcoming article.
I am a 675 union member, Bill 66 hurts my family and every brother and sister who works under a union and it hurts the city of Toronto. Stop Bill 66.
Bill 66 doesn’t hurt anyone, it just means union companies have to be competitive to secure work. Signing up city municipalities etc. hurt non-union contractors as it limits the possible work we can even look at.
Do you really think this will make for safer working conditions? I understand the idea of making job tenders more equal to bidding, but non-unionized workers are not put through the same safety standards and educational training as unionized members. You get what you pay for, is a reality here. Stop Bill 66.
This bill is a poor move for all of Ontario, where is the fairness of selectively eliminating specific trades workers from employment, some would consider such a bill rooted with discrimination. We have a trades shortage in Ontario and union halls will gladly accept new members for the advantage of better wages and benefits, the province closed the Ontario College of Trades five months ago and this bill is another insult, good paying jobs and futures will be affected. Ontario will turn into the mess Alberta ran into years ago when the province deregulated skilled trades education and apprenticeship.
What does “over regulation “ even mean???? It’s very evident that lowering standards and removing the enforcement bodies that ensure safe work practices hurts every worker.