TORONTO – The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is calling on the federal government to take steps to keep the industry and its workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that enough skilled trades are in the pipeline to fill future jobs.
RESCON raised the issues in its pre-budget submission to Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland. The government closed its budget consultation period Feb. 19.
RESCON said it’s important that Canada receive more COVID-19 vaccines and at a faster rate, stated a Feb. 22 release, and that government must continue to maintain PPE supply chains throughout the remainder of the pandemic so that there is an abundant supply for all Canadians, including construction workers. The organization also wants the government to significantly increase the allocation number for Ontario’s Immigrant Nominee Program to allow the province flexibility to recruit for specific skilled trades.
In addition, RESCON is urging the government to work with Ontario to provide municipalities with funds so shovel-ready and state-of-good-repair projects can continue, and also improve the review process for the National Building Code to ensure the harmonization process is fair and reflective of jurisdictions with the most construction activity.
“The construction industry represents six per cent of Canada’s GDP and it is critical to the post-pandemic recovery of our country,” said RESCON president Richard Lyall in a statement. “It is imperative that government take the steps we have outlined to keep workers safe and ensure we have an adequate supply of trades so that we will be able to contribute to Canada’s post-pandemic recovery.”