RC106 MayJune2023 - Magazine - Page 41
CANADIAN CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION
THE CANADIAN CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION’S (CCA)
held its annual conference in Tucson, Arizona, where collaborating with governments to help achieve net-zero and
addressing the workforce crisis through immigration, were
among the many topics discussed.
The association’s annual awards luncheon was also
held, recognizing the best of Canada’s construction sector.
Day One saw panellists discuss how construction firms
can ready themselves for green public procurement, Jen
Hancock, vice-president of collaborative construction at
Chandos Construction, asked the audience how they are
keeping track of their carbon footprint.
The first steps include tracking the fuel used by its
employees and the electricity used in its operations, she
explained, with advanced tracking also incorporating
greenhouse gas from the supply chain and tracking Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for materials used
To illustrate her point, Hancock quoted hockey Hall
of Famer Wayne Gretzky, who said, “I skate to where the
puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
Stephan Dery, Assistant Deputy Minister-Real Property
Services with Public Services and Procurement Canada
outlined how the federal government’s commitment to
Net-Zero by 2050 will influence selection of materials as
carbon reduction becomes a key factor for the industry.
“Government infrastructure has always been a catalyst for
change,” he said, adding that operational cost considerations are moving the conversation away from lowest cost
toward best value.
Immigration isn’t the silver bullet for solving construction labour shortages in Canada, but it sure could make a
big difference, according to Patrick McManus, executive
director from the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association (OSWCA).
On Day Two of the Canadian Construction Association’s annual conference in Tucson, AZ, McManus, along
with Trevor Doucette, vice-president, stakeholder management from Graham Construction (moderator), and
Soo Lee, project manager with Bockstael Construction, sat
down to discuss how to revitalize the immigration and
temporary foreign labour requirements as the industry
looks at ways to alleviate the ongoing workforce shortage.
“The application process for immigration takes too
long, we need to speed up the processing time to speed up
approvals,” said Lee. And everyone on the panel and in
the audience was quick to agree.
McManus pointed out that politics is one of the major
contributing factors that’s preventing immigration from
Stephen Dery (left), Jen Hancock and Ajay Sharma discussed how
construction companies can ready themselves for net-zero and green
public procurement during the first day of the Canadian Construction
Association’s annual conference in Tucson, Arizona.
happening. He explained: “What we need in Ontario
is different from what we need in other provinces. The
solution is obvious, give the provinces more control over
who they are bringing in… I know in Ontario we need
workers that can build core public infrastructure, sewers,
watermains, roads, highways, transit, as well as houses.
But the current immigration policies and priorities largely
screen out the workers that we need to build that type of
Lee, as an immigrant herself, was quick to agree that the
screening process does not work for the types of workers
the construction industry needs. In her own experience
as a university graduate, who knew the language, was
between 18 to 35, she easily met the criteria to be accepted.
The same is not necessarily true for the types of people
needed to fill general labourer roles within the Canadian
“In the construction industry we need a lot more of
the general workers or labourers,” said Lee. “They are
looking for equipment operators… It currently takes 60
weeks. How is that helping our construction industry?
Government needs to look at policy changes to make it
so that people with less than six months of job training or
experience can come here as a general labourer.”
MAY/JUNE 2023 – RENEW CANADA 41