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Ontario contractors call for revisions to province’s Labour Relations Act

August 18, 2023  By Rock to Road Staff

(Photo credit: Tund, Adobe Stock)

TORONTO, Ont. – Two major contractor associations in Ontario are calling on the province to update its labour relations legislation to reflect the changing demands brought upon by the current construction boom.

The General Contractors’ Association of Toronto (GCAT) and the Golden Horseshoe General Contractors’ Association (GHGCA) have published a joint proposal outlining changes to Ontario’s Labour Relations Act they feel are necessary to meeting provincial building needs in the coming years.

The paper, titled Planning for Ontario’s Building Boom: Ontario’s Construction Industry and the Need to Reform the Labour Relations Act, suggests a series of updates to the 40-year-old legislation the associations feel are needed to reflect the current state and needs of the province’s construction industry.

“The Labour Relations Act is largely unchanged since the early 1980s, no longer representing the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) construction sector we have today,” said Jim Vlahos, executive director of GCAT. “This outdated legislation mandates contract lengths that do not match up with how long many projects now take and potentially generates work stoppages that can drag out project timelines and influence the increase of project costs.”


Proposed changes include extending collective agreement terms from three to four years, a more comprehensive framework for collective bargaining, optimized resources and grievance processes for the Ontario Labour Relations Board, specific conditions for commercial and institutional projects and guaranteed “Project Labour Agreements” for projects with provincial funding over $5 million.

Jason Ball, president of Ball Construction and Board Member of GHGCA, said that “the key takeaway from these discussions has been that the recommendations provided will improve and help to grow the unionized ICI construction sector, increasing the ability for the sector to build more effectively and efficiently.”

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