Peter Withoos, M.D. Steele Construction Ltd.
Chair, Winnipeg Construction Association
Spring 2015 has been reasonably active in Manitoba. Infrastructure spending is very much in the news and roadwork projects seem to be off to an early start while bridges and structures have been slow. General tender volumes through WCA is up 10% from Jan-Apr last year. Members are actively working on several major pursuits (Stip Sum, DB and P3) expected to be underway for Summer/Fall including an major highway interchange, a premium outlet mall, the first of two waste water treatment plants, and a rapid transit corridor.
Membership and Membership Services – WCA has recruited 40 new members so far in 2015. The comprehensive education program launched in 2014 has been extremely well received and has offered training to over 1,000 people in the last 18 months. This training is over and above that which is provided by our Construction Safety Association of Manitoba. We anticipate incremental growth for the balance of the year.
Construction Safety Association of Manitoba (CSAM) – WCA and CSAM have been advocating for the Province of Manitoba to revisit its Tendering Policy, specifically the requirement for COR certification as a requirement for bidding. There have been some recent suggestions that this policy will be amended and will once again include a timetable for all subcontractors to have COR certification on publicly funded work.
Prompt Payment Legislation
WCA continues working with the Mechanical Contractors Association of Manitoba, the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association, Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, and four smaller industry associations in exploring the potential for prompt payment legislation in Manitoba. The template used in the discussions was Ontario Bill 69 with some notable additions. WCA has hosted several informational sessions with the general and trade contractors however at present there is no consensus to proceed.
Gold Seal Certification – WCA promotes the Gold Seal Certification program and hosts regular Gold Seal Orientation sessions. There are 19 Gold Seal Interns registered and working through completion of their work hours and education credits.
Manitoba Construction Career Expo – on May 13, 2015 WCA hosted it’s seventh annual Manitoba Construction Career Expo, promoting careers in the construction industry to over 1,700 invited high school students. The students like the “hands on” approach where they get to try the skills of the various trades. We believe this is one of the best ways to promote construction careers and encourage everyone to visit Facebook and YouTube for pictures and video.
Government Relations – The Provincial Government in Manitoba resumed work in April, following a leadership review, with a budget and new Cabinet. WCA is working closely with several departments include Labour, Jobs and Economy, and Education. Manitoba will go to the polls in the Fall of 2016 and we anticipate the usual flurry of spending announcements on institutional work and infrastructure in the months ahead.
Use of Standard Contracts and Procurement Process
The WCA Executive met with the new Mayor of the city of Winnipeg recently with the central theme being the creation of a new working group on procurement. For years the City has used its own construction contract document but was recently criticized for this and other matters in a real estate audit. WCA is advocating for the creation of a committee, made up of a wide range of City and industry professionals, that will review these matters and recommend best practices.
Young Construction Leaders of Manitoba and Manitoba Women in Construction
Both of these groups continue to grow and offer interesting learning and networking opportunities for young people and women in the industry. At the WCA AGM in February, 2015, the bylaws were amended to allow a representative from each group to sit as full WCA Board members.
Posted on: May 25, 2015