Overview of Recent MCAO Initiatives
Following is a summary overview of key initiatives and activities of the Association during 2011.
· We were, once again, extremely active on the Labour Relations front, throughout the year. We continued to meet, regularly, with the Ontario Pipe Trades Council (OPTC)/UA, under MIAC (the Mechanical Industry Advisory Committee); and further “built on” the many joint initiatives presently underway with our Labour Partners, including:
– providing support for unique/local market recovery/Client relationship initiatives in various Zones across the province.
– expanding our joint “Municipal Solutions” program (that focuses on “finite market share analysis and related strategic plans”) to several new areas/Locals.
– adopting new market recovery protocols; and providing support to the UA in its organizing initiatives.
– discussing/resolving industry matters together; before they become Labour Board/Legal actions; and
– jointly supporting new policy and industry educational programs – focused on “cultural change” within our industry – that will, hopefully, lead to a far more efficient, productive and broadly competitive unionized Mechanical Contracting Industry, in the future.
· MCAO also fought hard for the initiation of “multi trade” efforts to recoup lost/weak markets by organized labour – beginning with a hard look at the Sewage and Water Treatment Market, facilitated by the Ontario Construction Secretariat. This unique “multiple trade/labour management” initiative was pushed for by the Association, in the fall of 2011; and is scheduled to continue over the coming year – towards, hopefully, our re-establishment of a strong presence in this market.
· We continued our work towards the establishment of a Provincial Licensing System for Master Plumbing/Mechanical Contractors, targeted at streamlining the Master Plumbing Licensing program across Ontario; improving public safety; and ensuring direct impact on decisions affecting our industry. A broad industry Steering Committee is overseeing this initiative – that plans on proceeding with legislative support for the initiative in 2012.
· The Association remained actively involved with the IHSA (Infrastructure Health and Safety Association) – that, during the year, saw a major leadership change; along with a renewed commitment to effectively meet the construction industry’s needs. We were also focused on reviewing the expected impact on our industry of the Ontario Government’s move to establish a new CPO (Chief Prevention Office) within the Ministry of Labour – that will be responsible for all accident prevention activities (formerly a role held by the WSIB).
· We continued to work jointly with several key organizations such as the NTCCC (National Trade Contractors Coalition of Canada); and the newly established Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario (CDAO) – on matters pertaining to Infrastructure Ontario Policy/Investment; amendments to the Provincial Lien Act; and the implementation of “Prompt Payment” legislation.
· MCAO provided further guidance, over the year, to those involved in establishing/structuring the new Ontario “College of Trades”. Advice on early policy development and the selection of candidates for key roles in the College, were provided to the new organization, with a focus on ensuring that the Mechanical Industry’s interests are effectively addressed, as the new body evolves.
· By year’s end, we had completed our two year trial application of a Welding Procedures “Record/Log Book Program” (that called for testing to MCAO Standard Welding Procedures only once every two years). Due to a lack of broad industry support, decision was ultimately made by TSSA Authorities, to retain annual testing, for the foreseeable future at least. During 2011, our Provincial Welding Program Committee also worked on the development of several new Standard MCAO Procedures, including Orbital and MIG Welding; and compiled valuable information for the Membership on PVC/CPVC/Polyethylene Piping; along with Electro-Fusion Coupling and Structural Steel Welding (under the CWB).
· MCAO maintained its participating in the extremely successful peer exchange “Safety Group Program” that, since its inception, has realized major safety policy improvement and cost savings for Member Firms. Focus was also on the establishment of a form of “Safety Accreditation” acceptable to the overall construction industry – with our endorsement of the COR (Certificate of Recognition) Program for Ontario; and participation in its pilot application.
· We also continued as active members and leading supporters of the Construction Industry Task Force on Workers Compensation (CITF) – that has helped the industry significantly gain attention with respect to the need for policy change within Ontario’s WSIB System. Recently re-named the CEC (Construction Employers’ Coalition), this body was responsible for creation of the Construction Industry Advisory Group (CIAG) – that has the ear of the most senior WSIB/Board Officials; and recently provided detailed input to the 2011 Arthurs’ Funding Review – that is targeted at addressing the WSIB’s 12 Billion plus Unfunded Liability.
· Our review of the “Teksmed Quickcare” system continued during 2011; and led to our adopting a one year trial application of the program – beginning July 1 2012.
· The Association’s 2011 Conference included a visit to historic Rome, Italy combined with the scenic Amalfi Coast. Attended by a record 245 Delegates/Spouses, the annual gathering included several formal educational sessions, as well as a broad mix of social and informal networking opportunities.
· Throughout the year, we also continued our established practice of providing advice and assistance to individual Member Firms, on an ongoing/daily basis, with respect to the successful and efficient operation of their business activities.