Calgary Construction Association and Edmonton Construction Association Meet with Provincial Stakeholders; Jointly Advocate at Alberta Legislature

Earlier this week, a delegation from the Calgary Construction Association joined our colleagues from the Edmonton Construction Association to meet with provincial stakeholders and decision-makers from both sides of the party divide. The Calgary Construction Association was represented by our Board Chair, John Manes, President Bill Black, and the Director of Government Relations, Frano Cavar.

It was integral for the Calgary Construction Association to jointly advocate with our Edmonton counterparts. Together, the Calgary and Edmonton Construction Associations advocate on behalf of 1,850 members in Alberta’s two largest cities, representing more than 200,000 construction workers and their families.

Our collaborative commitments include: informing the development of provincial policies that impact the construction industry, facilitating and expediting the delivery of major capital projects in our metro regions, and maximizing economic return on public and private investments and job creation strategies.

Our joint delegation was at the Alberta Legislature to raise concerns about stable and predictable funding for infrastructure projects, procurement and risk allocation, labour supply challenges, and prompt payment. Given that the provincial election is set to be held at the end of May, it was important for us to meet with policymakers and ensure our voice was heard as policy platforms are being developed.

To achieve this, we met with policymakers in the UCP and NDP Caucus; the Deputy Premier and Minister of Infrastructure, Nathan Neudorf; and the Deputy Premier and Minister of Skilled Trades and Professions, Kaycee Madu.

On stable and predictable funding, we called on the Province to Achieve greater balance setting and reviewing long-term capital budgets that reflect public need, investment in economic corridors, industry capacity, inflation and supply chain cost escalation, and which insulate budget and timeline targets from political influence.

We also raised issues around procurement and risk allocation, noting that existing procurement practices have resulted in costly interruptions to capital projects and the adoption of increasingly untenable risk profiles for the industry. We called on the Government to improve alignment between Infrastructure Alberta, Alberta Treasury, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education procurement practices; and advocated for the appointment of a ministerial task force on risk assessment with representation from both the CCA and ECA.

Labour supply issues are acute challenges directly affecting the construction industry. We noted that job vacancy in construction increased from 5.8 percent to 7.4 percent between Q1 and Q2 of 2022 and has only increased subsequently. To address these challenges, we advocated that the Province protect and increase funding for increased apprentice enrollment at post-secondary institutions and associated capital and operational needs; implement recommendations of the Career Education Task Force to support the development of skilled trades interests among junior and senior-high school-aged students; and build on the Alberta is Calling campaign to attract women and workers from underrepresented groups, such as Indigenous people and newcomers, to skilled trades professions in Alberta.

Finally, we recognized the importance of the new prompt payment legislation. While we are pleased with the government’s progress on prompt payment legislation for the construction industry, a gap remains that excludes public projects. We called on the Government to amend the Public Works Act to close the prompt payment gap.

Our activities at the Legislature this week were an important milestone for both our organizations as we continue to raise the profile of Alberta’s construction industry. Together, we’re engaging our community to build better and working to ensure that your voice is heard.

Article by Lena Hogarth
March 16, 2023

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