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By Mary Van Buren, President, Canadian Construction Association

 

No one could have imagined the challenges COVID-19 would bring to Canadians. This pandemic is not only threatening the health and well-being of our population, but it is also changing the way we live our daily lives and how we work.

 

Our industry is rising to the occasion – putting the safety and well-being of our workers, their families and friends, and the communities in which we operate as our first priority. We can all take pride in the generosity of our many firms who have donated urgently needed PPE in support of our front-line workers across the country. It is just one example of how construction cares.

 

Working together has never been more important than it is today. As your national association, the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) is relentlessly pursuing programs, resources and tools to help the industry during and post-COVID-19. We do this in collaboration with our board of directors, our National Advisory Councils and our local construction association partners.

 

We have written letters to Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Ng, Minister Anand and Minister Morneau to express the support construction needs now and in the future; and have called for clearer measures to protect our workers and the well-being of our industry.

 

We have had continuous dialogue with Public Services and Procurement Canada, Defence Construction Canada, Health Canada, the departments of Finance, Global Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office. We have sent letters, issued press releases and given multiple interviews to expand the reach of our message and have engaged in discussions with like-minded organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies, Export Development Canada and the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships to align and strengthen our position with the federal government.

 

All of this outreach has led to some important wins for our members:

 

The 75 per cent wage subsidy program, available to all businesses, on a cash or accrual revenue basis, who can show a decline of 15 per cent in revenue;

 

A national COVID-19 protocol and resource centre, sharing best practices to help all member firms meet or exceed health requirements. These measures are extensive and include new safety and hygiene procedures and checklists as well as guidelines on employee monitoring, physical distancing, sanitization stations, frequent sanitization of sites and reduced personnel on sites;

 

Extended financing available from BDC and Export Development Canada; normally only available to exporting firms; and

 

A free webinar series featuring experts offering insight to help businesses navigate COVID-19.

 

More recently, CCA has issued a call to action, asking members and colleagues to support a request to the federal government to create an Emergency COVID-19 Construction Cost Relief Program. Construction has been hit hard by the pandemic. Many operations have been impacted by supply chain disruptions, staff shortages, increased cost of materials and loss of productivity. The program would alleviate the financial pressure the industry is facing due to the pandemic and ensure these companies are operational when it’s time to mobilize for economic recovery. CCA is recommending eligible costs be reimbursed up to five per cent of the contract value as a starting point, subject to adjustment as the duration and full impact of COVID-19 becomes clearer.

 

I urge you to support our efforts by sending a letter to your own MP (pushpolitics.ca/clients/construction/).

 

Canada will be counting on the construction industry to lead us out of the COVID-19-induced recession. You can count on CCA to be your voice with the federal government, to provide helpful tools and to share best practices across the country. We are working passionately on your behalf and will continue to put Canada’s institutional, commercial and industrial construction industry first in everything that we do.

 

Let’s stay in contact.

 

Please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any feedback or comments on how the CCA can serve you better during this crisis. Hear what is going on by subscribing to the CCA’s newsletter at bit.ly/ccasubscribe, by following @ConstructionCAN on Twitter or by looking up Canadian Construction Association on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.