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Long awaited Construction Lien Act report to be released Sept. 26

The Provincial Government has announced that it will release the long-awaited Construction Lien Act (CLA) review on September 26.

New Attorney General Yasir Naqvi announced last week that a link will be provided on his Ministry website to the final report, authored by noted construction lawyers Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel, on Monday, Sept. 26,  after delaying the release by nearly five months. Reynolds and Vogel consulted with industry stakeholders over an 18 month period before submitting their recommendations to then-AG Madeleine Meilleur on May 2. The report is said to be nearly 400 pages long.

ECAO was to have construction lawyer Glenn Ackerley provide an insider’s perspective on the CLA review in his capacity as part of Reynolds’ expert advisory panel at our annual industry conference in Muskoka. However, the delay in releasing the report means that we will now try to re-schedule a presentation by Glenn at another time.


WSIB Rates – decrease as of January 1, 2017

WSIB’s annual meeting took place on September 14, 2016 where they announced an average decrease of 5% on annual premium rates to take place January 1, 2017. The actual rate decrease for your company will vary based on performance. This is the first time since 2001 that WSIB reduced their rates. They also announced that the unfunded liability is expected to be eliminated by 2021.

If you are attending our conference next week, be sure to attend the WSIB Roundtable discussion on Friday morning for information on how the upcoming new rate framework will affect your business. 

The 2017 rates are now on the WSIB website - click here


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Legislature prorogued last weekend

Premier Kathleen Wynne prorogued the Ontario legislature on Thursday September 8, bringing an end to the 1st Session of the 41st Parliament and seamlessly resuming on Monday, September 12 (the original date the Legislature was set to resume) with the 2nd Session of the 41st Parliament. Proroguing the legislature allowed Wynne to hit the reset button and set out a new course for the increasingly unpopular Liberal government, which most recently suffered a devastating by-election loss in the traditionally strong Liberal riding of Scarborough-Rouge River. Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell delivered a Throne Speech on Monday.

Highlights from the Speech:

  • a balanced budget next year;
  • a rebate on hydro equivalent to the 8% provincial sales tax, worth an average of $130 per household per year, with an additional 20% support for rural ratepayers, starting in January of 2017;
  • more daycare spaces for children;
  • adding up to 350,000 home care nursing hours and 1.3 million hours of personal support;
  • improving child math skills;
  • infrastructure investments, including 5,000 km of paved highways and 350 km of rapid transit; and
  • re-commitment to climate change plan, cap and trade, and reinvestment of revenues in GHG mitigation (with no changes to average industrial electricity charges).

Proroguing the Legislature eliminated all bills that were part of the first Session, including any legislation introduced by the opposition parties. However, Wynne has signalled her intention to reintroduce all of her Government’s bills, including the Election Finance Reform Bill, which was reintroduced and passed First Reading on Tuesday.

Following the Cabinet shuffle in June, we expect Wynne to issue new mandate letters to each of her new Ministers. Hopefully, instructions to new Attorney General Yasir Naqvi will include directions to implement a new Construction Lien Act including measures for prompt payment.


CPP Legislation in the works

It’s expected the Federal Liberals will introduce a CPP bill in the next few weeks to increase the benefits retirees receive, increase the income eligible for CPP contributions and raise monthly premiums for employees and employers. When first announced in June, after the Provincial Finance Ministers agreed to CPP increases in principle, it was stated that the CPP contribution rate for both employers and employees will gradually increase to 5.95 per cent from the current 4.95 per cent.

The five-year phased increase will begin on January 1, 2019.  A worker earning $55,000 a year would see monthly premiums increase by $7 in 2019. By 2023, that would increase to $34 a month. The announcement in June resulted in the Ontario Liberal Government pulling the plug on ORPP.


Ontario College of Trades – Apply to join a Trade Board

There are a number of vacancies and upcoming vacancies at the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT). OCOT is a self-governing body created to protect public interest by regulating and promoting Ontario’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system. The College of Trades Appointments Council is a non-board governed regulatory agency of the Ontario Government that is responsible for appointing candidates to the Board of Governors, Divisional Boards and Trade Boards.

If you are an Employer representative who may be interested, please visit their website for a full list of vacancies and instructions on how to apply. They are accepting applications for all positions, whether or not they are currently filled. 


Duties and Responsibilities of LECs and DMEs

The Electrical Contractor Registration Agency (ECRA) of the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) published a guideline that explains existing laws surrounding the obligations of Licensed Electrical Contractors (LECs) and Designated Master Electricians (DMEs). It is important that all businesses and individuals who offer or perform electrical work in Ontario are aware of and comply with their licensing obligations. Fred Black wrote an article about this guideline in the latest issue of our magazine, which can be found online at: http://mediaedge.imirus.com/Mpowered/book/vontario16/i3/p24


New WSIAT Chair

David Corbett was appointed as the new Chair of Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT). He has extensive experience in labour, employment and worker’s compensation law. WSIAT is the appeal tribunal that hears appeals from final decisions made by WSIB on benefits, health care and rehabilitation. WSIAT is independent of WSIB and is an arm’s length agency of the Ministry of Labour. For more information, please refer to the news release.


ECAO Industry Conference

We are excited to see some of you at our 2016 Industry Conference next week in Muskoka, and are especially thankful for all of our generous sponsors and speakers. Stay tuned for details and online registration for our 2017 Industry Conference in Munich, Germany, May 21-27, 2017, including a change of venue! 


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2017 ECAO Calendar – Not too late to advertise!

The Member Services Committee and the Associate Members’ Executive Council of ECAO are pleased to announce the development of our next calendar.  This calendar is designed to be a handy reference tool for all electrical contractor members providing date reminders, safety tips, and contact information as well as providing an advertising opportunity for the product suppliers and service providers to ECAO members.

Associate Members receive a 20% discount. If you are interested in submitting an advertisement for our 2017 Industry Calendar, please contact Dorothy at dknapik@ecao.org for the information package. The calendar is sent out to over 1000 contacts. 


     
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Still looking for volunteers for an ECAO/IBEW Health and Safety Trade Committee

If you have a passion for health and safety, please consider applying to join IHSA’s Electrical Trade Labour Management Health and Safety Committee, which is made up of representatives of ECAO and IBEW. We are looking for contractors with a strong health and safety background who can commit to attend 4 meetings each year in Toronto. If you are interested, please send us an email to ecao@ecao.org. 


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