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ecaonews-1-dec22020.jpgConversation with ECAO Executive Director, Graeme Aitken

Please join Graeme for the next open conversation on December 2 from 2-3:00 pm

Contractor members are encouraged to join us and discuss any issues of concern and to get updates on ECAO’s latest initiatives.

To join zoom meeting:

Meeting ID: 830 1816 1278



ECAO-INDISTRYNEWS-DEC22020-1.jpgFall Economic Statement Summary

With the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic crashing over the Canadian economy, the Trudeau government has doubled down on its approach to supporting Canadian businesses, workers, and families with additional large increases in spending for new and existing programs to combat the economic fallout from the disease.

Among the programs announced is the restoration of the federal wage subsidy to companies that keep workers on the payroll. The subsidy was cut in September to 65 percent of an employee wage, now the subsidy will be reset to 75 per cent. 

Link to full report


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Council of Ontario Construction Associations COCA- Government Relations


COCA’s Skilled Trades Committee submitted its advice to the government’s Skilled Trades Panel on the first phase of the Panel’s work. Among the COCA Committee’s recommendations was one calling for the creation of a single stewardship organization outside the ranks of the government to oversee the province’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system.


COCA has set up a Youth Apprenticeship Task Force and is working on developing its submissions to the Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development’s Apprenticeship Youth Advisors. The ECAO representative for this Task Force is Jake Sanita from Electric Group and also a member of the ECAO Future Leaders Advisory Council.

Latest Stats On The Wsib’S Health And Safety Excellence Program 

As of Nov 24, 101% of the target for 2020 enrollment target was achieved with 2017 businesses enrolled. 568 businesses in the construction sector enrolled, 58 at foundations level, 242 at intermediate, and 238 at advanced. 186 are small (50 FTE or less), 57 are medium (51 – 100 FTE) and 324 are large (100+ FTE). There are currently 34 approved providers, 25 of which serve the construction sector. ECAO is now an Approved Provider under the WSIB Safety Excellence Program and full details are expected to be released soon to contractor members.

WSIB COVID 19 Claims Update 

If you use WSIB COVID 19 claims as an indicator, the construction industry has done exceedingly well at controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus on job sites.

As of November 13, 2020, the WSIB has made decisions on a total of 7,640 claims and the vast majority, 81.7%, have been approved. An additional 783 claims are still under consideration and pending a decision. The WSIB has also received 3,697 exposure incident reports from workers who were exposed to someone with the virus but have no symptoms and have not tested positive.

Federal Government Announces New Rent Subsidy

Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.


Ontario Supporting Small Businesses with Financial Advice and Training 

Investment to provide new online resources to help entrepreneurs during COVID-19 

The Ontario government is investing over $2.2 million through the Ontario Together Fund to provide small businesses with free, tailored financial advice and online training to help them make informed financial decisions and navigate the unprecedented economic circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

When included alongside the 2020 Ontario Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover and the Main Street Recovery Plan, these supports are part of a comprehensive package of proposed legislation, funding programs, and services and resources to help small businesses when and where they need it the most.

Visit the new Small Business Recovery webpage for up-to-date information, programs and resources at


Joint Electrical Promotion Plan (JEPP)

JEPP recently released a short video advertisement to remind everyone to wear their masks.

To view the video click here.

This video was done jointly with members of Local IBEW 804 and the Electrical Contractors Association of Central Ontario.

Skilled trades must learn to keep pace with changing technologies: stakeholders


Perhaps nowhere is this becoming more apparent than within the skilled construction trades. Things have changed, however, and it’s putting the onus on skilled trades to upgrade to keep pace.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is also seeing technology impacting their trade and is working to get members trained up to stay ahead of the curve, says Adam Van Steinburg, RSE and international representative, first district, Canada.

“We like to say the wiring has become easier but the management of those products is a lot more complicated,” he says, noting a switch isn’t just on or off anymore, it’s more likely to be wired to a low voltage control system with addressable switches and connect through the Building Information Management System. “There’s information security to know, what information can this switch have? What can it connect to? Who has access?”

It’s new ground for electricians and the old school tradespeople are going to have to carve out time to add to their skills and get certified as new technology becomes ubiquitous.


Industry Perspectives Op-Ed: OCOT too broken to be salvaged

OCOT was a failed experiment that had morphed into a self-serving and unwieldy bureaucracy, whose claim to fame was fining barbershops, enflaming labour-relations conflicts and creating more red tape. Let’s do a quick refresher on OCOT’s failed track record.


Working in Cold Weather Alert


When the temperature drops and winter storms begin, a number of risks can arise, including property damage and an increased risk of injury to outdoor workers resulting from slips, trips, and falls. That’s why it’s critical for contractors to take extra precautions when working in the extreme cold.

Federated Insurance has developed the following risk management resource outlining best practices to help keep your members safe while working outside in the winter:


ECAO Sponsored Energy Storage Webinar December 10


Contractors are welcome to join us for an upcoming webinar on Energy Storage given by Customized Energy Solutions (CES). This webinar will provide contractors with information on storage mechanisms, energy storage characteristics as well as discussing market opportunities. This is the first in a series of webinars offered to ECAO members by CES.

The first webinar is on December 10 from 10:00 am to 11:30 and will feature the basics of Energy Storage Applications captioned Energy Storage 101.

Please register here to save your spot. Once registered you will receive the virtual meeting details.

CES is a recognized thought leader in consulting and energy market services around emerging technologies and energy storage assets and is the largest third-party operator/scheduler of advanced energy storage in North America currently scheduling over 300 MW into wholesale markets across multiple jurisdictions including Ontario.

Office of the Employer Adviser Webinars


The OEA provides Ontario employers with expert, free and confidential advice, representation and education on all workers' compensation issues under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, and on unjust reprisal issues under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The OEA will be offering the following webinars in December

Rate Framework

Dec 8, 2020 | Time: 10:00 am ET

This webinar outlines the new ‘Rate Framework’ and how your company will be assessed going forward. Learn how these changes will affect your company. This webinar is a general level presentation intended for all employers who have some experience dealing with the WSIB from a premium/assessment perspective.

Click Here To Register

Mental Stress

Dec 10, 2020 | Time: 2:00 pm ET

This webinar outlines the legislative modifications that have changed the handling of mental stress claims, and how mental stress entitlement, both traumatic and chronic, is determined by the WSIB.

Click Here To Register

A Practical Guide to Return to Work for Employers (Non-Construction)

Dec 15, 2020 | Time: 2:00 pm ET

This webinar explains the benefits of having a return to work program, your legal obligations under the WSIA, key steps for implementing a return to work program and plan, as well as resolution strategies for disputes in returning to work.

Click Here To Register

A Practical Guide to Return to Work for Employers (Construction)

Dec 17, 2020 | Time: 10:00 am ET

This webinar explains the benefits of having a return to work program, your legal obligations under the WSIA, key steps for implementing a return to work program and plan, as well as resolution strategies for disputes in returning to work

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