An organization which advocates for contractors not associated with the Ontario Building Trades has commissioned a survey which it says indicates “Ontarians have had it with government policies and politicians who waste public infrastructure dollars.”
The Progressive Contractors Association (PCA), which represents employers whose workers primarily belong to the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), says the poll by Forum Research “shows a whopping 90 per cent of Ontarians believe elected officials should be doing more to make sure taxpayers are getting good value.”
“As many as 86 per cent of those surveyed support scrapping a provincial policy that makes construction work up to 30 per cent more expensive in Toronto, Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie the Region of Waterloo and at several public bodies including OPG, Hydro One and the Toronto District School Board,” the PCA-sponsored survey reports.
In certain communities and with some public sector organizations, current labour law requires these organizations where workers are represented by the building trades to use only contractors employing the trade union members. PAC has been lobbying municipalities to fight for decertification to create a more open shop environment for contractors.
“Ontarians are telling us they’re frustrated with politicians and policies that waste money and are not working in the public’s best interest,” said PCA spokesperson Karen Renkema. “When elected officials make a conscious choice to overcharge taxpayers on construction work, then they owe the public an explanation.”
(Survey results can often be framed by the wording of the questions asked. It is conceivable that a survey commissioned by the Ontario Building Trades would deliver different results.)
The poll commissioned by PCA also found:
- 84% of those surveyed believe fairness for taxpayers and better value for
infrastructure investments should be a priority in the next provincial election.
- 81% believe an Ontario government policy that prevents qualified local companies and workers from building municipal projects in their communities is unfair. Those in Waterloo Region felt more strongly at 86%, Sault Ste. Marie 80%, Toronto 77%, Hamilton 73%.
“If the government is going to make fairness its mantra, shouldn’t that apply to municipal construction work?” Renkema said. “A provincial policy that doesn’t allow tax paying members of the public to work in their own cities, just doesn’t sit right with Ontarians.”
Forum surveyed 1,094 Ontarians last month. The poll has an accuracy level of +/-3.1%.