Here's a snapshot of some of the most important issues
for the residential construction industry.

February 2015

The Ontario College of Trades was supposed to help with Ontario’s training and apprenticeship problem given the province’s well-documented deficiencies on that score. Yet it is mired in controversy. So much so that a review has already commenced on the actions of its short life thus far.
 
Instead of having an institution making a positive contribution to youth facing daunting skill and employment challenges, it has been reduced to a squabble over jurisdictional disputes, punitive fees on workers with no apparent benefit, and a new enforcement regime harassing an already overburdened construction sector with additional restrictive requirements on who can be hired and what work they can perform. And it could get much worse. According to the London Economist, excessive occupational regulation “reduces mobility and makes it harder for workers to change careers or earn extra income.”  
 
Ontario already has the most restrictive apprenticeship criteria in Canada with respect to the ratios of apprentices to journeypersons. This is clearly at odds with where the economy needs to go and helping young people get there. Bizarrely absent of any economic or safety justification for increasing occupational regulatory requirements, the College appears to having fallen back on a purported need to increase safety and consumer protection. This is wrong-headed. First, consumers are amply protected with pre-existing consumer protection measures. Second, there is no correlation between occupational licensing and improving health and safety outcomes. 
 
In the construction industry, the focus is now on preparing for the ensuing mass of potential litigation concerning fights over who can do what work. Further, many are preparing to fight the further certification of trades and skills which would further restrict who can work in certain fields. As such, considerable resources are expended on everything except creating opportunities for young people and clearing the path through the maze that is to be found in entering skilled trades and finding job opportunities to learn. It is a waste in economic terms and a failure for young people. Hopefully the review focuses on the public interest and re-purposes the College to eliminate barriers for skilled trades rather create them. We will be advocating for nothing less for our members. 


RESCON President

Prez sounds off on affordability in GTA
as RESCON debuts new blog


RESCON.com now has a blog!

Well, it has for a few weeks, but this is the first time RESCON Industry News has been able to trumpet its debut, as well as link to it for our newsletter readers.

Inspired by the recent reports by Toronto newspapers on affordability (or lack of) in the GTA, RESCON president Richard Lyall decided it was time to speak out on the subject.

You can read all about his view on affordability in the GTA at this link.

And feel free to leave a comment. We love getting feedback from our readers!

RESCON expands its reach on social media


Not only will you find a blog on RESCON.com, but you can now find RESCON on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

RESCON has expanded its presence on social media to get involved in discussions with the general public, our members and other stakeholders in the platform of their preference.

Follow us on Twitter @_RESCON.

Find us on LinkedIn here.

Like us on Facebook here.

Speaking of Facebook, you can find the RESCON Communications summary of the Toronto Mid-Rise Symposium (picture above supplied by our friends at Ontario Wood WORKS!) on our Facebook page. Read the entire story at this link.

RESCON.com introduces new
Tech Corner blog
by guru Steele

Are you looking for info and answers to questions on technical issues that affect multi-residential construction in Ontario? Then this is the space where you will find the answers you seek.

We’ll be tackling issues that impact residential construction such as: inconsistent interpretations of the OBC, proposed code changes, new regulations and standards, affordability and Tarion.

And we want your input and questions so we can be as current and interactive as possible, using plain language to cut through the jargon.

Click here to read more of Michael Steele's Tech Corner blog.

Alek Antoniuk: RESCON Code Letter No. 4 focuses on mid-rise wood builds


The design and construction industry
is becoming aware of the advantages of mid-rise wood construction as a
result of the promotional activities of Wood WORKS!, such as its Wood
Solutions Fairs, educational events, and its web site.

In Ontario, industry is finally able to build mid-rise buildings as a result of the latest Ontario Building Code (OBC) amendment that came into effect on January 1, 2015.

Click here to read Antoniuk's full letter.

Wood-frame construction across Canada and the world


Journalist Jennifer Lewington produces her second big feature article in the Globe and Mail in two months on mid-rise wood-frame construction.

This time, instead of focusing on the Ontario Building Code change, she writes about wood builds across Canada, including a fascinating fact-box about projects around the world.

Did you know that the tallest wood-frame construction project project is 10 storeys high in Melbourne, Australia?

We're limited to six in Ontario for now, but as RESCON president Richard Lyall says, we're going higher.

Click here to read the story.

New Vice-President knows labour relations,
and how to tell a story

RESCON's new vice-president, Andrew Pariser, isn't just a talented senior mediator via the Ministry of Labour, according to RESCON president Richard Lyall.

Pariser is a hell of a storyteller, Lyall says.

The native of Ingersoll, Ont., joined RESCON in October and has made a big impact on the organization in a short time.

For more on Pariser, click on this link.

Veteran journalist heads up RESCON communications

Aonghus Kealy is a long way from Sudbury, Ont.

The Sudbury Star was the first professional newsroom he worked as a cub reporter before moving on to 12 more in Ontario, Alberta and Ireland -- including the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun -- then switching careers to communications.

The 40-year-old says he is thrilled to join RESCON as director of communications.

Read Kealy's story at this link.

Accessibility slides highlight importance of coming changes

Last fall, RESCON observed a presentation on changes to the building code for accessibility.

It was presented by Accessibility Advantage, the March of Dimes and Quadrangle Architects. Accessibility is a subject we are addressing through media calls for our director of technical standards, Michael Steele, as the interest seems to be heating up.

Click here for the presentation.
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