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

June 2014

The recent election victory for the Liberals means that the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) is here to stay. However, Premier Wynne committed to a special advisory review of the OCOT. Industry leaders are eager to resolve the issues around compulsory certification reviews and the overlap between the College and the trades. To meet the growing demand for construction professionals, we will continue to work with all our partners to promote employment pathways in the skilled trades sector.

Later today, we are expecting Premier Wynne to announce her new Cabinet. (See below for more information.) Over the coming weeks, we are also expecting the announcement of the Throne Speech, which will outline the government's agenda and the tabling of the Budget 2014 bill.

Premier Wynne has made it clear that the 2014 Budget will be almost identical to the one tabled a few months ago, which planned for about $29 billion in dedicated funding for transportation infrastructure over the next 10 years. Most experts agree that despite some challenges, the Liberal majority will mean stability for our industry for the next four years.

RESCON and its affiliates, Boards, volunteers and staff will continue to focus on the issues of concern to builders including housing policies, infrastructure, mid-rise timber frame construction, WSIB and safety issues, Tarion, Construction Lien Act (Prompt Payment), accessibility, energy efficiency, environmental assessments, labour relations, affordable housing, training and education.

All have significant consequences for us and the housing market we serve. Wherever possible, we shall work with like-minded organizations such as the OHBA and BILD to meet our objectives. Below are some news items which I hope you will find helpful. Please continue to share your ideas and comments.


RESCON President

 

New Ontario Cabinet Expected Today:

Premier Wynne is expected to announce her new Cabinet today. Below is a list of the new Ministers and portfolios based on media reports. 
  • Kathleen Wynne - Premier & Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Deb Matthews - Treasury Board
  • Charles Sousa - Finance
  • Eric Hoskins - Health
  • Liz Sandals - Education
  • Glen Murray - Enviroment
  • Bob Chiarelli - Energy
  • Kevin Flynn - Labour
  • Brad Duguid - Economic Development & Infrastructure  
  • Steven Del Duca - Transportation
  • Madeleine Meilleur - Attorney General, Francophone Affairs   
  • Yasir Naqvi - Community Safety, Government House Leader
  • Helena Jaczek - Community and Social Services
  • Reza Moridi - Training, Colleges and Universities
  • Jim Bradley - Minister Without Portfolio
  • Ted McMeekin - Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Bill Mauro, Natural Resources Minister.
  • Jeff Leal - Rural Affairs, Agriculture and Food
  • David Orazietti - Consumer & Government Services
  • Tracy MacCharles - Children and Youth Services
  • Michael Gravelle - Northern Affairs and Mines Minister
  • Mario Sergio - Seniors Minister
  • David Zimmer - Aboriginal Affairs Minister

Media Articles:
Globe and Mail - Job of finance minister split as Wynne gets set for cabinet shuffle

Toronto Star - Kathleen Wynne to unveil major post-election cabinet shuffle


 

Creating the Conditions for Private Sector Involvement in Affordable Housing: 


A recent report commissioned by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance examined how to create the conditions for greater private participation in the supply of affordable housing in Ontario.

The research report concluded that there is little new affordable rental supply being built and we need to look at incentives and regulatory changes to address this growing gap. Moreover, to build affordable housing and maintain the existing supply, new solutions and sources of investment are needed – requiring increased private-sector participation. The paper identifies some pathways to private participation and profiles some international case studies.
Click Here to Read the Report:



 

Canada's Hot Housing Market: More Supply is needed.

Canada's housing market continues to garner a lot of attention. The market is most hot in Canada's urban centers, with some areas, such as Toronto, performing better than others, like Montreal. RESCON continues to believe that rising prices are in large part due to a lack of supply. This is one of the reasons we continue to push for Building Code changes to allow for the greater use of mid-rise wood frame construction for residential and office buildings. Below are some recent articles and information which you may find interesting. 
 

Looking for a “New Normal” in the
Residential Mortgage Market: 

Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) recently published its spring survey and market analysis report last week. Click Here for a copy of the press release and report. 

Below are the key findings and observations from the report which was written by CAAMP Chief Economist Will Dunning.

Dunning repeats his belief that the last round of insured mortgage rule changes – nearly two years old now – were not only unwarranted but that their “impacts……are still playing out in the housing market and they are now starting to effect the general economy”.

Here are some noteworthy data points from the spring survey include:

  1. 55% of home purchases in 2013 were made by first time buyers;
  2. For recently funded mortgages (2013 and up to the completion of the survey a few weeks ago), 74% of borrowers chose fixed rate mortgages, 20% chose variable rate mortgages and 6% chose combination mortgages;
  3. 92% of recently funded mortgages had amortization periods of 25 years or less while only 8% had extended amortizations greater than 25 years;
  4. 47% of recently funded mortgages were obtained from a Canadian bank, 39% were obtained through a mortgage broker and 14% were originated through another origination source;
  5. There are 9.55 million homeowners in Canada with 5.6 million having mortgages;
  6. The average mortgage interest rate is 3.24%;
  7. Average discounting from posted rates for five year fixed rate mortgages is 1.95%;
  8. Average home equity in Canada is 73% - for those with mortgages, it is 51% and 80% of Canadian homeowners have at least 25% equity;
  9. For homeowners who purchased in the past ten years, 69% think of their home as a place to live while 31% see their home primarily as an investment. This question was new for this survey.

CAAMP forecasts that the rate of growth in mortgage credit will slow. Over the past ten years, mortgage credit growth has averaged 8.4% annually, but it has dropped to 5% currently and is forecast to be 4.5% by the end of 2015. Total mortgage credit in Canada at the end of 2015 is forecast to be $1.34 trillion.


 

Bill 69 - The Prompt Payment Act and Construction Lien Act:

On March 28, 2014 then Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur announced the launching of an independent review of the Construction Lien Act in response to concerns about Bill 69 (Prompt Payment Act). The first consultation with stakeholders took place on April 28th. It was then interrupted by the election and the dates for its resumption have yet to be set as well as the selection of a Chair and panel review members. Based on media reports, we are expecting Madeleine Meilleur to remain as Ontario's Attorney General, which will promote the continuity of this work.

Bill 69 - The Prompt Payment Act was originally introduced as a Private Members Bill by Steven Del Duca, Liberal MPP (now Transportation Minister), and supported by Monte McNaughton, PC MPP, who was also recently reelected. There were serious reservations about Bill 69, which many believed was not clearly researched. Others were concerned about creating another layer of bureaucracy and a process disconnected from existing practices.

RESCON will continue to monitor developments regarding the Construction Lien Act and the possible reintroduction of the Prompt Payment Act.



 

Construction worker dead after falling 22 storeys:

A horrifying fall cost a Toronto construction worker his life Monday when he plunged 22 storeys from a downtown highrise, according to Toronto EMS. This is the second time in a year that a construction worker has died on the job in the downtown core.

Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene at 65 St. Mary St., between Wellesley and Bloor at Bay St. at around 2:30 p.m. The Ministry of Labour will be conducting an investigation.

Click Here for the full Toronto Star article



 

Charges dismissed in construction death:

A judge recently dismissed all charges Wednesday against a developer in the March 2011 death of a worker at a Kitchener construction site.

John Catunto, 42, of London, Ont., died after being struck by an eight-tonne slab of concrete that was being hoisted by a tower crane at the site of a condominium development at 539 Belmont Ave. Catunto, a father of four, was rigging loads onto the 60-metre crane, which hoisted the loads up to the fifth storey, then the top floor of the building.

Click Here for the full story

 

Canadian Wood Council Final Report on ON Mid-Rise Stakeholder Consultation: 

Click Here for a Final Copy of the Canadian Wood Council Final Report on the Ontario Mid-Rise Stakeholder Consultation. 

Please see the attached Background Paper with RESCON's Final Comments which was submitted to MMAH. Thanks to all those that provided feedback. Any questions can be directed to Michael Steele. His contact information below.

Michael Steele, B. Tech. (C.M.)
Director, Technical Standards
RESCON
Office: 905-760-7777 ext.110
Cell: 416-993-7024
Email: michael.steele@rescon.ws

Background Articles:
Ontario’s home builders urge wooden mid-rise construction
BILD Pushes for Changes to the Ontario Building Code

 

Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Skilled Trades: 

Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney has announced that the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) will receive $453,000 to study labour mobility challenges and issues facing both domestic and foreign-trained apprentices.

The project will examine the differences among provincial regulations and training requirements, as well as the obstacles faced by apprentice newcomers with limited experience in the trades.

Article Links:

Spending scandal at Local 183's training centre: 

The 41-year-old Mississauga tradesman, a member of the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 183, is going public about concerns over a lingering spending scandal at its regional training centres.

In a break from union brotherhood ranks, Panacos is the lone signatory on an open letter pushing LiUNA to release the findings of what he calls a hidden investigation into alleged improprieties involving the centre’s finances.

Click Here for the full Toronto Star story

Mike Holmes: Condo builders helping owners enjoy eco-living...

Buying a condo doesn’t mean you have to sit out the eco movement and accept the standard concrete box. You can do better than that, and save money.

Some condos going up today are creating the highest level of environmental and sustainable standards. These condo developments are future-focused and help support healthier lifestyles.

Click Here for the full National Post article.
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25 North Rivermede Road - Unit 13
Vaughan, Ontario L4K 5V4