A national delegation of members and associates from the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC), the voice of the $5.0 billion Canadian steel construction sector that employs over 40,000 Canadians, met with government ministers and parliamentarians from all political parties during CISC’s “Steel Construction Day on the Hill” on June 9 to seek support for local procurement policies, ensure prompt payment of trades, and a free and fair global trade environment. Key elements of their discussion points include the following:
1. Federal Prompt Payment Legislation: Prompt payment is one of the biggest issues impacting the construction industry. The ability of trade contractors to be paid in a timely fashion for services rendered is critical to ensuring the long-term survival and growth of these small to mid-sized enterprises, their ability to support employment and job growth, and investments in machinery, innovation and our future workforce. “We request the government to enact Federal Prompt Payment legislation to provide immediate relief to construction industry trades, the life blood of the Canadian construction industry” remarked Ed Whalen, president of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction.
2. Infrastructure and local procurement: This is a key government priority outlined in the 2015 federal budget, which includes the new $5.35 billion per year Building Canada Plan. “We urge the development of policies that require Canadian content in government funded infrastructure projects, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects, and projects in the natural resources sector,” said Tareq Ali, director of marketing & communications for CISC. “Requiring some amount of Canadian content in large infrastructure projects and providing royalty rebates/credits for the natural resources sector will have a significant impact on creating jobs, investment, innovation and on keeping world class manufacturing in Canada” ,
3. Free and Fair Trade: The introduction of a stronger trade remedy system that ensures free and fair trade practices by Canada’s trading partners is outlined as a key priority in the 2015 federal budget. “We consider this vital to ensure that Canadian manufacturers are able to access, compete, and thrive in an open, competitive, free and fair global marketplace. As such, we are proposing the adoption of a Federal Reciprocal Procurement Act based on the following principles: the Federal government supports the concept of free and fair trade; the Federal government supports the concept of reciprocal procurement; the Federal government, while respecting current trade agreements, reserves the right to prohibit government procurement of products and services from a foreign country (and/or state within) that restricts or limits access of Canadian suppliers and manufacturers,” added Whalen.