Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) was pleased to see continued strong investment in public infrastructure in yesterday’s Budget. “The Ontario Construction Secretariat supports Infrastructure Ontario’s initiative to provide good jobs for today and at the same time build the skilled workforce of tomorrow,” says Sean Strickland, CEO of the OCS. “By requiring contractors to maximize the use of registered apprentices, young workers will have more opportunities to gain the skills required to successfully complete their training and enhance the competitiveness of the Ontario economy – this is especially important during a time of high youth unemployment.”
OCS is pleased to see several measures proposed in today’s Budget, including:
- A plan to commit over $130 billion towards public infrastructure over the next 10 years;
- Dedicated revenues from the existing gas tax and other tools to fund investments in public transit and transportation infrastructure as part of a $29 billion, 10-year plan (a component of the $130 billion overall infrastructure plan);
- A $1-billion commitment to build transportation infrastructure for the Ring of Fire; and
- Support for apprenticeship positions on public infrastructure projects like the Eglinton Crosstown.
Government models for job creation from infrastructure investments would estimate that approximately 270,000 jobs would be created over the course of a 10-year, $29 billion program.
Ontario’s unionized ICI construction industry has taken a leadership role in delivering and promoting apprenticeships and skilled trades training, and it supports efforts to increase the number of apprentices on public infrastructure projects. Collectively, this labour/management partnership has invested $260 million into 95 joint union/employer training centres across Ontario, and spends $40 million each year to deliver apprenticeship training, skills upgrading and health and safety awareness programs.
“Ontario is facing a shortage of skilled construction workers — as many as 40,000 in the next decade — and we need to enact measures now to ensure we have the workers when we need them,” says Strickland. The OCS represents more than 100,000 men and women working as tradespeople plus more than 5,000 construction contractors in Ontario’s industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) construction industry.