CCA asks for COVID-19 construction cost relief fund, post-crisis infrastructure strategy

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlining its recommendations for COVID-19 recovery plan principles.
“CCA is eager to partner with all levels of government in leading the country out of the pandemic-induced recession, but measures need to be taken to ensure the industry is well-positioned to do its part towards economic recovery,” association president Mary Van Buren said in a message to members.

“Advocacy with government agencies and departments has led to several announced programs which will provide some help to our members in the near-term, such as the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), as well as the decision to keep some health-compliant federal projects open,” she wrote.

“CCA also continues to advocate on behalf of its members for an emergency COVID-19 cost relief fund, with eligible costs to be reimbursed up to 5 per cent of the contract value as a starting point.

She asked members to send letters to their Members of Parliament to advocate for the cost relief fund, and post-crisis infrastructure funding.

“Investing in infrastructure is a proven strategy,” Van Buren wrote. “However, how this construction industry stimulus is rolled out will significantly impact its effectiveness.

CCA is therefore recommending that an industry-specific economic stimulus package be provided on the following principles, she wrote:

  • Co-ordination:Federal departments need to work together in collaboration with provinces and municipalities to be efficient and eliminate red tape in order to quickly get Canadians back to work and ensure revenue flow for business owners and workers.
  • Balance:The plan needs to be balanced, with projects for all sectors, regions and size of firms. It should also be available over an 18-month period, minimizing a boom and bust cycle.
  • Clarity:The industry needs clear and consistent rules on managing COVID-19 health protocols endorsed by labour, industry and Health Canada.
  • Flexibility:Flexibility is needed in dealing with COVID-19 related project costs and delays. Contractors remain concerned about how existing contracts will address delays, project disruptions, increased costs and payment delays.

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