Tag Archives: RESCON (Residential Construction Council of Ontario)

THE COUNCIL: Keeping the trades satisfied

Keeping the trades satisfied: Labour crunch leads to survey

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Keeping the trades satisfied: Labour crunch leads to survey

Labour crunch leads to survey to learn how to keep construction workers happy on the job.

Ontario construction is facing a labour crunch in the next 10 years with almost 90,000 trades workers set to retire during that time, according to BuildForce Canada.

Learning about that figure triggered a conversation that led RESCON to join forces with Job Talks, an organization with a strong track record in academia and in construction. Together with the Ontario Residential Council of Construction Associations, they have launched a survey to learn what satisfies trades professionals day-to-day as they build Ontario.

“We’re thinking about the future,” said Andrew Pariser, vice president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON). “We’ve seen labour shortages on and off in different trades for more than a decade. We must prepare for how this will affect all construction sectors including residential and infrastructure and how it will impact our ability to build in the future.

“Our goal is to better understand how we can retain current workers, recruit new workers, and build a labour force to match tomorrow’s needs. If we recruit the right people and provide them with the right opportunities, we can greatly improve all training and apprenticeship initiatives.”

The academically-based survey analysis will be carried out by Job Talks. Recent Job Talks projects include a national survey of workers in Red Seal trades and a complementary interview series on YouTube, as well as a national study that reveals new distinct segments of Canada’s working population.

“It takes at least 20 minutes and is open to any person who works on tools or owns a pair of safety boots in infrastructure and residential trades in Ontario,” said Jon Callegher of Job Talks. It has multiple choice and open-ended questions that “help us understand how construction workers really feel about their jobs and to gauge their happiness on the job.”

The results of the survey will inform a report on retention and job satisfaction of trades workers in construction. It is available here.

For more information, email dibe@rescon.com.

Richard Lyall is the president of RESCON.

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Women In Skilled Trades (WIST)

Women are breaking barriers

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Women are breaking barriers

Tiffany Morin loves to solve puzzles. In fact, the new graduate from the Women In Skilled Trades (WIST) program says she considers every house she works on to be a puzzle.

“If that door isn’t closing right, you have to fix the puzzle – you have to find the missing piece,” said the 21-year-old from Baden (near Kitchener). “You see something that’s not working, you re-evaluate what’s wrong and try the first solution, then the next solution.”

Morin recently graduated from the program at the Centre for Skills Development in Burlington. It is an important cog to train and educate women to join the male-dominated construction trades.

“We’re chipping away every year to change the gender makeup of the trades,” says instructor Lawrence Farrell.

Among 19 women in the 22-week program, Morin was considered one of her class’s top problem-solvers. She has taken those skills and her new education with her to a job in Kitchener with Timeline Journey Renovations.

“It’s going really great. So far, we’ve put in a few doors, bathroom vents and a fence job where we replaced all of the old posts with new ones. Every day, I learn something new,” Morin says.

Farrell was not surprised to learn Morin was hired the Monday following her graduation in September.

“Tiffany is a very capable worker, and is an excellent problem solver with an eye for detail,” Farrell says. “She excelled in theory and was admired for her ability to grasp concepts quickly and apply what she learned for hands-on use. She is a leader, and that will shine through as she develops in her career in the trades.”

Because she excelled in leadership skills, academics and technical ability, Morin joined classmate Nico Varkevisser of Hamilton in being awarded with a $500 bursary from the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON).

Morin describes Varkevisser, a former daycare worker, as a quiet leader. “She was always so patient. All of the students got frustrated at different points but we all understood where people needed to take a second to catch their breath; no one was good at everything,” Morin says.

“Nico was definitely the most patient and understanding of all of us. She was always level-headed and if she ever got frustrated, it didn’t show.”

While she has plenty of patience, Varkevisser says she’s focused on improving her professional qualities. “I have a whole skill set that I didn’t have six months earlier, and I have the confidence that I can learn different skills if I didn’t learn them before.”

Varkevisser, 25, says that while it’s intimidating to be a woman stepping into construction, it shouldn’t be. “I think it needs to be more normalized so that women can be seen as being just as efficient as men in the construction world.” Couldn’t agree more.

Richard Lyall is president of RESCON.


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THE COUNCIL: Bill 148 and new homebuyers

THE COUNCIL: Bill 148 and new homebuyers

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THE COUNCIL: Bill 148 and new homebuyers

For hard-working people who have scraped together a downpayment for a new home over the course of many years, Bill 148 is a tough pill to swallow.

by Richard Lyall
RESCON

For hard-working people, including millennials, who have scraped together a downpayment over the course of many years – extending their planned purchasing date by years – Bill 148 is a tough pill to swallow.

Also known as The Fair Workplaces, Better Job Act, 2017, Bill 148 was an omnibus labour bill introduced and passed by the provincial Liberal government. It was proposed to solve labour market issues outlined by the changing workplace review in Ontario’s service and retail sectors and assist vulnerable workers in the province’s emerging “part-time gig economy.”

Despite indicating that construction would be excluded, there was a decision by the Liberals to include all sectors of the economy – including construction – into the bill.

Numerous associations wrote to the previous government and outlined obvious concerns, including introducing sick days and scheduling requirements. To be direct, the construction industry pays relatively higher wages than virtually all sectors, including manufacturing, with the understanding that outside of vacation pay, workers are paid when they work and not paid when they don’t.

This longstanding agreement – which is reflected in virtually all industry collective agreements and with non-union constructors – has been turned on its head and continues to destabilize the entire industry. Meanwhile, the 2019 round of bargaining is coming up fast: both sides of the table are preparing for another long round of bargaining in the spring when most construction collective agreements will expire.

However, Doug Ford’s newly elected government still has a chance to exclude the construction sector, restore the industry to pre-Bill 148 legislation and begin unwinding the uncertainty it has caused.

Now is the time to act. Let Ford know you want to undo the problems Bill 148 is causing, which will give new homebuyers confidence as they step onto the housing ladder next year. There is simply too much on the line for the GTA’s new housing sector and the Ontario economy it drives.

Richard Lyall is the president of RESCON.

media@rescon.com


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h_jun18_view_from_inside_fi

The View From Inside: Building A Rewarding Career

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The View From Inside: Building A Rewarding Career

Many builders are running programs to promote work in the trades

Prices of new homes today are affected by numerous factors, including the availability of skilled construction tradespeople. When there are fewer crews available to work on job sites, the total time required to complete the new homes may be extended.

In the GTA, we are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers – bricklayers and framers, to name just two. The good news is that the construction industry is working with unions and colleges through associations and affiliations to remedy the situation. Topping the list are efforts to educate and interest high school students, and to attract women, Indigenous peoples and new Canadians through specific initiatives.

“We are just starting a one-year labour market information study and video series that will promote trades, determine recruitment and retention best practices, as well as highlight the high job satisfaction of many tradespeople in the residential sector,” says Andrew Pariser, vice president of RESCON (Residential Construction Council of Ontario). “We will profile 25 different trades through the eyes of one man and one woman in each. The videos will help the viewer understand the components of each trade and demonstrate the tremendous opportunities available.”

Amina Dibe, project and policy analyst at RESCON, is implementing projects that promote recruitment and retention in the residential construction industry.

“By providing resources for school boards outlining what a job in construction entails and showing examples, we create broader awareness,” she says. “Most people have never heard of jobs such as a concrete finisher and drain-layout specialist.”

Another RESCON project includes a partnership with the construction management program at George Brown College. “Each year, we enroll 12 to 15 graduates for two semesters — one in the classroom and one placement in the field,” Dibe says. “On completion, the students are hired into positions such as junior project manager, junior estimator or site clerk.”

In addition, through Humber College’s Carpentry and Renovations Technician program, RESCON is implementing a pilot that will place 15 graduates into jobs in one of six residential trades including highrise and lowrise forming, concrete and drain, and tile. Starting in September, the students will have fourmonth contracts, with the hope that they will be kept on full time.

“We’d like to expand the program to other colleges and engage a higher number of graduates not traditionally seen in the construction trades,” Dibe notes.

By virtue of her own career, Dibe is an inspiration. Her presentations during the George Brown program have resulted in a spike in female participants. “Women are often detail oriented with exceptional fine motor skills,” Pariser adds. “They often outperform men in the finishing trades.”

Many builders are pitching in by running programs to promote work in the trades as well. In addition, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) enables high school students to earn cooperative education credits through work placement in apprenticeable trades. Following graduation, they can become registered apprentices.

At Geranium, we are proud to be part of the construction industry, which is a major economic driver in Ontario. We support the efforts among government and the private sector to encourage more people of all ages and backgrounds to consider the building trades as a rewarding career choice.

Louie Morizio is vice president, housing for Geranium and a director of RESCON. Since 1977, Geranium has built more than 8,000 homes in fine neighbourhoods and communities throughout Ontario.

Geranium.com

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