ACA Submits OHS Review Response to Minister

In August the government of Alberta launched a review of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). At the time the government announced that it would be seeking input from all stakeholders. ACA in response has submitted a response calling into question the need for the review and the objective the government is seeking.

ACA believes that the suggested direction outlined in the Discussion Paper would move our current collaborative system to an adversarial system, without improvement in workplace safety. ACA believes that improved workplace safety arises from: shared responsibility, adoption of evidence-based best practices, and collaborative stakeholder dialogue.

The full letter can be found here.

Implications of Non-standard Contract Terms

Your comments requested by November 29th

ACA received a grant from the Government of Alberta to examine the risk and cost implications on contractors from non-standard contract terms. The purpose of this examination is to reduce the significant risk to the continued operations of small to medium size contractors due to their potential lack of understanding of the risk and cost implications within the terms of non-standard commercial contracts.  This work supports ACA advocacy for owners to adopt standard CCDC contracts.

ACA recruited a small industry advisory group of Alberta general contractors from the ACA membership.  The Advisory Group recommended the project focus on common commercial terms found in contracts utilized by Alberta public sector owners, given the frequency of use of these contracts and because these owners tend to share their contracts more so than is true of private owners.  The document identifies approximately a dozen areas of concern prevalent in public owner contracts. Beyond comments received from the Advisory Group, outside legal counsel also provided comments.  We are now at the final draft seeking one last round of review.

ACA has two requests for member response by November 29th, please email ken.gibson@albertaconstruction.net.

  1. Please provide substantive comments or additions, accompanied by an actual sample clause from a public owner contract. ACA does not want to add any issues without actual contract samples to reference.
  2. For each individual issue (issues 1-11, 12 a –d) identified in the document respond to the following question:

What was the impact on bidding a project if this clause was in a contract on a previous job (if you are a sub or supplier, the provision was contained in your contract with the prime):

  • Definitely wouldn’t bid, irrespective of availability of other work
  • Likely wouldn’t bid, but depends on availability of other work
  • would bid but add a material amount to the bid, (including some guidance on how your members would define “a material amount”, for example, >0.5% of the contract price)
  • would bid without adding to bid price on expectation to negotiate to address post-award

Non-Standard contract document Oct 11 2017 

OHS and WCB Reviews Have Alberta’s Construction Associations Concerned

Over the past year the Government of Alberta has been working towards a total overhaul of the legislation surrounding employers and workers.  Reviews and legislation from employment standards, to Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB), to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) are coming thick and fast. The WCB and OHS Reviews in particular will reduce funds employers use to grow jobs and ensure safer worksites. Additionally, many of the proposed changes erode the collaborative role of employers as foundational partners in developing safer jobsites for workers.

ACA Chair Paul Heyens said, “”It really went further than the mandate. Some of these changes are moving towards a social support scheme.”

While the government may be trying to protect workers with these changes, they are creating undo stress on small and medium sized businesses that may collapse under the weight of new costs and regulations. One of the WCB review recommendations alone, if accepted, would see upwards of $500 million of employer’s excess premiums go into expanding government programs.

Getting things right for workers also means getting it right for their employers. Removal of employers as key partners in OHS and the WCB will create lasting damage to jobs and competitiveness.  Changes that remove accountability and transparency, will not create more efficiency or effectiveness. But it will almost certainly make it more costly, more bureaucratic and less able to meet the needs of workers.

ACA represents 3200 member firms in commercial, industrial, and Institutional construction industry across Alberta. Construction employs one in nine working Albertans.