The Short-Term Employment Forecast provides a three-year overview of occupations expected to be in demand from 2014 – 2016. This forecast examines 260 occupations and ranks them in categories of high, moderately high, medium, and low demand.

Short-Term Employment Forecast 2014-2016

 

 

The User’s Guide to the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011 (NECB) is available in the NRC virtual store.

This first edition of the guide is designed to complement the NECB and to build on the code requirements by providing additional background information, as well as detailed examples and calculations. Of particular interest to designers are the checklists at the end of each Part to help them verify that provisions in the NECB have been considered in their design.

Used along with the NECB 2011, the User’s Guide facilitates its usage by providing explanatory material and suggested approaches to design or compliance questions. As the NECB offers a number of compliance path options including trade-off paths, code users will find this guide provides clarity by describing the various compliance approaches and including detailed examples of trade-off path calculations.

Code users familiar with the explanatory material in the appendices of the Model National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 1997 (MNECB) will note that this material has been updated in the new User’s Guide and augmented with additional examples and background information. This material includes the calculation examples of thermal properties of building assemblies.

The User’s Guide is an ideal training tool for educators and trainers and is available for purchase as a soft-cover book as well as via online subscription or downloadable PDF.

As with all Code documents, the public is welcome to submit or request additional material and suggest revisions.

 

The 6th Annual IT Forum Conference  will be held Thursday, July 31 to Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, at the Swissotel in Chicago. This is the construction industry’s one-stop-shop for the latest on technology trends, tablets in construction, mobile technology, cloud computing, affordable solutions and much more.

This year’s conference, themed, “Changes in Construction IT: Mobile, Data, Cloud,” will explore solutions to challenges presented by ever-changing technology in the construction industry. Cutting-edge educational sessions include:

  • Apps and Concepts for Using Tablets in Construction
  • Ups and Downs of Cloud Computing
  • BIM: How to Stay Above It
  • Affordable Solutions

Keynote speakers include James Vaselopulos, Senior Vice President, PSC Group,  LLC on big data and James Benham, President, JB Knowledge, Inc. on construction IT trends.

The Swissotel has sold out. A limited number of rooms are available at the Fairmont Chicago, but the Fairmont Hotel room block is closed. Please call AGC at 703.837.5369 for assistance with accommodations.

Register today, as all paid attendees will be entered for a chance to win an iPad or one of four Amazon gift cards.

 

ACA was pleased to provide input to a Government of Alberta consultation July 14 on apprenticeship strategies to enhance access, progression and completion of apprenticeship training.  Much of the discussion focused on the need for industry to work with the primary and secondary school system to provide greater skills and experience to students before they enter post-secondary as apprentices. This is an area that ACA and partner associations have been focused on with a number of initiatives under consideration.  We’ll keep membership informed as these initiatives move forward.

 

Provincial and territorial education and labour market Ministers met July 9-10 in Charlottetown with stakeholders to discuss how best to align education, skills, and training sectors with the needs of Canada’s labour markets.

Ministers have agreed to joint efforts to ensure that provincial and territorial skills training and education systems continue to innovate and that our economy remains among the most competitive in the world.

Three core principles will anchor the pathway forward:

  • Pathways to employment success

Education and skills training systems must provide a variety of flexible ways for Canadians to acquire the knowledge and skills they need for success in the job market.

  • Partnerships to strengthen skills alignment

Partnerships and alignment with business, labour, education, and training providers are key to ensuring synergy between education and skills training systems and Canada’s labour markets.

  • Informed choices

Access to accurate, relevant, and timely labour market and education information is essential to support Canadians to make smart career choices, as well as enable government and business to make evidence-based decisions in planning for the future.

The following pan-Canadian activities will be initiated as part of the ongoing efforts of all provinces and territories to align education and skills training with labour market needs so that all Canadians have the skills they need to succeed:

  • Building on the success of Skills for the Future, provincial and territorial ministers will put together a toolkit of promising practices that will assist in the alignment of skills and education systems with the needs of the labour market. The innovative new ideas will be accessible to all jurisdictions. Ministers will present their conclusions to Canada`s Premiers.
  • To support skills alignment and improved labour market data, partnerships will be expanded to ensure accurate and timely information exists for all stakeholders.  Areas of common interest with the federal government on how best to support labour market data collection and analysis will be explored.
  • Provincial and territorial education and labour market ministers will recommend to Canada’s premiers that provinces and territories reconvene to ensure progress and measure success on both initiatives as well as to continue dialogue to determine next action steps.

 

 

Trade Definitions have been updated (download here).  Please destroy the previous January 2014 edition.  Changes from the January edition include:

  1. Removed line item reference numbers from Inclusions/Exclusions to simply read (See Included) or (See Excluded) on pages 23, 30, 31, 93 and 95.  This eliminated issues with referring to the wrong line.  The Contractor knows to refer back to the Inclusions or Exclusions.
  2. Changed the Cash Allowance line to “Cash Allowance and/or Contingency funds when a specific dollar amount is listed in Division 01 or this trade’s specification section” in all sections.
  3. Removed line 40 from the Ventilation Section on page 94. This was a conflict with the correct line 66.

Trade Definitions provide clarity to all construction project stakeholders as to the allocation of work to be bid and performed.  This clarity in turn reduces confusion, error, disputes, and litigation. Please review your scope carefully if you have not already done so as inclusions and exclusions may have changed from pre-2014 versions.  Bidding without complete familiarity of the 2014 Definitions could have expensive consequences.

The 2014 Trade Definitions represent a comprehensive update to reflect current technology and business practice, and are the consensus result of input from many industry volunteers.

The Trade Definitions are a living document and will continue to be periodically improved and updated.  Stakeholders will be advised as updates are published.

ACA, its member local construction associations and the 3000 plus member firms endorse adoption of the 2014 Trade Definitions as a best practice. We encourage all tender authorities and their design consultants, specification writers, and contractors and suppliers to cite and utilize the 2014 Trade Definitions for their projects.

 

ACA recently met with PC leadership candidate Ric McIver.  McIver impressed as Infrastructure Minister with the schools consultations and he continues to demonstrate a good understanding of industry issues, as per his responses:

1) government funding set aside specifically for investment in infrastructure, and spent when private sector investment lags

2) the need to maintain a Temporary Foreign Worker Program to meet Alberta’s unique needs and manage peak demand, and expanded pathways from temporary to permanent immigration

3) reinvigorate the partnership with industry and act to ensure the public sector is a preferred client through for example adoption of industry standard contracts and consider using private sector Project Management services

Mr. McIver would welcome the opportunity to meet with members.  To learn more about Ric’s platform, info@ricmciver.com, 587-333-8683.

Jun 302014
 

McGraw Hill Construction , the Lean Construction Institute and Dassault Systemes report on new developments in using lean principles in the construction industry. Access the report here.

 

ACA is seeking member views on Requests for Information (RFIs).  The Consulting Architects of Alberta have requested that ACA engage in dialogue with them on this topic, acknowledging that contractor and architect views may agree on some points, and diverge on other points. Your comments are particularly important to flesh out points of agreement, disagreement, and potential areas for joint action. Your individual response will remain confidential.  Please submit your responses by August 11.

Survey can be accessed here:

http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s.asp?sid=9duyao0hqfvylbt504067

 

Please email your comments on what the changes will mean to your business to ken.gibson@albertaconstruction.net

The federal government announced June 20:

Reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program:   (see package here)

  • Limiting access to the TFWP to ensure Canadians are first in line for available jobs:
    • Wage levels will now replace National Occupational Classification as the main criteria for administering the TFWP, as wages constitute a more accurate reflection of occupational skill level and local labour market conditions. Jobs for which wages are below the provincial or territorial median wage will be considered “low-wage,” while those being paid at or above the provincial/territorial median will be considered “high-wage.”
    • The Labour Market Opinion is being replaced by the more rigorous LMIA as the screening mechanism for employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers. The new LMIA will require that employers provide information on the number of Canadians that applied for a particular job, the number of Canadians the employer interviewed and an explanation if Canadian applicants were not hired. Employers must now also attest they are aware of the rule that Canadians cannot be laid-off or have their hours reduced at a worksite that employs temporary foreign workers.
    • Employers with 10 or more employees applying for a new LMIA are subject to a cap of 10 percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers. This cap will be applied per worksite of an employer and is based on total hours worked at that worksite. To provide employers who are above the 10 percent cap time to transition and adjust to this new cap, it will be phased in over the next couple of years. For those employers that currently have a low-wage temporary foreign worker workforce that is above the cap, effective immediately, when those employers apply for a new LMIA they will be limited at 30 percent or frozen at their current level, whichever is lower. This transition measure will be further reduced to 20 percent beginning July 1, 2015 and reduced again to 10 percent on July 1, 2016. The government may consider lowering the cap further in future. It is estimated that this measure alone could reduce the number of general low-wage temporary foreign workers by 50 percent in the next three years, based on current wage levels.
    • Applications for the lowest-wage, lowest-skill, entry-level occupations in the food services, accommodation and retail trade sectors will be barred from the TFWP in areas of high unemployment (6 percent or higher).
    • LMIAs for low-wage temporary foreign workers will be reduced from the current two-year standard duration to one-year periods.
    • To reinforce the temporary nature of the TFWP, the cumulative period during which general low-wage temporary foreign workers will be allowed to remain in Canada will be reduced.
    • Annex agreements with provinces and territories are being changed so that employers that used to bring temporary foreign workers to Canada through these agreements will now be subject to an LMIA.
    • Employers seeking to hire high-wage temporary foreign workers (with very limited exceptions) will now be required to submit transition plans to demonstrate how they will increase efforts to hire Canadians, including through higher wages, investments in training and more active recruitment efforts from within Canada.
  • More and better labour market information for stronger screening:
    • A new enhanced Job Matching Service will allow Canadians to apply directly through the Canada Job Bank for jobs that match their skills and experience, and provide information to program officers reviewing an employer’s LMIA application on how many qualified Canadians have applied for specific jobs.
    • Funding two new surveys to be conducted by Statistics Canada:
      • New quarterly Job Vacancy Survey – The current Job Vacancy Survey limited to a sample of 15,000, only provides data at the provincial level and does not provide information on specific occupations or skill levels. The new survey will be based on a sample of 100,000 employers, will provide data by local areas and will include data on occupations and skill levels.
      • New annual National Wage Survey – Increasing the sample size from 56,000 households to 100,000 employers. Unlike the current Wage Survey, data will be available by region instead of only at the provincial level.
    • Better use of existing government data (e.g. taking into account number of qualified Canadians receiving Employment Insurance in an area as part of the new LMIA).
  • Stronger enforcement and tougher penalties:
    • Massively increasing the number and scope of inspections so that one in four businesses employing temporary foreign workers will be inspected by the TFWP each year.
    • Increasing the number of program requirements that inspectors can review from 3 to 21.
    • Improving and expanding the TFWP Tip Line and creating a new “Complaints” website.
    • Expanding the ability to publicly blacklist employers who have been suspended and are under investigation, as well as those who have had an LMIA revoked and are banned from using the program.
    • Additional funding for the Canada Border Services Agency to allow for an increase in the number of criminal investigations.
    • Improving information sharing among departments and agencies involved in the oversight of the TFWP, including provincial and territorial governments.
    • Introducing significant monetary fines of up to $100,000 following adoption of new legislative authorities included in the Budget Implementation Act (Bill C-31).

The costs for administering the TFWP, including all of the reforms outlined above, will be borne entirely by employers who use the program, not by taxpayers. As a result, the LMIA fee is increasing from $275 to $1,000 for every temporary foreign worker position requested by an employer. ESDC will be seeking the authority to impose an estimated $100 privilege fee on employers applying for LMIAs to offset the costs of Government of Canada investments in skills and job training.

Alberta Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Minister Kyle Fawcett is concerned that federal changes hurt Alberta’s and Canada’s economy, and issued the following statement:

“We are comfortable with changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) that tighten the program’s administration. But introducing caps and using the province’s median wage to differentiate low-skill occupations, and reducing the length of time workers can stay is simply bad economic policy for Alberta. Today’s announcement from the federal government is disappointing on a number of levels.

“Today’s changes to the TFWP could have a lasting and negative impact on our province. And with Alberta’s economy set to lead the country in growth again this year, any challenges in our economy have an impact right across the country.

“Alberta’s position has always been that available jobs must go to Canadians first. However, Alberta has a unique labour market. Our unemployment rate sits at 4.6%, the second lowest in Canada and well below the national rate of 7%. Although Alberta accounts for roughly one-tenth of Canada’s population, more than 80 per cent of the jobs created across the country in the last year were created here. So while our economic engine runs strong, Alberta has the highest job vacancy rate in the country and many businesses, large and small, struggle to find enough workers.

“We recognize that some concerns about the TFWP are valid. Alberta’s position is clear: the rules of the TFWP must be enforced, and we have offered to work with the federal government to strengthen compliance measures for employers. While we support many of the enforcement actions being taken today, we note that they are required because the rules were not being adequately enforced by the federal government in the first place.

“Separately, we recognize that employers need to demonstrate that TFWs are actually needed, and we support a fair application process. But introducing hiring caps does not address that issue. As a result, companies may go through an expensive and rigorous process to demonstrate that they actually need foreign workers, only to be denied the opportunity to hire them.

“Unfortunately, the changes announced today are a one-size-fits-all solution, and only compound the labour challenges faced by many Alberta businesses.  The federal TFWP has been valuable during periods of strong economic growth.

“Alberta is committed to building a permanent workforce to keep pace with our growth. This includes training Albertans who want to work, attracting Canadians to our booming job opportunities, and welcoming immigrants from around the world. Even with all of this, Alberta will be short 96,000 workers over the next decade.  Our labour pressures are significant and permanent. The TFWP helps temporarily fill short-term needs, so tightening this program further exacerbates the larger challenge.

“Today’s changes are a fundamental re-organization of the TFWP and have the potential to create even more pressure on Alberta’s already tight labour market. These changes overlook the on-the-ground realities faced by Alberta small businesspeople each and every day in communities across this province.”

 

 

 

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