International Experience Canada has announced a new visa for young workers from Ireland to gain experience in Canada. The Young Professionals IEC visa allows Irish citizens between 18 and 35 with a pre-arranged contract of employment to work for up to two years in Canada without an LMO. There is a 2,500/year quota. This is in addition to the announced increase in Working Holiday quota which now stands at 7,700/year.
The 2014 Budget is positive on a number of fronts and aligns well with ACA recommendations:
- the 2014-15 investment in infrastructure of $6.6 billion demonstrates infrastructure is a high priority for this Government
- the Government is following a prudent approach to borrowing while interest rates are low and remains committed to a legislated repayment plan
- the plan preserves unused capital spending for future capital spending in a virtual capital account
- construction cost escalation for 2014-15 is forecast at 3.5%
- significant new permanent funding will support trades scholarships and apprentice completion.
ACA looks forward to future adjustments to the current plan’s level of capital investment to keep pace with population growth and inflation. Further, the current plan maintains rather than improves overall facilities condition. Projected cost escalation will also bear close watch as the level of construction activity ramps up, especially in 2016.
McGraw Hill Construction has released a new BIM SmartMarket Report, “The Business Value of BIM for Construction in Global Markets,” focusing on BIM usage by construction companies in nine major global markets. Key findings include:
- Two-thirds of all the construction companies report a positive ROI on their BIM program and have clear ideas about how to further improve it.
- Firms in Japan, Germany and France are the leaders, with over 95% in each market showing positive results.
- ROI increases directly with a contractor’s level of BIM engagement, represented by its BIM experience, skill level and commitment to doing a high percentage of its work in BIM.
- Fewer errors and omissions, less rework and lower construction cost are among the top project-related BIM benefits cited by contractors.
- Better cost control/predictability and reduced cycle time for workflows and approvals are also acknowledged as important process benefits of BIM.
- Leveraging BIM capabilities to win new work, maintain repeat business and offer new services are key internal benefits.
- Contractors are increasingly assuming the central role on BIM projects, therefore the top planned investment categories focus on IT infrastructure for hosting and sharing models and collaborative process between companies.
- While construction companies in the less advanced BIM markets are still focused on basic software and hardware investments, the more mature BIM users are planning heavy investments in mobile technology to get the value of BIM to the field.
Expansion of BIM Usage
Over the next two years, contractors expect the percentage of their work that involves BIM will increase by 50% on average. Growth markets such as Brazil are forecasting to triple the current number of companies using BIM at high levels over the next two years.
The full report is available for free download here.
Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has announced that it is modifying it’s Integrity Framework to further strengthen the integrity of departmental procurement and real property transactions. These changes will take effect on March 1, 2014.
- Expansion of the list of offences that would render bidders and proponents ineligible to do business with PWGSC;
- Debarment of bidders and proponents who receive foreign convictions similar to the Canadian offences listed in the Integrity Framework;
- Expansion of debarment conditions to include guilty pleas with conditional or absolute discharge;
- Requirement for all contractors to extend the same terms and conditions to subcontractors; and
- Introduction of a 10 year-fixed debarment period.
These modifications apply only to procurements and real property transactions managed by PWGSC. These changes will be posted on the Buyandsell.gc.ca website. For further details, please consult the departmental Integrity Framework page at http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/apropos-about/ci-if-eng.html.
If you have any questions on these measures, please submit them to the following address: DGAIntegrite.ABIntegrity@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.
The Alberta Government released its Third Quarter Fiscal Update and Economic Statement. Highlights include:
- Operational revenue is $30.8 billion in the first nine months of the fiscal year, $2.7 billion higher than expected due primarily to higher energy prices and increased investment income.
- Operational expense was $29.6 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion due to increased spending in health care, social programs, post-secondary institutions and school boards to address caseload and enrollment pressures, as well as disaster and emergency assistance.
- $537 million in operating and $33 million in capital has been spent to support Albertans, small-business owners and communities rebuild from the June 2013 floods to December 31. This includes $431 million through the Disaster Recovery Program.
- Capital plan results were on track with the budget estimate, with capital spending at $3.5 billion. Direct borrowing for capital purposes was $2.7 billion, up $330 million from estimate due mainly to carrying-over projects from 2012-13 and market opportunities.
- The province’s short term savings account for dealing with unexpected revenue shortfalls, the Contingency Account, held $2.4 billion at the end of December and is expected to reach $4.6 billion by fiscal year end.
- Alberta’s real GDP grew 3.3 per cent in 2013, higher than the expected 2.9 per cent. Economic growth is expected to accelerate to 3.7 per cent in 2014, lifted by exports, investment and flood-related spending.
2013-14 Third Quarter Actuals for the nine months ended December 31 ($ millions)
|Operational Surplus/ (Deficit)||($451)||($372)||$1,240|
|Capital Plan spending||$5,209||$3,447||$3,506|
|Contingency Account||As of December 31, 2013||$2,436|
ACA thanks the Grande Prairie, Red Deer, and Lethbridge Construction Associations for hosting ACA Chairman Scott Matheson at their individual AGMs over the past several weeks.
Scott presented an update on ACA advocacy activities and priorities and thanked members for continuing to share issues with ACA.
ACA applauds Infrastructure Minister McIver for consulting with industry about the challenges of timely completion of the 50 new schools and 70 school modernizations approved by the Government. Sessions in each of Edmonton and Calgary had over 100 participants from a number of sectors.
Contractors had the opportunity to provide recommendations on how to address challenges by making the school projects as attractive as possible. Recommendations addressed project management capacity, contractor prequalification and expression of interest, speeding design, speeding permitting, selecting appropriate delivery methods, appropriate allocation of risk, and innovation and sustainability.
ACA looks forward to continued dialogue.
A common frustration of many in the construction industry relates to the regulatory and safety requirements that are specific to commercial vehicle operation. On behalf of its membership, the Alberta Construction Association has produced a Plain Language Guide to Fleet Safety and Compliance. This guide clarifies and provides resource information to assist in satisfying these requirements.
- Responsibilities (employer, employee, due diligence, vicarious liability)
- Operating Status (provincial and federal standards, changes to operating status)
- Safety Fitness Rating (safety obligations, liability insurance, cargo insurance)
- Regulatory Compliance (Alberta requirements, driver file requirements, retention of records, inspection programs, vehicle file requirements, trip inspections, hours of service requirements, dangerous goods, cargo securement)
- National Safety Code
- Carrier Information
- Safety and Risk Management
All of ACA’s Plain Language Guides can be ordered through your local construction association.
Nichols Applied Management has been asked by Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) to identify the information and data needs of employers and workers in Alberta. The results will help to identify what information and data are needed and valued by OHS stakeholders so that decisions concerning the development of new resources is informed by the interests of Albertans.
We would greatly appreciate it if you would complete a brief survey that asks about your firm’s data and information needs in regards to Occupational Health and Safety. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.
The link to take you to the survey is: http://ohs-infoneeds.questionpro.com
If you have any questions or concerns about the authenticity of the survey, please contact:
Mr. Gene Ozon,
Effective Practices Specialist
Occupational Health and Safety Program Development and Research
And if you have any questions about the survey itself, please contact:
Nichols Applied Management