Partnership aims to boost passive house training in Ontario

The Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) is looking to boost passive house training with a new partnership.

A new affinity partnership between Passive House Canada (PHC) and the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) will support construction market leaders in obtaining passive house certification.

The association says the partnership offers its members deep discounts to take the 150 Pathway to Certification for Trades course or any of the 120A courses. The first offering for the fall semester begins on Oct. 25 at Toronto’s George Brown College.

“The partnership comes at a critical time for the construction industry,” wrote the OGCA. “Just this year, Ontario announced it is investing over $158 billion in infrastructure projects to support schools, hospitals, public transit, roads, bridges and access to high-speed internet. At the same time, the high-performance building market is growing exponentially, as value-driven consumers recognize the long-term value of Passive Housing.”

According to the International Passive House Association, passive house-certified floor area worldwide has risen to over 3,200,000 million square feet in June this year, comprising more than 5,250 Passive House buildings, marking an exponential increase from previous years.

The OGCA encouraged members to explore the 150 Trades courses – in person and online – as well as Pathway to Certification and 120A-level courses. 

“With its mix of course work and hands-on learning, participants in the 150 Pathway to Passive House Certification for Trades course have opportunities to work with sample materials from Passive House-certified suppliers as they learn the elements of air-tight building envelopes, ventilation systems, and much more, which can help to cut down on costly project errors,” said the association. 

Members can get their e-coupon by contacting with the subject line “OGCA”.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ontario construction workers made up nearly 8 per cent of Ontario’s overdose deaths between 2018 and 2020.
  • Researchers found that these workers often were young, male and using non-prescription drugs alone.
  • The report also found that nearly 80 per cent of workers who died had recently had a pain-related injury.

The Whole Story:

Ontario construction workers are being disproportionately impacted by non-prescription drug overdoses, a new report shows. 

The report, which was released this summer, found that close to 1 in 13 opioid-related deaths in Ontario between 2018 and 2020 occurred among construction workers, and among construction workers who died over half were employed at time of death.

The research was conducted by experts from the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN) at St. Michael’s Hospital, ICES, the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario and Public Health Ontario.

Unregulated drugs

The report shows deaths among construction workers are primarily being driven by the unregulated drug supply rather than pharmaceutical opioids prescribed for pain.

Researchers found that cocaine and alcohol were more commonly involved in opioid toxicity deaths among construction workers when compared to those not working in the construction industry.

“The disproportionate impact of Ontario’s overdose crisis among people working in the construction industry demands further attention,” said Dr. Tara Gomes, lead author of the report and a principal investigator for ODPRN. “Importantly, despite a high prevalence of pain among workers, prescription opioids are not driving the patterns seen in this industry, with most deaths involving a combination of opioids with other drugs and alcohol.”

Gomes suggested that this could reflect a reliance on non-prescription opioids to manage unresolved pain in a sector where workplace culture and lack of job security can lead to under-reporting of injuries and pressure to minimize recovery time.

428 workers lost

Researchers identified people who worked in the construction industry who died of an opioid toxicity in Ontario between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2020. The researchers defined construction workers as individuals who were employed or previously employed in the construction industry prior to death, as determined by the investigating coroner. This includes work in a trade, equipment operation or general labour.

Over the study’s 30 month span, 428 Ontarians with employment history in the construction industry died of an opioid toxicity, accounting for nearly 8 per cent of opioid toxicity deaths during that time. 

An infographic breaks down substance use by construction workers. – Ontario Drug Policy Research Network

In contrast, people working in the construction industry represented only 3.6 per cent of the entire Ontario population and 7.2 per cent of all employed people in Ontario in 2021. Researchers noted that previous reports have shown that one-third of people who died of opioid toxicity and were employed at time of death worked in the construction industry.

Using data from ICES and the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario, researchers dug into the circumstances surrounding the deaths and found:

They found that fentanyl and cocaine involvement were significantly higher among those with construction work backgrounds compared to those without. Alcohol also directly contributed to one in five opioid toxicity deaths among construction workers, which was significantly more common compared to those without a history of employment in construction

Using alone

Nearly 80 per cent of opioid toxicity deaths among construction workers occurred in private residences, most often the individual’s home, and rarely at construction sites or hotels used for work purposes.

Among cases where an individual was present to intervene in the overdose, naloxone administration decreased slightly over time among those who died of an opioid toxicity and had worked in the construction industry, suggesting the need for increased accessibility to naloxone in this population, including in people’s homes and not just on work sites.

Only one in six construction workers with an opioid use disorder (OUD) diagnosis who died of an opioid toxicity had accessed treatment in the month before death, which is lower than what was observed among those with no history in construction.

Breaking down the demographics

The report also describes demographic characteristics of people who worked in the construction industry who died of opioid toxicity:

  • Nearly 60 per cent of individuals in the construction industry were employed at the time of opioid toxicity death, compared to only 12 per cent of those with no employment history in the construction industry.
  • Pain was highly prevalent among construction workers who died of opioid toxicity – almost 80 per cent experienced a pain-related condition or injury in the five years prior to opioid toxicity death, which was similar to those with no employment history in construction.
  • Opioid toxicity deaths were more concentrated among those aged 25 to 44 years, with almost two-thirds of deaths among people who worked in the construction industry falling in this age group.
  • Over 98 per cent of construction workers who died of an opioid toxicity were male, compared to 72 per cent among those without a history of employment in the construction industry. This is consistent with the sex distribution of the construction industry workforce in Ontario.

The reports authors called for industry-level response in the construction industry that recognizes the stigma around drug use, which may make people less likely to engage in treatment and harm reduction services offered through their employer.

The researchers added that the response should included a plan to naloxone access at home, raised awareness about drug use safety, and low-barrier access to evidence-based treatment. This includes removing the requirement to go to a pharmacy to consume a daily dose methadone or buprenorphine under medical supervision as well as pain management and mental health supports.

“The report shows that young men continue to die from preventable opioid-related deaths. Each death is a person who lost their life,” said Dr. Dirk Huyer, chief coroner for Ontario. “Their families have lost a loved one, their communities have suffered a loss, and coworkers have lost a colleague and friend. Developing policies to address the stigma and provide support and harm reduction services at the workplace will help prevent further opioid-related deaths.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The world’s largest copper mine in Chile is switching over to electric vehicles.
  • The fleet of 160 haul trucks will be replaced over the next 10 years.
  • The high-tech vehicles will also support the future transition to autonomous driving.

The Whole Story:

BHP Group Limited, Caterpillar and Vancouver-based Finning International announced an agreement to replace BHP’s entire haul truck fleet at the Escondida mine, the world’s largest copper producer, located in the Antofagasta region of northern Chile.

The agreement is part of a strategic equipment renewal process developed by Escondida. The mine will begin using Caterpillar 798 AC electric drive trucks that feature improvements in material-moving capacity, efficiency, reliability and safety.

The Australian-based resource company noted that the new equipment will also generate a positive impact in key initiatives for the future, such as decarbonization, diversity and inclusion, autonomous technologies, and the development of local capabilities.

“This agreement is an important step to continue projecting into the future Escondida | BHP´s leadership in the industry,” said James Whittaker, president of Escondida | BHP. “It will allow us to generate significant efficiencies at the operational level, but it is also in line with some of the main challenges that drive us as a company: innovation for the future of mining, decarbonization, and development of capabilities in Antofagasta´s community. We have great expectations regarding the benefits that will be generated in the short and long term for both the company and the Antofagasta region.”

This image offers a peek into the Escondia Mine, the world’s largest producer of copper concentrates and cathodes. – BHP

The first trucks are expected to arrive at the mine late next year, with delivery of the remaining trucks to extend over the next 10 years as the three companies work to replace one of the world’s largest mining fleets. 

The Escondida site currently uses more than 160 haul trucks. Maintenance and support services provided under the agreement advance BHP’s local employment and gender balance strategies. Finning´s Integrated Knowledge Center, located in Antofagasta, will provide technical support for the fleet. 

“We are very pleased to build on our long-term relationship with BHP to support its Escondida operations by improving efficiency, productivity, and safety, as well as reducing its carbon footprint, supporting its diversity and inclusion journey, and contributing to the development of capabilities in Antofagasta,” said Scott Thomson, president and CEO of Finning International. “This is the largest fleet deal in Finning’s history, and will significantly expand the Caterpillar truck population and support the transition towards cleaner energy, with electric drive trucks, and future zero-emission trucks.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Alberta’s new rules that enforce prompt payment in construction are now in effect.
  • Owners are mandated to pay contracts within 28 days of a proper invoice.
  • To avoid going to court, the new rules also feature an adjudication process for disputes.

The Whole Story:

Prompt payment is now the law of the land for Alberta. 

Formerly known as the Builder’s Lien Act, the Prompt Payment and Construction Lien Act is now in force.

The prompt payment framework ushers in a new era for Alberta construction with payment timelines and a dispute resolution process. 

New rules

The new act creates rules for the timing of payments and sets out a streamlined adjudication process for disputes related to payment or work performed as an alternative to court.

Prompt payment is introduced by mandating owners to provide payment to their contractors within 28 days of receiving a proper invoice for construction services and requires that those contractors who receive payment from an owner subsequently pay their subcontractors within seven days.

The new act applies to all private construction contracts in Alberta created on or after Aug. 29, 2022. Current contracts that extend past two years must become compliant with the new rules by Aug. 29, 2024.

According to the act, if a dispute arises regarding work performed under a construction contract, parties to the contract may initiate an adjudication process to resolve the dispute.

Adjudicators are certified and trained through nominating authorities. The province says that it will authorize organizations to serve as Nominating Authorities through an open procurement process.

At the time the contract is signed, project owners and contractors can choose the nominating authority that they would prefer to work with in the event of a dispute.

Builders rejoice

Legislation around payment has long been a goal for industry leaders. 

“Payment practices in Alberta have deteriorated over many years. Accounts receivable frequently in excess of 60 days shifts the burden of project financing to contractors and subcontractor,” said Trevor Doucette, senior vice-chair, Alberta Construction Association (ACA). “This legislation provides certainty of regular payment for work properly performed and invoiced. The new prompt pay provisions will play an essential role in keeping cash flowing through the life of a construction project. Annual release of lien holdbacks will also free up cash much earlier than under the past legislation.”

The Alberta Trade Contractors Association (ATCC) also celebrated the legislation.

“On behalf of the hard-working tradespeople and construction trade business owners of Alberta, we are looking forward to the implementation of prompt payment in our province,”  The ATCC was formed in 2014 with the primary purpose of achieving prompt payment legislation and has been advocating to the Alberta government since then for its implementation. On behalf of the 11 trade contractor associations that are ATCC members, we celebrate the government on this great achievement.”

Who and when?

Kerry Powell, a partner Gowling WLG Canada, offered a series of tips to the Alberta Construction Association around who the legislation applies to and when. 

Powell explained that while the legislation applies to anyone who is performing work, providing services, or furnishing goods or materials with respect to an improvement in land, it does not apply to Public Works projects, P3’s with the Government of Alberta, Federal Government projects, or operations and maintenance work that does not involve an improvement to the project lands.

The new legislation also applies to suppliers even if they are located outside of Alberta as long their product is being used in an improvement in Alberta. 

Powell also stressed the point at which the clock starts ticking. 

“The new legislation will apply to subcontracts and supply agreements based upon the date of the contract between the owner and the contractor – NOT the date of that the subcontract or supply agreement is entered into between the subcontractor and the contractor or the supplier or the contractor – so you will need to know the date of the prime contract to know if the new legislation applies to your subcontract or supplier agreement,” wrote Powell in a message to ACA members.

Meanwhile, in other provinces

West of Alberta, in B.C., prompt payment legislation remains elusive. The B.C. Construction Association and other groups in the province have long advocated for legislation but movement by government has been slow. Officials announced earlier this year that they won’t even begin industry engagement on the issue until mid to late next year. 

Currently Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia also have prompt payment legislation in effect.

Key Takeaways:

  • The new facility adds 28,000 square feet of sustainable dining space.
  • The $25 million facility is designed to up feed the projected 3,250 students who will be living on campus by 2035.
  • Dialog was the prime consultant for the project.

The Whole Story:

Order up! Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) new LEED Gold Dining Commons has been served to the public.  

The new building, which sits at the Burnaby student residence entry, includes more than 10 new culinary stations.

“At SFU, we are committed to fostering a vibrant and welcoming campus community for our students—and that includes providing good, healthy food,” says SFU president Joy Johnson. “I can’t wait to see the new Dining Commons become a go-to destination for students to connect with each other, have a study session or simply enjoy a delicious meal.”

SFU’s Dining Commons features 28,000 square feet of sustainable dining space, including 500 indoor seats and large skylights that make use of natural light. The building further boasts a large outdoor patio and a mezzanine with a variety of seating configurations, including family-style tables, bistro, and bar seating. 

“I want to congratulate Simon Fraser University for creating amazing spaces and services such as this, which will also serve the 386 students soon to be living on campus when the new student housing building opens early next year,” said Anne Kang, minister of advanced education and skills training. “Investing in dining facilities and student housing is a great way we can support students so they can focus on their studies, doing what they came to school to do.”

The Dining Commons will be open 24 hours a day during fall and spring terms and is available to students who live in residences and are on a meal plan, as well as to students, faculty, staff and visitors at posted meal rates. Similar to the existing dining hall, visitors have unlimited access to all food stations for their meals. The SFU community can also experience and learn from guest chefs, cooking demonstrations, theme nights and more.

The school explained that expanded dining space is critical in supporting the growing number of students living at SFU’s Burnaby campus through the university’s five-phase residence and housing masterplan. Phase 2 is currently underway and will provide an additional 350 students with on-campus housing by the end of 2023. Once completed, the master plan will see 3,250 students living on Burnaby campus by 2035.

Key Takeaways:

  • Alberta is reporting a 35 per cent decline in apprenticeship enrolment over the past five years.
  • A sharp decline occurred during the height of the pandemic when in-class learning was suspended.
  • Officials are implementing a variety of measures, including updating 30-year-old apprenticeship legislation, to reverse the trend.

The Whole Story:

The latest data from the government of Alberta shows alarming numbers for apprenticeships in the prairies. 

Alberta reported a 35 per cent drop in apprenticeship enrolment over the past five years in its latest advanced education report.

The total domestic enrolment headcount generally showed a flat trend between 2016-2017 and 2020-21, with minor fluctuations from year to year. In 2020-2021 school year, enrolment among apprenticeship learners rose by 30 per cent from 2019-2020, which contributed to the increase in total domestic enrolment between 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. 

COVID-19 takes its toll

The province’s annual report stated that there was a sharp decline in enrolment among apprenticeship learners in the 2019-2020 year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Officials explained that two rounds of intake for apprentice in-class learning were suspended for all relevant post-secondary institutions. Although intake resumed the following year and apprenticeship enrolment increased in 2020-21, there has been a total drop of 35 per cent in apprenticeship enrolment over the past five years.

Despite this, graduates are working. the province reported that 92 per cent of recent apprenticeship graduates were currently employed. This is two percentage points higher than 2020 and is above what was observed in 2016 and 2018.

Officials hope to gain even more insight. For the first time, the most recent interaction of the 2022 apprenticeship graduation survey included first-period apprentices as well as apprentices who graduated  in 2020 and 2021. 

“Surveying first-period apprentices provides a better understanding of pathways into apprenticeship education and valuable insight on access and progression challenges they face,” stated the report. “This knowledge will help the ministry understand and improve first-period attrition rates.”

Turning the tide

There’s a variety of other measures underway that the province hopes could boost numbers. Red Deer College and Grand Prairie Regional College were granted polytechnic status last year giving students in these regions more choice in apprenticeship, degree and certificate programs.

The province is also poised to implement the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act sometime this year. The province called the legislation “the largest update of trades and apprenticeship legislation in 30 years”.   

New legislation on the horizon

Some notable changes include separating apprenticeship education and regulation of skilled trades professionals. Apprenticeship education programs can also be formed without the need for a trade designation, and vice versa, and trades can be designated without requiring an apprenticeship education program.

Once in effect, apprentices won’t need a sponsor to register in an apprenticeship education program. And a registered apprentice that meets entrance requirements can register for classroom instruction. Those lacking a sponsor can’t perform restricted activities within a designated trade tied to that education program or receive the onsite instruction by an apprenticeship education program.

The act also created the Alberta Board of Skilled Trades and outlines the power and functions of the board, including its ability to make orders and establish committees for designated trades. The appointed 15-member board advises the Alberta minister for advanced education on the direction of the province’s designated trades certification system.

Mass timber building is on the rise in Canada.

Canada’s national building code now approves laminated wood-beam buildings of up to 12 storeys, expanding what can be done with the technology.

In B.C. the province has staked its claim as an havan for mass timber construction. Earlier this year officials launched the Mass Timber Action Plan by announcing funding for four new mass-timber housing and infrastructure projects. 

The province believes it could have as many as 10 new mass-timber manufacturers by 2035. Officials anticipate that boosting the sector’s skills training through trades programs at post-secondary institutions could help fill an anticipated 4,400 additional job openings in manufacturing, construction and design. 

Here are a few companies that are already leading the charge in Canada to boost the mass timber sector: 

1. Adera Developments 

Adera Developments, a multidisciplinary real estate company, has wood in its veins. They were an early adopter of mass timber construction, developing their own proprietary mass timber materials and systems like Quiet Home and SmartWood. They also have a stake in the materials. They are a shareholder in Structurlam, a mass timber product manufacturer based in Penticton which also makes an appearance on this list. Adera recently announced the first SmartWood mass timber community in Surrey Central’s West Village. What’s SmartWood? According to Adera, the proprietary technology is an entirely new class of building material competitively as strong as concrete and steel, yet at a price point that falls between light wood frame and concrete.

2. Seagate

Seagate does it all: Design, installation, prefabrication and procurement. They also are working with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) on developing and delivering two micro-credential courses on working with mass timber. They worked on the iconic 18-storey mass timber building Brock Commons which was was built in just 47 days with 464 cross laminated timber (CLT) panels supported by 1,302 glulam columns.

3. Structurlam

Structurlam is a leading manufacturer of mass timber products including CLT, Glulam beams, industrial matting and more. In addition to working on major Canadian projects, like Brock Commons, Structurelam has branched out. They worked on Carbon12 in Portland, the tallest CLT structure in the U.S. While they have been based in Penticton, B.C. since 1962, the company recently spent $90 million to buy, renovate and equip a former steel plant in Arkansas where it is expanding its U.S. operations.

4. Nordic Structures

The Montreal-based CLT producer has worked on many projects in the U.S. and Canada, including Canadian Nuclear Labratories, Plate 15, Paul Mercier Library and more. Since 1961, Nordic has been using trees to make construction materials at its industrial complex in Chibougamau.

5. Element5 Co. 

Element5 designs, fabricates and builds custom mass timber buildings. They believe mass timber construction is a revolution set to take the industry by storm. Some of their projects include Sohac – Nshwaasnangong Childcare and Family Centre, WLU Indigenous Centre and the Port Stanley Fire Hall.

“As the world rapidly approaches 9 billion people – three times what it was in less than a single lifetime – our fragile planet is desperate for sustainable alternative,” says the company on their website. “The unifying vision of the those who drive the revolution, Element5 among them, see timber as the essential building material of the 21st century.”

6. Western Archrib 

Western Archrib has been in the game a long time. The company first started designing, manufacturing, and custom fabricating glued-laminated structural wood systems back in 1951.  Archrib’s product line includes the manufacture of douglas fir glulam, spruce pine glulam, and Alaskan yellow cedar glulam into beams, columns, and mass timber panels. Some projects they currently are working on include the Robert G. Kuhn Building at Trinity Western University, a community hub for Peepeepkisis Cree Nation and Frog Lake First Nation Jr./Sr. High School. 

7. StructureCraft

If you want a mass timber project built, they have the brains to do it. StructureCraft calls its primary delivery method “engineer-build” because of the close link between engineering and building have in their process. The Abbotsford, B.C.-based company states that this draws on the historical model of “master-builder” where engineers take a more active role in building the structures they engineer. 

“This is especially important in the field of timber construction, where the structure is featured and exposed,” reads the company’s website. 

Some notable projects include the Soto office building in Texas, the DC Public Library in Washington, D.C., and the Canada Earth Tower in Vancouver. 

8. Spearhead Timberworks

Spearhead’s manufacturing facility sits on the west arm of Kootenay Lake in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. The 30,000 sq.ft. facility houses full-service millwork and timberframe shops featuring CNC manufacturing and timber milling equipment along with design and administration offices. They use BIM software to create fabrication-level digital models which directly interface their CNC machinery. Some notable projects include the Aspen Art Museum, Grand Teton National Park Discovery and Visitor Center in Wyoming and the Strings Music Pavilion in Colorado. 

9. Kalesnikoff Mass Timber

One of the oldest on this list, the Kalesnikoff company history goes back to just after the first World War. In 1922, Kalesnikoffs first moved to the West Kootenays as Russian immigrants to join a communal Doukhobour settlement called Champion Creek. According to the family-owned company, Koozma Kalesnikoff’s parents and his brothers, Sam and Peter, arrived with dreams of peace and prosperity. After getting Timber rights for land near Castlegar, B.C. they operated with a guiding principle: “Take care of the Land and the Land will take care of you.” 

They claim to have North America’s most advanced, vertically-integrated, multi-species mass timber facility. The 110,000 square foot plant makes CLT, glue-laminated timber panels and glulam beams.

10. Brisco Manufacturing

Brisco is relatively new to the scene. The company opened up shop in 2002 to become a specialty producer of large beams manufactured from laminated veneer lumber (LVL).

The company says that Aat that time, LVL beams were primarily used in hidden, interior residential and commercial construction applications. Since then, their team has been working with architects, engineers and general contractors to incorporate the new Brisco Fine Line products into a multitude of new exposed applications. Some of Brisco’s projects include Vancouver’s Joyce-Collingwood Skytrain Station, Qualicum Beach Fire Hall on Vancouver Island and Northern Lights College in Dawson, B.C.

11. Fraserwood Industries

One of the first things international travellers see when they arrive in Vancouver is work from Fraserwood. The company participated in YVR’s Pier D project – the airport’s largest project since the mid 1990s. Fraserwood was started in 1998 and has gone on to become a major player in the mass timber manufacturing and building sector. The company landed its first major commercial project, the Sea to Sky Gondola service buildings and restaurant, in 2014. Since then they have worked on the Crested Butte Center for the Arts, Squamish’s O’Siem and even provided timber for famed architect Frank Gehry’s personal residence.

12. BC Passive House

Their name kind of says it all. BC Passive House is a B.C.-based full-service prefabrication company specializing in the design and construction of high-performance panelized building systems, specialized structural panels, heavy timber packages and a range of hybrid systems. The company was founded and is managed by Matheo Dürfeld, a general contractor with 40 years of construction experience in the province, and Eric Karsh a founding principal of Equilibrium Consulting Inc., an award-winning structural engineering firm based in Vancouver. 

“Energy efficient and sustainable construction practice is a key component of our identity, we make material selection and informed building science a priority for all our projects,” says the company on its website. 

The BM Group of Companies has acquired Sanderson Concrete Inc., the latest addition to its portfolio of construction, project management, material supply and land development companies.

BM group stated its roots are “cemented in concrete” as it has 40 years of experience in the industry with supply, restoration and materials testing. While BM Group already has an established concrete supply and precast manufacturing operation,  Sanderson will allow it to expand its product offerings in the precast industry.

“Sanderson has been producing quality products for nearly a century,” said Milan Mann, President of Real Estate Development and Construction at the BM Group. “They are simply the best at what they do in architectural precast. We wanted to acquire the best in class, and I think we’ve done that here.”

BM Group explained that acquiring Sanderson was a natural step for expansion as both companies shared similar clientele and would have been considered competitors in a small industry. 

“Clients and industry partners can rest assured knowing that the BM Group and Sanderson will continue to deliver the same quality work they’re known for, but now they’ll be able to do more of it with greater efficiency, and grow together within the industry,” said BM Group in a press release.

Jan Arntorp, owner of Sanderson Concrete, said BM Group was the obvious choice for the acquisition. 

“It was clear that the BM Group cared about the security of Sanderon’s people – our employees and customers—as well as the future of the company,” said Arntorp. “I am thrilled to be handing the reins to a capable group with such a strong vision, a company that will carry Sanderson Concrete’s legacy to new heights.”

After acquiring Sanderson, the BM Group now represents a network of over 16 active businesses.

Key Takeaways:

  • Deep energy retrofit projects could receive up to $500,000 in funding.
  • A panel of experts will choose 10 to 16 of the best project applications for funding.
  • The city is eager to curb greenhouse gas emissions from buildings as they cause roughly 57 per cent of total community-wide emissions.

The Whole Story:

Toronto has opened applications for its Deep Retrofit Challenge, an initiative to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in the city.

Encouraging deeper retrofits

The challenge will provide funding to support deeper-than-planned energy retrofits in 10 to 16 privately-owned buildings, with the goal of accelerating emissions reductions and identifying pathways to net zero that can be replicated in other buildings. The project is funded through a $5 million investment provided by Natural Resources Canada’s Green Infrastructure – Energy Efficient Buildings Program.

Successful applicants will receive a grant equal to 25 per cent of their total project costs up to a maximum of $500,000 – depending on gross floor area and building performance – to offset the incremental design and construction costs required to achieve maximum emissions reductions.

Who can apply

Buildings must be located within Toronto and be an Ontario Building Code Part 3 building, meaning greater than 600 square metres or greater than three storeys. Eligible buildings include:

  • Multi-unit residential buildings (including condominiums, apartments, etc.)
  • Commercial office buildings
  • Mixed-use buildings (residential and commercial, including residential over commercial)

Eligible projects must:

  • Involve a deep retrofit that reduces both GHG emissions and energy usage by at least 50 per cent.
  • Meet a 20-year payback period or better.
  • Be completed and operational by January 1, 2025.

Projects must use a comprehensive whole-building approach, considering how components of the building work together as an integrated system. Eligible measures include:

  • Building enclosure improvements such as insulation, high-performance windows and air sealing.
  • Energy recovery (ventilation, drain or equipment).
  • Electric heat pumps (ground or air-source) for space hating and hot water.
  • Renewable electricity generation.
  • Building controls.

How projects are chosen

The city says the projects will be selected through a “competition-style” process. A design meeting organized by the city will assemble a variety of specialists to identify energy and environmental improvements that may be achieved by the selected projects, and opportunities to advance the design to maximize emissions reductions. Net zero buildings typically eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

Building owners may also apply to the City’s Energy Retrofit Loan program and High-Rise Retrofit Improvement Support program to assist in funding their projects, as well as incentives available from other sources.

Marching towards net zero

The city hope the challenge encourages early compliance with the City’s Net Zero Existing Buildings Strategy and advance the goals and targets of the TransformTO Net Zero Climate Action Strategy, including the city’s net zero by 2040 emissions reduction target. 

“The projects will serve to demonstrate the deep energy retrofits needed to move buildings towards net zero emissions, with the goal of accelerating market adoption,” said the city.

Officials noted that buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto, creating approximately 57 per cent of total community-wide emissions, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels for heating and hot water. 

To achieve the emissions reduction trajectory needed to reach net zero by 2040, community-wide emissions from all sources must be sliced in half in the next eight years. The City controls only about five per cent of community-wide GHG emissions directly through its own buildings and operations.

The city also committed to release information from the projects, including designs, budgets and performance data to drive case studies, technical reports and academic research. They hope this information will help promote community knowledge of deep retrofits and facilitate the uptake of deep retrofits.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Cement Association Canada is the first industry-wide group to join the Net-Zero Challenge.
  • The group will implement a plan to produce net-zero concrete by 2050.
  • Details of this plan will be released this fall.

The Whole Story:

The Cement Association of Canada announced it would be the first industry-wide participant to join the federal government’s Net-Zero Challenge. The Net-Zero Challenge is a voluntary initiative led by the Government of Canada that encourages businesses to develop and implement credible and effective plans to transition their facilities and operations to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Participation in the Net Zero Challenge requires public transparency and disclosure, including a comprehensive net-zero plan, two interim emissions reduction targets consistent with achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, and annual progress updates.

The association noted that concrete is the most used building material on the planet, second only to water.

“It is found in virtually every class of infrastructure – from bridges to buildings, watermains to hydro-dams, hospitals to schools, sidewalks to subways,” said the group.  

The association added that Concrete’s strength, durability and resilience will play a critical role in ensuring the nation’s infrastructure stands up to extreme weather– heat, flooding, wildfires and wind. 

The group stated that it will release an industry action plan this fall outlining the steps the industry needs to take to produce net-zero concrete by 2050. The plan will highlight significant milestones, including cutting carbon emissions up to 40 per cent by 2030.

“Climate change is our industry’s most significant challenge,” said Adam Auer, president of the association. “It is also our greatest opportunity. By charting a credible, transparent path to net-zero emissions, our industry continues its history of leadership in building the sustainable world of tomorrow. We are proud to be a founding participant in the Net-Zero Challenge as just one example of our pursuit of proactive partnerships with governments, the construction sector and civil society groups to support the ambitious and science based imperative of reducing carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Canadian long-term energy storage company Hydrostor is partnering with Kiewit on a FEED study for a massive energy storage centre in California.
  • It would be capable of eliminating the equivalent of roughly 120,000 cars off the road every year.
  • The facility would use Hydrostor’s advanced compressed air technology to store excess green energy.

The Whole Story:

The 500 MW Willow Rock Energy Storage Center would be the largest stand-alone energy storage project in the state. It also comes after California officials have set a goal of using 100 per cent carbon-free energy by 2045.

The project will store excess generation from California solar and wind projects during periods of low customer demand by compressing air and storing it on the project site. During periods of higher customer demand or low supply, this high-pressure air is used to generate emissions-free electricity to meet real-time electrical load and enhance overall grid reliability. The project is designed to generate electricity for at least eight hours at full capacity.

Hydrostor stated that the work demonstrates steady progress in the development of its advanced compressed air energy storage (A-CAES) technology in North America. 

According to Hydrostor, A-CAES uses commercially proven equipment and processes to provide affordable, large-scale, and emission- free long-duration energy storage (LDES). 

The company added that Willow Rock will be capable of storing enough energy to provide reliable power for up to 400,000 homes over 8 hours, turning California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peaking capacity, enabling the closure of emitting fossil fuel resources while maximizing transmission system utilization.

“Hydrostor continues to reach important milestones at Willow Rock, and we look forward to working with the world-class engineering and construction teams at Kiewit to advance this critical clean energy project,” said Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor CEO. “Our global teams are paving the way towards achieving aggressive net-zero goals. Willow Rock will be capable of eliminating the equivalent of roughly 120,000 cars off the road every year over its 50+ year project life.” 

Kiewit praised Hydrostor’s approach, stating that LDES solutions like A-CAES are a critical component of grid modernization. 

“We look forward to commencing work on Willow Rock, which has the potential to abate significant emissions and provide a reliable, sustainable energy source for many decades,” said Kevin Needham, president of Kiewit Power Engineers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Graham Construction and Engineering LP has started work on a sports complex in Cloverdale, B.C.
  • The $13.4-million contract includes building two NHL-sized ice rinks and seating for 400 spectators.
  • It will be used for ice hockey, figure skating, public lessons, skating sessions, lacrosse and ball hockey.

The Whole Story:

Surrey has begun construction on a new sports complex in Cloverdale. Once complete, this new arena will increase Surrey’s overall ice capacity, while accommodating the need for an additional ice arena in Cloverdale.

Earlier this year the city awarded the $13.4 million contract to build the facility to Graham Construction and Engineering LP.

“I am thrilled to see construction get underway on the Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “This new arena will not only provide additional ice to meet the needs of Cloverdale residents but will serve both city-wide and sport destination needs. Like all the Surrey Invests Capital Projects, this facility has been designed to high standards including important sustainability and accessibility features.”

The Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex will include two National Hockey League sized arena sheets of ice, seating for 400 spectators, multi-purpose and community rooms, officials’ rooms, change rooms, and other amenities. The project will offer various programs including ice hockey, figure skating, public lessons, skating sessions and dry-floor summer use for sports, such as lacrosse and ball hockey.

The Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex will be located at 6336 177B Street. The arena was approved in the city’s 2021 Five-Year Capital Financial Plan and is among more than 20 projects included in the Surrey Invests Capital Plan.

Key Takeaways:

  • The B.C. Construction Association received $21 million in federal funding to assist smaller companies.
  • The funds will support those who employ new workers.
  • Companies can receive even more funding if new hires are diverse.
  • The association also plans to begin a major construction recruitment campaign.

The Whole Story:

B.C. contractors just got a major financial incentive to hire new tradespeople. 

The BC Construction Association (BCCA) received more than $21 million in funding from the Government of Canada’s Apprenticeship Service to encourage small and medium sized employers in BC’s construction industry to hire and register first-year apprentices.

A B.C. construction company with fewer than 500 employees can receive financial incentives for hiring new employees or registering existing ones as first-year apprentices in 39 Red Seal Trades.

Participating employers will receive $5,000 for hiring or registering any worker. However, an additional $5,000 will be received if the worker self-reports as a woman, new Canadian, LGBTQ+, Indigenous, a person with a disability, or a visible minority.

The BCCA stated that this is intended to encourage and promote diversity in the sector. Employers can receive payments for up to two first-year apprenticeship positions per year during the two years of the drive, for a maximum of $40,000 per employer.

“BC’s construction industry is in a vice grip right now, and it’s tightening,” said Chris Atchison, BCCA president. “Employers are dealing with rising costs, material shortages, increased taxes, mandatory sick pay, labour shortages, and late payments. It can be costly to hire and train new apprentices, and especially in this climate, $40,000 can go a good distance to alleviating some of that cost burden.”

The association explained that participating employers can spend the financial incentives at their discretion. For example: hiring bonuses, gear and work apparel, childcare costs, offsetting business taxes, offsetting costs of mandatory sick leave, training and mentoring, raises for field or office staff, safety equipment, or new technology. 

As part of the service to employers, BCCA will provide culture training via its Builders Code program, and mentorship support through its new Building Builders initiative.

According to the data from the association, B.C.’s construction industry is approximately 95 percent male and most employers are small, with 90 percent employing 20 workers or less.

“We need more skilled trades workers in British Columbia, and across Canada,” said Carla Qualtrough, minister of employment. “That’s why we’re working with employers to create tens of thousands of new apprenticeships. It’s why we’re doubling incentives for employers who hire women, persons with disabilities, and other traditionally marginalized groups – to make sure that everyone who wants to pursue a skilled trade, has the chance to.”

In addition to the financial incentives, the BCCA stated it will embark on a major promotional campaign to attract new talent to the industry.

“We know that construction employers are already doing their best to find and hire workers” said Atchison. “So, in addition to the financial incentives, we’re going to mount a compelling acquisition campaign to bring new talent to employers who list their jobs with us. We’ll be working with a digital recruitment agency, as well as a marketing and communications agency. We’re pulling out all the stops.”

1. Greengate Power

Developing Canada’s largest solar project ever definitely is worthy of a spot on this list. Greengate began work on  the Travers Solar Project in 2017. The 3,330-acre project is expected to generate clean energy for more than 35 years. Other Greengate projects in development include Lathom Solar, Midnight Solar, Luna Solar+ and Jurassic Solar+. Greengate’s website states this goal: “The time to charge into the future of energy, and answer back with vision and innovation, is now. This is how we take the planet to net zero.”

2. Canadian Solar

All those solar panels to fuel the green transition have to come from somewhere. Why not Canada? The company was founded and is still led by scientist Shawn Qu. The company specializes in solar photovoltaic modules and solar energy solutions. Qu started the company in Ontario in 2001 and 14 years later it brings in billions in business. In 2020, the company raised $260 million capital for the company’s module systems and solutions business’ carve-out IPO and completed a $230 million convertible bond issuance. According to its website, Canadian Solar currently has 23.8 GW of solar projects and 27.5 GWh of storage projects in the pipeline.

3. Borea Construction 

When it comes to experience, it’s hard to find anyone better. Borea says that it has constructed more than 6,500 MW of renewable energy across Canada which represents one third of the market and is more than any other contractor in Canada. Borea was responsible for the full engineering, procurement and construction scope on Brooks Solar, a 17-MW solar project in Alberta. Using over 48,000 high-efficiency solar modules, and nearly 3,000 tables of fixed racking systems, Brooks is currently the largest utility-scale solar plant in the province. Borea also worked on Strathmore Solar which was completed on schedule earlier this year.

4. PCL Construction

It’s no secret that PCL’s solar division is exploding. The company announced that the division did more than half a billion dollars in annual revenue in 2021. PCL’s solar sector team also nearly doubled in the same time-period, growing from 119 employees to 214. 

“The demand for high-performing solar facilities will only increase in the coming years as the world transitions away from carbon-producing forms of energy generation,” says Andrew Moles, director of solar for PCL Construction. “PCL has risen to the challenge by assembling an outstanding renewable energy team ready to meet the needs of this ever-growing market.”

5. Amp Energy

This Toronto based giant had humble beginnings as a solar developer in 2009. It has since expanded to have a more than 700 MW portfolio in North America alone. The company has also branched out into wind and green hydrogen projects. The company boasts a grid-edge digital technology platform, Amp X, which utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive scale globally.

6. Teck Resources

Yes. I know. What does a mining company have to do with solar? According to clean energy Canada, a climate and clean energy program housed at Simon Fraser University, building a solar panel requires 19 mineral products and metals. This includes things like copper, silver, titanium dioxide, gallium and indium. Electric car batteries also require similar materials, meaning that as the economy shifts to more sustainable technologies, they will need to be sourced. In 2018, Teck began work on Quebrada Blanca Phase 2, a mine in Chile that will substantially increase Teck’s copper production. Earlier this year, there were 13,000 workers on the project with a focus on system completion and handover. The team is looking to mine its first copper late this year.

7. Three Sixty Solar

Three Sixty is all about going vertical. While trying to solve the problem of space, the Vancouver company decided to build up. The company says it designed the first commercial solar tower with panels on all sides. 

“Developers no longer need to constrain themselves to broad, flat properties, but can now consider more challenging locations and terrain for solar development – this is a game-changing opportunity,” said Brian Roth, Three Sixty CEO. 

The company says that their clients can save up to 90 per cent of the land they would have otherwise required to install the same amount of power with traditional ground-mounted solar solutions.

Key Takeaways:

  • Moshe Safdie’s donation to McGill University includes more than 100,000 pieces and his personal residence at the Habitat 67 building in Montreal.
  • Officials at McGill called it one of the most influential and important architectural archives in the world.
  • Safdie enrolled in the school’s six-year architectural degree program in 1955.

The Whole Story:

Safdie hopes his residence and archive can remain a resource for his Alma Mater and the public.

“I have always valued the great education I received at McGill that has guided me through my professional life. Moreover, Canada has embraced and supported me, making possible the realization of several seminal projects,” said Safdie. “It is therefore fitting that McGill, Quebec, and Canada will be the home of my life’s work.”

Safdie’s vast archive includes more than 100,000 pieces, including loose sketches, sketchbooks, models, drawings and correspondence related to unbuilt and built projects across the globe.

According to the university, Safdie’s collection represents one of the most extensive and thorough individual collections of architectural documentation in Canada. Included is the original model and master copy of his McGill undergraduate thesis, ‘A Case for City Living’, which inspired his design for the Habitat 67 residence.

84-year-old architect Moshe Safdie hopes his massive archive donation to McGill University can be of use to future generations.

The university stated that the residence was a major exhibition built for Expo 67 in Montreal and marked a turning point in modern architecture.

The centerpiece of the archive will be Safdie’s personal apartment at Habitat 67 housing complex. The school stated that the four-module duplex unit will serve as a resource for scholarly research, artist-in-residence programs, exhibitions and symposia. Fondation Habitat 67, a non-profit foundation, will collaborate with McGill on the preservation and maintenance of the apartment as part of its mandate to promote the property for public educational activities.

The complex was designated a National Heritage Building by the Quebec Ministry of Culture in 2009. Safdie’s 10th floor unit, which initially belonged to the commissioner of Expo 67, was fully restored to its original condition in 2017 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Habitat 67, and in conjunction with a major exhibition of Safdie Architects’ recent work at UQAM, entitled Habitat 67 vers l’avenir: The Shape of Things to Come.

“On behalf of the McGill community, I would like to express our gratitude to Moshe Safdie for his remarkable gift,” said Suzanne Fortier, McGill principal. “This is a historic moment for McGill. One of the most influential and important architectural archives in the world, from one of our most celebrated graduates, will forever be a part of our University.”

Key Takeaways:

  • DIRTT is pausing operations in South Carolina. 
  • The plant was designed to maximize manufacturing of wall tiles, a key part of DIRTT’s construction system.
  • Officials cited low demand as the reason for the suspension but could revisit the decision in the future.

The Whole Story:

The Calgary-based lindustrialized construction and design firm announced their decision to suspend operations at a manufacturing facility in Rock Hill, S.C. 

“With sufficient capacity for current and expected production requirements at its facilities in Savannah, Georgia and Calgary, Alberta, the decision is part of the company’s ongoing focus on realigning the organization, driving efficiency, and improving profitability,” said the company in a statement.

DIRTT added that it will continue to assess its capacity requirements and will evaluate options to restart operations at the Rock Hill facility as volume demand continues to expand.

“We’re committed to meeting our clients’ expectations when it comes to building a quality, agile space,” said Benjamin Urban, DIRTT’s CEO. “DIRTT’s approach to industrialized construction ensures quality and project lead times will not be impacted as we shift production to our other facilities.”

Urban also thanked DIRTT’s Rock Hill team for their commitment to building exceptional spaces for clients across the U.S. and Canada. He added that DIRTT will be supporting the staff with their transitions.

DIRTT announced the facility in 2021 as an $18.5 million investment. The plant operated in a leased, custom-built 130,000 square foot building. The plant was designed to maximize manufacturing of wall tiles, a key component of DIRTT’s construction system.

Key Takeaways

  • The first phase of the rules goes into effect this October.
  • More than half of the demolition material that hits Metro Vancouver landfills is recyclable.
  • Starting in 2023, the rules will be encouraged with a deposit system that gives a refund when the diversion goal is hit.

The Whole Story:

Rules around demolition waste are changing for Burnaby, B.C. 

The city is introducing the Construction & Demolition Waste Diversion Bylaw, which mandates that at least 70 per cent of waste created as a result of building demolitions must be diverted from landfills. 

City officials stated that once the bylaw comes into force in fall of this year, it will represent a major step in Burnaby’s efforts to meet Metro Vancouver’s regional goal of 80 per cent overall waste diversion. 

“As materials from construction and demolition make up a third of Metro Vancouver’s solid waste, making improvements in the sector is an integral part of the City’s overall waste reduction strategy,” said the city. “More than half of the approximately 400,000 tonnes of demolition material which flows into Metro Vancouver landfills annually is recyclable, and diverting resources like wood, metal and concrete to recycling facilities is a vital step in reducing the greenhouse gases these materials emit when not disposed of correctly.” 

Officials explained that the new bylaw will be introduced in phases, with multi-family and non-residential demolitions subject to the new regulations on October 1, 2022, and rules for single- and two-family buildings coming into force on March 1, 2023. 

After these dates, demolitions will require a non-refundable application fee of $250, and a deposit of $2.25 per square foot of the building being demolished, with a maximum deposit cap of $50,000. The refund received will be calculated on the percentage of waste diverted to the proper recycling channels, with the entire deposit amount being refunded for demolitions which divert 70 per cent or more of their waste.

Key Takeaways:

  • The new system will boost capacity with 27 eight-person cabins. 
  • The gondola is expected to open in early 2024.
  • Work includes updates to base buildings and parking areas. 

The Whole Story:

Shovels are poised to hit the ground for a sky high-project in Metro Vancouver.

Grouse Mountain announced the installation of a new Gondola will begin in September. The state-of-the-art gondola will replace the aging Blue Skyride.

Grouse Mountain is privately held by local, family-owned Northland Properties which is funding the project.

“We are thrilled to be embarking on this transformational project as we approach the 100th anniversary of the first official ski season at the Resort,” said Michael Cameron, president of Grouse Mountain. “Since the world’s first double chairlift was built at the Resort in 1949, Grouse Mountain has had a rich history of investing in modern recreational technology. The installation of the new gondola is the latest development to further enhance our four-season operations to welcome both the local and global community.” 

The new lift system, which includes a total of 13 towers and 27 eight-person gondola cabins, will allow Grouse Mountain to return to just above its original capacity when both the Blue and Red Skyrides were fully operational. In addition to the new gondola, phase two of the project includes future updates to current base buildings and improvements to parking areas at the Resort. 

The mountain’s Blue Tram opened in 1966 and the Red Tram opened in 1976, making the Grouse Mountain aerial tramway system the largest in North America. 

Project Timeline

• Clearing of Gondola Easement Area: September/October 2022 

• Building of Foundations/Base and Plateau Stations: January/August 2023 

• Assembly of Towers and Line Work: September/November 2023 

• System Testing: Winter 2023/2024 

• New Gondola Opens: Spring 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • One of B.C.’s largest campus housing projects ever is being planned for Douglas College.
  • The $292-million project is expected to get underway next year in New Westminster.
  • It will feature 368 student beds, classrooms, collaboration space, labs, offices and more.

The Whole Story:

The $292.5-million project received $202.3 million in provincial funding, while Douglas College provided $90.2 million. Construction is expected to begin in summer 2023, with anticipated completion in summer 2026.

Officials say building will be constructed using natural products, including stone and wood, in accordance with the province’s CleanBC plan.

The 20-storey building with 368 student beds, academic space and parking will be the school’s first on-campus housing.

“Students at Douglas College have told us everything we need to hear. They need access to affordable housing so they don’t have the barrier of long commutes and expensive rent,” said Anne Kang, minister of advanced education and skills training. “I’m incredibly excited by this project and historical investment by our government. We’re going to change lives, both at Douglas College and in New Westminster.” 

The new building will have 368 student beds in one-, two-, and four-bed units, as well as academic space, including new classrooms, student collaboration space, labs and offices, and food services.

Officials said that with classes moving to the new academic building, space will become available for other purposes, including a potential expansion of the college’s child care facility.

6. The Aspen Oil Sands ($2.6 billion)

The Aspen Oil Sands project is a proposed in-situ steam assisted gravity drainage oil sands project. Aspen would produce up to 150,000 barrels of bitumen a day (bpd), making it one of Imperial’s largest oil sources. The output would be achieved with two phases. Final investment decision was approved in November 2018 for the first phase, which will build 75,000 bpd of capacity. However, the project was deferred in November 2019.

5. Mildred Lake Extension ($3.3 billion) 

Sometimes it’s just about keeping the status quo. The Mildred Lake Extension (MLX) project in the rural municipality of Wood Buffalo is being planned to help maintain Syncrude’s current production levels by extending the life of our North Mine. It received regulatory approval in 2019 and is expected to be operational by the mid-2020s. The project consists of two mine sites – MLX West, located northwest of the current North Mine and west of the MacKay River; and MLX East, located on the east side of the Mildred Lake Settling Basin.

4. Nauticol Energy Net-Zero Blue Methanol Project ($4 billion)

This project is looking to use some blue to go green. The Grande Prairie project is expected to produce 3.4 million metric tonnes of net-zero blue methanol annually, creating a low-carbon value-added product from the abundant natural gas production in the Peace Region and incorporating best-in-class 90%+ precombustion carbon capture.  The project will support 5,000 construction jobs, 1,260 permanent direct and indirect jobs, and provide sustained Indigenous and community economic benefits over its 35+ year life.

3. Suncor Base Mine Extension ($4.4 billion)

It’s out with the old and in with the new. The Suncor Base Mine Extension Project, formerly known as Voyageur South Mine, is being planned to replace existing feed from Suncors North Steepbank Extension mine when it is depleted. The Wood Buffallo-area mine is expected to produce up to 250,000 barrels per day of bitumen during its estimated 28-year operational life.

2. Green Line LRT Stage 1 ($5.5 billion)

Calgary is looking to significantly expand its transit options. The green line LRT project, stage 1, will feature the southern leg from Shepard, up until 16th Avenue NW. A total of 15 stations are planned on 20 kilometers of the new track. The city recently announced that Bow Transit Connectors and City Link Partners have been invited to move forward to the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage.

1. Edmonton-Calgary High Speed Rail ($9 billion)

This line could turn a three hour drive into a 45 minute train ride. Prairie Link Rail Partnership (EllisDon and AECOM) is proposing to build a 400 km/h rail link between the two Alberta cities to transport passengers and freight. Last summer, the project team  announced an MOU with Alberta Transportation. The private sector-initiated unsolicited P3 proposal being evaluated by the province under an unsolicited framework process.