Ontario’s largest courthouse is preparing to open up

Key Takeaways:

  • The 17-storey tower features 63 courtrooms and 10 conference settlement rooms.
  • The team included NORR, RPBW, EllisDon, Infrastructure Ontario and more. 
  • The project is now the largest courthouse in Ontario.

The Whole Story:

Work is adjourned for the Ontario Court of Justice.

The facility is now preparing to open to the public in the coming weeks. 

According to the project’s architectural team, the facility represents a new standard in the evolution of courthouse facilities, providing a unique mix of specialized courtrooms, support facilities and enhanced accessibility features. 

They argue that it solves the challenge of the high-rise courthouse through a welcoming light-filled facility that integrates carefully into the important civic context.

Architectural partners on the project – NORR Architects & Engineers Limited (NORR) and Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) – collaborated with EllisDon, the Ministry of Attorney General, Infrastructure Ontario, many stakeholders and the larger consulting team.

The project is the largest courthouse in Ontario amalgamating a number of Ontario Courts of Justice facilities into one location at the judicial center of Toronto’s downtown civic realm. The 17-storey tower features 63 courtrooms, 10 conference settlement rooms, along with associated support facilities. Specialty courts include drug, mental health, Indigenous and youth courts.

A rendering shows the inside of the new Ontario Court of Justice. – NORR Architects and Engineers

“The design concept is defined by a desire to reimagine the institutional building and the courthouse in particular as an integral civic component within the city that is accessible, dignified and independent,” said NORR in its announcement of the project’s completion. “The project is intentionally compact, staying well below the maximum allowable height, maintaining a respectful relationship to Osgoode Hall, a National Historic Site, and Toronto City Hall while having a presence of its own. At the lower levels the bulk of the building is pushed as far north as possible, maximizing exterior public space.”

The architecture team added that the design expresses a clear image with a simple form that is both legible and transparent. The transparency of the lower levels, in particular a 20-meter-tall atrium surrounded by a minimal cable façade, allows for a relationship to exist between the institution and the city.

A 90-meter-tall architectural mast marks the judicial precinct and aligns to the East portico of Osgoode Hall, and the northern terminus of York Street. The envelope of the tower is characterized by a layering of embossed metal panels, wood frames and low iron glass generating a materiality that is dynamic and in constant flux and is capped by a significant photovoltaic array.

“As a team we have been able to create a facility that acknowledges the significant history of the site while also looking to the future,” stated NORR. 

Rick Welch is the new president of Nomodic, a modular construction company based in Alberta. Welch has nearly 30 years of experience in modular construction. Most recently he served as strategic sales director, affordable & social housing programs at NRB Modular Solutions, where he oversaw the development of housing projects for BC Housing, municipalities, non-profit societies and First Nations.

Jeremy Robinson has been tapped to lead Kinetic Construction’s new environmental services subsidiary, Kinetic Environmental. Robinson’s expertise includes over 15 years of experience managing large-scale environmental contracting teams responsible for delivering complex projects that have consistently achieved cost, quality, and executional objectives.

David Murphy has started a new position as talent acquisition specialist at Pomerleau. He held the same role at Modern Niagara before his new role.

Mario Villeneuve, vice president of Villeneuve Construction, has been elected president of the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA). His priorities include furthering ORBA’s work to develop a sustainable and inclusive road building workforce, more transparent and effective highway maintenance contracts, more environmentally sustainable industry practices, the need for a road to the Ring of Fire and further improvements to Highways 11 and 17. The association also thanked outgoing president Kevin Machej of Dufferin Construction Company.

Haley Wark is the new brand marketing & communications specialist at Third Space Properties Inc. Previously she worked at Slide Clear Inc. and Longboard Products.

Calvin Carlick will be joining Tahltan Nation Development Corporation (TNDC) as director, partnership and business development, beginning March 20. In his newly created leadership role, Carlick will be responsible for increasing TNDC revenues and growing business partnerships between TNDC and other organizations.

Stephen Walls has started a new position as senior construction and product delivery manager at M Moser Associates for its Vancouver office. The design firm specializes in creating workplace environments. Prior to this position, Walls worked as a project manager with Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated in Melbourne, Australia.

Daniel Fournier will take over as executive chair of Oxford Properties on April 1. He is a real estate veteran who was previously chairman and chief executive officer of Ivanhoé Cambridge, the property subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, from 2010 to 2019.

Mark Becker has been appointed CEO of Dexterra Group. Previously, Becker held executive positions at Suncor Energy in operations, major projects, and corporate strategy. Becker started his career with Dow Chemical across a range of progressive roles in Canada and the U.S. 

Ashwin Vadivelu, director of strategy & origination, EllisDon Community Builders, has made the Tamil Canadian Center for Civic Action Top 30 Under 30 list. The centre’s mission is to work towards the success of all Tamil Canadians in the social, political, economic and cultural spheres of Canada through education, documentation, engagement, training, mobilization, research, policy change and collaboration.

Sean Strickland, executive director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU), has been appointed to the board of directors of the Canada Development Investment Corporation. Strickland joined the CBTU after spending the previous three years as the director of business development and industry relations with a large general contractor.

Darryl Vanderwoude has started a new position as manager of pre-construction at Bird Construction. Vanderwoude’s expertise includes estimating, subcontracting, process scheduling, construction, pre-construction, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Sean Stevenson has been promoted to building operations supervisor at Low Tide Properties. In his new role, Stevenson is responsible for overseeing the maintenance duties for the building operations department and providing guidance and support to the building operators and property managers.

Jeremy Boldt and Sterling Oram have officially joined Bird Construction‘s 25 year club. Over 140 coworkers, family, and friends honoured the pair’s milestone with a gathering at Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary. Boldt is vice president and district manager. Oram is a construction superintendent.

Kendra Dyke has started a new position as assistant controller at Moss Development Corp. Prior to this, she worked in various roles at accounting firm PwC. Moss has been one of the largest local commercial construction management firms in Labrador and Newfoundland since 2018.

Pat Anderl has joined the AmbiMi team as its new business development manager. Anderl has 20 years of sales experience under his belt. His focus will be on the Kitchener-Waterloo Region, helping AmbiMi expand its reach and bring AmbiMi’s skills-based job matching platform to even more organizations in need of top-notch talent.

Richard Snow has joined Impact Engineering as associate and senior electrical engineer. Snow will support Impact’s engineering and decarbonization projects on both a building and campus level, leveraging his extensive experience across multiple sectors.

David Hubner has a new title at Infrastructure BC. Hubner is now vice president, projects. Hubner holds Master of Business Administration (Finance) and an economics degree and spent ten years in the banking sector and corporate finance area prior to his work in procurement. Over the past fourteen years, David has been involved in a number of major capital projects in the transportation, energy and accommodation sectors.

Gavin Lee has joined Wales McLelland as a development manager. Lee brings more than six years of experience in real estate and construction development. He has a proven track record of overseeing and managing projects all across Western Canada. From working on commercial and industrial projects to his time with mixed-use residential developments and brokerage, Lee is well-versed within multiple aspects of the space.

Symone Parera, senior project manager at EllisDon, has been awarded the Toronto Construction Association’s 2022 Best of the Best Sean P. McKenna Young Construction Leaders’ Award. The award is presented annually to a rising star in the Toronto construction industry.

*Editors note: do you have a hiring, promotion or retirement announcement you want to make? Let us know at hello@readsitenews.comBe the first to get People Moves by subscribing to our newsletter below.

Aecon is doing its part to get more women into construction careers. 

Aecon’s Women in Trades (AWIT) Program, initially launched in 2019, is focused on creating more opportunities for women to enter the trades. In 2022, Aecon partnered with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development through their Skills Development Fund to expand the success of the AWIT program with a target of recruiting, training and employing 350 women in various trades roles across Aecon’s operations.

Women are highly underrepresented in construction, particularly on sites. BuildForce Canada estimated in 2020 that women only made up five per cent of the industry’s 1.1 million tradespeople. In 2017 the group stated that women accounted for 12.4 per cent of the construction workforce nationally – 3.9 per cent onsite, 38.5 per cent off-site.

The AWIT program offers fully paid, comprehensive training for in-demand skills. The flexible, recurring training has multiple start dates and locations across Ontario and includes field placements with full-time employment opportunities and ongoing mentorship.

The program is currently recruiting for a range of trades roles across Aecon’s operating sectors, including damage prevention technician (locator), directional driller, labourer, hydrovac operator, welder apprentice, boilermaker, Insulator and more. 

One of the keys to the program’s success has been developing partnerships within the communities Aecon works. Janice Perry, a human resources specialist at Aecon and the AWIT program lead, is in charge of building these collaborations.

“I help build those partnerships that help us connect with women who are interested in the program,” said Perry.

“Our industry is still very much a male dominated industry and we are driven to change that”

Once women are recruited, they receive training both through Aecon and through groups like LiUNA, one of the program’s major partners. 

Since Perry took on this role last year, there have been over 100 women who have joined the program. She said AWIT is still a work in progress as it grows with its partners, but the vision is big. 

“Overall, we want to ensure participants don’t just think of this as a career program or an employment program, but as a real opportunity to change the trajectory of their career – through compensation, benefits and upping their skills,” explained Perry. “You don’t need specific experience to join the program – we will provide the participants with training to set them up for success in the field. Because that is often where the hesitation comes in. Some candidates may feel they won’t know everything, and that barrier limits the number of candidates we get. But by framing the program in a way that shows we offer paid training and support helps eliminate that barrier.”

She added that another critical strategy is building partnerships with the community so program participants can be identified. This includes schools, local unions and employment service centers across the Greater Toronto Area. Perry believes initiatives like this are necessary to address ongoing labour shortages in the industry 

“A lot of employers are challenged with the increasing labour shortage,” she said. “We realize that we need to be innovative in how we recruit and fill those gaps, and AWIT is one avenue. We have to be creative, get involved and meet people where they are at.”

She noted that AWIT is continuing to look for opportunities to expand the program across new work types and trades across Aecon. Aecon intends to continue with AWIT in the years ahead as part of its efforts to further diversify the workforce and the Industry.

To learn more about the program or to submit an application, contact the team at AWIT@aecon.com 

The AWIT program team and participants reflect on what the program is and what it provides. – Aecon

After spending 17 years honing his technical skills as a mechanical engineer, estimator and manager, Angelo Suntres wants to talk about another side of construction: relationships.

He recently took it upon himself to write a whole book about the subject, “The Human Side of Construction: How to Ensure a Successful, Sustainable and Profitable Career as a Contractor, Project Manager, Estimator or Superintendent”. 

The goal is to help construction professionals be the best they can be through developing the human principles of connection including effective communication and fostering healthy relationships.

Getting into the industry by accident

His own journey started back when he was studying to be an engineer. 

“I never saw myself getting into construction,” he said. “Like most people back then, through high school and university it wasn’t presented as an opportunity for a viable career path. Even now we have a marketing problem. The general population doesn’t have an appreciation or understanding of what we do.”

During school he began to hone in on HVAC as an area of expertise and became determined to be the best HVAC engineer the world had ever seen. But soon after graduating, he ran into challenges. 

“Life doesn’t always work out how you planned,” he said. “When I graduated there was a recession and jobs weren’t easy to come by.”

Angelo Suntres

Suntres was living in Halifax applying for consulting jobs and wasn’t getting any bites or interviews. He was running out of money but ended up finding work with Black & McDonald

“I ended up in construction by fluke but I am glad I did,” he said. “I love working with people and solving problems and to me, that’s the essence of what construction is.”

Going beyond the technical side of construction

The first decade of Suntres’ career was spent honing the technical skills in estimating, planning, budgeting and more. 

“I realized early on that it was a very technical industry,” he said. “But you never take classes on how to communicate effectively or how to solve conflicts. That was never part of the curriculum and it was always brewing in the back of my mind.”

Part of his own education with people skills developed while working at his family’s restaurant. 

“I realized that the people who came in could have gone anywhere in town to get a burger, milkshake or coffee,” he said. “But they came to us because it was like a community.”

Suntres saw how customers spoke with his dad. People who were having a hard time would share their struggles. There were relationships that had been formed. 

As his career progressed, Suntres found himself in leadership roles where more of his time was spent managing teams and dealing with people. 

“We do lots of things right but there is lots we can improve in, especially on the human side of construction,” he said. 

After hearing from others in the industry about a desire to change how business is done and trying his hand at getting his thoughts out in social media posts, Suntres decided to channel his passion for leadership and the industry into a book. 

“My goal is to highlight the good and bad and ugly about construction,” he said. “I am putting it all out there: what’s good, what I think works well, and challenges I’ve encountered. My hope is to validate people’s experiences and get them to think critically about how we can all improve. This is a great industry but there is a lot of work needed to bring it up to 2023 standards.” 

Forming a foundation of real connection

He explained that one of the book’s major themes is forming real human connection beyond firm handshakes, grabbing drinks or exchanging business cards. 

“Before you can layer on the complexities of money, stress or other aspects of a business or romantic relationship, you need to connect on a fundamental human level where you develop trust and respect for each other,” he said. “If you express that and they express it back, you have a foundation. You can layer on issues. Without that foundation, once you apply pressure, it is going to crack.”

The book also highlights what Suntres believes are the industry’s main challenges: 

  • The gap between design and construction
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • The Generational divide between younger and older workers.

The book can be found on Amazon.

Key Takeaways:

  • Maple Reinders will design and build the $270-million Royal BC Museum Collections and Research Building in Colwood, B.C.
  • The 15,200-square-metre building’s design will feature mass timber and energy efficient components.
  • Construction on the project is set to begin in the coming months, with completion expected in 2026.

The Whole Story:

Maple Reinders has been chosen to build the Royal BC Museum Collections and Research Building in Colwood, B.C.

The $204.8-million contract award came after an extensive procurement and partnering process with the province, Royal BC Museum, and Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.

The new $270-million facility will be an advanced, sustainable, and culturally sensitive building that will serve as a community and learning hub for the region.  Once complete, the new facility will house the Royal BC Museum’s collections, research departments, learning spaces and the BC Archives. Mass timber construction will be used extensively and the building will meet CleanBC energy efficiency standards, and target LEED Gold Certification.

The project is meant to protect the collection of more than seven million artifacts and the BC Archives. Some of the items are at risk from flooding. They include: archival books and manuscripts; rare and priceless artworks, including watercolours from the 1700s; several paintings by Emily Carr; and early provincial maps.

Key areas of the Collections and Research Building will be open to the public, facilitating community access to the collections and to museum staff. Visitors will be able to interact with displays and artifacts that shed light on the history of the province and observe researchers at work in person and online in the media centre.

“We are humbled to have been chosen to design and construct this important cultural facility,” said Reuben Scholtens, vice president of major projects at the Maple Reinders Group. “Our team is committed to delivering a world-class facility that will not only serve as a community and learning hub but will reflect and pay respect to the deep cultural connections the local Indigenous peoples have to the place where the facility will stand.  There is a vibrant and compelling story to be told and we are enthused at the prospect of being able to assist in its telling.”

Construction on the project is set to begin in the coming months, with completion expected in 2026.

Key Takeaways:

  • PCL won the award for Lakeridge Health’s new long-term care home, Lakeridge Gardens, in Ontario
  • It was the first project to be completed under Infrastructure Ontario’s Accelerated Build Pilot Program.
  • Rapid procurement, design/schedule innovation, lean principles and a modular kit-of-parts approach were crucial to the project.

The Whole Story:

What does it take to win the Toronto Construction Association’s (TCA) Best of the Best Innovation Award?

For PCL it was building a six-story long-term care home in 13 months during a global pandemic.

The award recognized the strategy and outcomes achieved delivering Lakeridge Health’s new long-term care home, Lakeridge Gardens, in Ontario. It was the first project to be completed under Infrastructure Ontario’s Accelerated Build Pilot Program.

The Toronto Construction Association Best of the Best Innovation Award recognizes companies whose achievements set a precedent in the industry. Winners are selected based on their ability to create innovative approaches to improve performance and create cost effective solutions, while maintaining schedule and quality.

PCL officials explained that the Accelerated Build Pilot Program, which leverages hospital-owned land and accelerated construction techniques to get shovels in the ground quickly, was key to delivering the 320 bed, six story long-term care home in record time. They noted that rapid procurement, design/schedule innovation, lean principles and a modular kit-of-parts approach were crucial to bringing Lakeridge Gardens to life years faster than a traditional build.

“Thank you to the Toronto Construction Association for recognizing our collaborative team with the Best of the Best Innovation Award. The successful outcome of Lakeridge Gardens reflects the culmination of efforts to optimize modular solutions coming together at the right time, with the right team including Lakeridge Health, Infrastructure Ontario, G Architects, Parkin Architects, all levels of the government, the workforce and all partners,” said Marc Pascoli, senior vice president and district manager of PCL Toronto. “While the means and methods utilized on this project certainly stand out, the culture and level of collaboration cultivated on this extremely fast-tracked project is something incredible. We couldn’t be more proud of what we built, and who we built it with and for.”

PCL covered the project’s journey through the COVID-19 pandemic in this documentary:

Key Takeaways:

  • Schulich Builders will spend more than $3 million in its first year.
  • Scholarships will cover tuition, tools and living expenses for students enrolling in a skilled trade program at one of ten participating colleges in Ontario.
  • Each college will award ten scholarships per year: five $20,000 scholarships for one-year certificate programs and five $40,000 scholarships for two-year diploma programs.
  • In addition to financial support, Schulich Builders also provides leadership training and mentorship.

The Whole Story:

The Schulich Foundation has launched Canada’s largest skilled trades scholarship program: Schulich Builders.

Schulich Builders will be dedicated to students pursuing a career in the skilled trades. In its first year of operation, more than $3 million is committed to combat labour shortages and highlight the importance of skilled trades in Canada.

“We are proud to promote the skilled trades and support students pursuing this rewarding career path,” said Judy Schulich, director of the Schulich Foundation. “Canadians rely heavily on the trades to build and maintain infrastructure critical for prosperous communities. Our challenge today is not having enough of these talented people to meet the demand.”

Schulich Builders will cover tuition, tools and living expenses for students enrolling in a skilled trade program at one of ten participating colleges in Ontario. Priority will be given to students nominated by their high school. Students may also apply directly through participating colleges: Centennial, Fanshawe, Algonquin, George Brown, Mohawk, Sheridan, Conestoga, Durham, Humber and Loyalist.

Each college will award ten scholarships per year: five $20,000 scholarships for one-year certificate programs and five $40,000 scholarships for two-year diploma programs.

In addition to financial support, Schulich Builders also provides leadership training and mentorship.

“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, which means when you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life,” said Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s minister of labour. “With Schulich Foundation’s skilled trade scholarship program, they are helping to attract and prepare a new generation of skilled trades workers here in Ontario for better jobs and bigger paycheques.” 

The Schulich Foundation is one of Canada’s largest foundations, having donated in excess of $350 million. Businessman Seymour Schulich established and funded the Schulich Foundation. He holds Canada’s highest civilian award, the Order of Canada.

Vancouver-based BuildCentrix has acquired a Californian technology company that provides material procurement software for the construction industry. 

BuildCentrix stated that by uniting teams and leveraging data, the acquisition will expand BuildCentrix’s footprint and help the construction industry build more efficiently.

The acquisition is San Francisco-based SiteTrace which aims to streamline construction workflows, prevent schedule delays, and improve project profitability.

“We’re excited to acquire an agile company such as SiteTrace to bring our best of breed applications to the industry,” said James Beveridge, BuildCentrix CEO. “With a strong focus on customer success, we help our clients reduce waste and save time in material procurement and management.”

SiteTrace primarily services contractors in the mechanical trade. Officials noted that that over time, SiteTrace and its customer base will become integrated with BuildCentrix.

“We founded SiteTrace as a fanatically customer-focused company dedicated to improving the way contractors procure materials,” said Mehul Kulkarni, SiteTrace CEO and co-founder. “We are excited to bring contractors to a comprehensive solution by joining with BuildCentrix and dramatically improve the way they do business.”

According to BuildCentrix’s website, its team developed a one-of-a-kind algorithm to create original 3D build-ready mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) content and a dynamic workflow platform to address contractor needs in the $200 billion MEP sector.

The company says it also provides the only web-based 3D assembly builder for HVAC and piping/plumbing trades. The platform is also fully integrated with Autodesk building environments including Revit, CAD, and CAM software.

A screenshot shows how builders can use tablets or laptops to create pipe assemblies on BuildCentrix. – BuildCentrix

Key Takeaways:

  • The next 12 months could bring stable commodity pricing as supply disruptions have eased.
  • Owner-furnished, contractor-installed (OFCI) arrangements, avoiding volatile materials during design and acquiring hard to find items like HVAC units early on have been some of the ways the industry has been dealing with high prices and long lead times.
  • Economists predict some slowdown in the residential sector but this could be offset by high immigration targets set by the federal government.

The Whole Story:

The Canadian construction industry could have a year to catch its breath when it comes to material pricing.

Global construction consultancy firm Linesight released new data indicating the likely leveling out of prices in key commodities markets as supply chain disruptions ease and logistics return to a more normalized level. Linesight provides cost, schedule, program, and project management services to a multitude of sectors including life sciences, commercial, data centers, high-tech industrial, residential, hospitality, healthcare, and retail.

“Barring any major world events, it should be steady as she goes,” said Padraig Leahy, a director at Linesight. “Hyper inflation on commodity pricing is moderating. We see stability for the next 12 months.”

Leahy is a chartered quantity surveyor with over 30 years of industry experience in cost management. Essentially, he is an expert in construction economics.

“There was a tsunami that hit us in relation to COVID,” said Leahy. “All the shipping got out of position, cost to ship a container quadrupled. It was out of this world but that’s settled down. It’s slightly offset by the cost of fuel and labour went up but supply chains are back in kilter.”

Some key commodities findings in Linesight’s Q4 2022 Commodity Report include:

  • Canadian lumber prices have continued along a slight downward trend over the past quarter as demand has remained subdued. Due to a high dependence on U.S. exports (85% of the US softwood imports are sourced from Canada), prices are linked to the US housing market, which is facing a prolonged downturn.
  • Hauler strikes and a shutdown of major plants due to fires reduced cement supply in mid- to late-2022. Supply has gradually recovered, and stocks have been replenished while intensive demand from the housing sector has subsided.
  • Although demand from the residential sector has subsided, energy prices have contributed to the high price of concrete blocks and bricks, which may continue to rise thanks to elevated oil and gas prices over the next quarter.
  • Canada produces roughly 50% of the North American steel supply, but with supply-side issues easing and inventories stable, demand-side uncertainty has weakened prices.
  • Anticipation of a global recession has hurt copper demand, though prices have picked up partly owing to political and social unrest in significant sources like Chile and Peru.

Adjusting to high costs and wait times

Leahy noted that clients have been working with Linesight during the past few years to choose the best products with the least amount of volatility for a project’s design. They are also budgeting in advance for significant commodities like electrical equipment and large HVAC equipment that they know they will eventually need so they can lock in price and availability.

He added that some have done master service agreements with mills or steel manufacturers to guarantee materials. But he noted that this is typically only done by large companies on large projects.

Another strategy has been for owner-furnished, contractor-installed (OFCI) arrangements.

“You have owners purchasing equipment in anticipation of a project so their contractor can install it later so projects don’t get delayed due to one piece of equipment,” said Leahy.

Hyperinflation events in the 70s and 80s

Just how unprecedented are these economic conditions? Leahy the last major hyperinflation event for Canada in recent memory was in the late 1970s and early 80s.

According to economists at TD Bank, in the 70s and 80s, there were two distinct inflation episodes that led to double-digit price increases in Canada. One from 1971 to 1976 and another from 1977 to 1983. In both cases, food and energy price shocks were the trigger. In the first episode, adverse weather in 1973 caused food prices to jump 18.4%. And following the Yom Kippur war in that same year, a quadrupling in the world price of oil caused a massive rise in gasoline prices. By December 1974, with Canadian inflation hitting a peak of 12.7%, the economy entered recession.

The second inflationary spike was an echo of the first. In 1978, meat prices skyrocketed by 70%, causing the overall food index to rise by 20.2%. Then the Iranian Revolution caused the 1979 Oil Crisis, which was followed by the Iran-Iraq war of 1980. This resulted in another doubling in the price of oil. Canadian gasoline prices ended up rising by 45.5% in 1981, which pushed Canadian CPI to an all-time high of 12.9%.

Residential slowdown likely

Leahy noted that while commodity pricing looks to be normalizing, residential construction will likely slow in 2023 due to overall economic sentiment and an increase in interest rates. But the Canadian government has announced a number of major infrastructure projects including road and light rail work in major metropolitan areas, which should help offset some of the slowdown in other areas of the construction industry.

“Canada has some oddities,” he said. “You have half a million people coming to the country from government immigration policy which will create demand so there could be a balance there as well. It might not hit as hard and be slightly offset.

A chart from Linesight’s Canada Commodity Report – Q4 2022 shows prices beginning to stabilize. – Linesight

When it comes to growth in any area of Canadian business, construction companies are leading the way. In a list ranking 430 of Canada’s fastest growing companies, a B.C. builder took the top spot. We pored over the list to find other innovative construction-related companies that ranked high and figure out what they are doing different.

12. RAM Engineering

Crews work on repairs following historic flooding in B.C. – RAM

When it comes to engineering, procurement, project management and construction management, RAM is a powerhouse. Some of their recent projects in just Western Canada include New St. Paul’s Hospital, Centerm Expansion Project and South Shore Access Project, removing debris following historic B.C. flooding events. RAM was incorporated in 2007 and is a privately owned B.C.-based company, with offices in Downtown Vancouver and Calgary. It has roughly 300 employees.

11. MY Construction Supply

MY Construction Supply is a manufacturer and distributor of concrete accessories, fasteners and building products. The Ontario-based company’s product line focuses mainly on high rise condominiums, but also includes low-rise condos, transit centres, hospitals and more. Top selling products include spiral roofing nails, heavy duty polyethylene tarp sheets, loop ties and backup bricks.

10. LPI Mechanical

LPI does everything from new construction to full service and maintenance of all design/build, HVAC and plumbing projects. The 18-year-old company has grown to develop in-house engineering, design, and drafting capabilities. In addition to being one of the fastest growing companies in the country, they were honoured by the Building Owners and Managers Association in Toronto with a Pinnacle award for going above and beyond.

9. TPH Group

TPH Group was created by Daniel Szypka and Trevor Wallace with the goal of changing how consumers hire tradesmen. With a background in the painting services industry, the pair wanted to bring transparency to the process of seeking quotes and choosing a painter. The company has grown into a full suite residential, commercial and industrial painting and coatings business that lets customers get a quote online in minutes.

8. Novarc Technologies

Novarc Technologies

He never gets sick, never takes a lunch break and gives you a perfect weld every time. He’s a Novarc welding robot and he’s giving builders an edge while the country is facing a massive shortage of skilled workers. Pitt Meadows Plumbing & Mechanical (PMP) turned to Novarc when they wanted expand to district energy plants, light industrial applications and wastewater treatment plants but needed a high level of quality and wanted to boost their prefabrication approach. PMP says the welding robot technology increased their shop productivity by over 60%.

7. Parity Inc. 

It’s basically a virtual superintendent designed to save you money. Parity Inc. is a Toronto proptech company that focuses on HVAC operational optimization for mid-rise and high-rise multifamily and hotels. The company’s Pi platform has the ability to grow, learn and respond to changes in weather, occupancy levels and seasonal energy usage. Parity noted that what makes them unique is that they require no upfront investment – the entire project is paid for through the energy savings that are guaranteed when a client signs.

6. Olsa Tools

Olsa Tools’ story goes back to 2015 when Charles Marois – an avid car lover and tinkerer – grew frustrated with organizing solutions. The result was a magnetic hex bit organizer. Over the past five years the company has continued to innovate with hand tools, sockets and accessories. And if you’re worried about durability, all Olsa’s tools are professionally tested by local heavy-duty service shops located in Nisku, Alta. Olsa’s team loves tools so much they even have a TikTok account where they showcase their tools in action, offer tips and challenge viewers to “guess the tool”.



Need heavy equipment? DOZR wants to make renting it as easy as possible. The massive online equipment rental marketplace has 15,000 suppliers across North America. Contractors can search for equipment, compare pricing from their favourite suppliers and book instantly all under one DOZR account. They handle all the details including logistics and payments for a rental regardless of where the customer is located and who the equipment supplier is. Late last year they announced partnership with rental equipment software provider InTempo. This gives DOZR data on real-time availability, rates, upcoming reservations and pickups.

4. Ace of Decks

Ace of Decks is exactly what it sounds like. They do one thing and they do it well. The Montreal-based company specializes in the design and construction of made-to-measure decks. The company says their team began building decks when at 14 years old. They were too young to drive so they biked to jobs while balancing bags of tools. Their portfolio features decks that cleanly wrap around trees, form complex pyramid stairs and create cozy homes for hot tubs.

3. Luxton Construction

Luxton is a locally-owned full-service General Contractor based in Vancouver. They offer general contracting, design-build and project management services under a variety of contracting methods. The company was founded in 2016 and rather than slowing down during the pandemic, it has doubled its staff. Here’s a sample of some of their projects: Wuikinuxv Wharf Reconstruction, rock face remediation in Horseshoe Bay and demolition work on the Aldergrove Water Treatment Plant Tank Replacement Project.

2. Banyan

Banyan says it is unlike any other construction firm on Vancouver Island. The company says it is able to control costs and production delays by keeping the majority of its work in-house. They believe that being able to control all aspects of a project is a distinct advantage over the competition. Banyan has also formed strong strategic alliances with architects, engineering firms and all necessary sub-trades in the Victoria area. Some of its projects include Hudson Place Two and Gordon Head Recreation Centre

1. Orion Construction

Orion’s team poses for a staff photo. – Orion

No wonder this company’s name references the stars. Its growth is blasting off to new heights. From the 430 companies featured on the Globe and Mail’s list, the full-service contractor for light industrial and commercial developments came out on top. In the past three years they have seen revenue growth of more than 12,000 per cent. What’s their secret? Orion told SiteNews that a major part of it has been mastering the design-build model and assembling a high-quality team. 

EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare (EDIH) has reached financial close on the South Niagara Hospital project. The consortium was selected by Infrastructure Ontario and Niagara Health to design, build, finance, and maintain the South Niagara hospital as part of a $3.6 billion fixed-price contract. 

The contract reflects the payments made during construction, the substantial completion payment and the monthly service payments before inflation adjustments.

“It was with tremendous efforts put forth by a great deal of people to reach this milestone,” said Joey Comeau, executive vice president and chief operating officer of EllisDon Capital. “EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare is excited to reach commercial and financial close and we are looking forward to delivering this monumental project for the communities of South Niagara.”

The 1.2 million square foot, 11-storey modernized facility, will consolidate and expand acute care services across the region. In addition to emergency, critical care and surgical services, the South Niagara Hospital will feature several centres of excellence specializing in stroke, complex care, geriatrics and geriatric psychiatry, and wellness in aging.

In addition to being LEED Silver certified, the South Niagara Hospital is working towards being the first WELL-certified hospital in Canada, incorporating design elements that promote health and well-being for everyone who uses it. These improved spaces will prioritize the mental health and well-being of staff, patients and visitors. 

The hospital will also feature an Indigenous healing space and garden. Indigenous partners provided input into the design. The spaces were incorporated to create culturally safe and welcoming areas for Indigenous Peoples.

EDIH expects to begin construction this summer. The hospital will take five years to build, with occupancy planned for 2028.

Key Takeaways:

  • Teck plans to reorganize of its business into two independent, publicly-listed companies: Teck Metals Corp. and Elk Valley Resources Ltd. (EVR).
  • Teck also reached agreement with its steelmaking coal joint venture partners and major customers, Nippon Steel Corporation and POSCO, to exchange their minority interests in the Elkview and Greenhills operations for interests in EVR.
  • Teck will seek shareholder approval of the separation at its annual and special meeting of shareholders in April.

The Whole Story:

Teck Resources is getting a spinoff. 

The Canadian mining company announced the reorganization of its business into two independent, publicly-listed companies: Teck Metals Corp. and Elk Valley Resources Ltd. (EVR)

Company officials stated that the separation will create two resource companies and provide investors with choice for allocating investment between two businesses with different commodity fundamentals and value propositions. 

Officials explained that Teck Metals will be growth-oriented, with premier, low-cost base metals production, a top-tier copper development portfolio and a disciplined capital returns policy. Elk Valley will be a high-margin Canadian steelmaking coal producer, focused on long-term cash generation and providing cash returns to shareholders, with significant equity value accretion potential. They added that both companies will remain committed to strong environmental and social performance.

“This transformative transaction creates two strong, sustainable, world-class mining companies committed to responsibly providing essential resources the world needs,” said Jonathan Price, CEO, Teck. “Both Teck Metals and EVR have high-quality operating assets and strong financial foundations, with talented and dedicated employees, committed to ensuring safe and responsible operations. The transaction simplifies the portfolio of each company, allowing for strategic and financial focus and the ability to pursue tailored capital allocation strategies. It provides investors with choice in response to the evolving investment landscape, and establishes a pathway to full financial separation of the two companies over time.” 

Sheila Murray, chair of the Teck’s board of directors, noted that the transaction is the culmination of a comprehensive review to determine the best path to realize the full potential of the two businesses, while at the same time ensuring ongoing responsible management and operation for the long term.

 “We are confident that pursuing this plan will position both businesses for even greater success, allow shareholders to optimize their exposure to the different underlying commodities, and support a sustainable future for the benefit of employees, local communities, and Indigenous peoples,” said Murray. 

Details of the Separation 

The separation is structured as a spin-off of Teck’s steelmaking coal business by way of a distribution of EVR common shares to Teck shareholders. Teck Metals will retain a substantial interest in steelmaking coal cash flows through a transition period in the form of an 87.5% interest in a gross revenue royalty and preferred shares of EVR. Teck Metals will receive quarterly payments consisting of royalty payments and preferred share redemption amounts that will in aggregate equal 90% of EVR free cash flow. 

Teck shareholders will receive common shares of EVR in proportion to their Teck shareholdings at an exchange ratio of 0.1 common share of EVR for each Teck share and approximately $0.39 cash per share for an aggregate of $200 million in cash. Shareholders will be able to elect to maximize the amount of cash or common shares of EVR they receive, subject to proration, through a Dutch auction election process. Details of the election will be set out in the management proxy circular to be provided to Teck shareholders. 

As part of the separation, Teck will change its name to Teck Metals Corp. and continue to be listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges. EVR has applied to have its common shares listed on the TSX.

The Nippon Steel and POSCO Transactions

Teck has also reached agreement with its steelmaking coal joint venture partners and major customers, Nippon Steel Corporation (NSC) and POSCO, to exchange their minority interests in the Elkview and Greenhills operations for interests in EVR. As a result, EVR will own 100% of its steelmaking coal operations.

“This significant participation by two of the world’s largest steelmakers highlights the long-term, critical importance of high-quality steelmaking coal in order to reduce emissions and build essential infrastructure globally,” said Price. “We would like to thank our long-term partners NSC and POSCO for their continued support of the business. Their participation as shareholders of EVR is a testament to the strong outlook for the business.” 

Teck will seek shareholder approval of the separation at its annual and special meeting of shareholders expected to be held in April.

The separation is expected to be implemented through a plan of arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act=.

Key Takeaways:

  • The project allows Centerm to handle 60% more containers by increasing the terminal footprint by 15%.
  • Work is ongoing to optimize operations to deliver the full capacity increase at Centerm. The full capacity gains are expected to be realized later this year.
  • Canada’s west coast marine container terminals are forecast to hit capacity by the mid-to-late-2020s, following a decade of 5% average annual growth from 2011 to 2021.  

The Whole Story:

Construction on the Centerm Expansion Project at the Port of Vancouver is now complete.

The expansion project—delivered in partnership with terminal operator DP World—focused on innovative ways to make best use of the limited trade-enabling industrial land available and allow Centerm to handle 60% more containers by increasing the terminal footprint by 15%. Work completed includes expanding the terminal footprint to the west and east, reconfiguring and expanding the container yard, building state-of-art truck gates, expanding the intermodal yard, building a new operations facility, and marine habitat improvements.  

“We’re incredibly proud of our work leading this award-winning terminal expansion, which adds to our proven track record of delivering top-tier sustainable infrastructure to support Canada’s growing trade,” said Cliff Stewart, vice president of infrastructure at the port authority, the federal agency mandated to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver. “The expanded Centerm terminal is an important addition to the Port of Vancouver as we continue to work to deliver the container capacity Canadians and Canadian businesses need to thrive now and into the future.”  

Optimization work will continue

While construction of the terminal improvements is complete, work is ongoing to optimize operations to deliver the full capacity increase at Centerm. The full capacity gains are expected to be realized later this year, increasing the terminal’s container handling capacity by two-thirds from 900,000 20-foot equivalent unit containers (TEUs) to 1.5 million TEUs. 

“The completion of the Centerm Expansion Project marks a new chapter in the 100-year history of our DP World operations in Vancouver,” said Maksim Mihic, chief executive and general manager, DP World (Canada) Inc. “By using new technologies and reconfiguring the terminal–we have been able to increase throughput capacity by 60% with only a 15% increase in the terminal footprint. This project is a great example of how we are innovating to create the sustainable trade infrastructure of tomorrow. We are providing access to new market opportunities for Canadian businesses while making the global supply chain more resilient. I want to thank everyone involved in this project who worked tirelessly to get us to today.” 

Improving trade infrastructure

According to the port, the Centerm terminal expansion will play an important role meeting demand in the short-term.  

In line with its public interest mandate, the port authority is leading several projects to enable Canada’s growing trade. This includes: 

  • Partnering with industry and government on projects to reduce bottlenecks and enhance road and rail links to the port while delivering community benefits. 
  • Leading digitization and optimization initiatives to help drive efficiency and capacity across the port, including the Active Vessel Traffic Management and West Coast Supply Chain Visibility programs. 
  • Planning to support Canada’s forecast growth in container trade and long-term needs via the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project.  

Canada’s west coast marine container terminals are forecast to hit capacity by the mid- to late-2020s, following a decade of 5% average annual growth from 2011 to 2021.  

Growing responsibly

“Trade through the Port of Vancouver is growing and we’re working to ensure infrastructure projects are designed and delivered in a way that protects the environment and benefits local communities while enhancing the safe movement of cargo through the region,” said Stewart.  

On the Centerm Expansion Project, this includes environmental protections like reducing greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating wait times for vehicles at train crossings, adding capacity for container ships to connect to electrical shore power, upgrading some yard cranes from diesel to electric, and building to LEED and Envision certification sustainability standards.  

A map gives a detailed layout of the Centerm project. – Port of Vancouver

In 2022, the project was awarded the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure Envision Platinum award, their highest rated award. The project also improved local habitat through offsetting projects such as the award-winning Maplewood Marine Restoration Project, which restored approximately five hectares of low-value marine habitat into higher-value intertidal flat, eelgrass and rock reef habitat.  

Public consultation on the project was based on two-way communication and open dialogue with stakeholders, the public and Indigenous groups during planning and construction. As part of the port authority’s community investment for the project, a $500,000 Centerm Community Fund was developed to help thank the local community for its patience during construction. The fund was part of a $2 million contribution to community initiatives in East Vancouver from the port authority and Centerm terminal operator DP World, and was distributed between 2019 and 2021 to 41 organizations working to enrich the lives of those living and working in the area as well as supporting local conservation efforts. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Fluor has been awarded a contract to do FEED and EPCM work on the world’s first net-zero carbon emissions ethylene cracker and derivatives complex.
  • The Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. facility will convert cracker off-gas into hydrogen as a clean fuel to be used in the production process.
  • Dow selected the Fort Saskatchewan site as the region offers a highly competitive energy and feedstocks position. The region also features access to available third-party CO2 infrastructure.

The Whole Story:

Fluor has been awarded a reimbursable contract by Dow for work on the world’s first net-zero carbon emissions ethylene cracker and derivatives complex.

Flour will provide front-end engineering and design (FEED) and engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for the project in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. 

Fluor stated that it will book the initial FEED award in the first quarter and anticipates the additional EPCM scope will be awarded throughout 2023 pending a final investment decision by Dow’s board of directors.

“We commend Dow for its leadership and commitment to decarbonize its global footprint, and we are pleased to work together with the company on this important project,” said Jim Breuer, group president, Fluor’s energy solutions business. “Fluor’s expertise in energy transition is helping clients across industries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.”

The project is still subject to approval by Dow’s board of directors and various regulatory agencies. According to Dow, the project would decarbonize approximately 20 percent of its global ethylene capacity while growing its polyethylene supply by about 15 percent and supporting approximately $1 billion of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) growth across the value chain by 2030.

The additional project scope to be awarded in 2023 includes integrated project management team services for the entire Fort Saskatchewan Path2Zero program and EPCM services for the ethane cracker and associated utilities, power and infrastructure.

The production process at Fort Saskatchewan will convert cracker off-gas into hydrogen as a clean fuel to be used in the production process, and carbon dioxide that would be captured onsite to be transported and stored by adjacent third-party CO2 infrastructure.

The products produced at the site will be used across the globe to help deliver low- to zero-carbon emissions solutions. Dow stated it is focused on serving high growth markets that support human well-being, drive industrial efficiency, and enable the world’s energy transition.  

Dow added that it selected the Fort Saskatchewan site as the region offers a highly competitive energy and feedstocks position. The region also features access to available third-party CO2 infrastructure.

Home building saw a rocky start to 2023. 

According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the standalone monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of total housing starts for all areas in Canada declined 13% in January (215,365 units) compared to December (248,296 units). 

The SAAR of total urban starts declined 16%, with 191,491 units recorded in January. Multi-unit urban starts declined 20% to 146,267 units, while single-detached urban starts increased 3% to 45,224 units.

The rural starts SAAR estimate was 23,874 units.

The trend in housing starts was 259,412 units in January, down 4% from 269,781 units in December. The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada.

“Both the Monthly SAAR and the six-month trend of housing starts declined nationally in the first month of 2023, with SAAR of housing starts hitting its lowest level since September 2020,” Aled ab Iorwerth, CMHC’s deputy chief economist. “Among Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, Montreal was the only market with increases in total SAAR housing starts in January, up 36%. Toronto declined 52% while Vancouver declined 14%, which contributed to the overall monthly decline in SAAR housing starts for Canada.”


Key Takeaways:

  • Albion Building Consultant Inc. lost its licence to build and sell homes after failing to enrol homes in a warranty program.
  • It is the most severe action that the Home Construction Regulatory Authority can take against a licensed builder.
  • The company now owes $206,250 in fines.

The Whole Story:

A homebuilder in Ontario has had its licence to construct and sell homes stripped by regulators after failing to enrol new homes with warranty coverage. 

Albion Building Consultant Inc. received the punishment from the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA). It is the most severe action that the group can take against a licensed builder.

The HCRA explained that revoked the builder’s licence following Albion’s prior convictions in the Ontario Court of Justice for failing to enrol new homes in the warranty program with Tarion – a not-for-profit consumer protection organisation established by the Ontario government  to administer the province’s new home warranty program. The regulator stated the builder has a long history of non-compliance with provincial rules and laws.

“Enrolling a home is essential to ensuring consumer protection,” said Wendy Moir, the HCRA’s CEO and registrar. “Licensed home builders must act in accordance with the law, and with integrity and honesty – or face serious consequences.”

Last year, Albion Building Consultant Inc. was convicted of failing to enrol new homes in the warranty program with Tarion. The convictions stemmed from an investigation concluding that Albion had built 11 new homes without first enrolling them with Tarion. Albion was sentenced to a fine of $15,000 plus a $3,750 victim fine surcharge for each of the 11 counts, bringing the total fine amount to $206,250.

In addition, Albion’s managing director Zamal Hossain was convicted of acting as an officer and director of a company that failed to enrol new homes. Company co-founder Farida Haque was convicted of acting as a vendor of a new home without being licensed. 

The HCRA noted that even prior to these convictions, Albion and its officers and directors had a history of non-compliance for building homes without registering as a builder and for failing to enrol new homes in the Greater Toronto Area, including convictions in 2016 and 2019.

In light of these convictions, the HCRA notified Albion, through a formal notice of proposal, of its intention to deny Albion’s licence renewal application. Albion unsuccessfully appealed this decision at the Licence Appeal Tribunal in January.

The HCRA added that Albion may continue to complete homes that were already under construction – upon completion of these homes Albion’s licence will be immediately revoked. The Ontario Builder Directory will subsequently be updated to officially recognize Albion’s licence status as revoked.

“Revocation is the most severe consequence for a licensee,” said Moir. “Following the completion of the remaining homes, Albion will no longer be able to do business, and we sincerely hope this is a rare occurrence – but we will use it to send a clear message to the industry and ensure that consumers are protected.”

To receive and maintain a licence in Ontario, builders and vendors must demonstrate that they have the right technical skills to build homes, the financial capacity to run a homebuilding operation and will adhere to the requirements in the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act as well as New Home Construction Licensing Act, 2017 including the Code of Ethics.

*Editor’s Note: SiteNews has reached out to Albion for comment and will update the story accordingly.

Key Takeaways:

  • SNC-Lavalin has been awarded a five-year contract to provide project and construction management consultancy services for THE LINE.
  • THE LINE is a linear smart city under construction in Saudi Arabia in Neom, Tabuk Province, which is designed to have no cars, streets or carbon emissions.
  • Project officials say the first residents could be moving in by 2030.

The Whole Story:

Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin will be working on a massive, linear city under construction in Saudi Arabia. 

The Canadian engineering and construction firm has been appointed as a delivery partner organization for THE LINE at NEOM. According to SNC, the enormous project represents a civilizational revolution that will have no roads, cars or carbon emissions.

The linear city development is designed to be 170-kilometres long and 200 metres wide on a 34-square-kilometre site. The design also features 100 per cent clean energy to accommodate nine million residents. The project also plans to ensure that 95% of the surrounding NEOM region will be protected for conservation.

SNC-Lavalin has been awarded a five-year contract under a framework agreement for consultancy services on THE LINE. In collaboration with NEOM and other delivery partner organizations, SNC-Lavalin will provide project and construction management consultancy services for the design, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning of the project, together with the management of the critical interfaces that the linear city shares with adjacent NEOM projects and logistics. The firm stated that the project has adopted a highly collaborative delivery model in response to its scale, complexity, supply chain and requirements for innovation.  

“With a vision for engineering a sustainable society, SNC-Lavalin is committed to helping governments and the private sector meet their Net Zero targets by providing our global expertise and world-class sustainability solutions,” said Ian L. Edwards, president and CEO of SNC-Lavalin. “THE LINE is a central component of NEOM, which itself is one of the largest projects under Saudi Vision 2030. The linear, cognitive city will play a significant role in helping NEOM accelerate the Kingdom’s economic diversification agenda by redefining the urban living experience, boosting tourism, and creating job opportunities for the people of Saudi Arabia.”

The project’s approach to city design includes layering city functions vertically while giving people the possibility of moving seamlessly in three dimensions to access them. Officials called this concept “zero gravity urbanism”. The development’s infrastructure will be embedded with sustainable, smart technology containing essential utilities and transportation services, generating car-free communities and public realms.

“THE LINE is a truly ground-breaking, world-first project and we are proud to have the opportunity to bring our global engineering, digital and Net Zero expertise to help create a lasting legacy for the Kingdom and its people,” said Philip Hoare, president, engineering services, UK and Europe, Middle East, India and Canada, SNC-Lavalin. “As a delivery partner organization, we will work closely with NEOM and our partners to seamlessly connect people, data and technology to drive innovation, value, efficiency and certainty on the project. Our combined intent is to radically transform the way major infrastructure projects are delivered and THE LINE, with its vision and complexity, provides a great opportunity to demonstrate what our industry can achieve.”

Globally, SNC-Lavalin has developed the Engineering Net Zero (ENZ) program, which focuses on leading the engineering industry to achieve Net Zero Carbon as rapidly as possible, by helping clients manage climate risks and build climate resilience. 

SNC-Lavalin’s presence in the region has grown. It has regional offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Al Khobar, supporting clients in buildings and places, transportation, energy and water sectors. Some of the company’s key projects in Saudi Arabia include Diriyah Gate, Six Flags Qiddiya theme park, Riyadh Metro, and King Abdulaziz International Airport.

Key Takeaways:

  • Metro Vancouver mayors say they need $250 million in emergency funding from Ottawa to help the region’s transit systems cope with growing ridership.
  • They also want to accelerate the delivery of the Permanent Transit fund by two years and Permanently double the Canada Community-Building Fund.
  • The mayors want to create a national commission with provinces, transit agencies and local governments to develop a new funding model for public transit.
  • The population of Metro Vancouver is estimated to increase by more than one million people by 2050.

The Whole Story:

Metro Vancouver mayors are asking the federal government for $250 million to help the region’s transit system sustain and expand services in the face of increasing ridership and ongoing post-pandemic financial challenges.

The TransLink Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation has made a formal request to the Federal Government to renew its partnership with the region and the province.

In a pre-budget submission to the Minister of Finance, the Mayors’ Council is specifically calling for emergency relief funding of $250 million – to be matched by the B.C. government – to help offset the ongoing financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The council added that the funds would also accelerate the delivery of the federal Permanent Transit Fund from 2026/27 to 2024/25, to keep TransLink’s new 10-year expansion plan, the Transport 2050 Ten-Year Priorities, on track.

“Our region is growing faster than ever and our transit system will struggle to keep up with forecasted population growth if we don’t act now to secure funding from senior governments,” said Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, chair of the Mayors’ Council. “We just need to look at the new federal immigration targets to see that a record number of people will be settling here and adding to the demands on our transit network. This is a critical point to invest in Metro Vancouver’s long-term infrastructure needs and the Mayors’ Council is determined to make sure this message is being heard in Ottawa.”

The population of Metro Vancouver is estimated to increase by more than one million people by 2050. The council stated that the growth will be “supercharged by new federal immigration targets, critical to addressing Canada’s labour shortage and economic growth.”

It is estimated that 1.45 million people will immigrate to Canada between now and 2025, 1 of every 8 of whom are forecast to end up in Metro Vancouver.

The council stated that pressures on the transit system are compounded by the rapid ridership growth across Metro Vancouver, with transit boardings already at 82% of pre-pandemic levels – the highest among North America’s big cities. They added that overcrowding on the system, especially South of the Fraser and other fast-growing communities, is approaching levels not seen since before the pandemic when TransLink was struggling to keep up with surging demand.

A rendering shows one of the stations that will be part of an extension to the SkyTrain system.

The Mayors’ Council is calling on the federal government to:

  • Provide $250 million in Emergency Transit Relief Funding to TransLink, to be matched by the Government of BC, to protect existing transit service levels in 2023-25;
  • Accelerate the delivery of the Permanent Transit Fund (PTF) by two years from the original commitment of 2026/27 to 2024/25 to avoid delaying the transit service expansion needed to meet national and provincial GHG emission targets, respond to the housing affordability crisis and serve quickly growing ridership;
  • Permanently double the Canada Community-Building Fund (formerly known as the Gas Tax Fund) as was done in 2019, 2021 and 2022, and increase its annual escalator to 3.5% to better reflect construction cost inflation; and,
  • Launch a tri-partite national commission together with provinces, transit agencies and local governments to develop a new funding model for public transit that is more resilient and equitable by avoiding overreliance on regressive sources such as transit fares and property taxes.

The 10-Year Priorities, the plan that was re-endorsed unanimously by the Mayors’ Council on January 26, 2023, includes doubling of bus service region-wide, nine new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines,

expansion of active transportation infrastructure, and SkyTrain service expansion to meet forecasted population growth and ensure more residents have easy access to transit.

“Strengthening transportation links between Metro Vancouver communities is a vital step towards a more prosperous, sustainable future for our region,” said Ken Sim, Mayor of Vancouver. “Metro Vancouver mayors are united in our determination to secure these important investments and we are excited about the positive impacts that they will have.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Shipping containers with the stadium pieces arrived this month and the facility is expected to be ready in May.
  • The stadium’s modern and improved modular design was partially inspired by Vancouver’s Empire Field which was a temp facility while construction was being done on BC Place.
  • The soccer-specific stadium, a first in the Lower Mainland, will offer as many as 6,560 seats for fans.

The Whole Story:

Soccer fans won’t have to wait long for a new Vancouver FC stadium in Langley. 

Construction on the stadium will only take a few months thanks to prefabricated modular building techniques. 

The first shipping containers housing the club’s flat pack stadium arrived at the Port of Vancouver on Wednesday. Work is underway to lay the concrete foundations and site services that will support the prefabricated modular structure.

“The modular stadium system dramatically reduces onsite construction time and allows municipalities to create professional and intimate soccer-specific venues for a fraction of the budget typically spent on arenas and concrete stadiums,” said Dean Shillington, managing partner of SixFive Sports & Entertainment, parent company of SixFive Stadium Experience and Vancouver Football Club.

The stadium’s modern and improved modular design is based on the likes of Empire Field.  Empire was a multi-purpose stadium that stood at the Pacific National Exhibition site at Hastings Park. The temporary field was built to allow a new retractable roof to be installed at BC Place in 2010 and 2011. More recently, flat packed stadiums have been used for Olympic events as the stadium can be packed up and moved elsewhere once games are over.

The soccer-specific stadium, a first in the Lower Mainland, will offer as many as 6,560 local soccer fans an immersive game day experience during the club’s first season in 2023.

The stadium, located at Willoughby Community Park at the Langley Events Centre, is designed to grow with the club and its surrounding community, and is able to expand in capacity and amenities to serve its supporters now and in the future.

“We hope to create a true, authentic soccer destination for all,” said Shillington. “This stadium will become the heartbeat of the community for years to come and is a very flexible amenity that can expand as the sport of soccer continues to grow in Canada.”

Vancouver FC today revealed the first rendering of its new stadium ahead of the launch of ticket sales for the club’s inaugural season in the coming weeks. Vancouver is scheduled to host its inaugural home match on Sunday, May 7 at 4 p.m. PST against Cavalry FC. 

“We are delighted to share our vision for our future home with our fans, who can expect a stadium to rise before their eyes in the coming months as we look ahead to hosting our first match in club history later this year,” said Rob Friend, president, Vancouver FC. “We are excited to provide a proper football experience for every fan that walks through our doors, and to see this stadium come to life in the near future.”

The south end of the stadium will be home to Vancouver’s supporters’ groups. The east grandstand will be home to a Cabana Club, while VIP dining and Tunnel Club-style experiences will be offered below the west grandstand.

Vancouver’s youngest fans will be entertained in the Family Zone, located at the north end of the stadium. There will be several entertainment plazas located throughout the stadium, including an area designated to house a mini food truck festival on each match day, offering a selection of eats from local businesses.

Key Takeaways:

  • The one-time funding opportunity is for all 188 municipalities in B.C.
  • It’s meant to help communities prepare for future growth and build the amenities needed to support new home construction.
  • It is the largest single provincial investment in communities in the province’s history.

The Whole Story:

What could $1 billion do to transform communities across B.C?

The province is about to find out. Grants totalling $1 billion are on the way to help local governments build infrastructure and amenities. 

The province announced the new grants are intended to help communities meet the demands of unprecedented population growth.

“B.C.’s strong economy and natural beauty continue to attract people from across Canada and around the world. Cities and towns need support to build thriving, livable communities,” said Premier David Eby. “The new Growing Communities Fund will help local municipalities improve roads, build more arenas and water facilities, and improve recreation options for families.”

The Growing Communities Fund will provide a one-time total of $1 billion in grants to all 188 of B.C.’s municipalities and regional districts, which they can use to address their community’s unique infrastructure and amenities demands – such as recreation facilities, parks and water-treatment plants, as well as other community infrastructure. It will help communities prepare for future growth and build the amenities needed to support new home construction, especially with the Housing Supply Act where targets are set.

“Addressing B.C.’s housing crisis requires a variety of responses, including increasing the supply of available housing which, in many communities in B.C., requires investments in community infrastructure and amenities,” said Anne Kang, minister of municipal affairs. “Today’s announcement demonstrates a cross-government co-operation to address the unique aspects of the housing crisis in each community, ensuring they can thrive into the future.”

These grants will complement existing infrastructure funding (such as sewer, water and recreation facilities) and will be distributed to B.C.’s 188 municipalities and regional districts by the end of March. The Growing Communities Fund will come from the surplus shown in the Second Quarter Financial Report.

“I thank the province for this investment into much-needed community infrastructure,” said Brenda Locke, mayor of Surrey. “As we know, Surrey is the fastest-growing city in the province. With that growth, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to work together to create livable communities and create a variety of housing options. This investment will ensure the quality of life in Surrey is not only maintained, but improved. From recreation facilities to parks to roads, this investment will benefit the residents of Surrey both now and well into the future.”

Officials noted that there are six times more requests for funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program Community, Culture and Recreation stream than what is available. This one-time fund supports the priorities of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).

“Today’s announcement provides the largest single provincial investment in communities in our province’s history,” said Jen Ford, president, UBCM. “This unprecedented transfer will help meet the needs of growing populations through the expansion of facilities and replacement of aging infrastructure. It will also support climate adaptation to sustain service delivery and safeguard residents from the risks of extreme weather. By delivering the funds with maximum flexibility, the province is ensuring that they will be directed to urgent local priorities. This shows tremendous commitment from the province and is welcome news for residents in all communities.”