SiteViews: The best shots from September 2023

Wright Construction

Crews with Wright Construction are transforming Evergreen Crossing in Saskatoon into shopping centre.


CarbonCure is supporting bee colonization at their headquarters in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Gerry Enns Contracting

Gerry Enns Contracting honours the Stó:lō Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Ch’íyáqtel First Nations.

Faber Construction

Faber Construction lifts pieces into place at the Duffner Ditch Fish Passage Project on the Guide in Lynden, B.C.

Aecon Group

More green nuclear power is on the way for Ontario. Aecon Group has successfully connected Bruce Power’s Unit 6 Ontario’s electricity grid on ahead of schedule. The life extension of each unit will add approximately 30 to 35 years of operational life.

Metric Civil Contractors

Crew carry out utility installs at the Kitselas Community Centre project site.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is treated to a tour of The One, a 91-storey condominium, hotel, and retail tower by Mizrahi Developments.

DSM Excavating and Contraction

Sometimes the light hits the dirt perfectly. DSM Excavating and Contraction is moving earth at Guildford Town Centre in Surrey, B.C.

Jakes Construction

It never hurts to double check your plans. A Jakes Construction worker reviews documents at a job site.

Scott Construction

A seen dog is a safe dog. A pup wears a high visibility vest while visiting a Scott Construction Site.

Wilco Contractors Southwest

A worker makes saw cuts to create joints in concrete. This controls where potential cracks might occur, and encourage them to form in the cut rather than randomly in the sidewalk. This allows the concrete to contract while curing without damaging the surface.

The Shot of the Month goes to:


An excavator digs at the Raglan mine Nunavik in frigid weather as the Northern Lights dance above. The mine is in one of the world’s most important nickel sulphide deposits.

*Editors note: If you want your shots featured in the next edition of SiteViews, email

Coordinating technology at one of the country’s biggest general contractors is a big job.

As chief information officer for PCL, Bryant is responsible for the strategic and innovative advancement of information technology (IT) within the PCL family of companies. He has more than 30 years of IT expertise, having served in the financial services, software, manufacturing, and AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industries.

He is a recipient of numerous awards over the last decade including being named one of ENR’s Top 25 Newsmakers in 2018, and in 2019, Canadian CIO of the year for the private sector category, by the Information Technology Association of Canada.

We spoke with Bryant about how large contractors are implementing technology, what sort of technology is on PCL’s radar and how we can make construction smarter.

Be sure to catch Bryant in Vancouver, B.C. for 2023 Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) Construction Innovation Summit on October 30th and 31st. He and many other industry experts will be discussing how to push the construction sector forward.

SiteNews: How do you approach modernization efforts at PCL?

Mark Bryant: I am in my 11th year now with PCL. When I joined, we were called systems and technology. But we rebranded and rethought how to deliver technology. Internally, today, we are called business technology. That is critical because my approach has always been to not deliver IT products from a technology perspective. It has been to partner with the business and their needs and marry with the business process by working with people. I get my hard hat and boots on and I walk the site with the team. I bring people that write code, people that do the help desk and others, we ask questions and we see how people in the field use our technology and software. We get to hear from people in the field: “I wish I could do this.” 

What do you think are some of the most promising new technologies that have applications in the construction sector?

Microsoft recently announced Copilot. It’s not available in the wild right now and it uses ChatGPT. We actually just signed an agreement with them recently. We will be able to onboard a private preview for 300 users and the license lasts a year. It’s all shiny and new. I think the term “AI” gets thrown around quite a bit without actually being AI. It’s just mining data. What ChatGPT and Microsoft are doing with Copilot will allow us to mine our data easier. That’s what I am really excited about. I believe it’s going to enable knowledge management to adeptly and smartly mine PCL databases so we can make smart decisions and access knowledge across the company. I see it as an internal knowledge platform where we can privately and securely mine our own databases. That excites me. It’s akin to having Google but just for PCL. Copilot allows us to connect disparate data sources and ask PCL-specific questions. 

What are some of the biggest challenges construction companies face when they begin digitizing their operations?

The cost of digitization and taking that leap to make the investment. The second, and it’s not necessarily in this order, is the change management component of people. You have people who have always done something a certain way and when you replace that with technology, that change is a challenge, a big one, and it’s not unique to construction. When you are investing in technology projects, you have to make sure it includes training employees. And you also have to make that training consistent, attainable and available years down the road. What happens in 12, 24 or 36 months when you hire hundreds more people? How do you get those people trained? 

What prompted PCL to create its own team to develop software in-house?

We are an underserved market and now companies are wanting to service it. They see a massive amount of capital but they don’t understand the margins in construction. They see big numbers like $500-million buildings, but margins are relatively low and that’s why digitization hasn’t seen a major pickup. Startups often over-price their product and they often don’t understand construction. Our take on this is if our people have the intellectual property of what they want and if we have people internally that can build it, we can do it cheaper and better than the market can. We have multiple vertices and very unique construction products. When we build something internally we have more knowledge, so let’s just take out the middleman and the headache.

What steps do you think the industry needs to take to make construction smarter?

Lots of information is passed around and the efficiency of how that information passes isn’t great. Standardizing how things get handed off and built is one of the first things that should be tackled. In the UK, BIM is mandated but there is no structure around that in North America. It’s a free-for-all. Certain business processes could be leaned and the technology could be used both more effectively and efficiently. When it comes to safety, many use different products from a tech perspective. And probably all have slightly different processes. Maybe 80% are similar and 20% do something different based on things that have happened. It’s not necessarily a framework that drives consistency. And you have companies like Procore and Autodesk trying to own the complete lifecycle that compete. So there’s a lot of bifurcated standards and products from job to job which makes things challenging. There is no easy button. I would also say that if you look at the engineering space, it’s been consolidating rapidly. When I was at MMM Group, there were about seven acquisitions and then they got swallowed up by WSP. In Canada there are essentially two major ones: WSP and Stantec. You haven’t seen much of that in construction and there are pros and cons to that. The industry is very complicated, large and diverse. You have big and small players, thousands and thousands of companies. It’s a completely bifurcated industry with a complex supply chain. It’s mind boggling and it’s the oldest profession in human kind. We have always built as humans. And that’s what excites me… it’s constantly evolving and maturing and we will get there one day. 

Sign up to attend the Construction Innovation Summit Oct. 30-31 where you can hear more from Bryant and other construction leaders.

Key Takeaways:

  • 10 municipalities were selected: Vancouver, Kamloops, Delta, Abbotsford, North Vancouver, Victoria, Port Moody, Saanich, West Vancouver and Oak bay.
  • The housing targets mark a 38% increase in overall housing to be built in these communities over what was projected to have been created based on historic trends.
  • The province also sent a list of housing target guidelines, including a recommended number of units by size, rental versus owned units, below-market rental units and units with on-site supports.

The Whole Story:

B.C. has released housing targets for municipalities that it wants to see increase supply. 

The 10 municipalities were selected as part of the Housing Supply Act and officials say this lays the groundwork for thousands of homes to be built. 

“The housing crisis is hurting people, holding back our economy and impacting the services we all count on,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of housing. “We’re taking action and working with municipal partners to make sure more homes are built in communities with the greatest housing need. The targets include thousands of below-market rental units for the largest and fastest-growing communities. This means more people will be able find a home in the community they love.”

To support implementation, the province stated that it will continue to provide local governments with resources to speed up approval processes, including $10 million for continued implementation of the Development Approvals Process Review, and the province’s work accelerating and streamlining provincial permitting across multiple ministries and developing a new digital permitting process. This is funding in addition to the $1-billion Growing Communities Fund launched in February 2023 and the recently announced $51 million to support local governments in meeting new density initiatives.

The first 10 municipalities were selected for housing target assessment in May 2023 under the authority of the Housing Supply Act, which allows the province to set housing targets in communities with the most urgent housing needs. The Province consulted with the selected municipalities during the summer to set the final housing target orders. These housing targets are net new units to be completed within five years.

The target orders for each municipality:

  • City of Abbotsford – 7,240 housing units
  • City of Delta – 3,607 housing units
  • City of Kamloops – 4,236 housing units
  • District North Vancouver – 2,838 housing units
  • District of Oak Bay – 664 housing units
  • City of Port Moody – 1,694 housing units
  • District of Saanich – 4,610 housing units
  • City of Vancouver – 28,900 housing units
  • City of Victoria – 4,902 housing units
  • District of West Vancouver – 1,432 housing units

The housing targets put forward by the province mark a 38% increase in overall housing to be built in these communities over what was projected to have been created based on historic trends.

In addition to the targets, the province has sent each of the 10 municipalities a list of housing target guidelines, including a recommended number of units by size (one bedroom, two bedroom, three bedroom), rental versus owned units, below-market rental units and units with on-site supports. These guidelines include more than 16,800 below-market rentals.

The province said its analysis took into consideration the total number of units that are needed to address the shortage of housing now and to respond to population growth over the next five years

Officials added that while they encourage municipalities to work hard to meet the total housing need, the targets have been set based on 75% of that municipality’s identified housing need.

“These targets are a step toward creating more homes to meet the diverse housing needs of Saanich residents,” said Dean Murdock, mayor of Saanich. “We are committed to working together with the Province on housing solutions, and welcome their support to help us achieve our goals.”

Municipalities will be evaluated after six months, and every year thereafter, on their progress toward achieving the housing targets and actions taken to meet the target. The province said it will monitor progress and work with municipalities to better understand challenges and opportunities.

Ralph Burton, a project manager, has retired after spending 17 years working for Kinetic. Burton joined Kinetic in October of 2006 as the first office member of the North Island Branch. Since then, Ralph has been an integral part of the successful completion of numerous Kinetic projects.

Raly Chakarova has been named executive director of the Toronto and Area Road Builders Association (TARBA). In this role, Chakarova will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of TARBA’s operations, including industry advocacy, member services and collective bargaining.

 “Raly’s results-oriented leadership, passion for critical infrastructure development, and understanding of the unique challenges facing our industry, make her an exceptional fit to represent the interests of our members and drive positive change within our sector. She is the ideal choice to lead TARBA into an exciting new era of growth and advocacy,”

Rick Logozzo, TARBA’s President and Chair of the Board

Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s minister of labour, has announced his retirement from politics. McNaughton’s four years as minister had a heavy focus on construction and the trades and he oversaw a 24% increase in trade apprenticeship registrations. McNaughton says he has accepted a role in the private sector.

Former Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton meets with training group Hammer Heads. – Monte McNaughton / Twitter

Chris Smith and Harrison Glotman have been appointed principals at consulting engineering firm Glotman Simpson. The firm stated that with the pair’s leadership, enthusiasm, and expertise, they are confident in upholding the strong reputation and design excellence they have cultivated since 1964.

Christopher Walsh has joined Delnor Construction as a team leader and senior project manager.  According to Delnor, Walsh’s experience as a manager of a special projects division will allow him to move seamlessly into a team leader role.

Pomerleau has announced three major hires for leadership roles: Jaime Freyre De Andrade as chief operating officer for major projects, Éric Gaudet as executive vice-president of operational excellence and strategy, and Vincent Martel, executive vice-president and chief financial officer. Pomerleau officials stated that the hires come as the company is entering a new chapter, which involves more complex projects and innovations.

Jaime Freyre De Andrade, Éric Gaudet and Vincent Martel. – Pomerleau

Marsha Gentile, director of sustainability for Ledcor Construction, is one of two Canadians to be selected as members of the new US Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED v5 Design & Construction Consensus Committee after undergoing an extremely competitive application process. Gentile will be providing her expertise from a Canadian contractor’s perspective in the technical development of the next iteration of the LEED rating system. Ledcor official’s stated that since the company’s first LEED project in 2002, Gentile has been a leader in the sustainable building community, sharing her passion both in-house and industry-wide.

Christine Bergeron has been appointed president and CEO of Concert Properties. The developer stated that Bergeron brings more than 25 years’ experience building and leading financial firms where she guided their strategic development while fostering prudent risk management and thoughtful stakeholder relations. Bergeron was most recently the president and CEO of Vancity, Canada’s largest credit union with over $33 billion in assets under administration.

 Rod Bianchini will be retiring from his role as chief strategy and compliance officer for SkilledTradesBC this December. Rod began his career as a roofing apprentice, transitioned through various roles over the years before joining SkilledTradesBC in 2013 as the Manager of Apprenticeships Advisors. 

His kind manner, deep passion for apprenticeship and strong moral compass quickly shone through and those three qualities have never wavered during my time working alongside of Rod for over a decade.  

Shelley Gray, CEO of SkilledTradesBC

Katie Prueter has joined Falkbuilt to oversee business development on Vancouver Island. Prueter has 10 years of interior design and project management experience. Falkbuilt stated that Prueter’s loves collaborating with clients and consultant teams to develop projects.

Reece McNaughton is Nomodic’s newest project manager. He brings nearly two decades of progressive construction experience to Nomodic’s team, having advanced through the industry as a foreman, site superintendent, project coordinator, and project manager.

Paul Garnier has been promoted to PCL’s operations manager in Calgary. Paul started his career at PCL in 2006 in Calgary as a project coordinator. His career took him to Halifax and Ottawa as a project manager, senior project manager and construction manager. One major project Garnier has been involved in is Ottawa’s historic Centre Block Rehabilitation Project

Key Takeaways:

  • Dream Unlimited plans to develop 5,000 units of purpose-built rental housing.
  • The projects will be in Ottawa, Saskatoon, Calgary and Toronto.
  • In the next six months Dream can advance its shovel ready projects, which includes 1,350 units.

The Whole Story:

Ottawa’s new policy to exempt rental construction from GST is already bearing fruit. 

Toronto-based developer Dream Unlimited announced it will move ahead of building 5,000 new units of purpose-built rental housing and cited tax breaks from the federal government and provinces as being deciding factors. 

The developer stated in a press release that the tax breaks establish a newfound ability for the entire development industry ecosystem to partner with all levels of government, not-for-profit and private sector organizations to collectively address the affordability crisis by increasing the amount of market and affordable rental units available to Canadians.

“With Thursday’s introduction of new legislation formalizing the removal of GST, Dream is positioned to move forward on 5,000 net new purpose-built rental apartment units in Ottawa, Saskatoon, Calgary and Toronto collectively,” says Michael J. Cooper, president and CEO of Dream Unlimited. “This legislation is a game changer for the development industry, and more importantly for Canadians. The housing crisis has impacted every urban centre from coast to coast. What this legislation unlocks is our ability to get shovels into the ground quickly at a time when it’s never been more critical to build new homes.”

Each of the sites identified by Dream currently have approvals in place.

Dream officials say that in the next six months its team can advance its shovel ready projects, which includes 1,350 units. In Ottawa, Dream will be advancing 1,010 units of which 43% – equivalent to 438 units – will be dedicated as affordable. Rents for the Ottawa units will range from 59% of median market rent to market rents, contributing to 7% of the city’s targeted annual construction starts of 15,000 units. In addition, Dream will bring 340 units to Saskatoon. By 2025, Dream expects it will be able to advance another 3,700 units across Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Saskatoon.

Dream officials noted that its progress in Ottawa is largely due to a unique partnership between Dream and the Multifaith Housing Initiative of Ottawa (MHI), a Canadian non-profit charitable organization founded in 2002 that is a coalition of 80 faith communities. 

As a result of the partnership, both organizations are able to deliver an integrated rental community that will include affordable housing, transit connectivity and unprecedented sustainability targets. Located on the Library Parcel of LeBreton Flats, the development is a net-zero, mixed-income community that includes 608 rental units, 41% of which will be dedicated as affordable. Dream and MHI will also develop integrated programs and support systems.

“Multifaith Housing Initiative strongly supports the legislation tabled by the federal government on Thursday to eliminate the GST from new purpose-built rentals and encourages all provincial governments to proceed with the exemption of the PST,” said Suzanne Le, executive director, Multifaith Housing Initiative.” 

Key Takeaways:

  • Ford announced he will keep his original promise to not touch the Greenbelt.
  • He called opening it up to development “a mistake” and noted that the development process was too fast.
  • The RCMP is currently considering wether or not to investigate the $8.28-billion Greenbelt land swap after the matter was referred to them by Ontario Provincial Police

The Whole Story:

After months of reports, staffing changes and pressure from the public, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has nixed plans to develop housing in the Greenbelt, a protected area of green space, farmland, forests, wetlands, and watersheds.

The announcement came after several days of meetings with caucus and cabinet. 

“I want the people of Ontario to know I am listening. I made a promise to you that I wouldn’t touch the Greenbelt. I broke that promise. And for that I am very, very sorry.” said Ford. “It was a mistake to open the Greenbelt, it was a mistake to establish a process that moved too fast. This process left too much room for some to benefit over others. It caused people to question our motives. As a first step to earn back your trust, I will be reversing the changes we made and won’t make any changes to the Greenbelt in the future.”

Ford added that he still believes opening the Greenbelt could make a major impact in the province’s housing crisis by adding housing for a minimum of 150,000 people. 

“But we moved too quickly, and made the wrong decision,” he said. “The truth remains that Ontario is growing at an unprecedented speed. And doing more of the same and accepting the status quo will only make the housing affordability crisis worse. We need to build homes, we need to change the way we build these homes, building more density in cities close to transit.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces plans to reverse Greenbelt developments. – Government of Ontario

He cited modular homes, cutting through red tape and holding builders accountable as ways they plan to tackle the crisis.

The announcement comes after a troubling few months for the province’s leadership. In August Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk released a blistering report that found the Greenbelt deal heavily favoured a small group of developers and did not consider environmental impacts. The report came with a list of recommendations that include revisiting the deal in a way that follows proper procedures.

Weeks later, Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake released his report on the Greenbelt deal, recommending that Housing Minister Steve Clark receive a reprimand for his role in the land swap. Earlier this month, Clark resigned, stating that it was his responsibility to adhere to the principles of ministerial accountability.

But the deal’s troubles aren’t over. The RCMP has confirmed that it is looking into investigating the Ford government’s Greenbelt land swap controversy after the matter was referred to them by Ontario Provincial Police.

Key Takeaways:

  • The report found that delays and inefficiencies within the city of Toronto’s Committee of Adjustment (COA) process add $21,000 to $58,000 annually to the cost of renovations and infill building projects.
  •  The study found that the total average decision timelines for typical COA applications, regardless of COA district, were 95 days 
  • The report recommends delegating authority for minor variances to staff and fixing the underlying zoning issues that are creating increasing volumes of applications.

The Whole Story:

Delays and inefficiencies are adding tens of thousands of dollars to construction projects, a new study shows. 

The study, commissioned on behalf of the professional renovation industry by the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and conducted by Altus Group Economic Consulting, found that delays and inefficiencies within the city of Toronto’s Committee of Adjustment (COA) process add $21,000 to $58,000 annually to the cost of renovations and infill building projects. The study further identified that in order to meet the city’s goal of building 285,000 homes by 2031, the system must be overhauled.

“Toronto is a rapidly growing city, and the building of infill homes and renewal of existing housing stock add much-needed housing supply for current and future residents,” said Justin Sherwood, BILD’s senior vice president. “With the city recently adopting various zoning reforms such as four units per lot as of right, and looking to make additional changes in the near future, the need for a more efficient process that reduces strain on city resources has never been greater.”

Altus Group Economic Consulting was retained by BILD to undertake a study of the city of Toronto’s COA timelines for decisions on minor variances, as part of a broader examination of the factors contributing to housing affordability challenges. BILD stated that the Altus study reinforces the city’s own findings, through a study with KPMG, that process improvements and data transparency would support approval timelines and efficiency.

The Altus study looked at the timelines for minor variance applications for the last eight years (2015-2022), using data from the City of Toronto’s Open Data Catalog. It found that the volumes of applications to Toronto’s COA and TLAB processes have doubled over the last decade, resulting in lengthy delays. These delays can add 8% to 14% annually in additional construction-related costs, amounting to between $9 per square foot to $19 per square foot annually, or approximately $21,000 to $58,000.

Notably, the study found that the total average decision timelines for typical COA applications, regardless of COA district, were 95 days across the entirety of the 8-year period. This is 65 days longer than the 30-day service standard required by the Planning Act and 32 days longer than the 63-day target for service standards set by the city.

The report provides six major recommendations for action by the province and the city to successfully improve decision timelines for minor variances. Most notably, it recommends delegating authority for minor variances to staff and fixing the underlying zoning issues that are creating increasing volumes of applications. To see all of the recommendations, download the report.

“Renovators in Toronto have long been advocating for improvements to the COA process,” said Peter Di Scola, chair of BILD’s Renovator Executive Committee. “The current process sees a 93-95% approval rate of applications through the COA process, meaning it would be far more efficient for the City to update zoning bylaws to permit the most common types of COA applications.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Participation in the skilled trades increased by 8% overall in B.C. 
  • The biggest gains for underrepresented groups were women and Indigenous people, which increased 37% and 22%, respectively. 
  • The province’s latest data shows 83,000 new job openings in the trades are expected in the next decade.

The Whole Story:

Apprenticeship in the skilled trades is on the rise in B.C. 

SkilledTradesBC, a recently revamped organization that oversees the province, released its annual report, highlighting a record number of apprentices, youth, Indigenous people and women participating in the skilled trades in the province in 2022/2023 fiscal year.  

“We are in a critical time to diversify and grow the skilled trades workforce in B.C. as we face a skilled labour shortage and anticipate 83,000 jobs in skilled trades over the next decade,” said Shelley Gray, CEO, SkilledTradesBC. “There is a place for everyone in skilled trades and we are excited to see a record number of diverse British Columbians exploring skilled trades as a means to support their families, build a successful career, and contribute to the communities that make this province our home.”  

Highlights of the results released in SkilledTradesBC’s annual report include:  

  • 41,000 apprentices (+8%) 
  • 1,492 Indigenous people entering skilled trades (+ 22%) 
  • 1,072 women entering skilled trades (+ 37%) 
  • 10,018 youth participation in skilled trades enrollment (+14%) 

Welder, carpenter and heavy equipment operator trades programs saw the largest increases amongst women and Indigenous people.

However, the organization did struggle with issuing credentials. The report noted that the economic shutdown and delays that occurred during the pandemic continued to impact the number of credentials being issued. The number of credentials issued to women and Indigenous people as well as overall number of certifications declined in the last year, resulting in the organization not meeting its performance goals.

Officials added that labour shortages have also created difficulties for apprentices and other trades workers to take time off to attend training and prepare to write their final exam.

In December 2022, SkilledTradesBC officially transitioned from Industry Training Authority to its new name, along with its expanded mandate from the Ministry of Post-Secondary and Future Skills (PSFS). SkilledTradesBC developed a new three-year strategic plan in response to the expanded mandate and Government’s principles and priorities.

The organization is also leading the implementation of Skilled Trades Certification, which was legislated in B.C. last december. The laws make it mandatory for workers to either be a registered apprentice or fully certified to work in specific trades, starting with the implementation of seven electrical and mechanical trades. 

Officials say the Skilled Trades Certification aims to formally recognize the skills of current and future trades workers, raise the profile of the trades, and help to draw a more diverse workforce, ensuring they have the skillsets needed to adapt to industry changes over time.

SkilledTradesBC implemented customized supports to meet client needs, established a new Skilled Trades Certification Advisor team and expanded its Apprenticeship Advisor team.

Officials noted that B.C. has faced a tight labour market as it continues to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the B.C. Labour Market Outlook: 2022 Edition, approximately 83,000 new job openings in the trades are expected in the next decade, primarily due to the retiring workforce and economic expansion. 

If you are looking to build your all-star team, try posting your role on the job board or connect with our specialized recruitment experts to find industry-leading talent for your business.

And if you are seeking a job, check out the full list of available positions.

After announcing federal GST will be dropped for new rental apartment projects, Ottawa is urging provinces across Canada to do their part and cut taxes for affordable housing projects.  

The response from provinces has been mixed. Some moved quickly to announce plans to eliminate similar provincial taxes, others said they would consider it and some rejected the idea altogether.

Here is a round up of provincial responses to Ottawa’s efforts:


Ontario has committed to eliminate provincial sales tax from new rental construction as soon as possible. They also plan to update the definition of “affordable” housing when it comes to reductions and exemptions to fees developers pay when building those units. Last year the province unveiled legislation, the More Homes Built Faster Act, to cut fees for affordable, non-profit housing projects. The legislation also allows for the development of three units on any residential lot across the province. Cities are acting as well. Earlier this year Toronto adopted the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment to permit multiplexes citywide.


Ravi Kahlon, minister of housing, noted after the federal announcement that B.C. already doesn’t charge PST on purpose-built rentals, putting it in a good position to see more projects get built. Major cities like Victoria and Vancouver have implemented major zoning reforms to encourage density in single-family home neighbourhoods. Vancouver is opening up neighbourhoods across the city to allow for the development of multiplexes and Victoria will allow more houseplexes, corner townhouses and heritage conserving infill housing in residential areas. B.C. premier David Eby recently announced new initiatives to consolidate parts of the application process so permits get sped up. They will also pilot a new program that offers forgivable $40,000 loans for homeowners that want to create rental suites.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Soon after the federal announcement, Newfoundland and Labrador officials vowed to waive the provincial portion of HST on new apartment complexes. Newfoundland and Labrador have a blended, 15% HST. 10% goes to the province and 5% goes to Ottawa. Calls for action in the region have been growing after a report from earlier this year showed that more than one-third of N.L.’s population is spending more than 30% of their income on housing.


Jason Nixon, Alberta’s housing minister, called Ottawa’s tax cuts a “step in the right direction” but urged officials to focus on removing the carbon tax and new building energy efficiency regulations that he says drive up the cost of homes. Meanwhile, in Calgary, officials approved sweeping housing strategy changes that include allowing the construction of row houses and duplexes on land zoned for single-family homes. The move comes on the heels of a devastating report that shows one in five Calgarians live in housing they can’t afford.


The Saskatchewan government said it is not considering a similar tax cut, despite pressure from home builders’ associations and other groups. Finance Minister Donna Harpauer has told reporters that the province believes the broad application of PST ensures that a fairly applied, reliable, and sustainable source of revenue is available to finance vital public services. Instead, the province is drawing attention to its Rental Development Program, a one-time funding allowance for housing organizations to develop affordable units for low-income households. The province drew significant criticism from the construction sector in 2017 when construction labour became subject to PST.


For some provinces, construction taxes have become a major election issue. Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew announced he plans to eliminate the provincial sales tax from the construction of new rental units if his party wins the Oct. 3 provincial election. The province is also currently in the midst of a $126M homelessness strategy dubbed A Place for Everyone. The strategy’s goal is to create hundreds of new social housing units and new wrap-around services.


Quebec has not been swayed by the federal announcement. Premier François Legault stated that he will won’t eliminate its sales tax on construction materials in order to stimulate the building of rental properties to address the housing crisis, arguing that any benefit would be outweighed by the cost. The province is also facing criticism for Bill 31, which would allow owners to stop tenants from transferring their leases. Legault stated he is considering walking back the provision. A recent study showed the number of unhoused people in Quebec has risen to around 10,000, a 44% increase since 2018.

Nova Scotia

Federal officials have written to Nova Scotia, urging them to remove the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax. So far, only the province’s Liberal leader Zach Churchill has expressed support for the cuts. Premier Tim Houston’s strategy has been to steps to expedite private sector builds and provide land and funding to help non-profit organizations raise developments. Houston has also accused municipalities of dragging their feet on on approvals and raising fees for developers.

Prince Edward Island

Soon after the federal announcement, P.E.I officals stated that they would this initiative a step further by looking at a complementary program to remove the provincial portion of HST on new rental builds. Earlier this year, officials said they are working with community partners and stakeholders to come up with a comprehensive housing strategy.

There’s a new data-driven approach to get your company on the road to reducing its carbon footprint.

Evolve Fleet’s team and platform use telematics tools, benchmarks, rebates, charging data and more to create a roadmap for a company’s specific vehicle goals.

“First you have to understand the needs of the organization, what is required, what are vehicles being used for, what is working, what is not working, and based on that analysis, we can come back and make recommendations on first steps,” explained Jasin Azzopardi, Vice President and General Manager of Evolve Fleet. “We have to determine the usage of the vehicles and also what the company’s goals are. Is your motivation carbon reduction? Is it marketing because of your industry? Do you want to get carbon credits? Understanding that motivation is key so we can make good recommendations.” 

He noted that there are several common concerns that clients have when they decide to reduce the carbon footprint of a fleet:

  • Do EVs have enough range for the purpose of the asset?
  • What sort of charging infrastructure is required?
  • How much will it cost to switch to EVs?
  • How much value do EVs retain over time?

To address these concerns, Evolve digs deep into the data. They test internal combustion engine vehicles and electric vehicles in various use cases to determine cost, carbon emissions, performance and other metrics to create benchmarks. They can also use telematics to track driver behavior, idle time, charging, range and more to tease out what tools are the best fit for a client.  

“The Evolve portal allows us to bring that data into one place and not only make appropriate recommendations but demonstrate that data to the client,” said Azzopardi. 

EVs can save money over time as they have far less maintenance requirements compared to gas vehicles. – Evolve

How much is too much?

When it comes to cost, EVs can leave some with sticker shock. But one has to dig into the details. Azzopardi explained that Evolve can crunch the numbers to determine if that investment will save money in the long run. Their experts can also help companies navigate government programs to take advantage of rebates or other incentives that can drive cost lower. 

“Clients often don’t know how to apply for those and if they qualify, so we manage that process for them,” said Azzopardi.

Depending on the type of vehicle and the province, rebates can take tens of thousands of dollars off the price. And there are even carbon credits that can be earned from using EV chargers. 

Exploring benefits

Azzopardi noted that in addition to making a company more socially responsible and improving one’s brand image, there are also long-term cost benefits to including EVs in one’s fleet. 

“Beyond fuel savings, EVs have very little maintenance requirements to the point where they are almost non-existent,” he said. “The only thing you have to do really is tires and brakes. No oil changes, no tune ups or timing belts.” 

And the technology is only improving and expanding. Regenerative brakes are being used to help charge the car with the energy produced during breaking. Rapid chargers are cutting down on the time it takes to charge vehicles. Strategy for targeted heating and cooling is making batteries more efficient. Manufacturers are also beginning to expand in the mid-duty truck market, creating more commercial use cases. 

When it comes to the far future, Azzopardi believes sustainable vehicle technology could expand to more parts of the construction site. 

“I suspect we will see a surge in hydrogen vehicles,” he said.

While the idea of using hydrogen as fuel isn’t new, momentum for the technology has been growing and the next 12 months could see major progress. CP Rail plans to begin operating its first hydrogen locomotive, a hydrogen fuelling station is under construction in Edmonton to allow semi-truck testing on the province’s highways, and construction has just begun in Edmonton on the world’s largest net-zero hydrogen plant.

A changing industry

During his nearly three decades in the industry, Azzopardi has seen attitudes shift. 

“It definitely has changed over the years, during my career, many of my largest accounts have been oil and gas (energy sector) accounts. Everybody wants to be a good corporate citizen,” he said. 

It’s also becoming a larger component of winning work. 

“For large accounts with bigger fleets that typically do public sector work, if you are responding to an RFP for something like garbage disposal in West Vancouver, there will be ESG questions 

and you will have to demonstrate how your company is forward facing. For that reason alone, you aren’t going to prosper without an ESG strategy.” 

To get your company’s fleet greening journey started, visit for a free consultation. Additionally, for those interested in how zero-emission vehicles will suit their daily operations and are looking at short-term solutions or testing opportunities, Evolve fleet offers electric fleet rentals so you can see if they are right for your business.

Key Takeaways:

  • Earlier this year, Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd. was awarded a $204.8-million contract for the design and construction of the facility.
  • The collections and research building will house artifacts and facilitate learning.
  • The mass timber project is expected to open in 2026.

The Whole Story:

Construction has begun on the Royal BC Museum’s (RBCM) collections and research building (CRB) in Colwood.

The new 15,200 square-metre (164,000 square foot) building will be a state-of-the-art facility using mass timber that will house the province’s collections and BC Archives. It will improve access for the public as only 1% of the province’s vast collection is on display. It will also provide dedicated research labs and learning spaces.

In preparation for construction, Shaker Faith workers led a ceremonial land blessing to bless the site and workers.

“It’s an important day as we move forward on a new collections and archives building that will properly store and safeguard our province’s shared history, priceless artifacts and archives,” said Lana Popham, minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport. “I was honoured to witness the Shaker Faith workers bless and prepare the land of the CRB prior to construction. I look forward to working with the Royal BC Museum, Maple Reinders, the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, and the City of Colwood on this important new building.”

Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd. was awarded a $204.8-million contract for the design and construction of the CRB in Colwood. Total capital project costs for the CRB are estimated at $270 million. Government expects substantial completion in fall 2025 and anticipates a public opening in 2026.

“The provincial collections and archives help us to share the stories of our cultures and communities. It’s vital to ensure they’re kept safe for future generations,” said Tracey Drake, acting CEO, Royal BC Museum. “This exceptional facility will also provide a window into the world of the museum, enabling visitors to see our paleontologists, entomologists, botanists, zoologists and more, engaged in active research projects.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Officials are launching of a one-stop shop that eliminates the need for multiple permitting applications across different ministries. It’s expected to reduce permit timelines by two months.
  • Officials are also launching a pilot incentive program to help homeowners build secondary suites to rent. The program will provide approximately 3,000 homeowners with forgivable loans of up to $40,000.
  • The pilot program, set to launch in early spring 2024.

The Whole Story:

B.C. is looking to accelerate project permitting and incentivize homeowners to rent out secondary suites with new policy changes. 

“People in our province deserve a decent place to live they can actually afford to rent or buy, but a chronic housing shortage and long permit approval times are frustrating that achievable goal,” said Premier David Eby. “Our government is taking action. We’re making it easier and faster to get provincial permits to build new homes, and offering financial support for people who could build a suite they can rent out at more affordable rates.”

Streamlining permitting 

The first action focuses on speeding up the permitting process through the launch of a one-stop shop that eliminates the need for multiple permitting applications across different ministries. The Single Housing Application Service (SHAS) aims to create a simpler permitting application for homebuilders. With the introduction of SHAS, the province expects permit timelines to be reduced by two months.

“Our government is laser-focused on taking action on housing,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “One way we’re doing this is by eliminating the current permitting backlog and speeding up homebuilding project approvals with the launch of a user-friendly tool that connects people to project experts. These expert ‘navigators’ will guide homebuilders through the provincial permitting process and provide a personal, one-stop shop that will streamline the process.”

The SHAS connects homebuilders to “navigators,” dedicated staff in the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, who guide applicants through all stages of permit applications, act as the single, dedicated point of contact for all information related to homebuilding permits and co-ordinate permitting decisions across ministries.

Encouraging rentals 

The second initiative centres on secondary suites and comes ahead of planned legislation this fall to make secondary suites legal throughout the province, and a pilot incentive program to help homeowners build secondary suites.

To help homeowners navigate this process, the province has launched a new comprehensive guide, titled Home Suite Home. The guide provides people with the information to prepare to build and manage a rental suite.

The guide can be used as a resource for people preparing to access the Secondary Suite Incentive Program (SSIP). The pilot program, set to launch in early spring 2024, will provide approximately 3,000 homeowners with forgivable loans of up to $40,000 to create a new secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit on their property. The loans will only go to properties that will be rented below market rates. Additional eligibility requirements of the program have been made available so people interested can prepare ahead of the launch.

“We’ve heard from a lot of homeowners that they would love to create a rental suite on their property, but find the process to build and manage one confusing and time-consuming,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “Our new Home Suite Home guide and secondary suite pilot program will clearly and concisely provide homeowners with the information they need to make an informed choice on whether adding a rental unit is right for them.”

These initiatives are part of the Province’s Homes for People action plan. Announced in spring 2023.

Key Takeaways:

  • The $200 million facility is expected to have an annual production capacity of approximately 350 million board feet. 
  • Planning, construction, and commissioning of the new facility is expected to take between 28 and 32 months depending on contractor availability and equipment lead times. 
  • Earlier this year, Canfor announced plans to wind down operations at existing mills in Chetwynd, Houston and Prince George. 

The Whole Story:

Canfor, a global forest products company, plans to spend $200 million on a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Houston, B.C. 

Canfor officials stated that the low cost, high efficiency facility is expected to have an annual production capacity of approximately 350 million board feet. 

The news comes after significant Canadian closures. The company, which has been based in B.C. for 85 years, announced earlier this year that it would wind down operations at mills in Chetwynd, Houston and Prince George. 

Don Kayne, president and CEO of Canfor, explained that the decision to build the new facility came following a comprehensive evaluation of customer requirements and a careful evaluation of the availability of economic fibre in the region to support a successful investment. 

“We believe we have the plan, the people and the know-how to build a best-in-class facility that showcases B.C. workers, suppliers and technology,” he said. “Today’s announcement underscores our ongoing commitment to British Columbia and the Houston community. It will strengthen our ability to provide our high-quality, sustainably produced forest products to the world, while providing good, family-supporting jobs here in B.C.”

He added that the project will be part of Canfor’s efforts to build  strong, collaborative relationships with Indigenous Nations in the area.

Work will begin immediately on detailed project engineering and permitting requirements. Vendor and equipment selection will be finalized in early 2024 with demolition and site preparation scheduled for the spring. Planning, construction, and commissioning of the new facility is expected to take between 28 and 32 months depending on contractor availability and equipment lead times. 

“We are very excited to be taking this important step to strengthen our manufacturing capacity and look forward to working with our partners to build a world class facility that will supply our valued customers with the high quality, low carbon products that are in demand around the world,” said Kayne.  

It’s a job title that you rarely see, but Jeff Sample believes it is necessary. As an industry evangelist he promotes collaboration and the transformation of preconstruction to help project teams reach their potential. 

We spoke with Sample about his unique position at Join, a collaborative project delivery platform, and how he transitioned from a more traditional tech career into the construction sector.

Be sure to catch Sample in Vancouver, B.C. for 2023 Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) Construction Innovation Summit on October 30th and 31st. He and many other industry experts will be discussing how to push the construction sector forward.

SiteNews: How do you get involved in the construction sector?

Jeff Sample: I accidentally found my way into it. By trade I am an IT architect and I spent some time in the development world building software. As it goes with software, that company was acquired a couple of times and I was looking for a new job. A large masonry contractor contacted me and said we need you. I jumped on board and spent three years there. After some initial struggles getting my head around the business, I fell in love. I saw opportunities ahead and the struggles and honestly I got a wicked taste of the gratification that comes from building things, even though I don’t put the work in place. I helped the people who put it in place and it inspired me and connected me with those people and I want to make their lives easier. It’s a tough job and we don’t respect it enough. 

What is an industry evangelist?

It’s part of the maturation of any industry. When I got involved in technology for construction it was very new and the tools were very new. And there is a curve every industry goes through where you have the peak of inflated expectations and the trough of disillusionment and then companies make their way from there. To really do it you need people who are passionate about both sides of the industry and can connect them. I became the head of communications at Join to bring the product to life in the preconstruction market. Once we built that up we realized that we needed to evangelize the change that Join was built for. We were built to solve a problem. Modern delivery methods are changing into more collaborative methods, teaming up earlier together to achieve more predictable and reliable products for owners. To do that we needed a whole new set of tools and Join is one of them. But we realized that the more that idea grew, the more we could grow with it. But it had to be about the industry. The role of “evangelist” was built to raise awareness about the problems and to realize that the boundaries don’t exist, rather than to just sell a product. If someone wasn’t evangelizing the power of this new kind of delivery model for all the stakeholders, it could continue to stall out.

How can the industry bridge the gap between the jobsite and technology?

Since I came from an organization that put work in place, and masonry is one of the last pieces of work put in place, I had this view of the entire process and how technology can help it. But tech can’t just be for tech’s sake. It can make a really bad process suck more efficiently. If your process is broken, it doesn’t matter if I make it faster. The idea is we have to understand your process and see where you are starting from, what is the goal and how we can help you achieve that goal. You need somebody who has free reign and isn’t tied to selling you something or handing something over. If I help them get set up for better, more collaborative delivery models, it plugs into what Join is doing. The difference between selling technology and partnering with an industry is having an evangelist. 

What is the future of preconstruction and how do we get there?

It’s the most critical component of construction and that’s why I’ve bet my career on it. Being with trade contractors and working with them so much let me see the impact that happens downstream from poor planning. I had a stint at a project management platform for trade contractors and had this idea of doing integrated labour delivery. Other models have all players at the table at all times, but that is antiquated and expensive. That’s just a bad business model. The reason those contractors are there is because they are waiting for that one thing that’s going to help them be efficient and that they can give input on. And this can have a really high impact on the overall success of a project. But some of these models are like asking everyone to come to Thanksgiving dinner to have a conversation about politics, nothing gets done. But if the team can align early, can trust one another, and they can be empowered to know that when they are needed to collaborate they will be brought in and listened to, and have good decisions made that reduce risk, this can increase the predictability and move the means and methods forward. But ultimately none of this gets done if we don’t break down the barriers and expose the unconscious biases we have had for years. We have operated with our cards up our sleeves for so long, we do it without even knowing. Something will always go wrong on a project, whether that’s rain, late materials, or whatever. If the construction team hasn’t begun with trust at the earliest inception, they have no hope that they can lean on each other to deliver differently. If you want that to happen at the latest stages it has to start in the earliest. That’s why pre-construction is the future. It’s the future because with these labour shortages, we can’t build the same way. We are headed for a cliff of people leaving the industry    

What is holding the industry back when it comes to innovation?

One of the barriers we have is that we are profitable this way. I don’t know many contractors that aren’t buying new trucks and beach houses and making money. It’s not as much as they should be making and it’s not sustainable. How many family construction companies have built wealth from generation to generation? That wealth is about to start going away if they don’t innovate and can’t deliver. One of the barriers is business as usual. I think the other is culture. Change is hard. Anyone telling you this is easy probably has a bridge to sell you too. The funny thing is, we are culturally built for this anyways. We bring new people into the industry as apprentices, turn them into journeypeople. We have changed, trained and molded people for years. We just have to look at our entire operations and change management strategies and apply that. 

Advice for companies wanting to innovate

The first step is admitting you have a problem. The second step is asking for help. I don’t expect the owner of a construction company to understand innovation and technology at its core. You don’t have to. You have to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable and leaning into an uncomfortable space is the most powerful thing you can do. You have to be ready to fail. You will fail far more than you succeed but the key to succeed is taking the swing. The other thing is everybody is waiting for the perfect time. That doesn’t exist. There is no perfect time or project. Everytime you say that, you fall behind even more. Do it now. You don’t have to understand innovation or technology. AI is a perfect example of this. I get asked about AI all the time. AI is like a new engine in a car. It’s a cool, fancy thing like a supercharged car engine. But all you have to understand is how that changes driving down the road and how to get your vehicle where it needs to go. 

To connect with Sample and other construction innovation experts, be sure to sign up for the 2023 ICBA Construction Innovation Summit. The event runs October 30th and 31st in Vancouver.

Key Takeaways:

  • Qualifying projects must be new buildings with at least four private apartment units, or at least 10 private rooms or suites, and 90% of residential units designated for long-term rental.
  • The enhanced GST Rental Rebate will not apply to individually-owned condominium units, single-unit housing, duplexes, triplexes, housing co-ops, and owned houses situated on leased land and sites in residential trailer parks.
  • For a two-bedroom rental unit valued at $500,000, the enhanced GST Rental Rebate would deliver $25,000 in tax relief.
  • To protect Canadian renters from renovictions, the enhanced GST Rental Rebate will not apply to substantial renovations of existing residential complexes.

The Whole Story:

Federal GST will be dropped for new rental apartment projects. 

The news came from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland after a Liberal caucus retreat in Ontario. 

“The most expensive cost for people these days is housing. And the best way to tackle this is to make sure that more homes of all types are being built,” said Trudeau. “More and more Canadians are renting and the cost of rent keeps going up. Canadians need more buildings for renters, not just condos to turn into Airbnbs or sold to foreign buyers as financial assets.” 

The enhancement increases the GST Rental Rebate from 36% to 100% and removes the existing GST Rental Rebate phase-out thresholds for purpose-built rental housing projects. Trudeau encouraged provinces to do the same. 

The move comes after Trudeau and the Liberals have been facing intense pressure from voters. A new Abacus Data survey found that Millennials are now twice as likely to vote Conservative instead of Liberal. The rising cost of living was cited as the number one issue for Canadians under 40, a key demographic for Trudeau. The latest Angus Reid Institute shows that Trudeau now has an approval rating of just 33 per cent, against a disapproval rating of 63 per cent.

Other efforts to spur housing construction

It isn’t the only move Trudeau has made to address affordability. Earlier this week he traveled to London, Ont. to announce that the city would be the first in Canada to strike a deal with the government’s Housing Accelerator Fund. The fund allocates $4 billion until 2026-27 to encourage more homebuilding in cities. 

As per the deal, London will receive $74 million if it implements a series of reforms, including a change to local zoning rules that should make it easier to build more rental units.

Officials say the agreement will produce 2,000 housing units over the next three years and will help build thousands more beyond that. 

“Every community across Canada needs to build homes faster so we can lower the cost of housing,” said Trudeau.

The announcement was quickly praised by by the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) which noted that the Ontario government has indicated that it plans to follow suit with the HST.

“We haven’t built enough purpose-built rentals to accommodate our growing population, yet projects were still being saddled with whopping sales taxes on the fair market value of a building upon completion,” said RESCON president Richard Lyall. “When encumbered with such formidable financial hurdles, developers often find it difficult to proceed with apartment building projects. These adjustments are clearly a step in the right direction as it will shave costs from constructing apartments and lead to more building.”

RESCON is also advocating for tax incentive programs that eliminate the collection of taxes on profits emanating from residential construction projects where the funds are re-invested into advancing similar projects. They noted that programs like this resulted in tens of thousands of housing units in the 1960s and 1970s.

What qualifies for the rebate

Qualifying projects must be new buildings with at least four private apartment units, or at least 10 private rooms or suites, and 90% of residential units designated for long-term rental.

Projects that convert existing non-residential real estate, such as an office building, into a residential complex would be eligible for the enhanced GST Rental Rebate if all other above conditions are met. Public service bodies would also be eligible to access the enhanced GST Rental Rebate.

The enhanced GST Rental Rebate will not apply to individually-owned condominium units, single-unit housing, duplexes, triplexes, housing co-ops, and owned houses situated on leased land and sites in residential trailer parks, but this housing would continue to qualify for the existing GST Rental Rebate where the conditions for the existing rebate are met.

To protect Canadian renters from renovictions, the enhanced GST Rental Rebate will not apply to substantial renovations of existing residential complexes.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated as of Sept. 14, 4:30 p.m. with new information.

Canada’s healthcare demand is increasing.

According to data released from the Canadian Institute for Health Information earlier this year, in 2021–2022, there were almost 2.9 million acute inpatient hospitalizations in Canada, up from 2.7 million visits in 2020–2021, the first year of the pandemic. After adjusting for differences in age, sex and population growth, the hospitalization rate was 6,983 per 100,000 population.

With more demand for care, comes a bigger need for hospital facilities. Here are a few major hospital projects creating new facilities or updating older ones.

St. Paul’s Hospital 

Something massive is rising out of Vancouver’s False Creek Flats neighbourhood. The $2 billion new St. Paul’s Hospital aims to be an internationally renowned, full-service, acute-care hospital and integrated health campus. It will have capacity for up to 548 beds, which includes 115 net new beds. The site will be the home of several leading provincial programs and referral centres, including for heart and lung care, renal, eating disorders and specialty surgeries and transplants. PCL was awarded the design-build contract for the facility in 2021. It is scheduled to open in 2027. The current St. Paul’s Hospital first opened in the 1800s.

Peter Gilgan Mississauga Hospital

The new Peter Gilgan Mississauga Hospital project, led by EllisDon and PCL Healthcare Partners, is a full replacement of the existing hospital. At 22 storeys, it will almost triple the size of the current hospital in Mississauga, Ont. and will be approximately 2.8 million square feet. It will have over 950 beds, 23 operating rooms and a new emergency department. The new hospital will also include advanced diagnostic imaging facilities and a new pharmacy and clinical laboratory. Once complete, it will be the largest hospital in the country. Officials say it will be roughly a decade before the project is completed. 

Surrey Hospital 

Shovels are in the ground for a second hospital in Surrey and new cancer centre. The groundbreaking comes despite massive cost escalations for the project due to inflation, supply-chain disruptions and labour shortages. Officials stated that despite high costs, the project is too critical to delay any longer. Construction of the new hospital and cancer centre is anticipated to be complete in 2029 and open in 2030. The total cost of the project is anticipated to be $2.88 billion. It is being built through a design-build Agreement with EllisDon Design Build Inc.

Ottawa Hospital’s New Campus Development project

Last March, the Government of Ontario announced the approval of The Ottawa Hospital’s (TOH) New Campus Development project, with a commitment to fund more than $2 billion in construction costs.  The project is now into the implementation stage and when it opens in 2028, the new campus will be the largest and most modern teaching and research hospital in Canada. Construction is expected to begin next year with completion scheduled for 2028. 

Cariboo Hospital redevelopment

Earlier this year, Interior Health signed a contract for the construction of the Cariboo Memorial Hospital redevelopment project in Williams Lake, B.C. with its preferred proponent, Graham Design Builders LP. The $366 million project includes an addition to the hospital as well as renovations. The addition will be three storeys, plus a basement, and approximately 9,300 square metres. The redevelopment will add 25 in-patient beds. Construction will happen in two phases. Phase 1, which includes the addition, will begin in spring 2023 and is expected to finish in fall 2026. Phase 2, which includes renovations to the existing hospital, will begin in fall 2026 and is scheduled to be complete in early 2029.

Burnaby Hospital expansion

A business plan has been approved for a new inpatient tower and integrated cancer centre, as part of $1.7 billion Phase 2 of the Burnaby Hospital redevelopment. The proposed 12-storey inpatient tower is expected to include 160 private rooms. The tower will also include general medicine, medical oncology, cardiac telemetry and intensive care and high-acuity units. Additionally, a new medical-imaging department, featuring space for two CT scanners, a spiritual care suite, public spaces and more. The new tower will also be home to a new BC Cancer Centre, which will include 54 ambulatory care rooms, 31 chemotherapy chairs, space for five linear accelerators, space for two PET/CT scanners, an oncology pharmacy, and clinical trials and research space.

Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital modernization

Quebec has announced plans to move forward with the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital modernization project. Health Minister Christian Dubé told reporters this month that the project should take eight to 10 years to complete and could cost as much as $4 billion. The project involves renovating and expanding multiple sections of the 1950s building and bumping up the number of beds to 720.

South Niagara Hospital

Earlier this year, crews broke ground on the 1.3-million-square-foot South Niagara Hospital in Ontario.  The 12-storey structure will add more health capacity for the region, including 469 single patient bedrooms, eight operating suites, 42 hemodialysis stations, and two MRI machines. The hospital aspires to become the first WELL-certified hospital in Canada, with design features prioritizing the health and well-being of hospital users. EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare secured the $3.6-billion contract for designing, building, financing, and maintaining the hospital back in February.  Excavation is scheduled to commence by the end of the summer, and the entire construction process is estimated to take five years, with the hospital slated to officially open its doors in the summer of 2028.

Shovels are in the ground for a new second hospital in Surrey and new cancer centre.

The groundbreaking comes despite massive cost escalations for the project due to inflation, supply-chain disruptions and labour shortages. Officials stated that the project is too critical to delay any longer. 

“Surrey has been experiencing tremendous growth and people are struggling to get the health services they need while health-care workers are burning out,” said Premier David Eby. “We’re taking urgent action while carefully planning for the future. As we break ground on the new, state-of-the-art Surrey hospital and cancer centre, work continues on immediate actions to improve health services in the region, so everyone gets the timely, high-quality health care they need.”

Changing costs and timelines

Construction of this new hospital and cancer centre is anticipated to be complete in 2029 and open in 2030. The total cost of the project is anticipated to be $2.88 billion. Last year, officials announced the project would cost $1.72 billion. The timeline called for construction to begin this July and to wrap up in April 2027.

Fraser Health has executed a Design-Build Agreement with EllisDon Design Build Inc., which will be responsible for completing the design and construction of the new facility, making Surrey the first community in decades to get a second hospital.

The new Surrey hospital and BC Cancer Centre will be a fully digitally-equipped, fully electric facility. – Fraser Health

“The new Surrey hospital and cancer centre gives us a rare opportunity to build a net-new hospital and cancer centre that will add much-needed capacity for health-care services in the community,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health. “The facts are the people of the fast-growing Surrey community need a second hospital and they need it as soon as soon as possible. So, despite significant cost escalation due to inflation, supply-chain disruptions and labour shortages, we are moving forward to deliver the new state-of-the-art hospital and cancer centre.” 

Adding capacity

The second hospital in Surrey will bring 168 more hospital beds, including medical/surgical beds, high acuity beds and medical oncology beds, and a second emergency department for the community with 55 treatment spaces and access to specialists through virtual technologies.

It will include a surgical/perioperative suite with five operating rooms, four procedure rooms and virtual care options in all clinical service areas, such as virtual intake, emergency followups, outpatient clinics and pre- and post-surgical care, as well as robotics, wearable technology and smart beds.

Adding a second hospital in Surrey will also bring a large medical-imaging department, including three CT scanners and two MRI machines, as well as a pharmacy, a full-service laboratory that can perform biochemistry, hematology and transfusions, and academic spaces. As well, a dedicated area for spiritual care and family gatherings will support cultural diversity and spiritual practices.

“The new hospital in Surrey will provide annual capacity for more than 28,000 surgical procedures, 280,000 additional medical-imaging exams and 120,000 emergency department visits with the addition of a second emergency department to serve the community,” Dix said.  

Extra supports

In addition to building a second hospital in Surrey, the community will also have a BC Cancer Centre with a 50-room oncology ambulatory care unit. The new Surrey cancer centre will include 54 chemotherapy treatment spaces and room for six linear accelerators for radiation therapy to provide care and support for people diagnosed with cancer, two PET/CTs and a cyclotron. This new centre is expected to provide approximatley 105,000 ambulatory oncology care visits, 50,000 radiation therapy visits and 22,000 chemotherapy visits each year.

The cancer centre in Surrey is a part of B.C.’s 10-year B.C. cancer action plan, which outlines immediate steps to prevent, detect and treat cancers and deliver improved care for people facing cancer.  

A new stand-alone 49-space child care centre will be built to support on-site health-care professionals, making it one of the first health-care capital projects to include on-site child care services.

It will also be a fully electric hospital, one of the first in Canada.

Ontario’s largest passive house multi-residential building has opened. 

Meadowbrook Place, located at 3100 Meadowbrook Lane, is Ontario’s largest “passive house” multi-residential building and features 145 units of much needed housing for those of all income levels including individuals, small families and seniors. The Windsor complex features 46 accessible units, and includes both indoor and outdoor shared spaces, and outdoor fitness equipment. Construction on the project began in late November 2019 and began welcoming residents in the Summer of 2023.

The Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation (WECHC) project saw $33.8 million in funding from the federal government, $13.3 million of which is a contribution, through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF). 

This is in addition to the just over $5 million in funding announced for the project in September 2020 by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario through the Social Infrastructure Fund (SIF), the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) program, and the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI).

“Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Sean Fraser, minister of housing. “Through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, small families, individuals, and seniors in Windsor now have access to more housing options to raise their families or access to critical support services at a time of need. Meadowbrook Place will help increase the availability of affordable homes and support those in need in Windsor.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The company has rebranded to AtkinsRéalis.
  • The name AtkinsRéalis is a coined term that combines Atkins, a legacy brand, and “Réalis,” inspired by the city of Montréal and the company’s French-Canadian roots. “Réalis” also resembles the verb “to realize” or “to make happen”.
  • Company officials noted thatEdwards explained that in recent years, the company has been deliberately repositioned and has exited parts of the business that were not profitable or didn’t align with its strategy. 
  • They have also worked to correct underlying performance issues, doubled down on high-growth global markets and embraced digital transformation.

The Whole Story:

SNC-Lavalin is SNC-Lavalin no more.

The fully integrated professional services and project management company based in Montreal announced that it is rebranding to AtkinsRéalis.  

The name AtkinsRéalis is a coined term that combines Atkins, a legacy brand that is well-established across the company’s international markets, and “Réalis,” inspired by the city of Montréal and the company’s French-Canadian roots. “Réalis” also resembles the verb “to realize” or “to make happen” which emphasizes our focus on outcomes and project delivery.  

The 36,000-person company stated that the changes build on more than a century of history from brands such as SNC-Lavalin, Atkins, Faithful+Gould, DTS and Atkins Acuity, AtkinsRéalis and bring the whole organization together under one single brand.

“AtkinsRéalis is a new name for a new transformed company: our ability to draw upon such breadth and depth of global capabilities will maximize our ability to work seamlessly and provide one integrated offering for our clients and partners,” said Ian L. Edwards, president and CEO of AtkinsRéalis. “Everything starts with our people; they care about each other, this Company and most importantly, they care about the work we do and believe in our purpose to engineer a better future for our planet and its people. I could not be prouder of our team’s dedication to the success of this company.”

Edwards explained that in recent years, the company has been repositioned and has exited parts of the business that were not profitable or didn’t align with its strategy.  He added that the company has also worked to correct underlying performance issues, doubled down on high-growth global markets and embraced digital transformation.

He stressed that the most important change has been redefining the company’s purpose and strengthening its culture. 

“We have reached an inflection point so now is the right time to rebrand to AtkinsRéalis and reflect the exciting future ahead of us,” said Edwards.  

 As of Sept. 13, the company’s new brand and associated visual identity will be used on all communications materials. The Company’s common shares will begin trading on the TSX under the new ticker symbol (TSX: ATRL) prior to market open on Sept. 18, 2023. SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. will not change its legal name until the Company obtains shareholder approval, as required by law, at its 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.