Ottawa, Metro Vancouver clash over development fees

Key Takeaways:

  • Metro Vancouver has voted to implement significant development cost charge increases to fund infrastructure projects in a ‘growth pays for growth’ strategy.
  • The move has drawn stern criticism from Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser.
  • The fees are set to increase starting in 2025.

The Whole Story:

Construction fees are about to jump in the Lower Mainland and the federal government is not pleased. 

Officials with Metro Vancouver, a federation of 21 municipalities in the region, have voted in favor of significant development cost charge (DCCs).

Rising fees

The fees associated with building new residential and non-residential buildings across the region will go up significantly over a three-year period between 2025 and 2027. The fees vary between municipalities and by project type, but will triple in some cases. 

Metro Vancouver plans to use the revenue generated by the fees to fund billions of dollars worth of growth-related park, water and sewer infrastructure over the next 30 years.

While consulting with industry leaders, Metro Vancouver found opposition to the raises, but determined that the impacts were comparable or less impactful than other factors. 

“Many in the development industry expressed the rate increase would have a negative effect on residential and industrial development,” reads Metro Vancouver documents. “Given the challenges industry is already facing, such increased financing and construction inflation and other DCC increases and building code changes, the development industry expressed the proposed DCC is another charge adding a burden to development.”

Metro Vancouver commissioned a study to examine the financial impact of the proposed DCCs. The findings in the study concluded that the proposed DCCs will have a “commensurate impact” to the financing rate changes over the past 12 months, but “significantly less of an impact” than the construction inflation and changes in unit prices over the past 12 months.

Criticism from Ottawa

Even before they were approved, the increases drew the attention of Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser, who wrote to the board asking them to rethink the plan as it goes against Ottawa’s strategy.

“Significant increases to development charges have the potential deter development by offsetting the impact of other measures that reduce the cost of building,” wrote Fraser in a letter to Metro Vancouver. “When projects do advance, increased charges on development can lead to higher housing costs for renters and homeowners, making it more difficult to find somewhere affordable to live.”

Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser was critical of Metro Vancouver’s DCC increases when they were proposed. – Government of Canada

Fraser argued that as part of their Housing Accelerator Fund applications, cities in the region have proposed various initiatives to help get more homes built, more quickly, including waiving their own development charges. 

“While I also appreciate that some hold the perspective that ‘growth pays for growth,’ we will all pay for stagnation as a result of a lower pace of construction,” wrote Fraser. “A ‘growth pays for growth’ approach ignores the value that new development, new property tax bases, new businesses, and new neighbours bring to our communities.”

Increasing scrutiny

It hasn’t just been talk. In September, Fraser announced he would postpone the announcement of Housing Accelerator Fund deals in Surrey and Burnaby due to the DCC increase plans. 

Following Fraser’s comments, the Vancouver Regional Construction Association asked its members for their thoughts. 

“We sent a survey to our members in September in response to the Federal Government postponing the Housing Accelerator Fund announcement in Surrey and Burnaby,” said Jeannine Martin, VRCA president. “The general response was that we need to find ways to fund aging infrastructure. However, increasing developer fees to fund aging sewer systems and parks is not going to help alleviate the housing crisis.” 

Fraser said he will be re-examining the proposed initiatives in each city’s application, and will make “necessary adjustments” where the initiatives conflict with Metro Vancouver’s DCC plans.

Brickeye, a construction data analytics technology company, has announced the successful first closing of a $10 million investment round.

The company welcomed new investors BDC Capital’s IP-backed Financing Fund and Graphite Ventures, with additional funding from existing investors GreenSky Ventures, Brightspark, EDC, and MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. Brickeye intends to use the funds for continued growth of its risk mitigation and productivity platform for the construction and insurance industries.

“We are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we continue to innovate and empower the construction industry with our technology,” said Tim Angus, CEO of Brickeye. “This investment round reaffirms our commitment to providing game-changing solutions that reduce risk and drive productivity, ultimately benefiting everyone involved in construction projects.”

Harnessing the power of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, Brickeye’s suite of solutions enable job site monitoring, intelligent alerts and analytics, and smart automations. The company says this approach empowers general contractors, owners, developers, and insurance providers to better mitigate risk, boost productivity, and safeguard margins of high-rise building and infrastructure construction projects. Brickeye is transforming how insurance providers place, underwrite, and protect policies by helping insureds de-risk projects in pre-construction and mitigate risk during construction.

“Brickeye has enormous potential to positively disrupt the construction and insurance industries with its job site IoT platform which optimizes data capturing, risk management, productivity, as well as reducing the environmental footprint of construction sites,” said Anne-Marie Bourgeois, Partner, Intellectual Property-Backed Investment at BDC Capital. “The company’s IP strategy will be an important asset in its growth journey.’’

Key Takeaways:

  • Quebec plans to pay students training in critical trades $750 per week to get a professional studies certificate.
  • Officials noted that province is short about 6,500 construction workers.
  • The province hopes the funds will help training 4,000 to 5,000 new tradespeople.

The Whole Story:

Quebec wants to fast-track construction careers by paying aspiring tradespeople to get training. 

Premier François Legault announced the province’s new plan to train 4,000 to 5,000 new carpenters, excavator operators, heavy machinery operators, refrigeration technicians and tinsmiths. 

Legault told reporters that this will be supported by accelerated training programs where students in those trades will receive $750 per week to obtain a professional studies certificate.

Those who enrol could be eligible for scholarships of between $9,000 to $15,000 upon graduation.

Legault said the program is important as the province is short about 6,500 construction workers.

The announcement was celebrated by the Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ)

“For the ACQ, being able to count on a well-trained workforce in the construction sector is fundamental to building the Quebec of tomorrow,” said the group. “In this sense, the training announced will allow, among other things, those wishing to redirect their career towards the construction sector to realize this dream while being paid. This initiative highlights the Quebec government’s commitment to promoting the growth of the construction industry while offering new professional opportunities to workers.”

The program is expected to cost roughly $300 million. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The final weld was done near Kitimat, B.C.
  • The milestone was achieved after five years of construction.
  • The work is the last step before mechanical completion which the team says is well on track for their year-end target.

The Whole Story:

After five years of construction, the Coastal GasLink project has achieved 100% pipe installation across the entire project route, connecting northeastern B.C. to LNG Canada’s facility on the west coast. 

The final “golden weld” took place at the base of Cable Crane Hill in Section 8 West near Kitimat, B.C. earlier this month.

With that weld, all 670km of pipe has been welded, coated, lowered into the trench, tested, and backfilled. From the Wilde Lake Compressor Station near Dawson Creek to the Metering Station in Kitimat, physical construction on the project is now complete.

The work is the last step before mechanical completion which the team says is well on track for their year-end target.

While completion activities advance, the Coastal GasLink said its team continues to work on clean-up and reclamation along the route, including time sensitive work that must take place prior to the onset of winter. 

Cable Crane Hill in Section 8 require specialized equipment to install pipe in difficult terrain. – TC Energy

This work will continue post mechanical completion and commissioning and also factors in erosion and sediment control (ESC) measures as required to protect the environment and meet commitments. Following mechanical completion, the team will be planning the introduction of gas.

The pipeline is designed to deliver 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of natural gas with the potential to deliver up to 5 bcf/d, through additional compression along the route.

The project runs from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada facility in Kitimat, B.C. From there, LNG Canada will prepare the gas for export to global markets by converting the gas to a liquefied state (LNG).


Graham’s Daly Overpass team admires a prairie sunrise in Brandon, Manitoba. The project will include a new four-lane bridge with a separate pedestrian and active transportation bridge. 

Ontario Line

Crews excavated 15 metres of a new sewer tunnel as part of the Ontario Line project. The 15.6-km subway line in Toronto will run from Exhibition Place, through downtown, all the way to the Ontario Science Centre.

Diamond Schmitt

Crews have officially topped off the Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada joint facility. The project team can now begin working on the building’s curved roof.

Clark Builders

Indigenous leaders help break ground on the Kainai Peacemaking Centre for the Blood Tribe near Cardston, Alta. According to Clark, new centre will serve a beacon of restoration, preserving communal bonds through traditional Blackfoot practices.

Wildstone Construction

Some wild critters leave their mark at a Wildstone Construction site.

Wales McLelland

Wales McLelland shows off construction progress on its TransCold Distribution project. The 79,200 sq. ft. building will contain a state-of-the-art 51,000 sq. ft. freezer and cold dock. It also includes 10,500 sq. ft. of office and 10,100 sq. ft. of dry warehouse.

Pitt Meadows Plumbing & Mechanical Systems

A helicopter delivers a Viessmann boiler to the Royal Inland Hospital Phase 2 project roof. According to Pitt Meadows Plumbing, Viessmann boilers are renowned for their energy efficiency, reliability and sustainability. EllisDonColdstream Helicopters Ltd, and EagleWest Cranes worked with Pitt Meadows Plumbing to achieve a successful delivery.

Axiom Builders

Axiom crews have completed ground-floor slabs for the Archetype Vancouver | Main + First, developed in collaboration by QuadReal Property Group and Hungerford Properties.

JEN COL Construction

JEN COL Construction finishes the last few details on the new Theresa C. Wildcat Early Learning Centre in Maskwacîs, Alta.

Fraser Crossing Partners

A group of students from the UBC Steel Bridge engineering design team visit the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project.

The shot of the month goes to…


Aecon announced that the NouvLR team on the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) project has completed the central wall of the REM tunnel under Mount Royal – revealing the two distinct tracks.

It’s a childhood memory almost everyone shares. Taking a shovel somewhere in the woods and seeing how deep you can dig.

These teams are digging on a whole other level with their massive tunneling projects. When you can’t go over or around, sometimes your best option is to go underground. Tunnels are critical for a wide range of infrastructure, including roads, water treatment, power generation, transit and much more.

The George Massey Tunnel Replacement

Originally planned to be a bridge, this replacement for the aging George Massey Tunnel has been a long time coming. After spending years of studies and political disagreements, the $4.15B project now has three short-listed bid teams. The project involves building a new toll-free, eight-lane tunnel along Highway 99 between Richmond and Delta. The winning team is expected to be chosen next spring.

Broadway Subway

Broadway Subway

Big things are happening underneath the streets of Vancouver. The Broadway Subway Project is a 5.7 km extension of the Millennium Line, from VCC-Clark Station to Broadway and Arbutus. 700 metres will be elevated, extending from VCC-Clark Station to a tunnel portal near Great Northern Way. Five kilometres will be tunneled below the Broadway Corridor. The tunneling is being done by two boring machines, named Phyllis and Elsie. Just this month, Phyllis broke through to the fourth of six underground stations planned. But don’t fret. Phyllis won’t be lonely long. Elsie is expected to reach the same point later this fall. The new line is scheduled to open in 2026.

Burnaby Mountain Tunnel

Trans Mountain

What’s the quickest way to get past a mountain? You go right through it. As part of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, crews will use a tunnel to connect Burnaby Terminal and Westridge Marine Terminal. The team says this avoids impacts on residents and existing infrastructure. Trans Mountain’s contractor, Kiewit Ledcor TMEP Partnership (KLTP) will used a tunnel-boring machine to construct the 2.6-km tunnel through Burnaby Mountain. Drilling wrapped up last September after 225 mining days with 20 hours of mining per day.

Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine Tunnel repairs

Quebec Transport Ministry Archives

Sometimes an old tunnel just needs a bit of sprucing up. Quebec officials are hoping $2.5 billion in repairs will keep the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel, which connects the island of Montreal to the South Shore, in service for the next 40 years. The main interventions in the tunnel consist of major structural rehabilitation, upgrading operating equipment, redesign of service corridors and adding fire protection. Crews are currently repair the tunnel’s tube structure and carrying out the reconstruction of concrete slabs on Autoroute 25. Work is expected to wrap in 2026. The tunnel opened to traffic in 1967.

Hydro One Tunnel

This year Hydro One, Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution service provider, launched construction on a new tunnel that will run 85ft below ground in downtown Toronto, from the Esplanade to Bay and Dundas. The tunnel will be 12ft in diameter, approximately the size of three park benches, and will house new transmission cables, replacing cables that have served Toronto’s downtown core since the 1950s. Hydro One is investing approximately $120 million dollars in the infrastructure renewal project.

Twin SEM Tunnels Project

What’s cooler than digging one tunnel? Digging two tunnels, of course. But it wasn’t easy. Toronto’s Highway 401/409 Twin SEM Tunnels Project involved construction two rail tunnels under 21 active lanes of highway traffic, alongside the existing active rail corridor, and had to be completed with zero impacts to either active transportation system. The complex project, expanding the Kitchener GO corridor as part of Metrolinx’s Regional Express Rail program, was developed by Toronto Transit Partners, a consortium consisting of EllisDon, STRABAG, WSP, Dr. G. Sauer & Partners, and Jensen Hughes. Their efforts did not go unnoticed. The team was awarded the the 2022 Project of the Year over $100 million by the Tunnelling Association of Canada (TAC). 

Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant Outfall


The largest subaqueous (a fancy way of saying “underwater”) tunnel to be built in Toronto, the Ashbridges Bay project is already turning heads. It won Tunneling Project of the Year from the TAC, the 2021 and 2023 TAC Canadian Innovation Initiative Award, and Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure 2020 Awards for digital delivery advancements. The new outfall is expected meet peak design flows under highest recorded lake water level conditions while achieving regulatory standards. It will be one of the largest outfalls constructed in North America and is designed to significantly improve water quality along Toronto shorelines and contribute to improve the overall environment of the region.

Key Takeaways:

  • In January, the project team estimated the project would cost $30.9 billion, nearly $10 billion more than their estimate just a month earlier.
  • Following the revised cost estimate, the Government of Canada announced it would spend no additional public money on the pipeline.
  •  In March, the project team announced that construction was close to 80% complete, with mechanical completion expected to occur at the end of 2023. They expect the pipeline will be in-service in the first quarter of 2024.

The Whole Story:

The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project is in serious financial trouble, government reports show

According to documents released by Canada’s Auditor General, for the second year, the Trans Mountain Corporation’s year-end financial statements disclosed a “significant uncertainty” about the Crown corporation’s ability to continue operating. 

The uncertainty was related to the corporation’s ability to fund the remaining construction costs and to make the necessary payments on its existing debt. 

“While this disclosure did not cause us to modify our audit opinion on the Trans Mountain Corporation’s 31 December 2022 financial statements, we assessed the uncertainty to be important enough to mention it in our report,” read the report. “During our audit work, we also assessed that the corporation appropriately described the matter in a note in its financial statements.”

Earlier this year, the corporation revised its cost estimate for the pipeline expansion project to $30.9 billion. The corporation had previously reported costs of the project in December 2022 to be $21.1 billion. In early 2023, the corporation proposed a borrowing plan to finance the remaining construction costs.

The Treasury Board approved both the revised cost estimate and the borrowing plan in April 2023 through the 2023–27 corporate plan of the Canada Development Investment Corporation (the Trans Mountain Corporation’s parent Crown corporation). This corporate plan also anticipates that the revenue from the transport of crude oil in the expanded pipeline will begin in the first quarter of 2024.

In February 2022, the Government of Canada announced it would spend no additional public money on the pipeline. Since then, Trans Mountain Corporation has had to obtain external financing to fund the remaining costs of the project. 

A timelapse shows progress on the Westridge Marine Terminal portion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project in Burnaby, B.C. – Trans Mountain

“If the corporation cannot finance the full remaining construction of the pipeline expansion, it will be unable to put the expanded pipeline into service to generate revenue,” concluded the report.  

In July 2023, the corporation reported that the borrowing limit on its existing credit facility with a group of Canadian financial institutions, which is guaranteed by the Government of Canada, was increased to $16 billion. Notably, as of 31 December 2022, the corporation had already borrowed $7.2 billion from this credit facility. 

“Given that it will need additional funding to meet the remaining construction costs, the corporation, in its unaudited financial statements for the second quarter of 2023, continued to report a significant uncertainty over continuing operations,” stated the report. “Our mandate includes bringing important matters like this to Parliament’s attention.”

The original Trans Mountain Pipeline was built in 1953. The expansion is essentially a twinning of this existing 1,150-km pipeline between Strathcona County (near Edmonton), Alberta and Burnaby, B.C. It will create a pipeline system with the nominal capacity of the system going from approximately 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. The project involves laying 980 km of new pipeline.

 In March, the project team announced that construction was close to 80% complete, with mechanical completion expected to occur at the end of 2023. They expect the pipeline will be in-service in the first quarter of 2024.

AECOM has been appointed technical advisor for the Hamilton LRT project by Metrolinx.

The project is a 14-kilometre transit line will be the Hamilton, Ont.’s first light rail transit system and will be designed to accommodate expected future growth and development, improve connectivity and attract economic development in the rapidly growing area.

“As Ontario advances its record investment in public transit, we look forward to working with Metrolinx and our partners to support a more connected and economically vibrant Hamilton through accessible and sustainable transportation,” said Richard Barrett, chief executive of AECOM’s Canada region. “AECOM has played a critical role in light rail projects across Ontario and Canada, and our teams are excited to deploy their depth of experience and local expertise to deliver this transformative project.”

AECOM says its integrated team will be supporting Metrolinx on the delivery of the full breadth of infrastructure for the Hamilton LRT.

“World-class transit is critical to urban development, especially as we seek to design more sustainable cities,” said Mark Southwell, chief executive of AECOM’s global transportation business. “This project will set Hamilton apart as a leader in public transportation, preparing it for a more livable, low-carbon future. As we deliver major transit projects across the globe, the Hamilton LRT is the latest example of how our Sustainable Legacies strategy continues to improve social and environmental outcomes for communities.”

Infrastructure improvements will span the entire project corridor, and include:

  • Replaced sewer
  • All new watermains
  • New gas mains
  • New hydro lines
  • New telecommunications lines
  • Restored sidewalks and roads

Key Takeaways:

  • The report asks city officials to increase the total housing target to 65,000 new rent-controlled homes by 2030.
  • The city predicts that meeting those goals would cost between $28.6 billion and $31.5 billion across the next seven years and requires contributions from all levels of government.
  • The report recommends 22 actions for the city, as well as the federal and provincial governments to address the affordable housing crisis.
  • The plan will be put in front of the city’s Executive Committee next week (Oct. 31) in front City Council next month.

The Whole Story:

The city of Toronto has released a $30-billion plan to address the region’s affordable housing crisis. 

The report responds to the City Council’s direction to develop a plan to approve 25,000 new rent-controlled homes in addition to what was already planned, thereby increasing the city’s total housing target to 65,000 new rent-controlled homes by 2030.

Of the overall 65,000 new rent-controlled homes target, funding has already been secured to deliver 4,455 homes. The estimated cost to deliver the remaining 60,545 homes is between $28.6 billion and $31.5 billion across the next seven years and requires contributions from all orders of government.

“We urgently need to build more affordable housing faster, so people in our city can find a home they can afford,” said Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow. “That’s why we’re leading a generational shift in both how we deliver housing and the type of housing we’re going to build. We’re coordinating all City divisions to pull in one direction – building housing faster – and we’re setting new priorities to build rent-geared-to-income and not-for-profit housing.”

The report will be considered by the City’s Executive Committee on Tuesday, Oct. 31 and by City Council at its meeting from Wednesday, Nov. 8 to Friday, Nov. 10.

The report describes how Toronto’s housing system could be strengthened with a higher degree of coordination among city divisions, agencies and corporations, as well as other orders of government and the not-for-profit, co-op and private sectors. The report also recommends an increased role for the city in the direct delivery of housing with staff to explore a city-led development model at five “housing ready” sites.

The actions in the report are focused on increasing the supply of non-market homes (homes owned by the public, not-for-profit and co-op sectors), protecting existing rental homes and supporting renters. Key actions include:

  • Accelerating the development review and approval of new homes.
  • Working with the federal and provincial governments to increase access to funding and low-cost financing to move projects from approval into construction.
  • Establishing a more robust role for governments in both delivering and supporting the delivery of new homes.
  • Developing new and sustainable funding models.

The report recommends 22 actions for the city, as well as the federal and provincial governments, including: 

  • Dedicating more city-owned land to create new affordable homes. 
  • Accelerating the delivery of “housing ready” projects on City and not-for-profit owned land. 
  • Streamlining and optimizing people, processes and technology to expedite approvals and housing delivery.
  • Developing new and sustainable funding models to expand the delivery of affordable and RGI homes within mixed-income and sustainable communities.
  • Supporting the not-for-profit and co-op housing sectors.

The report proposes increases to the city’s previous HousingTO Plan target of approving 40,000 affordable rental homes by 2030. The combined new target is now 65,000 rent-controlled homes including a minimum of 41,000 affordable rental, 6,500 RGI homes and 17,500 rent-controlled market homes.

The report also recommends that on a go-forward basis, all new affordable homes meet the city’s income-based definition of affordable housing.

To deliver all the homes, officials expect between $28.6 billion and $31.5 billion in funding must be secured in the next seven years. The city expects this will require contributions from all levels of government. The report includes estimates that each government stakeholder will need to deliver between $500 million and $800 million in funding per year, in addition to repayable financing.

Key Takeaways:

  • B.C.’s construction industry accounts for 10.3% ($27B) of the province’s GDP.
  • More than 218,000 people rely directly on B.C.’s Construction industry for a paycheque.
  • Number of credentialed tradespeople: 163,900.
  • Number of credentialed tradeswomen: 7,376 (4.5%).
  • Value of proposed construction projects in B.C.: $174 billion.
  • Number of construction jobs in B.C. that will be unfilled due to labour shortages by 2032: 6,000.

The Whole Story:

The BC Construction Association Construction (BCCA) says the industry is in dire need of legislative reform in its latest compilation of data and analysis. 

The group’s conclusions come from its recently published Fall 2023 BC Construction Association (BCCA) Industry Stat Pack, combined with findings from an economic and policy report published today by the organization.

Construction demand is strong

The numbers show demand for construction remains high in B.C., with major projects currently underway at an estimated value of $157 billion. 

This represents an increase of 16% over 2022, and 109% over the past five years. However, the estimated value of proposed major projects has dipped to $174 billion in comparison to $220 billion last year, which the BCCA says is signaling possible future decrease in robustness and growing insecurity with regard to economic prospects.

Real investment in B.C.’s industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) construction sectors has been essentially flat (-1.6%) through the first half of 2023. It remains over 10% below its pre-pandemic level (February of 2020) in real terms, with institutional and government construction being the singular growth segment in the interim.

Recent improvements in the availability of construction inputs have resulted in a slowing of price increases to non-residential building in the past year, registering at 7% compared to 13% between 2021 and 2022. Labour costs and the non-residential building price index sit, respectively, at 18.4% and 28.6% above pre-pandemic levels.

Challenges put pressure on builders

The group stated that the ongoing struggle of dealing with decreased commercial demand and rising costs of material and labour, coupled with waning procurement standards on public sector projects, lack of prompt-payment legislation, and a declining workforce, paints a “dim picture” for contractors over the next few years.

“Construction has never been busier, yet the pressures to meet this demand are equally high. Interest rates, rising wages and the high cost of materials all factor into the equation. It is clear that these pressures are causing layoffs,” said Chris Atchison, BCCA president. “We’ve seen indications that construction workers, both skilled and unskilled, are moving out of the province as a direct result of B.C.’s high cost of living, housing shortage, and the perception of better opportunities elsewhere. Our workforce is invaluable, and we cannot afford to lose a single tradesperson or journeyperson. B.C. needs an effective affordable multi-unit housing strategy aimed at keeping workers like those in the construction sector within the province.”

The group argued that prompt payment legislation, something they have long advocated for, would provide immediate relief to contractors. 

The BCCA explained that when contractors wait months for payment, they experience significant financial risk and take on the increased cost of debt, which can put them in danger of bankruptcy. 

“Government seems to be under the illusion that contractors all have the deep pockets needed to essentially fund large scale projects. Not so. About 90% of B.C. contractors are small companies, and they are often paid three or six months after the last nail has been pounded, or the last coat of paint has dried. No other industry has to endure that,” said Atchison. “Last Spring, we were encouraged to hear that the Attorney General would be convening a large table working group on this issue. We’re still waiting. The time to talk has passed. The time to act is now. The situation is dire. Unlocking cash flow is an economic necessity and in the best interests of every community in British Columbia.”

Crews work at the Site C Dam in Fort St. John, B.C. It is one of the largest construction projects in the province. – BC Hydro

According to the province, the Ministry of Attorney General staff have been monitoring prompt payment efforts in other provinces and participated as part of a table established under the Canada Free Trade Agreement to establish best practices with respect to prompt payment legislation.

“One point that has been clear from this review is that there is no single model legislation that has been adopted by all or even a few provinces,” said provincial officials. “Each province has customized legislation that responds to the unique needs of their construction and skilled trades communities.”

Officials say that starting in late 2023, Ministry of Attorney General staff will begin a large table consultation with all interested associations and interest groups in the construction industry to review the different legislation that has been adopted in other provinces to determine how prompt payment legislation could work best in B.C.

Labour shortages

Despite 8% growth in the number of ICI construction companies in B.C. over the last 5 years (26,262), the number of tradespeople in the industry dropped 8% over three years, and 9% since 2019. The average company size has contracted by 10% over the previous three years to an average of 6.24 workers.

From the first quarter of 2023 to the second, B.C.’s construction employment base diminished by 14,500 workers, a decline approaching 6%.  According to the association, this represents the worst performance of any Canadian province in both absolute and percentage terms.

“We need to get enough people skilled up to replace the tens of thousands who are retiring in the next few years in British Columbia.  One way to do that is to be more diverse about who we hire and train,” said Atchison. “Everyone, including members of traditionally underrepresented groups, should feel welcome within the construction industry. There is absolutely no lack of employment opportunities for anyone interested in exploring a career in construction.”

The complete Stat Pack, economic report from Sage Policy Group, and more information regarding the B.C. construction industry can be found at

Shaun Fantauzzo has been named vice president of policy and major projects for First Nations Major Projects Coalition (FNMPC). Based in Toronto, he will steer FNMPC’s policy objectives and play a key role in advancing Indigenous opportunities for economic and equity participation in major projects. Fantauzzo spent nearly a decade in progressively senior positions in the federal government, notably at the Finance Canada and Natural Resources Canada.

Dan Mott, president of Mott Electric, has been inducted into the Electrical Contractors Association of BC’s Hall of Fame. Dan’s grandfather William founded Mott Electric in 1930 and passed the company to his son, Don who ran it before Dan took over from his father in 1986.

Mott Electric president Dan Mott is honoured by the Electrical Contractors Association of BC. – ECABC

Dave S. Dulay, vice president of project delivery (major projects) and alternative project delivery at McElhanney, has been selected as the new chair of Transportation Association of Canada (TAC’s) Geometric Design Revisions and Additions Subcommittee. The group supports TAC’s Geometric Design Committee in developing and improving Canada’s geometric design guidelines to enhance road operations and public safety while considering environmental, social, and economic impacts.

Jennifer Campeau is Aecon’s new vice president of indigenous relations. Campeau is a member of the Anishinaabe from Yellowquill First Nation with kinship ties to the Eastern Region III Metis Nation of Saskatchewan. With over 20 years of Indigenous policy experience, she will oversee and evolve Aecon’s Indigenous Relations activities – driving Aecon’s Indigenous partnerships and organizational actions supporting its Reconciliation Action Plan.

Barbara James, whose ancestral name is Ma̲lidzas, has been awarded the Outstanding Student Leadership Award by the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). The Red Seal carpenter and BCIT faculty member has taught high-performance building to students and trainers alike for the BCIT School of Construction and the Environment, participated in instructional videos with Nuxalk youth at BCIT, and was involved in the Building a Greener Future Together pilot project with the Institute.

Of Barbara’s many successes, she is most excited to return to her hometown of Port Hardy, B.C. to use her skills to help the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation—from which she descends—rebuild the nation’s Big House, where traditional Indigenous ceremonies such as potlatches are held.


Mathew Raso has been hired as senior vice president of roads at Infrastructure Ontario. Raso, a design and construction expert, has over 16 years of experience in the industry and a civil engineering degree. His last position was lead project manager for Green Infrastructure Partners.

Jacob Bros has announced three additions to its executive team. Matt Buechler has been promoted to vice president of pre-construction services⁣, Tony McCadden is now director of Major projects, and Todd Strynadka has been named vice president of JT Ready Mix & manager of technical services.⁣

Jacob Bros crew prepares for demobilization at the Woodfibre LNG project site in Squamish, B.C. – Jacob Bros.

Borja Franco is ACCIONA’s new head of business development for ACCIONA Concessions in North America after spending a decade in Australia. With over 14 years’ experience at ACCIONA in the origination, development, and financing of major infrastructure and PPP projects, Franco has been responsible for managing multiple consortium stakeholders including consortium partners, subcontractors, investors and lenders throughout the procurement phase of large infrastructure projects.

Dan Valin has joined the Cement Association of Canada as its new director of communications and marketing. Prior to joining the association, Valin was a senior account director for Alphabet.  

Walid Abou-Hamde, executive director at Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA), announced that he has joined Skilled Trades Ontario’s board of directors which helps advance the province’s workforce development strategy.

Darcy Kray has decided to retire from his role as president of Durwest Construction Management after 40 years in the industry. Kray co-founded the company in 1983. Zoe Mitchell is Durwest incoming president, effective this month. A CPA by trade, Mitchell recently spent six years as the president of CCH Management Group of companies.

We are immensely grateful for Darcy’s dedication and leadership. He is an expert in his field and his vision, passion, and unwavering commitment to delivering quality work has been instrumental in shaping Durwest’s legacy.

– Durwest

Colleen Fiske-Pinaud has begun a new role as communications advisor for the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board after spending nine years with the Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS). Fiske-Pinaud stated that she is excited for the opportunity to be a part of the organization as it expands to include offshore renewable energy.

Tammy Amstutz is joining the Calgary Construction Association team as director of workforce strategies. Prior to the announcement, Amstutz was working as chief people officer at ThinkTech Software Inc. where she played a pivotal role in the company’s rapid expansion over the last year. The association stated that part of her focus will be on helping address construction labour shortages and recruit more people into the industry.

Bruce Gordichuk has been named interim CEO and new president of construction for the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation (TNDC). Gordichuk will assume the role following the departure of Paul Gruner, who resigned effective October 20th.

Monte McNaughton has joined Woodbine Entertainment as their new vice president. McNaughton recently left a 15-year career in politics, notably as Ontario’s minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development. Woodbine operates like a not-for-profit organization with the sole mandate of sustaining and growing horse racing in the province.

Key Takeaways

  • The $750-million project includes building facilities to boost transloading service capacity. 
  • Construction has begun and is expected to wrap in 2026. 
  • Officials say the project will significantly decarbonize operations.  

The Whole Story:

The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) is starting work construction on a $750-million large scale logistics project to expand capacity. 

The Ridley Island Export Logistics Project (RIELP) will boost the capabilities for rail-to-container transloading of multiple export products at the B.C. port. 

Port officials say the investment promises to deliver critical trade infrastructure that will improve supply chain resiliency, strategic market access and enhanced competitiveness for Canadian exports. 

“The development of this innovative project and its introduction of large-scale export logistics capabilities at the Port will fundamentally improve competitiveness for Canadian exporters, and marks the opening of a new chapter of Prince Rupert intermodal growth,” said Shaun Stevenson, president & CEO, Prince Rupert Port Authority. “It also demonstrates the strong alignment of our corporate, government and community partners with PRPA’s strategic vision for growing Canadian trade,”

Project plans include a 108-acre greenfield development on Ridley Island that will begin operation in Q3 2026. Ray-Mont Logistics will develop and operate facilities that provide transloading service capacity for 400,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) for agricultural, forestry, and plastic resin products. Ray-Mont currently operates a multi-product transload facility on a temporary Ridley Island location.

The project will also include an expansion of the existing Ridley Island Road Rail Utility Corridor that will facilitate unit trains 10,000 feet in length with direct access to the site from the CN network. The transload facilities will be connected to Fairview Container Terminal by direct private road access, the 5-kilometer Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor, ensuring all product movements will be within PRPA jurisdiction and fully avoid public infrastructure. 

The port noted that the full electrification of transload facilities, optimization of rail, and the minimal truck drayage cumulatively represent a significant step forward in decarbonizing Canada’s export supply chains.

Port officials added that In addition to its commercial advantages, RIELP will result in stronger volumes for loaded export containers moving through the Port of Prince Rupert and a more sustainable balance in its intermodal import and export trade. 

The development of increased logistics capacity is seen by PRPA as a strategic prerequisite to supporting the stability of existing and future container volumes through Prince Rupert, and the trade, employment and economic opportunities they support.

Local Indigenous partners will be active participants in the development and operation of RIELP. The primary contract for Ridley Island site development has been awarded to an Indigenous joint venture arrangement that includes Metlakatla First Nation, Lax Kw’alaams Band, Gitxaała Nation and IDL Projects Inc. Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams are also majority owners of Gat Leedm Logistics, which will be a primary service provider of truck drayage services.

Total capital investment in RIELP will be approximately $750 million, and is being provided by PRPA, Ray-Mont Logistics, CN, the Government of Canada, and the B.C. goverment. Canada’s National Transportation Corridor Fund is providing $64.8 million and B.C.’s Stronger BC program is providing $25 million toward the project.

One of Alberta’s largest public infrastructure projects ever is nearing completion. 

Officials anticipate that all work for the Calgary Ring Road will be done early next year.  The Calgary Ring Road project, also known as the Stoney Trail project, began construction in the early 2000s.

Earlier this year, construction of the new West Bow River bridge and new interchanges at Old Banff Coach Road and Bow Trail opened for traffic.

The province stated that these openings have cut travel times for drivers by up to 20 minutes and have vastly improved travel times for commercial carriers. When fully completed, the Calgary Ring Road will provide 101 kilometres of free-flow travel.

“I’m excited to announce the Calgary Ring Road is one step closer to being finished,” said Devin Dreeshen, minister of transportation and economic corridors “We are delivering on making life better for Albertans through the completion of this section for this major project, which means faster commutes, less panic getting kids to school or practice, quicker trips for groceries and a whole lot less stress.”

Construction of the West Calgary Ring Road is the final piece of the entire ring project, and the focus is now shifting to the final phase between Bow Trail and Highway 8, which is on track to be complete in 2024. Government documents show it has an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.

The West Calgary Ring Road includes:

  • More than nine kilometres of new road.
  • Five kilometres of upgrades to the Trans-Canada Highway.
  • Six interchanges and 29 bridges.
  • Three sections: South Project between Highway 8 and Old Banff Coach Road, North Project between Old Banff Coach Road and the Trans-Canada Highway, West Bow River Bridge.
  • The West Bow River Bridge is located north of the Trans Canada Highway/16 Avenue NW.
A map shows the various sections of the Calgary Ring Road. – Government of Alberta

Key Takeaways:

  • New solar projects secured by PCL this year exceed $1 billion in value.
  • Due to high demand for solar projects, PCL plans to expand its Solar Division team by 25% this year.
  • 2023 also saw PCL hit a new record of surpassing 4 gigawatts contracted.

The Whole Story:

PCL Construction has secured more than $1 billion in new solar projects for 2023.

The general contractor announced its new solar division, PCL Solar, late last year. Its base is in Toronto with satellite offices in strategic centres across the U.S. and Australia.

“This year, we officially surpassed 4 gigawatts contracted – marking a new record for the company,” said Andrew Moles, general manager of PCL’s Solar Division. “It’s an exciting time for PCL Solar. This growth reflects the increased demand for renewable energy projects across the world.”

To date, the company has completed nearly 60 solar projects, supplying enough clean energy to power more than half a million average homes and businesses across North America and Australia. 

The projects include Travers Solar, which not only represents the largest solar project in Canada to date but also the first of PCL Solar’s projects to surpass 1 million megawatt hours of production. In 16 months, the project has also offset more than 472,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Crews work on Peacock Solar in San Patricio County, Texas. – BP

PCL Solar stated that it believes the following recent project wins along with other promising projects on the horizon will help the company more than double its impact of powering homes and businesses across three countries in the coming years:

  • Peacock: 150-megawatt photovoltaic power station located in Taft, San Patricio County, Texas.
  • Azalea Springs: 180-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy installation in Angelina County, Texas.
  • Clearview: 145-megawatt solar project in Adams Township in Champaign County, Ohio.
  • Goose Prairie: 80-megawatt solar photovoltaic project located in Yakima County, Wash.
  • Spring Coulee: 30-megawatt solar facility located in Cardston County, Alta.
  • Homestead: 400-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy installation in Claresholm, Alta.
  • Stubbo Solar: 400-megawatt solar energy facility located in Gulgong, New South Wales, Australia.
  • Gunsynd: 94-megawatt solar farm located in Southwest Queensland, Australia.

PCL Solar also has its sights set on growing Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) opportunities. From increasing global renewable energy demands due to the United States Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Canada’s Clean Energy Investment Tax Credit, BESS is also on the rise. PCL noted that BESS provides critical infrastructure support by storing energy that can then be deployed at peak times when the grid is experiencing high demand.

With PCL Solar’s growing portfolio comes the additional need for employees.

“We plan to expand our team by 25% this year to support our projects and increase our capacity for future years,” said Rodolfo Bitar, manager of strategic initiatives for PCL Solar.

Jeevan Kalanithi, CEO and co-founder of OpenSpace AI, has seen artificial intelligence grow from a small, emerging field of technology into a powerhouse set to disrupt countless global industries. We spoke with the San Francisco-based tech entrepreneur about how he has seen the field of AI change and what areas of construction it could disrupt.

Be sure to catch Kalanithi and other industry experts in Vancouver, B.C. for the 2023 Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) Construction Innovation Summit on Oct. 30th and 31st.

SiteNews: What is OpenSpace?

Jeevan Kalanithi: OpenSpace exists to simplify the lives of builders and what we do is pretty straightforward. Our core capture product makes it really easy to have a full visual record of any space, indoors or out. Think of it like Google Street View. You can image it as much as you want to, every day or every week, so you can see what is there without having to physically be there. And you can see what was there yesterday, a week ago, two weeks ago, five years ago. And the point of it is very simple. We want to create a record of what is actually happening on a job site. You don’t have to wonder what is there and you can replace the opinions, memories and really laborious workflows. Think of any RFI or change order issue, if you could just look and see what’s there you could resolve it in seconds instead of with a mountain of paperwork. What we built on top of it are AI-powered tools to understand what is actually in that imagery and reality data, and then classify and quantify it. We call it OpenSpace Track and with it can do things like tell you how much drywall you’ve hung versus taped versus framing and compute the percent complete and tell you if you are ahead of schedule or behind. You can start to really answer those productivity questions that are really at the heart of what builders do.

How did you get involved with AI?

AI was something I’d been interested in since college really. I did a degree called symbolic systems that was unique to where I went to undergrad. Think of it as a very technical cognitive science major. I did two concentrations, on in philosophy and the other was artificial intelligence. Then I went to graduate school and further pursued studies in artificial intelligence. So I have been doing AI stuff academically since college and, entrepreneurially, I have been applying these techniques to buildings since before OpenSpace. 

What are some misconceptions people have about AI?

First, AI is not just one thing. The way we think about it today is this text-based, generative AI system where you put text in and you get a bunch of text out or an image or something. But AI was a term coined in the 50s. Back in undergrad I took a class from a guy named John McCarthy, one of the “fathers” of AI. And in grad school I had one with Marvin Minsky, the other “father” of AI. It was pretty cool to see what those guys were working on. It was totally different stuff actually than what you see today. If you even go back and think about robotics and autonomy, that’s AI too. And it’s what has powered self-driving cars. Here in San Francisco, they work and I routinely take them around town. But that’s pretty different than generative AI. Even further back to the systems that beat Garry Kasparov at chess. Those were a totally different flavour of AI. It’s not just one thing and the different sub-branches will that different applications for builders. The second misconception is that these systems think like human beings do. They don’t really. The latest AI systems don’t really. One way of thinking about it is that they don’t know what they are talking about. They give very knowledgeable and cogent responses but it’s not clear that they have a deeper conceptual understanding of what they are talking about. The third misconception is that we have a good understanding of how these technologies will influence how we live and work. We don’t. These things are going to evolve in ways that are shocking and surprising and that we can’t even think of today. 

How might these emerging technologies change how we build things?

I think architecture is going to change a lot and engineering too with generative design. These systems are getting really good at taking plainly spoken parameters and turning them into designs. So these armies of junior architects doing detail work, that might go away. It would be great. It would empower architects to do the more creative design work that we actually want them to be doing. I also think there will be applications for robotics on the job site to help alleviate labour shortages, but I don’t think it’s going to be “Terminator” robots building the way people are building. They will just look like tools that are a bit more autonomous. Think about the evolution from hammer to nail gun. That was a big deal. Using a hammer is pretty annoying if you are used to a nail gun. I think these robotic solutions will feel that way. It’s not going to be doing general purpose things, it will be specific. I also think the ability to have a clear, indisputable record of the project to make decisions is going to get a lot better. Computer vision and AI is going to allow us to not need to go to these job sites and make reports. We can have the answer at our fingertips no matter where we are. I think this will really change how labour is distributed. And by labour I mean both white collar jobs and people actually doing the building. Lastly, and I think this will be pretty transformative, I think the amount of paperwork has a chance to go down significantly. Because so much of the reporting and paperwork in construction is based on trying to have an accurate record of what’s there. Think of RFIs as an example of that. AI has the opportunity to put real data at people’s fingertips and get rid of a lot of that unnecessary paper pushing. I think that will change a lot of roles for people who have construction management degrees. They will be able to spend more time out in the field helping get things built. It may even help us contract differently. There could be less need to divy up the risk into buckets. You could have an AI-powered transparency layer that can more effectively allow people to prove their work and share the risk. 

How has AI changed and evolved over the years?

When I was studying AI in college, some of its true pioneers were there. It really was the cutting edge at that time. But AI at that time was very much about rules-based logic systems, like a system that can do logical proofs was what people thought of as being AI. That changed a lot once I got to grad school. The focus was really on machine learning or statistical methods. It’s just about recognizing patterns. The math of that was different and it was also enabled by the amount of data generated by the internet. So you could actually start training these pattern recognition systems in a way that wasn’t practical in the 80s and 90s. I remember my first neural network I built as an undergrad. It sounds amazing but it was just a classroom assignment. It was able to recognize pictures of letters and classify them as an “A” a “B” or a “C” and so on and classify it. The level of sophistication for that vs. what I did in grad school vs. what we are doing now is almost the difference between a single celled organism and a tiger. The amount of change is absolutely insane and I would say that the biggest change between grad school and now is the amount of computing power we can dedicate to AI problems now would have been ridiculous and impractical even 10 or 15 years ago. So a lot of the methods and math that people knew about back then was just theoretical. But now you can actually build a system that does that. The amount of data these systems can consume and the amount of computing power we can devote to them was unimaginable even a few years ago. That’s creating huge unlocks where you can create systems with unbelievable sophistication that wouldn’t have been practical even two or three years ago. 

How can builders prepare for the changes AI could bring?

Focus on your business and the actual problems you want to solve. There is so much BS and snake oil out there, which is true of so many industries, including technology ones. Don’t be afraid to focus on your issues and don’t worry too much about missing the boat. Second, pay attention to the more tech-interested folks on your team and see what they are messing around with. That doesn’t mean they will be right about everything but they can be your antennae to hear what’s out there. You don’t need to be going to computer vision conferences yourself. Reading is good. Subscribe to the MIT Technology review. It is written in plain english and has great articles in it. It gives you a sense of what is going on. Thirdly, don’t be afraid to experiment with new things, especially things your team is bringing to you. Give it a shot and see if it actually helps you. Lastly, see what your competitors are doing. You don’t need to be an expert in AI. You are an expert builder. That is what you should focus on and why you are awesome for society. You don’t need to try everything, just things that help you run your business more effectively.

Get tickets to see Kalanithi and other cutting edge construction leaders at the ICBA Construction Innovation Summit here.

This year’s Top 40 Under 40 in Canadian Construction didn’t just showcase some of most accomplished young leaders in the industry. It highlighted some of the incredible women who are helping build some of the country’s largest projects. In fact, 25% of the whole list was women — even more than last year’s list.

As an industry, construction has long sought to increase diversity. According to the latest data from BuildForce Canada, the entire Canadian construction industry includes 12.8% women. To celebrate Women’s History Month we wanted to introduce you to all the female leaders who made the 40 Under 40 List.

Allison Hurley

Director, Design Build (Civil) at EllisDon

Allison Hurley first joined EllisDon as a co-op student in 2010 and has worked her way up by excelling in several positions requiring multidisciplinary leadership, including project coordinator, bid manager, and business development manager. She has been instrumental in a series of successes for EllisDon, from building the company’s reputation in the B.C. market to shepherding successful bids for a wide variety of big-ticket civil projects in Ontario and Quebec. Her educational background is equally diverse. Having earned an honours degree in applied bio-molecular science from Lakehead University and an MBA from Vancouver Island University, and increased her industry knowledge with construction related courses. Hurley also finds time for mentoring, volunteering, contributing to industry groups, and sharing knowledge on new contracting models.

Annik Forristal

Equity Partner and Co-Group Head, National Infrastructure and Construction Group at McMillan LLP

Annik Forristal was an engineer before she became a lawyer, giving her unique perspectives for construction clients. Her clients include Rogers Stadium Limited Partnership (renovation of Rogers Centre) and The Hospital for Sick Children (including its Project Horizon campus redevelopment). Forristal also worked with the Ontario Association of Architects to update their standard form contracts. Recognized by multiple organizations as one of Canada’s leading construction and infrastructure lawyers, she also received McMillan’s in-house Leadership in Mentoring Award. 

Cheryl Labiris

Lawyer at Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

As a lawyer with Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP in Toronto, Labiris has been using her legal talent to assist some of the country’s largest construction projects. She has been involved in several successful, nine-figure settlement negotiations, and co-led the negotiation and settlement process in relation to resolving over 100 discrete claims totaling over $1 billion. ​​She is also part of Canadian legal history with her involvement in the first-ever COVID-19 application in North America. With Labiris’ assistance, Singleton Reynolds was successful in overturning the contractor’s successful COVID-19 application at the Ontario Court of Appeal, which involved the declaration that COVID-19 was an emergency, and that the owner directed the contractor to perform additional and overriding procedures.

Laura Samson

Director of Infrastructure at Calgary Airport Authority

Earlier this year, Laura Samson made history by becoming the first female director of infrastructure under 40 at The Calgary Airport Authority. Her journey at YYC began in 2013 as a project coordinator.  Alongside her team, she spearheads terminal construction, airside construction and tenant development at both the YYC and YBW airports. This year her team is leading the delivery of 35 capital and 182 tenant projects. This includes the rehabilitation of Canada’s second longest runway, YYC’s West Runway, a $201 million, five-year project from design to completion. Through these projects, Samson’s commitment to sustainability has led to the implementation of sustainable construction practices and pursuit of cutting-edge technologies.

Lauren Cooper

Senior Project Manager at Ledcor Construction Ltd.

Lauren Cooper has taken on many challenging projects during her 11 years in the construction industry. Starting with project managing a 10-million-dollar facility at the Calgary Airport as a student intern, she has overcome everything from COVID-induced delays to poor site conditions to deliver for clients. Taking on increasingly challenging and larger projects, she is now working on a unique multi-hundred-million-dollar tower in downtown Kelowna, B.C. as one of Ledcor’s youngest senior project managers. Outside the job site, Cooper keeps busy organizing and supporting many communities through charity fundraising events.

Lesley Whitten

Operations Manager – Canada at Todd and Sargent, Canada, ULC

With over 17 years of experience in the construction industry, Lesley Whitten has an impressive track record that includes leading project management, field operations, engineering and construction on multimillion-dollar grain handling, fertilizer and processing facilities in Western Canada. Whitten brings a passion for construction execution as she leads the operations for all of Todd & Sargent in Canada, a key and critical player in agricultural industrial construction. Whitten is passionate about the connection between the field staff and the office staff, believing that the key to a successful project is having close connections between the two. Her leadership skills are not only based on experience, but her ability to influence people around her to develop their own soft skills including intuition, conflict management, negotiation and relationship building with the consistent goal of achieving win-win outcomes.

Maraika De Groot

Director of Operations at Maven Consulting Ltd.

Maraika De Groot excels at many things, but perhaps her greatest skill is getting other people to do the same. In addition to leading safety services and project delivery accounts for several clients, she hired 60% of Maven’s workforce in just three years, and her efforts to develop its corporate culture have resulted in multiple “Best Place to Work” awards. She began her career as a geological engineer and has business operations experience in various industries including academia and finance. All of these elements have made her a well-rounded leader with a penchant for recruiting quality applicants, then helping them to fully harness their talents. In addition to her engineering degree, De Groot also holds a masters in management, innovation and entrepreneurship, and her industry and volunteering credits are too numerous to list.

Sarah Haque

Senior Manager, Talent Development & Total Rewards at FLINT Corp.

Joining FLINT in 2013 as a recruitment administrator and quickly growing into a management position, Sarah Haque is a trailblazing human resources professional whose acumen and leadership have helped FLINT successfully navigate a series of high-profile advancements fostering the company’s growth. Haque led the integration of more than 700 new personnel during company acquisitions and has made a tangible impact on retention of certain trade positions by pioneering an apprenticeship program with targeted incentives. Sarah’s influence expanded through the introduction of a company-wide competency framework to improve staff development and implementing efficiencies in the human resources function through the enterprise system. Through Haque’s success in delivering on initiatives to support FLINT’s objectives, she is engaged by all levels of the company for input into strategic objectives.

Sharelle Dayco

Director of People and Culture at Novacom Building Partners

Sharelle Dayco embarked on her professional journey as an educator but has since dedicated the past 18 years to the world of construction. Her pivotal role at Novacom has been to develop a highly skilled team while fostering a people-centric culture, something that the company says has been instrumental in driving its success and creating a thriving work environment. Beyond her professional achievements, Dayco’s unwavering commitment extends to philanthropic endeavours. She contributes her time and effort to Women in Construction events, building homes in El Salvador, and lending her support to initiatives addressing housing challenges in Canada. Dayco is a strong advocate for fair and equitable hiring practices, particularly in championing the cause of underrepresented groups in the workforce.

Tamara Gavrilenko

Owner/President at TGV Construction Group Inc.

It would be impressive enough if Tamara Gavrilenko simply found success in a project management position at EllisDon where she assisted with applying prefabrication methods to long-term care projects. Instead, she has gone much further, founding and running TGV Construction Group Inc. Over the years she has worked to grow her business into a multi-million-dollar company, expanding it from a focus on emergency restoration to offering general contracting services. She also uses her business to benefit the community, and strongly advocates for underrepresented groups in the construction sector.

Editor’s note: See the full list of 40 Under 40 winners here.

Key Takeaways:

  • Three teams have been shortlisted to submit proposals for the competitive selection process to enter into a Design Early Works Agreement for the project.
  • The province expects to have a team chosen by spring 2024.
  • The $4.15-billion project is being procured through a Progressive Design-Build with Target Price model. Officials say this approach allows design to progress concurrently with the environmental assessment.

The Whole Story:

The Massey Tunnel Replacement is one step closer to getting shovels in the ground.  

Three bid teams have been invited to participate in the next phase of procurement for the replacement of the George Massey Tunnel with a new toll-free, eight-lane tunnel along Highway 99 between Richmond and Delta.

“We are moving ahead on delivering improvements for the thousands of people who rely on this crossing each day and for better goods movement across the region,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Advancing the new tunnel will also increase trade to the United States and support a vital link to Vancouver International Airport.”

The teams invited to submit proposals for the competitive selection process to enter into a Design Early Works Agreement with the province are:

Cross Fraser Partnership

Daewoo-GS JV

Fraser River Tunnel Constructors

Following the evaluation of submissions to the request for proposals, the province will choose the project’s design-build team. It is anticipated the team will be on board in spring 2024.

Concurrent with procurement, the Fraser River Tunnel Project continues to work its way through the B.C.’s environmental assessment process. The project received its readiness decision in September 2023.

The new crossing will be an eight-lane immersed tube tunnel with three general-purpose travel lanes and a dedicated transit lane in each direction. The new tunnel will also feature a separate multi-use path to support pedestrians, cyclists and other active transportation options.

The project also includes replacing the existing Deas Slough Bridge and the addition of a southbound general-purpose lane on Highway 99 between Westminster Highway and Steveston Highway in Richmond.

Last year crews broke ground on the five-lane Steveston interchange in Richmond as part of the project that will see the George Massey Tunnel replaced with a new crossing. – Province of B.C.

With the new tunnel and approaches in place, travel is expected to flow at 80 kilometres per hour, unlike the current average of 30 km/h.

Construction of a new five-lane Steveston Interchange is underway and on track for completion in 2025. Cycling and transit improvements along the corridor, including an extension of bus-on-shoulder lanes south of the existing tunnel, are nearing completion.

The Fraser River Tunnel Project is being procured through a Progressive Design-Build with Target Price model. Officials say this approach allows design to progress concurrently with the environmental assessment. The estimated cost of the project is $4.15 billion.

Key Takeaways:

  • Umicore is proceeding with the first phase of the project, which is worth $2.1 billion.
  • The facility will manufacture cathode active materials (CAM) and precursor cathode active materials (pCAM), critical components for producing electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
  • Together, the federal government and Ontario are contributing $975 million for the project.
  • Work is expected to begin later this year and commissioning is expected to occur in 2025.

The Whole Story:

Umicore is proceeding with the construction of a $2.1 billion battery materials production plant in Ontario. 

The full $2.7 billion project will be executed in multiple stages. Umicore announced it will proceed with the first $2.1 billion stage, of which $1.8 billion is capital expenditures. It will create a battery materials production capacity of 35 GWh annually.

Umicore stated that combining the production of precursor (pCAM) and CAM, the most critical components for a rechargeable battery’s performance, the production facility will complete the missing link in North America’s EV battery value chain, from natural resources to EVs. The plant will be fully equipped to produce advanced high-nickel technologies and is prepared for future battery chemistries, including manganese-rich HLM and solid-state batteries.

The engineering and permitting process is ongoing and Umicore expects to begin construction on the 350-acre plot of land later this year. The plant is expected to be commissioned at the end of 2025.

The project will receive substantial support from the government. Based on the full scope of the envisioned project, the Government of Canada is contributing up to $551.3 million, while Ontario is supporting the project with up to $424.6 million.

“Umicore is proud and delighted with the unwavering support and financial backing of Canada and Ontario. Their readiness to co-fund our investment coupled with the announcement of our first customer contract for the Loyalist plant mean we can forge ahead with the construction,” said Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore. “We are committed to being a reliable transformation partner for the automotive and battery industry and a trustworthy neighbor for the communities in Ontario.”

The project site is located at about 25 km from Kingston in Loyalist . Umicore says this puts it at the heart of Canada’s automotive technology cluster. They added that Its location offers critical advantages such as customer proximity, access to a highly skilled workforce, key infrastructure and renewable energy.

A rendering shows the preliminary design for Umicore’s battery materials facility in Ontario. – Umicore

The company stated that the plant’s production will be carbon neutral from the start using renewable energy only. During the construction phase, the plant is expected to generate approximately 1,000 employment opportunities, while several hundred highly skilled positions will be created in operations. 

“Umicore’s investment represents another strong vote of confidence in our rapidly growing electric vehicle and battery supply chain,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “Together, with our government, industry and labour partners, we’re putting our auto sector back on the map, attracting billions of dollars in new investments, creating thousands of new good-paying jobs and ensuring the cars of the future will be made in Ontario, from start to finish.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The fifth Woodrise International Congress will take place Sept. 22-26 in Vancouver in 2025.
  • This year’s congress is taking place in Bordeaux, France and has 3000 participants from 20 different countries.
  • FPInnovations will serve as the Canadian organizer for the 2025 event.

The Whole Story:

The world’s mass timber community is coming to B.C. 

Global experts in mid- and high-rise timber construction will gather in Vancouver from Sept. 22-26, 2025, for the fifth Woodrise International Congress.

Started in 2017, Woodrise brings diverse stakeholders together around a shared goal of low-carbon construction and sustainable cities.

“I am proud that Vancouver will host Woodrise 2025. B.C.’s entrepreneurs and construction industry professionals are excited to showcase their work and our local talent,” said Premier David Eby. “Our province is a leader in wood and mass-timber construction. This is a perfect match between event and location.”

Officials noted that per capita, B.C. has 11 times more mass-timber buildings than the rest of North America and is a leader in wood and mass-timber construction. In addition, Vancouver is a centre for North America’s leading timber design and engineering professionals.

“Mass timber is a strong, clean building technology that is at the centre of our province’s future construction blueprint,” said Brenda Bailey, minister of jobs, economic development and innovation. “Through our Mass Timber Action Plan, the B.C. government, First Nations and industry are taking a leadership role in wood construction.”

FPInnovations is part of the international Woodrise organizing committee, along with FCBA, a technological institute dedicated to promoting the forest and wood products sector in France, and the Japan International Association for the Industry of Building and Housing. As the Canadian organizer of Woodrise, FPInnovations is a private non-profit organization specializing in the creation of solutions that support the global competitiveness of the Canadian forest sector.

FPInnovations’ team of researchers has produced numerous guides and reference tools that have helped evolve building standards in Canada and around the world in recent years. FPInnovations has research and development laboratories in Quebec City, Montreal and Vancouver, and technology-transfer offices across Canada.

“Canada has a rich portfolio of projects in the field of mid- and high-rise timber construction,” said Stéphane Renou, CEO, FPInnovations. “The construction of the Brock Commons Tallwood House building, an innovative 18-storey hybrid building, which was the tallest mass-timber building in the world, was the just the beginning of innovative leadership for B.C. in the mass-timber industry.”

It is not the first time Canada has hosted. The conference was held in Quebec City in 2019.

Construction workers on B.C. job sites will soon be getting upgraded bathrooms.

Premier David Eby announced his government will be bringing in a legal requirement for flush toilets on all construction sites with 25 workers or more.

The move comes after years of pressure from groups like the BC Building Trades.

“The ability to go to a clean bathroom with a flushing toilet is a basic requirement for a decent job site,” said Eby. “Thank you to the [BC Building Trades] for their advocacy on this issue. Current conditions are unacceptable and we will take action on that.”

I’ve been at a lot of jobs where the washrooms are so bad that you just have to hold it. Being forced to use porta-potties is degrading and dehumanizing.

Peter White, ironworker

The union group published its first report on job site bathroom sanitary conditions in 2021. It examined the existing approaches used by employers in providing washrooms to workers on B.C. construction sites, and the governing regulatory framework under the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) together with the related guidelines.

Following the report, WorkSafeBC conducted a washroom facility inspection initiative. Additionally, WorkSafeBC has issued an updated guideline on construction site washroom facilities pertaining to maintenance. 

“Enough is enough. Nearly every other industry from film to events and tourism has found a way to bring clean, flushing toilet facilities to mobile sites,” said Brynn Bourke, BC Building Trades executive director, just days before the announcement. “Construction workers deserve flush toilets now.”

Job site bathrooms have been a major issue in other provinces as well. 

In 2015, Quebec passed an amendment to the Construction Code, addressing the requirement for flushed toilets for construction sites where there are or will be more that 25 workers. The Code also includes specifications covering the following: one toilet for every 30 workers, portable washrooms will only be used where flushed toilets cannot be connected to a water or sewer system, they must be within 500 feet of the worksite and have specific levels of maintenance, lighting, location, temperature, ventilation, supplies and general cleanliness.

Porta-potties make you feel like a second-class citizen. Office workers wouldn’t accept these kinds of conditions.

Matt Baron, electrician

According to the BC Building trades, in practice, contractors use toilet trailers or single units where connection to the sewer system is not possible. Both options allow users to activate a flushing system with a foot pedal. They also provide for hand washing stations in the unit and overhead lighting. Many include heating as well. 

In 2022, the Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario passed a resolution calling for a Canada-wide washroom improvement program. In response, the province embarked on a bathroom inspection blitz at more than 1,800 locations that uncovered 244 violations.

Ontario introduced the following requirements that went into effect this summer:

  • Doubling the number of washrooms on construction sites
  • At least one female-only bathroom
  • Adequate lighting stipulations
  • Hand sanitizer where there is no running water
  • Single toilets to be completely enclosed
  • Repair for urinals and facilities, including additional sinks