Heavy equipment tech companies announce partnership

Key Takeaways:

  • Frenter users will be able to see real-time estimates of their equipment value, informing critical business decisions around utilization and fleet optimizations. 
  • Boom & Bucket customers who purchase Frenter-enabled assets can access a detailed history of maintenance and usage data.
  • The companies said the partnership will support the shortened average lifecycle of new equipment and set a new standard for the use of equipment data in the purchase and resale of heavy equipment.

The Whole Story:

Halifax-based Frenter — a  provider of GPS, maintenance and analytic solutions for heavy equipment —  has announced a strategic partnership with Boom & Bucket, a digital marketplace for heavy equipment.

The companies say the partnership will allow heavy equipment owners to leverage data to get the most out of their assets from daily operations to resale.

They added that the partnership combines Boom & Bucket’s expertise in used heavy equipment resale with Frenter’s detailed data collection and system of record. Frenter users can see real-time estimates of their equipment value, informing critical business decisions around utilization and fleet optimizations. 

If the decision is to sell, users can list equipment directly on Boom & Bucket in a few clicks on the Frenter platform. Boom & Bucket customers who purchase Frenter-enabled assets can access a detailed history of maintenance and usage data.

“We have a vision of connecting the full ecosystem of heavy equipment,” said Zach Laberge, Frenter CEO & founder. “We’re very excited for what Boom & Bucket brings strategically as well as their shared vision for the future of equipment technology and what we can build together. This partnership will allow our customers to realize higher returns on their assets, unlocked through the tracking and improvements that come with Frenter. Giving them the opportunity to reinvest in their fleet, creating a flywheel effect for their business.”

Both Frenter and Boom & Bucket stated that they are excited to collaborate in the space and leverage their joint expertise to support heavy equipment owners throughout the lifecycle of their assets. They said the partnership will support the shortened average lifecycle of new equipment and set a new standard for the use of equipment data in the purchase and resale of heavy equipment.

“At Boom & Bucket, we recognize the indispensable value that comes from understanding the life story of heavy equipment,” said Adam Lawrence, CEO and cofounder of Boom & Bucket. “Our strategic partnership with Frenter marks a new era where data meets the marketplace, enhancing transparency and trust. This collaboration is set to revolutionize the industry by enabling owners to maximize their equipment’s value throughout its lifecycle, ensuring a smarter, more informed equipment economy. We are thrilled to join forces with Frenter, as we both aim to empower owners with knowledge and foresight, turning every decision into an opportunity for growth and efficiency.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The certificate comes with 22 legally enforceable provincial conditions, including plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, opportunities for First Nations’ monitoring of construction and operations, opportunities for Indigenous employment and procurement, and measures to reduce impacts on water quality, air quality, and cultural and archeological resources.
  • Once constructed, the TMJ will be the first facility on Canada’s west coast that will enable trans-oceanic vessels to fuel with liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the Port of Vancouver.
  • Tilbury Jetty GP Inc. estimates construction expenditures between $154 million and $260 million over four years, supporting more than 1,000 full-time jobs. The facility is expected to operate for a minimum of 30 years.

The Whole Story:

An Environmental Assessment Certificate has been issued to Tilbury Jetty Limited Partnership for the Tilbury Marine Jetty (TMJ) Project. FortisBC welcomed the approval and is now awaiting a decision from the Government of Canada.

The TMJ project consists of building a jetty, or dock, on the south arm of the Fraser River adjacent to FortisBC’s existing Tilbury LNG facility. Once constructed, the TMJ will be the first facility on Canada’s west coast that will enable trans-oceanic vessels to fuel with liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the Port of Vancouver.

FortisBC stated that LNG from Tilbury is among the cleanest in the world with a carbon intensity that is about 30% lower than the global average because the facility is powered by hydroelectricity. Using LNG from Tilbury rather than conventional marine fuel reduces GHG emissions by up to 27 %. Switching all ships that call at the Port of Vancouver from conventional marine fuel to LNG marine fuel would also remove 90% of the particulate matter associated with marine shipping from the local airshed, according to a third-party study.

In 2022, FortisBC signed an agreement with the Musqueam Indian Band that includes options for Musqueam to acquire equity ownership in the projects at Tilbury, subject to regulatory approvals and certain conditions precedent.

The certificate comes with 22 legally enforceable provincial conditions that must be followed over the life of the project. These include plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, opportunities for First Nations’ monitoring of construction and operations, opportunities for Indigenous employment and procurement, and measures to reduce impacts on water quality, air quality, and cultural and archeological resources.

The project also requires federal approval. The B.C. EAO carried out the assessment on behalf of the federal government under a “substitution agreement.” This meant one assessment carried out by the EAO was used to support separate decisions by each level of government, eliminating the duplication of two assessments for a single project.

The EAO concluded that the project would contribute to cumulative effects from marine shipping and recommended 181 federal mitigation measures to address impacts in areas of federal jurisdiction. These include measures to reduce impacts related to marine shipping, marine accidents, greenhouse gas emissions, underwater noise, fish and fish habitat, southern resident killer whales and First Nations fishing.

While the federal decision is pending, the ministers have written to the federal ministers of Environment and Climate Change, and Transport, and are urging them to impose the EAO-recommended mitigation measures if the project receives federal approval.

Key Takeaways:

  • Canada’s construction sector is poised for growth through 2033, with differing trends between the residential and non-residential sectors driving employment projections.
  • Regional variations in construction activity highlight diverse outlooks across provinces, with some experiencing growth while others face declines, particularly in the non-residential sector.
  • To address labor shortages and sustain a skilled workforce, the industry emphasizes diversification and inclusion efforts, aiming to recruit from traditionally underrepresented groups such as women, Indigenous Peoples and newcomers to Canada.

The Whole Story:

BuildForce Canada has released its latest national forecast, predicting construction sector growth through 2033.

The sector experienced a slight contraction in 2023, as growth in the non-residential sector was offset by a moderate decline in activity in the residential sector. Despite this trend, the industry continues to perform at an elevated level, and is poised to grow in the coming decade.

BuildForce Canada has released its 2024–2033 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward national forecast, finding that activity in the residential and non-residential sectors will chart different courses across the short term. The country’s residential sector, which peaked in 2021 under historically low interest-rate conditions, is expected to contract again in 2024 before experiencing an upward trend between 2025 and 2029 and then stabilize toward the end of the forecast period.

The initial period of growth is driven by a rebound in the new-housing component, which is followed in the later years by strong demand for renovation activity. These trends combine to increase employment to a peak of 6% above 2023 levels in 2028. Contractions in later years leave employment 2% above 2023 levels by 2033.

Activity in the non-residential sector is projected to remain strong across the forecast period, given the high volume of large projects planned and underway in most regions of the country. Engineering construction demands are projected to cycle lower in the short term before rebounding in middle years, in line with the schedule of planned transit projects in Ontario and B.C., as well as utility projects in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and B.C.

B.C. Premier David Eby tours a new housing project. – Province of B.C.

Meanwhile, investment in industrial, commercial, and institutional building projects is anticipated to see a steady upward curve through the decade. Demand is created by high levels of investment in the construction of institutional and government buildings, and by a rebound in commercial building construction as the economy returns to growth. Non-residential employment is projected to grow almost continuously across the forecast period, reaching a peak of 7% above 2023 levels by 2033.

These numbers are based on existing known demands and do not take into account public-sector initiatives to address housing affordability challenges, nor the anticipated increase in demand for construction services related to the retrofit of existing residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings to accommodate the electrification of the economy. Both scenarios are addressed in separate reports to be released by BuildForce at a later date.

“Construction is a key contributor to Canada’s gross domestic product, and an employer of approximately one out of every 13 working Canadians. Employment has increased by about 80% since 2002, and now counts about 1.5 million people,” said Sean Strickland, Chair of BuildForce Canada. “With further growth projected across the forecast period, the challenge before our sector is how to manage labour force pressures.”

Although labour market conditions eased in many provinces in 2023, pressures were alleviated most in the residential sector. Non-residential market conditions remained challenging in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and B.C.

“Market pressures may be easing in the residential sectors of many provinces in the short term, but even this relief may be short lived,” said Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Our outlook calls for growth to return in the residential sector in 2025 and through the middle years of the forecast in many regions. Coupled with the strong outlook for non-residential construction, labour market challenges are likely to persist throughout much of the forecast period.”

Growth forecast across most provinces into the late 2020s

Construction activity was mixed across the Atlantic provinces in 2023. Gains in the non-residential sectors in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador offset residential-sector contractions created by rising interest rates. In Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, however, residential contractions slightly surpassed non-residential gains.

The outlook calls for the provinces’ respective residential sectors to either contract or record very small gains in the near term, before returning to growth between 2025 and 2028. Prince Edward Island in particular is expected to report significant gains across this period. Renovation investment levels are also projected to increase.

Activity in the provinces’ respective non-residential sectors will fluctuate in line with various large-scale projects such as the refurbishment of the Mactaquac Dam in New Brunswick, a major hydrogen project and the Bay du Nord project in Newfoundland and Labrador, and a number of civil and health care projects. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador are all expected to report employment growth across the forecast period.

Construction activity in Quebec is expected to generally decline across the forecast period, with the residential and non-residential sectors charting different courses. The former will see activity stabilize as strong growth in residential renovations offsets contractions in new housing. The non-residential sector is projected to rise to a peak in 2024 before experiencing moderate reductions to 2030 as currently known major healthcare, education, transit, manufacturing, and utilities projects are completed.

Ontario officials break ground on a housing project in Scarborough. – Doug Ford/twitter.com

Ontario’s construction sector experienced a marginal decline in 2023 and is projected to do so again in 2024 as its residential sector recedes from recent highs. The contractions are short lived, however, as the sector returns to growth between 2025 and 2028, and remains high through 2033. The non-residential sector continues to be driven by a large inventory of major infrastructure projects and a projected recovery in commercial-building construction. These carry through until at least 2029. With employment projected to reach peak levels in the residential and non-residential sectors in 2028 and 2029, many trades and occupations could experience strained conditions.

In Manitoba, construction will be principally driven by activity in the non-residential sector. Growth will be greatest in the construction of industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings, and strong output in engineering construction in later years. Residential sector activity is projected to contract across the forecast period, with losses greatest in the new-housing component.

The outlook for Saskatchewan’s construction sector is dominated by growth in the residential sector, which is projected to strengthen between 2025 and 2028 and remain elevated to 2033. The non-residential sector, however, is projected to see little growth across most of the forecast period, and declines in later years as the current inventory of known projects is completed. A younger demographic is well positioned to replace retiring workers.

Alberta’s residential and non-residential construction sectors are both projected to record growth across the forecast period. Non-residential activity is anticipated to chart a steady trend up to the end of the decade, with growth in the oil and gas sector, as well as in engineering construction and the construction of industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings. Meanwhile, the residential sector is expected to cycle up in the short term before contracting modestly in the long run.

The outlook for B.C.’s construction sector sees varying trends. Non-residential activity is projected to experience a modest decline in the short term as several major projects reach conclusion or move past peak construction activity levels. Investment is then sustained into 2026 before work begins on a number of major engineering construction projects that carry through to 2029. Residential sector activity is expected to remain unchanged in 2024 and 2025 before the market sees a moderate up-cycle to 2029. By 2033, renovation activity is projected to surpass new-housing construction as the key driver of residential demands.

“With many provinces experiencing similar growth patterns across the forecast period, it will be challenging for employers to recruit workers from other regions or other parts of the country to fill labour gaps,” said Warren Douglas, vice-chair of BuildForce Canada. “The challenge is compounded by Canada’s aging demographic. It’s not just that more than one-quarter million workers are projected to retire from the construction sector over the forecast period. It’s also that there is a smaller pool of younger workers from which to draw their replacements. This challenge isn’t unique to construction. That means that other sectors will also be competing for the same smaller pool of new workers, thereby intensifying competition.”

Diversification will be key to addressing labour shortages

The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. Replacing retiring workers typically requires several years of pre-planning to avoid the creation of skills gaps.

By 2033, the industry’s overall hiring requirements are expected to reach 351,800 due to the retirement of approximately 263,400 workers, or 21% of the current labour force, and growth in worker demand of more than 88,000.

Based on historical trends, Canada’s construction industry is expected to draw an estimated 266,300 first-time entrants aged 30 and younger, leaving the industry with a possible retirement-recruitment gap of 85,500 workers. According to BuildForce, an ongoing commitment to apprenticeship development in both compulsory and non-compulsory trades will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled labour force over the long term.

“The construction industry remains focused on building a more diverse and inclusive labour force,” said Strickland. “The industry has been working hard to enhance the recruitment of individuals from groups traditionally under-represented in the construction labour force, such as women, Indigenous People, and newcomers to Canada. Creating greater awareness of the tremendous career opportunities for these individuals within the construction sector will be critical to ensuring the sector is able to meet its future workforce needs.”

In 2023, there were approximately 210,800 women employed in Canada’s construction industry. Of them, 28% worked directly in on-site construction. However, as a share of the total 1.18 million tradespeople employed in the industry, women accounted for just 5% of the on-site construction workforce.

Students learn critical trades skills at Skilled Trades College of Canada. – Skilled Trades College of Canada

The Indigenous population is another under-represented group that presents recruitment opportunities for the construction industry. In 2021, Indigenous People accounted for 5.1% of Canada’s construction labour force, which is a slight decline from the share of 5.2% observed in 2016, but is notably higher than the share of Indigenous workers represented in the overall labour force (4.1%). As the Indigenous population is the fastest growing in Canada and Indigenous workers seem predisposed to the pursuit of careers within the sector, there may be scope to further increase the recruitment of Indigenous People into the construction workforce.

The construction industry may also leverage newcomers over the coming decade to meet anticipated labour market requirements. Based on current trends, Canada is expected to see elevated levels of immigration over the forecast period. BuildForce stated that this will make newcomers a key contributor to the industry’s labour force. In 2022, newcomers comprised about 19% of the total construction labour force. That figure is notably lower than the 27% share newcomers make up of the overall labour force.

Increasing the participation rate of women, Indigenous People, and newcomers could help Canada’s construction industry address its future labour force needs.

The report was produced with the support and input of a variety of construction and maintenance industry stakeholders, and was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.

Ruth Legg has joined Concert Properties as vice president, environment, social & governance. Legg has spent a decade in financial services, most recently as Americas head of supply chain sustainability and diversity at HSBC. 

Jerome Julier has been appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer for Aecon. Julier brings two decades of leadership experience in finance, strategy, and capital markets with a significant focus on industrial businesses in the construction, engineering, and transportation sectors.

Elliott Altberg has been appointed executive vice president, eastern Canada, at Beedie. He joins Beedie with almost 20 years of experience in real estate in capital markets, private equity/pension fund investments, property brokerage, and corporate mergers and acquisitions at some of the most pre-eminent real estate and investment banking firms in North America.

Jennifer Mallard has been selected as principal for Henriquez Partners Architects’ new Toronto studio. Previously a partner at Diamond Schmitt, Mallard developed extensive knowledge of the Toronto market, with over 30 years of experience leading the design and delivery of civic, residential, educational and institutional projects.

Jennifer Mallard, principal, Toronto and Gregory Henriquez, managing principal. – Henriquez Partners Architects

Mike Keane has been hired as a senior project manager at Roc Modular. Keane has nearly a decade of experience in the modular construction industry, successfully managing a variety of large-scale modular multi-unit housing and commercial projects.

Josh White has been chosen as the City of Vancouver’s next general manager, planning, urban design and sustainability (PDS) following an extensive recruitment process. His most recent role was director, city and regional planning and co-chief planner at the City of Calgary.

I received an incredibly warm welcome from an almost overwhelming number of people that reached out from Vancouver today. I look forward to collaborating in confronting the challenges of housing affordability and continuing to make Vancouver even more liveable and sustainable!

Josh White, general manager, planning, urban design and sustainability, City of Vancouver

Francis Roy has been appointed chair of the Canadian Construction Association’s board of directors. A 30-year veteran of the industry, Roy is president and CEO of Groupe Humaco companies.

Shirin Oshidari has joined Salus as its chief revenue officer. Oshidari has overseen sales and services for innovative construction tech companies like Primavera, Autodesk, StreetLight Data and OpenSpace. She will spearhead Salus’ expansion into the U.S. market.

Dante Gamboa has been promoted to business development representative at 505-Junk

Frank Carillo and Nicholas Pang have joined Stack Modular as project manager and project coordinator, respectively. 

Ricardo Brites has been promoted to director of engineering & VDC at Mercer Mass Timber after two years with the company. 

Troy MacBeth Ambromaitis is leaving Bucci Developments after 11 years. Ambromaitis stated that his time at Bucci was filled with invaluable experiences, growth opportunities, and cherished memories spanning over a decade.

Ryan Pfeiffer is now a partner at Rain City Industrial where he will assume a pivotal role in leading its refrigeration division forward into a new era of innovation and excellence.

Thomas Grell has joined Graham as its executive vice president, services. Grell has nearly three decades of progressive leadership experience and a proven track record of success across diverse industries. He will lead Graham’s Services division with a focus on exceptional safety results, repeat business with key clients, and sustained growth.

Chris Colbeckpresident of Townline, has announced his retirement. Colbeck launched his real estate career in 1990. His successor will be Daryl Simpson, who is known for his work with the Urban Development Institute, the Hecht Foundation and the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

Chris Colbeck speaks at the groundbreaking of BAND, Townline’s landmark 45-storey tower in West Coquitlam. – Townline

Mission Group has restructured its senior leadership team. Randy Shier, co-founder and president is now chief product officer. Luke Turri will shift from executive vice president to president. Steve Abel will move from vice president of finance to chief financial officer. 

Lindsay Brand has been appointed chief investment officer of Concert Properties. Brand will lead Concert’s national team responsible for the income-producing property portfolio, including acquisitions, dispositions, asset and fund management, leasing and property management. She will also oversee Concert Income Properties, an open-ended, limited partnership Canadian fund.

Shane McKernan is now director of preconstruction at Axiom Builders. McKernan began his career as a Red Seal carpenter and went on to high level roles at Keltic Development and Chard Development before joining Axiom.

David Woolley is starting a new position as director of business development, western Canada, at T-RAIL Products. Woolley has more than six years of engineering design experience in the specialized railroad trackwork industry for both light rail and class one railroad agencies.

Rene Ruano has joined EllisDon as a project manager. Previously, he spent eight years at Magil Construction.

Ross Daigle, former owner of Dovie Mechanical, has joined Pitt Meadows Plumbing & Mechanical as vice president of operations. Matthew Robinson, one of the company’s partners, will now assume the role of senior vice president. James Zelinski, C.Mgr will take on the position of vice president of administration.

Paul Kelly has been promoted to vice president of operations, pipeline and Davide Fulcini has been promoted to vice president of operations, infrastructure at Surerus Murphy Joint Venture.  

Both Paul and Davide have held increasingly senior positions within Surerus Murphy and are recognized within the industry for their expertise in early contractor engagement, engineering, design, and construction, as well as their exceptional people leadership and “can do” attitudes.

Surerus Murphy

Dave Filipchuk, PCL president and CEO, has been recognized by the Canadian Construction Association as this year’s Pinnacle Leader. recognizes leaders who apply the highest standards and principles of the construction industry and business community. 

I accept this recognition humbly, knowing the credit is shared with an incredibly talented leadership team that I’m part of, and that our 5,000 plus contingent of dedicated construction professionals have made this possible.

Dave Filipchuk, PCL president and CEO

Martin Jepil has been named chief information officer at Avison Young where he will be tasked with overseeing the firm’s information technology platform and overall architecture. Jepil first joined the firm in April 2021 as Principal, Global Vice President Enterprise Architecture, responsible for delivering world-class technology solutions and products to facilitate client success.

John M. Beck, founder and chairman of Aecon, will receive the title Honorary Doctor of Laws from Assumption University. The Doctor of Laws is presented upon recommendation of Assumption University’s Senate and conferred by the Chancellor, Bishop Ronald Fabbro.

Orlene King is celebrating 15 years at Graham where she works as its senior director of communications.

Some might say that’s a long time to spend with one organization. Hasn’t always been easy but when your values align and you work with talented people, loyalty comes easy.

Orlene King, senior director, communications, Graham Group

Philippe Michalik has been promoted to director of finance and analytics, and Janet McCausland has been hired as head of corporate and external affairs at Kindred Works.

Zachary McLeod has been promoted to operations manager at Graham. He has spent 13 years at the company, originally starting as a project coordinator.

Rabih Zahnan is Wesgroup Properties‘ new senior vice president and managing director, construction. He brings over 20 years of experience in construction, commercial real estate development and operations throughout North America and overseas. He most recently held the role of president and chief operating officer at Sorensen Gross Construction Company

 Angela Sahi has been appointed as Morguard’s new president and chief operating officer. In this new role, Sahi will oversee the company’s operations and drive strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing Morguard’s market position and delivering value to its stakeholders. 

I am deeply honoured and excited to take on the role of President and COO at Morguard. I am grateful for the trust and support of the Board of Directors, and I am committed to leading Morguard toward continued growth and success. Together with our talented team, I look forward to capitalizing on new opportunities and delivering reliable performance to our investors, tenants, and partners.

Angela Sahi, Morguard president and COO

Key Takeaways:

  • Ontario will prioritize permits for students pursuing programs in high-demand areas, including skilled trades, health human resources, STEM, hospitality and child care. 
  • Officials say the change is in response to the federal governments cap on international student study permits.
  • 96% of permit applications will go to publicly assisted colleges and universities while career colleges will receive none.
  • The province said it intents to assist schools by helping them transition to programming that is aligned with labour market needs.

The Whole Story:

In response to the federal government’s cap on the number of international student study permit applications over the next two years, Ontario announced plans to prioritize public postsecondary programs for in-demand careers, including the skilled trades.

“We are protecting the integrity of our province’s postsecondary education system by attracting the best and brightest international students to Ontario to study in areas that are critical to our economy,” said Jill Dunlop, minister of colleges and universities. “We have been working with postsecondary institutions to ensure international students are enrolled in the programs to support a pipeline of graduates for in-demand jobs.”

Ontario says it will allocate 96% of permit applications to publicly assisted colleges and universities, with the remaining 4% allotted to Ontario’s language schools, private universities and other institutions. Career colleges will not receive any applications.

Applications will be allocated to institutions based on the following criteria:

  • Prioritize programs in the following high-demand areas, including skilled trades, health human resources, STEM, hospitality and child care.
  • Cannot exceed the institution’s 2023 permit levels.
  • As a final backstop, the ratio of international permits cannot exceed 55% (exclusive of high-demand areas) of the institution’s 2023 first-year domestic enrolment.

French-language enrolment will also be prioritized as employers compete for workers with French-language skills. The government says it will work with colleges and universities to support them in standing up and transitioning to programming that is aligned with labour market needs and support Ontario’s economic growth.

To protect international postsecondary students and ensure they have a positive and rewarding experience when studying in Ontario, the government:

  • Is taking action requiring all publicly assisted colleges and universities to have a guarantee that housing options are available for incoming international students.
  • Invested over $32 million in 2023-24 to support the mental health of all postsecondary students. This includes funding provided directly to postsecondary institutions through multiple grants.
  • Introduced the Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, 2024 that would, if passed, aim to enhance the student experience by putting in place additional measures to support mental health, safe and inclusive campuses and allow for increased transparency of fees, benefiting all students including international students.

International students may apply for a post-graduation work permit after graduating from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. Ontario approves DLIs under the joint provincial-federal International Student Program. DLIs are eligible to enrol international students in programs of study six months in duration or longer on a study permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

As part of the changes announced by the federal government in January 2024, international students who begin a program at a publicly assisted college that is delivered through a private partner will not be eligible for a post-graduation work permit starting on May 15, 2024.

Key Takeaways:

  • The initiative has resulted in the hiring and registering of 2075 apprentices in 37 Red Seal trades, and sent payments to more than 1020 qualified employers.
  • These payments totalled more than $15.725 million and went to businesses that took on apprentices.
  • It targeted small- and medium-sized construction employers to help them overcome the financial barriers inherent in hiring and training first-year apprentices.
  • The Apprenticeship Services program formally closes on March 31.

The Whole Story:

The BC Construction Association (BCCA) announced that it has completed delivery on the most far-reaching construction trade apprenticeship drive ever undertaken in B.C., surpassing its funding objective by $2.280 million. The Apprenticeship Services workforce development program was financed through the Government of Canada’s Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy’s Apprenticeship Service. The BCCA noted that the initiative was completed ahead of schedule and within budget. 

Employers who registered up to four first-year apprentices in BCCA’s Apprenticeship Services program could qualify to earn up to $40,000 in cash incentives over two years. Since launching in September 2022, the financial incentives offered through Apprenticeship Services have resulted in the hiring and registering of 2075 apprentices in 37 Red Seal trades, and sent payments to more than 1020 qualified employers. Over $15.725 million has been injected into the B.C. economy through BCCA’s Apprenticeship Services program.

“I’m proud of the team at BCCA who delivered the Apprenticeship Services project ahead of schedule and under budget, far exceeding important targets set by the Federal government. In addition, we were able to transfer $780,000 from our operational budget into the program as a result of our team’s efficiencies, to the direct benefit of BC’s construction employers and apprentices,” states BCCA President Chris Atchison. “Canadian taxpayers deserve nothing less than the efficient and reliable stewardship exemplified by BCCA’s outstanding management of programs like Apprenticeship Services.”

Leveraging its strong industry network and a highly successful Builders Life ad campaign, BCCA surpassed important funder targets, including in the amount of financial incentives paid and the diversity of apprentices. In addition, Apprenticeship Services drove program participants to key industry partners such as SkilledTradesBC.

The province-wide initiative was delivered to small- and medium-sized construction employers to help them overcome the financial barriers inherent in hiring and training first-year apprentices. In-demand trades such as electrical and plumbing benefitted from financial incentives.

“At a time when BC’s construction industry faces critical workforce shortages, BCCA has stepped up to support employers through workforce development programs like Apprenticeship Services,” continues Atchison. “We’re doing our part to mitigate the ongoing workforce shortage in construction. The current and foreseeable gap is too large to meet BC’s very real housing and infrastructure needs.”

A total of 1338 Apprenticeship Services program employers became signatories of the Builders Code Acceptable Worksite Culture Pledge, as part of a BCCA support and training program designed to improve worksite culture, increase worker attraction and retention, and eliminate harassment, bullying, hazing and discrimination. Continuing to improve and strengthen diversity within BC’s construction industry was a key component of funding objectives and remains an ongoing goal of the BCCA.

BCCA’s Apprenticeship Services program formally closes on March 31, 2024.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is providing up to $140 million to support water and wastewater infrastructure projects in Manitoba.
  • Officials say the partnership strengthens water systems and resources in Southern Manitoba to meet current and future water needs.
  • The work includes upgrades to the Water Treatment Facility in Brandon and the construction of a new centralized wastewater treatment plant for a group of municipalities

The Whole Story:

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is loaning a combined up to $140 million to support five communities with water and wastewater infrastructure projects in Manitoba. This green infrastructure partnership will enable construction of new facilities which will deliver cleaner water and better wastewater treatment for approximately 78,000 housing units, while supporting the communities’ sustainable growth.

Water and wastewater infrastructure plays a critical role in enabling clean waterways, protecting the local environment and safeguarding public health,” Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank, said. “Our partnership strengthens water systems and resources in Southern Manitoba to meet current and future water needs. By investing in new water and wastewater infrastructure, the CIB provides communities with the certainty they need to plan for municipal growth and future housing development opportunities.”

Investment commitments have been made with the City of Brandon and to the Red-Seine-Rat (RSR) Wastewater Cooperative, comprised of the Rural Municipality of Taché, Rural Municipality of Hanover, Rural Municipality of Ritchot, Town of Niverville, and City of Brandon.

The municipalities are further supported with funding from the Province of Manitoba and Infrastructure Canada through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Province of Manitoba acted as an aggregator, supporting and coordinating with the municipal partners.

All water and wastewater infrastructure will continue to remain publicly owned and operated by the municipalities, who remain responsible for the delivery of these essential projects.

Modern water treatment infrastructure is a critical public service for residents who depend on potable water for drinking, cooking, and washing, alongside meeting requirements for public, commercial, and industrial activities. Improved wastewater treatment systems provide opportunities for sustainable growth while protecting Canada’s freshwater resources for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Officials say the partnership means communities can deliver on their growth planning for residential, industrial, and commercial developments, while ensuring compliance with regulatory standards.

Together, the projects will provide the necessary enabling infrastructure capacity for the addition of approximately 2,300 new housing units in Brandon and 12,600 new housing units in RSR.

The new water and wastewater infrastructure will supply communities, businesses, and industries with potable water, as well as collect, treat, and discharge wastewater to manage storm water runoff. Specific details of the Brandon and RSR projects include the following.

City of Brandon

  • The Water Treatment Facility Upgrade and Expansion project will enable Manitoba’s second-largest city to provide potable water that meets and exceeds the standards set by the Manitoba Office of Drinking Water.
  • The Southwest Brandon Wastewater Servicing project will help expand coverage of existing wastewater processing facility to accommodate residential and commercial demand in this growing region of the City.

RSR (Municipalities of Taché, Hanover, Ritchot, and the Town of Niverville)

  • The project will provide the communities with a new centralized wastewater treatment plant, moving away from traditional wastewater lagoons to mechanized wastewater treatment.
  • The project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55,300 tonnes over its life, and add the significant additional capacity required to support some of the fastest growing communities in Manitoba.
  • The RSR project will also include installation of a wastewater conveyance system with approximately 90 kilometres of effluent pipeline, as well as new lift and pump stations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Calgary will receive $23 million as part of the third round of the Rapid Housing Initiative’s (RHI) city stream.
  • It will support two projects, Hope Heights and Onward.
  • The projects are expected to create at least 64 new units.

The Whole Story:

The Governments of Canada, Alberta and the City of Calgary announced combined funding of more than $23 million for Calgary, one of the 41 recipients of the third round of the Rapid Housing Initiative’s (RHI) city stream. This investment is expected to help create at least 64 new units across two projects. 

Hope Heights is being developed by HomeSpace Society into a four-storey apartment building located at 117 12 Street, in the established community of Crescent Heights just north of Downtown, Calgary. The project includes 35 one-bedroom rental units, with at least 12 units designated for women and/or women and children.

Residents will also have access to wrap-around support services on-site. The project received $7.3 million under the Cities Stream of the third round of the RHI3 from the federal government through CMHC, $872,975.00 from the City of Calgary, $2.1 million from the Government of Alberta, and $1.3 million donation from Calgary builder Hopewell. Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2024. 

“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home. Through the Rapid Housing Initiative, we are providing new homes for people who need them most right across the country including here in Calgary,” said Sean Fraser, minister of housing, infrastructure and communities.” 

Onward is developing a low-rise apartment building offering 29 affordable rental units near Westbrook Mall. Comprising of mostly 2-bedroom units, the housing will support women and children. The project called Killarney received $8.3 million under the Cities Stream of the third round of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI3) from the federal government through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), $1.1 million from the City of Calgary, and $3.4 million from the Government of Alberta. Construction is expected to be completed in late summer 2024. 

Funding for these projects is made possible by the federal government’s additional investment of $1.5 billion through RHI, bringing the program’s total to $4 billion to support those most in need across the country. The additional funding for the third round of RHI is divided into two streams: $1 billion through the Projects Stream and $500 million towards the Cities Stream.

Exceeding its initial target, this round of RHI3 is expected to help build over 5,200 new homes in Canada. The total number of homes that will be created with the support of RHI is over 15,500. 

Contributions from the Government of Alberta were made through the Affordable Housing Partnership Program (AHPP). This is cost-matched through the Canada – Alberta Bilateral Agreement under the National Housing Strategy. 

Funding for these projects is as follows: 

Hope Heights 

  • $7.4 million in funding through RHI3 Cities Stream
  • $872,975.00 from the City of Calgary 
  • $2.1 million of federal and provincial funding through the Canada – Alberta Bilateral Agreement under the National Housing Strategy (NHS)
  • $1.26 million from Calgary builder Hopewell Residential via the former RESOLVE campaign 


  • $8.3 million in funding through RHI3 Cities Stream 
  • $1.1 million from the City of Calgary
  • $3.4 million of federal and provincial funding through the Canada – Alberta Bilateral Agreement under the National Housing Strategy (NHS) 

*Editors Note: This is a developing story and content may be updated or changed as new information is released.

The world woke up Tuesday to news of one of the worst infrastructure disasters in recent memory. Information about the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland is changing rapidly but there is what we know so far.

What happened to the bridge

Dali, a container ship chartered by global shipping giant Maersk and flying under the flag of Singapore, appeared to lose power and drift into the Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday morning. Shipping data shows the vessel is 300 metres long and was bound for Colombo, Sri Lanka. The incident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Video shows the ship colliding with one of the bridge’s support columns, causing it to collapse. According to local reports, the ship issued a “mayday” shortly before the collision. Dali was also involved in a collision in 2016 in Antwerp, Belgium, according to online shipping records. Since it was built in 2015, the ship has undergone 27 inspections. 

Casualty numbers remain unclear

The exact casualty numbers are not yet known but officials are calling it a mass casualty event. Officials say a team of eight people were repairing potholes on the bridge at the time of the incident. As of Tuesday morning, two had been rescued and six were still missing. Officials added that sonar has detected vehicles in the water. All of the personnel on the vessel are accounted for, with no reported injuries.

Local and national response

Maryland Governor Wes Moore stated that his office is in close communication with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, and the Baltimore Fire Department as emergency personnel are on the scene following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. 

“I have declared a State of Emergency here in Maryland and we are working with an interagency team to quickly deploy federal resources from the Biden Administration,” said Moore. “We are thankful for the brave men and women who are carrying out efforts to rescue those involved and pray for everyone’s safety.”

President Joe Biden told reporters that he intends for the federal government to pay for the entire replacement of the bridge. 

The Port of Baltimore announced that vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore is suspended until further notice. 

“This does not mean the Port of Baltimore is closed,” officials said. “Trucks are being processed within our marine terminals. At this time we do not know how long vessel traffic will be suspended. As soon as that is determined we will provide an update. Until then please keep those involved in your prayers.”

Aging infrastructure

According to the latest Infrastructure Report Card that is issued every four years in the U.S. by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the state of Maryland’s bridges is improving as the number of poor bridges in the state continues to decline.

Approximately 5% of Maryland’s bridges were listed as “poor” condition, compared to the national average of 8.4%. However, Maryland bridge owners face growing challenges associated with an aging bridge stock. On average, Maryland bridges are 48 years old, which means they are approaching the end of their 50-year lifespan. The Francis Scott Key Bridge was 47 years old. Approximately 25% of bridges in Maryland are over 60 years old.

History of the Francis Scott Key Bridge

Construction of the steel arch-shaped continuous through truss bridge began in 1972 to alleviate traffic and maintenance concerns regarding the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel. It opened in March 1977 as the final link in I-695 Baltimore Beltway, spanning the Patapsco River at the harbor entrance. Named after Francis Scott Key, the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the bridge was seen as a significant engineering feat, being one of the longest continuous truss bridges in the United States. It is part of Maryland Route 695 and carries an estimated 11.5 million vehicles annually.

Impact on the Port of Baltimore

The Port of Baltimore not only boasts one of the major cargo hubs in the U.S. but also hosts a cruise terminal servicing Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean, offering year-round cruises. In fiscal year 2016, the cruise terminal saw off 440,000 passengers, ranking it second in the Mid-Atlantic and 11th in the U.S. for cruise passenger volume. However, the terminal’s capacity faces constraints due to limitations in accommodating multiple vessel calls per day and impending air draft restrictions at the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695).

According to the state’s Infrastructure Report Card, as both cargo and cruise ships continue to increase in size, the air draft restrictions at the Chesapeake Bay and Francis Scott Key Bridges will pose significant challenges. Engineers noted in 2020 that ships taller than 185 feet risk safety concerns passing under the bridges to and from the Port of Baltimore, with some of the largest vessels nearing an air draft of 230 feet.

A map shows the Port of Baltimore with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in red. – Creative Commons License

Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx have issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Stations, Rail and Systems (SRS) contract for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension (ECWE).

This package of work will be procured through a progressive design-build contract model. The scope of work includes:

  • Seven new stations;
  • installation, testing, and commissioning of all rail and track components and systems equipment;
  • roadway modifications and utility works; and
  • coordination with project companies on handover items from the advance tunnelling and elevated guideway contracts.

The RFQ is the first step in the procurement process to select a team to deliver the ECWE SRS package. IO and Metrolinx will evaluate submissions to prequalify teams with the relevant experience and financial capacity to deliver a project of this size and complexity. Interested companies must register with www.merx.com to download the RFQ.

The 9.2-kilometre Eglinton Crosstown West Extension is being delivered in four separate procurement contracts. The contracts include:

  • The first advance tunnelling contract, which covers the underground segment of the line between Renforth Drive and Scarlett Road;
  • The second advance tunnelling contract, which covers the underground segment of the line between Jane Street and Mount Dennis Station;
  • The contract for the elevated guideway (managed by Metrolinx), which covers the above-ground section of the route between Scarlett Road and Jane Street; and,
  • The Stations, Rail, and Systems contract.

Key Takeaways:

  • The company’s acquisition of Cervus Equipment in 2021 included material handling operations from Alberta through Manitoba.
  • The company now wants to expand its material handling business nationwide, creating a new and separate division. 
  • It will focus on delivering premium forklift brands. 

The Whole Story:

The Brandt Group of Companies has announced a major expansion to its material handling equipment dealer network in a move that is expected to generate $500 million in new revenue and up to 300 new jobs over the next three years.

The company’s acquisition of Cervus Equipment in 2021 included material handling operations from Alberta through Manitoba. Brandt has now announced its intentions to deepen and expand its commitment to the material handling industry in Canada. The company will expand its material handling business nationwide, creating a new and separate division. 

“We believe that the material handling sector is primed for growth and in need of a nationwide alternative to the existing patchwork of small dealer groups,” said Shaun Semple, CEO of Brandt. “That is why we’re using the lessons we have learned from growing the agriculture, construction & forestry, and transportation pillars of our business to create a fourth pillar to serve the material handling industry.”

Brandt officials explained that Canada depends on its material handling operations across the country—from ports and transportation hubs to warehouses and distribution centres. Lift trucks and other material handling equipment and related infrastructure are essential to support the flow of goods to Canadians and support the country’s ongoing national growth.

Brandt officials added that they recognize that an opportunity exists to provide tailored solutions and to build deeper, stronger relationships with companies that operate lift trucks across the country. Brandt is uniquely suited to leverage their customer-focused brand promise to ensure customers have access to the equipment, specialists, parts, and service required to run thriving businesses.

As part of this expansion, Brandt says it plans to grow its network of material handling focused stores into new territories focused on delivering premium forklift brands backed by a dedicated rental fleet, parts network and dedicated service network focused on repair work and preventative maintenance.

A map shows Brandt locations worldwide. – Brandt

Key Takeaways:

  • PCL says the agreement will allow it to train and empower its project teams to de-risk its projects around contract compliance.
  •  Officials state that after exploring at least five various solutions, Document Crunch demonstrated the ability to leverage PCL’s current internal processes and improve and automate them.
  • Document Crunch was founded in 2019 by Josh Levy, Adam Handfinger and Adam Nadler—two lawyers and a serial businessman.

The Whole Story:

Document Crunch, an AI contract intelligence platform, and PCL Construction, Canada’s largest contractor, have announced a major partnership.

PCL will use Document Crunch’s AI platform to train and empower its project teams to de-risk its projects around contract compliance.

PCL stated that since launching in 2019, Document Crunch has quickly become the industry leader in construction contract risk review and mitigation through its proprietary AI solutions that simplify contracts, standardize contract review by identifying critical risks, and transfer contract knowledge from the back office to the field, allowing for better contract compliance by project teams.

“Our bigger vision has always been around project teams being better enabled at contract compliance,” said Josh Levy, co-founder and CEO of Document Crunch. “We made a significant investment into building an enterprise-grade product ready to be adopted by project teams across the board. This includes meeting the highest data security and privacy standards, having just completed our SOC 2 Type II compliance audit. PCL was an early adopter and an excellent partner who helped us get over the threshold from good early solution to enterprise ready. This partnership is a strong signal that our vision is real, and that our product is ready to be operationalized every day across projects within construction operations.”

Document Crunch was founded in 2019 by Josh Levy, Adam Handfinger and Adam Nadler—two lawyers and a serial businessman.

PCL explained that they recognized the need to ensure consistency in managing contracts throughout the project lifecycle, as well as the need to create a standardized workflow for the complete transfer of ownership and direction from one responsible party to another at every stage of a project.

“After exploring at least five various solutions, Document Crunch gave us the ability to leverage our current internal processes and improve and automate them,” said Mark Bryant, chief information officer at PCL. “Consistent behavior and approach produce consistent results. This means our customers can be assured we manage project expectations with the same lens regardless of the team.”

According to PCL, the partnership validates Document Crunch’s impact and mission to empower everyone in construction—from the back office to project teams—to understand what’s in their contracts. The contractor added that It also sets new standards for risk review, contract compliance and project management workflows, ultimately leading to a less risky and more profitable industry. .

“The only thing for certain is that change will occur,” said Bryant. “We prefer to be shaping it to the best of our abilities, not trying to catch up.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Saskatchewan’s latest budget is proposing $4.4 billion to go towards capital projects.
  • Much of the spending will focus on schools, roads and hospitals.
  • It is part of nearly $18 billion more over the next four years that will be spent on major capital projects.

The Whole Story:

Saskatchewan plans to invest an all-time high $4.4 billion in capital projects to support schools,  healthcare, roads, power facilities and more.

This includes nearly $1.9 billion in capital projects across executive government and approximately $2.6 billion in capital projects by the province’s commercial Crown corporations.

“Saskatchewan’s economy and population are growing rapidly and with that growth comes a need for new, expanded and renewed infrastructure,” Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said. “This year’s investment of $4.4 billion, part of nearly $18 billion more over the next four years, ensures we will continue to build the classrooms, health facilities and other infrastructure to support our province’s growth for years to come.”  

The 2024-25 Budget includes the largest investment ever in health capital of more than $516.8 million, an increase of nearly $180.0 million compared to the previous year. This will support a number of ongoing major projects, including:

  • $180.0 million for construction of the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital redevelopment project;  
  • $55.0 million for construction of the Weyburn General Hospital replacement project;
  • $27.0 million for construction of the La Ronge long-term care (LTC) project;
  • $21.9 million to complete construction of the Regina General Hospital parkade project;  
  • $20.0 million to support procurement and design activities on the Regina LTC specialized beds project;
  • $10.0 million for construction of the Grenfell LTC project;  
  • $4.0 million for procurement of Regina LTC standard beds;  
  • $3.0 million to continue work on the Saskatoon Urgent Care Centre;
  • $2.8 million for the St. Paul’s Front Entrance Expansion project;
  • $2.5 million to advance the Estevan LTC redevelopment project;
  • $1.5 million to advance the Watson LTC project;  
  • $1.0 million for planning for the Yorkton Regional Health Centre replacement project; and
  • $750,000 to advance planning on various projects, including St. Anthony’s Hospital in Esterhazy, Rosthern Hospital and the Battlefords District Care Centre.

The budget invests $216 million in school infrastructure, including:

  • $165.9 million to support ongoing projects, including 11 new or consolidated school projects and three major renovations in Lanigan, Carlyle, La Loche, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Regina, Prince Albert, Balgonie and Wilcox
  • $28.5 million for the Relocatable Classroom Program to support enrolment growth.  
  • $8.8 million in funding to begin planning for nine new schools and two renovations.
  • $12.8 million for minor capital renewal projects that allow school divisions to address structural repairs and renovations to prolong the life of schools across the province.

“This year’s Capital Budget supports classrooms, care and communities through health and education projects in dozens of communities across Saskatchewan,” SaskBuilds and Procurement Minister Joe Hargrave said. “Thanks to this year’s investment in infrastructure, we are not only on track to exceed our Growth Plan goal of investing $30 billion by 2030, but we have also now invested approximately $47.2 billion since 2008-09 to serve the growing infrastructure needs of families and communities.”

Budget 2024-25 invests $59.0 million in Saskatchewan’s post-secondary infrastructure, including:

  • $24.6 million for maintenance and upgrades to help meet the needs of students and staff;
  • $8.7 million for an electrical infrastructure upgrade at the University of Saskatchewan;
  • $7.8 million to support new domestic health care training programs (Occupational Therapy, Speech Language Pathology and Physician Assistant programs);
  • $6.3 million for cooling tower replacement at the University of Regina;
  • $6.0 million for planning work for Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s new Saskatoon campus;
  • $3.5 million for further expansion in health care training programs; and
  • $610,000 to expand the student health care centre at the University of Regina.

The 2024-25 Budget invests $417.3 million in transportation infrastructure, providing $403.9 million to improve more than 1,100 kilometres of Saskatchewan’s provincial highway network, including continued construction and design of passing lanes and twinning projects to increase safety and improve traffic flow, as well as repairing or rebuilding 17 bridges and replacing roughly 100 culverts around the province.  

This budget provides $350.1 million in transfers to municipalities for infrastructure projects through several programs, including the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, Canada Community-Building Fund and the New Building Canada Fund.  

Budget 2024-25 invests $301.9 million in government services infrastructure, including:  

  • $78.9 million in various water-related infrastructure projects;  
  • $60.8 million for courts and correctional facilities and equipment, including continued construction of the remand expansion at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre;
  • $21.7 million for the development of supportive housing spaces in Regina and Saskatoon, and to repair, maintain and replace provincially owned housing units; and
  • $13.3 million for capital projects throughout the parks system to improve visitor experience, including construction of a new service centre at Nut Point Campground in Lac La Ronge Provincial Park. Improvements and upgrades will also take place at Pike Lake, Narrow Hills, Moose Mountain, Rowan’s Ravine and Crooked Lake provincial parks, as well as Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

Saskatchewan’s Crown corporations will spend approximately $2.6 billion on capital projects this year to support economic growth and maintain and improve utility infrastructure. This includes:

  • Approximately $1.6 billion investment in SaskPower’s electricity system;
  • $416.9 million through SaskEnergy for the province’s natural gas transmission and distribution system; and
  • $570.8 million through SaskTel, SGI Canada Auto Fund, SaskWater, SaskGaming and Crown Investments Corporation.

This month’s SiteViews features many smiling faces, a big catch, grand openings and more. If you want your photos to be featured, let us know by reaching out to hello@readsitenews.com

A Few Good Lads

A Few Good Lads celebrates its team’s diversity on the job site.

Faber Construction

Faber Construction celebrates the completion of Kulshan Community Land Trust‘s 142nd permanently affordable home.

Tahltan Nation Development Corporation

Year two of the Tahltan Heavy Equipment Operator Program is in full swing, with the new Level 1 participants wrapping up their first week at the Newmont Red Chris Mine in B.C.

Axiom Builders

Axiom Builders’ crews are hard at work at The Amazing Brentwood, Neighbourhood Two. Now that excavation and shoring is complete, totalling over 182,000 cubic meters of soil, the team is focusing on constructing the underground concrete structure and working their way up towards their next milestone, reaching the ground level.

Ventana Construction

Ventana‘s crews stay positive on a job site in B.C.

Sierra Construction

 The Sierra General Contracting team has been busy work on plant expansion in Woodstock, Ont. Working with Tresman Steel Industries Ltd., they have begun the commencement of steel erection with the ongoing installation of open web steel joists.


This is the view crews get from the other side of the yellow retention towers at Queen-Spadina while doing work on the Ontario Line. Behind the walls, demolition is 90% complete.


Ledcor’s Edmonton construction team hosted their second annual ice fishing event in celebration of International Women’s Day. The event brought together over 30 women from Ledcor, client partners, volunteers, Alberta Conservation, and Alberta Fish and Wildlife to cheer on and support one another.

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation

Crews celebrate the substantial completion of the BMO Centre Expansion project in Calgary.

Associated Engineering

Crews lift pieces into place for the Edmonton-Strathcona Footbridge project. The team includes Associated Engineering and Graham Construction.

S & J Construction

S & J Construction‘s team executes a pile cap pour in sunny downtown Winnipeg.

Cooper Equipment Rentals Limited, a Canadian-owned and operated construction equipment rental company, has purchased 100% of the shares of Alberta-based Action Equipment Rentals Inc.

Action was formed in 1991 by Reginald Bloomfield and his father Ray Bloomfield in Sundre, Alta. to serve the central Alberta market. The company opened a second location in Red Deer about a year later. In 2015, Action consolidated operations in Red Deer, and under the leadership of general manager, Gabriel Castella-Chin, embarked on an ambitious plan to renew their rental fleet and grow their market share.

“Joining a Canadian-owned company with an excellent reputation was important in our decision to join the Cooper family. We are looking forward to continuing to serve Central Alberta with the benefits and resources that allow us to expand our presence and continually improve our already excellent service,” said Castella-Chin.

Cooper officials explained that Action’s prime location and facility in Red Deer intensifies their coverage in the important Alberta market, and Action’s strong presence in Alberta enhances Cooper’s ability to serve customers better in Western Canada.

“I was once told that ‘if you build it, they will come’. That was our charge for Action Rentals from the start, and this is the next natural step going forward. Cooper will take what we built and continue to build so they will come. And if we treat them right, they will stay,” said Reginald Bloomfield, founder, Action.

Action joins the Cooper family as the Red Deer branch and will continue to be led by Gabriel Castella-Chin, supported by Action employees.

“Action has built a fine business with a reputation for quality and integrity in the construction equipment industry, and we are proud to welcome them into the Cooper family as we continue to grow our Company across Canada,” said Doug Dougherty, CEO, Cooper.

Key Takeaways:

  • A total of 17 new projects in Metro Vancouver have been selected through the third intake of the Building BC: Community Housing Fund (CHF).
  • The proposed projects will provide a total of 1,954 affordable rental homes.
  • Additional projects on Vancouver Island, in the Interior and North will be announced later this week

The Whole Story:

Nearly 2,000 new affordable homes are on the way for renters in Metro Vancouver, through partnerships between the Province and local non-profit housing providers.

A total of 17 new projects in Metro Vancouver have been selected through the third intake of the Building BC: Community Housing Fund (CHF). The proposed projects will provide a total of 1,954 affordable rental homes for individuals, families, seniors, people living with disabilities and Indigenous people in B.C.

“Everyone deserves a decent home they can actually afford,” said Premier David Eby. “That’s why we’re taking unprecedented actions to rapidly build more affordable housing throughout the province, including through the Community Housing Fund. This latest round of funding will bring much-needed homes to every region of our province – from our fastest-growing cities to rural and remote areas – helping everyone find a decent home in the community they love.”

The announcement took place at 7567-140 St. in Surrey, the future site of an affordable housing project that will be operated by Kekinow Native Housing Society. Expected to be completed in late spring 2024, the project previously received CHF funding for Phase 2 of the development to build more than 100 homes for Indigenous people. The society will be receiving CHF funding for another project as one of the successful proponents from the CHF call for proposals issued in fall 2023.

“Through our Homes for People action plan, we are taking action to deliver affordable housing faster, and the Community Housing Fund is a key part of the plan,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of housing. “These new homes mean that more people in B.C. will benefit from affordable homes in the communities they love, where they can grow their families and age in place.”

Including these projects, the province, through BC Housing, has identified more than 40 new projects to move forward, totalling approximately 3,500 affordable rental homes. Additional projects on Vancouver Island, in the Interior and North will be announced later this week. This brings the total to 12,500 affordable rental homes that are already open or underway through the CHF program since its launch in 2018.

The Community Housing Fund is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has nearly 78,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are three major construction phases of the redevelopment, which will be run as two separate projects.
  • In addition to schematic design drawings, residents were able to view a video simulating a flyover of the new patient tower and power plant.
  • The next step is design development, which entails creating the entire construction plan, including building finishes as well as plumbing and electrical components. 

The Whole Story:

Alberta’s government has offered a sneak peek at what’s planned for the massive Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre redevelopment.

In addition to schematic design drawings, residents were able to view a video simulating a flyover of the new patient tower and power plant. Project representatives were also on hand to speak about the project. The session was attended by about 150 residents, media and officials including Ken Johnston, mayor of Red Deer.

Alberta’s government made the first significant commitment and progress on the hospital by allocating $100 million in Budget 2020, followed by another $1.8-billion commitment in Budget 2022. 

“We were excited to share schematic designs for the Red Deer Hospital redevelopment yesterday,” said Pete Guthrie, minister of infrastructure. “The number of people who attended the session validates the importance of this project to the central region. We are proud of the role Infrastructure is playing in delivering one of the most ambitious hospital redevelopment projects in Alberta’s history.”

Design work began in June 2023. With schematic design now complete, the hospital redevelopment is on schedule and on budget. The next stage of the project, design development, is now underway. Once complete, the new expansion will add up to 200 beds to the existing facility, bringing the total number of beds to up to 570.

“As the MLA for Red Deer-North and the Health Minister, I’m very proud of the progress we’ve achieved, and I remain dedicated to advocating for this project,” said Adriana LaGrange, minister of health. “Albertans should be able to access health care when and where they need it. This project will improve health outcomes for Albertans living in Red Deer and across central Alberta by increasing the facility’s capacity and providing much-needed services and resources, including new cardiac catheterization labs, close to home.”

View of Central Alberta Cancer Centre (CACC) New Drop-off from 52nd Avenue

View of Power Plant Addition

View of New Patient Tower Entry from 39th Street

There are three major construction phases of the redevelopment, which will be run as two separate projects:

  • Project 1: construction of a new inpatient tower, and an expansion and renovation of the existing hospital’s main building. 
  • Project 2: construction of an ambulatory care building using a public-private partnership (P3) delivery model.  

The project will upgrade several services throughout the hospital site including:

  • an additional inpatient tower 
  • six new operating rooms 
  • new Medical Device Reprocessing department 
  • new cardiac catheterization labs 
  • renovations to various areas within the main building 
  • newly renovated and expanded emergency department, and  
  • a new ambulatory clinic building to be located adjacent to the surface parkade. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Mercer Mass Timber is launching its own construction services division that will integrate engineering, manufacturing, and construction teams under one roof.
  • The new division will offer a wide range of services, including full mass timber structure erection, logistics planning, lift/bracing engineering, site supervision/consultation and more.
  • Officials stated that the expansion will allow developers and owners to unlock the full potential of mass timber.

The Whole Story:

Mercer Mass Timber is expanding beyond materials production with the launch of its own construction service division. 

The Vancouver-based manufacturer of timber building materials announced Mercer Mass Timber Construction Services will offer both comprehensive on-site installation for fully integrated construction and project consultancy for clients seeking expert guidance and strategic support. 

Mercer stated that this expansion marks a significant step forward for Mercer Mass Timber, enabling customers to achieve greater project efficiency and faster completion times.

By offering comprehensive planning, scheduling, on-site installation, and quality control from one vendor, we’re empowering developers and owners to unlock the full potential of mass timber.

Brian Merwin, senior vice president at Mercer Mass Timber

Mercer officials explained that historically, the construction industry has faced challenges with fragmented processes and siloed communication between a wide range of stakeholders. These operational silos are further impacted by lagging technological advancement and digitization, an aging workforce, and a lack of skilled workers, which widens issues like poor information sharing, uncoordinated efforts, and ultimately, project inefficiencies and failures.

Mercer Mass Timber believes its new division bridges this gap by integrating engineering, manufacturing, and construction teams under one roof for unparalleled control over the entire construction process. This holistic approach fosters collaboration, ensuring safe, rapid, and risk-managed installation for mass timber projects.

Mercer Mass Timber’s Construction Services plans to take a vertically integrated approach, minimizing project complexities by taking control at every stage. This means meticulously detailed production plans, combined with in-house engineering expertise and precise logistics work together to deliver faster completion times and reduced costs.

The company explained that controlling the entire process allows its team to optimize communication and resource allocation, leading to less waste, minimized risks, and streamlined construction schedules. 

“In order to be competitive in today’s market, our customers need the assurance that their projects will be completed on-time, on-budget, and with exceptional aesthetics and quality,” said Brian Merwin, senior vice president at Mercer Mass Timber. “Now, with the launch of Construction Services, we’re extending our mass timber production capabilities to support the entire project lifecycle with a value engineering led approach. By offering comprehensive planning, scheduling, on-site installation, and quality control from one vendor, we’re empowering developers and owners to unlock the full potential of mass timber. At Mercer Mass Timber, we’re not just building structures; we’re revolutionizing the way construction works.”

Construction Services key offerings include:

  • Full mass timber structure erection: Utilizing proprietary mass timber-specific tools, Mercer Mass Timber handles the complete timber installation process, including layout, crane management, mass timber rigging, temporary structure bracing, and hardware installation.
  • Logistics planning & installation sequencing: Meticulous planning ensures efficient material delivery and on-site management.
  • Lift/bracing engineering: In-house engineering expertise ensures safe and efficient lifting and bracing solutions.
  • Site supervision/consultation: Dedicated superintendents and construction managers provide on-site oversight and support throughout the installation process.
  • Construction scheduling: Advanced scheduling tools optimize resource allocation and minimize delays.
  • Modelling & technology: Project models that simulate construction activities and BIM technology ensure seamless communication and coordination.
  • Project management: Detailed plans and close collaboration with clients, subcontractors, and suppliers ensure smooth project execution.
  • Labor management: Vertical integration with engineering and manufacturing teams optimizes workflow and resource allocation.
  • Quality control: Unwavering commitment to quality ensures projects meet the highest standards.
  • Water mitigation implementation: Working knowledge and expertise of mass timber water mitigation strategies to best meet client goals.

British Columbia and Alberta have some things in common. Both are unusually dependent on natural resource-based industries to drive their economies and supply the exports that are vital to sustaining prosperity. Both have been experiencing robust population growth over the last few years. And neither has been well-served by a distant national government in Ottawa with a policy thrust focused more on keeping natural resources in the ground than on harnessing them in an environmentally sustainable way for the benefit of all Canadians.

Recently, B.C. Premier David Eby and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith released their budgets for the coming year, and it is here where it becomes clear that other than sharing a border and natural resource advantages, not much else binds the two provinces together. Perhaps the greatest schism is the difference in the two premiers’ economic vision.

To begin with, Alberta’s updated fiscal plan aims to stay in the black, with small operating surpluses expected over the forecast horizon. B.C. is taking a different path, one featuring unprecedented annual deficits as the NDP government ramps up spending in advance of the fall 2024 election and gives free rein to its ideological inclinations to expand the size and reach of government. The Fraser Institute recently reported that in the three years from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to Q2 of last year, 94% of net new payroll jobs created in B.C. were in the public sector. This lopsided labour market is one sign of B.C.’s deteriorating business climate.

Returning to the fiscal outlook, B.C. is planning to incur a combined operating deficit of $28 billion from 2023/24 through 2026/27, which is a marked departure from the surpluses posted over most of the preceding dozen years. For its part, Alberta is banking on continued budget surpluses, albeit significantly smaller than the $5.2 billion in black ink projected for the current fiscal year (2023/24).

It is worth noting that Alberta’s surpluses are set to shrink beyond 2023/24 in part because of assumed softer global oil markets – the province garners up to one-quarter of its revenues from energy royalties. Should oil prices trade higher than the government’s forecast, the small surpluses pencilled into Budget 2024 would increase significantly, further strengthening Alberta’s financial position over the medium-term.

Turning to government spending, while both provinces are facing pressure in areas like heath care and housing costs, owing in part to surging populations, the idea of spending restraint is clearly less popular in Victoria than Edmonton. The B.C. NDP government intends to boost expenditures by 8% in 2024/25. In Alberta, expenditure growth next year will come in at roughly half of that figure.

The two provinces have both embraced ambitious capital spending plans, which involve long-term borrowing outside of the confines of the annual operating budget. Total B.C. public sector capital spending will climb to $18-19 billion per year over 2024/25-2026/27. Alberta’s revised capital plan foresees $25 billion being spent on infrastructure and other public sector capital assets in the next three years. Public sector capital outlays in B.C. include borrowing undertaken by large Crown corporations like B.C. Hydro and ICBC – which don’t exist in Alberta.

Alberta also has structural advantages over B.C. and the rest of the country in the form of lower tax rates and lower debt levels. Alberta has no provincial sales tax and a lower business income tax rate (8% vs 12% in B.C.). And Alberta’s public sector debt is roughly 9.3% of GDP and on track to decrease in the coming years, whereas B.C.’s is currently 17.6% of GDP and expected to climb to 27.5% by 2026/27.

Overall, the two budgets suggest Alberta is very well-positioned to continue to lead the country in economic growth, business investment, and wage increases in the next few years. Albertans already enjoy an average GDP per person almost $28,000 higher than the comparable figure in B.C. Alberta should continue to reap the advantages of lower taxes and healthier provincial finances.

The extraordinary growth in government in B.C., combined with its large operating deficits and fast-rising debt/GDP ratio, mean that taxpayers should brace themselves for the inevitability of significant tax hikes and lagging investment and lower incomes in the future.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA), the largest construction association in Canada, represents more than 4,000 members and clients through chapters in Alberta and British Columbia. ICBA is one of the leading independent providers of group health and retirement benefits in western Canada, supporting more than 170,000 Canadians. ICBA is also the leading sponsor of trades apprentices in B.C. www.icba.ca and www.icbaalberta.ca