Enbridge, Indigenous groups plan Saskatchewan wind project

Key Takeaways:

  • The Seven Stars Energy Project is expected to produce 200 megawatts of emissions–free power – enough to support the annual energy needs of more than 100,000 Saskatchewan homes.
  • It will be developed, constructed and operated by a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Enbridge.
  • Financial participation of the partners will be supported, in part, by loan guarantees of up to $100 million from the Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation (SIIFC).
  • The First Nation and Métis partners have an opportunity to acquire equity ownership of at least 30% in the Project. 

The Whole Story:

Enbridge Inc. and Six Nations Energy Development LP – a newly-created consortium of Cowessess First Nation, George Gordon First Nation, Kahkewistahaw First Nation, Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, Pasqua First Nation and White Bear First Nations – announced plans to advance development of a new wind energy project southeast of Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

The Seven Stars Energy Project is expected to produce 200 megawatts of emissions–free power – enough to support the annual energy needs of more than 100,000 Saskatchewan homes. It will be developed, constructed and operated by a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Enbridge.

“Partnerships like this take commitment, creativity and ultimately a leap of faith,” said Jake Sinclair, President of Six Nations Energy Development LP. “I am proud of our team who have leaned-in with Enbridge on the ultimate goal of delivering a sustainable project that provides both energy to Saskatchewan and strong financial returns for Enbridge and the First Nations and Métis partners for many years to come.”

Financial participation of the partners will be supported, in part, by loan guarantees of up to $100 million from the Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation (SIIFC). The First Nation and Métis partners have an opportunity to acquire equity ownership of at least 30% in the Project. 

The project is targeted to be operational in 2027, subject to finalizing commercial agreements, securing the necessary environmental and regulatory approvals, and meeting investment criteria. Enbridge is working toward securing a long-term power purchase agreement with SaskPower to support final investment decisions, anticipated in 2025.

“This is a game-changer for the Indigenous Nations, Métis and First Nations,” said Chief Matthew Peigan of Pasqua First Nation. “This project will produce emissions-free electricity for Saskatchewan and provide a stable source of revenue that will benefit our people for many years to come. We are pleased Enbridge sees that meaningful Indigenous ownership is the way to build energy infrastructure in this country and we look forward to developing this Project together.”

Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Brent Digness said this is a moment to not only benefit the environment but support the long-term well-being of Saskatchewan communities and advance First Nation and Métis economic reconciliation.

“It takes teamwork to complete complex projects like Seven Stars Energy. The MN–S government has taken steps to minimize risk to our citizens and will work with the federal government to secure additional support for our investment,” he said.

Matthew Akman, Enbridge’s Executive Vice President noted that this is Enbridge’s first Indigenous partnership focused on wind energy generation and its first Indigenous partnership in Saskatchewan. “The clean electricity Enbridge and our Indigenous partners will provide will help meet the demand for safe, reliable and affordable energy for residential, small business and industrial use well into the future,” he said. “This is a unique opportunity for the growth of our renewables portfolio, and one that I am excited to advance alongside our new partners.”

Key Takeaways:

  • A recent engineering report revealed serious structural issues with the roof of the Ontario Science Centre. To prioritize visitor and staff safety, the facility has been closed.
  • The government is actively searching for a temporary location to house the Ontario Science Centre’s programs until a new, state-of-the-art facility is built at Ontario Place. This new permanent location is expected to open by 2028.
  • The province is reimbursing memberships and summer camp fees. They’ve also secured a nearby school to host the previously planned summer camps free of charge. The Ontario Science Centre is exploring alternative programming options during the closure.

The Whole Story:

Officials have closed the Ontario Science Centre after an engineering assessment revealed structural concerns with roof panels.

As a result of a new report from professional engineers that found serious structural issues with the Ontario Science Centre building that could materialize as early as this winter, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Science Centre have recommended and the Board of Trustees of the Ontario Science Centre has agreed to close the facility. Previously scheduled private events will be permitted to occur over the weekend.

“The actions taken today will protect the health and safety of visitors and staff at the Ontario Science Centre while supporting its eventual reopening in a new, state-of-the-art facility,” said Kinga Surma, minister of infrastructure. “In the meantime, we are making every effort to avoid disruption to the public and help the Ontario Science Centre continue delivering on its mandate through an interim facility, as well as alternative programming options.”

Infrastructure Ontario commissioned the engineering report by Rimkus Consulting Group due to reports of roof failure in other jurisdictions that used specific roof panels also found at the Ontario Science Centre facility. The report found that the building, which is more than 50 years old, is at risk of potential roof panel failure due to snow load as early as this winter.

he latest engineering assessment shows that the roof structure in parts of the facility was built using construction materials and systems that are now outdated and that certain roof panels are deteriorating. While the building remains safe over the summer with an enhanced process for rainwater monitoring and roof facility management, these months will be required for staff to safely vacate the building.

“Infrastructure Ontario and its predecessor agency have worked for decades to assess, manage and mitigate the challenges presented by aging infrastructure. As in all the public buildings we manage, the safety of everyone visiting or working in those buildings is our top priority,” said Michael Lindsay, CEO of Infrastructure Ontario. “Through planned diligence with our facility managers and engineers, we discovered material issues, in addition to existing issues, at the Ontario Science Centre that would require significant investment and a vacant facility to remediate.”

Recognizing the impact of this sudden closure, the province is reimbursing all members of the Ontario Science Centre and summer camp participants within 30 days. The province has also identified a nearby school that will house similar programming as an alternative location for summer camps free of charge for previously registered campers.

Infrastructure Ontario will be releasing a Request for Proposals to help identify a temporary location for the Ontario Science Centre, while work continues to build a new permanent home for the Science Centre at Ontario Place with an opening slated for as early as 2028. The Ontario Science Centre is also exploring opportunities for alternative programming, such as mobile, pop-up experiences and virtual.

“For more than five decades, the Ontario Science Centre has been a beloved landmark and an integral part of our community and our province. Our building itself has been part of the experience, and a cherished space for generations of visitors, sparking wonder and curiosity about science and the world around us, every day.” said Paul Kortenaar, CEO of Ontario Science Centre. “The memories created within these walls are truly special – and are the foundation on which we will build our future.”

The Ontario Science Centre relocation business case demonstrated that the existing Ontario Science Centre building will reach the end of its useful design life in three to five years from when the business case was released. It also outlined that relocating the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place will save taxpayers over $257 million over a 50-year period, when compared to remaining at the current location.

While work to identify a temporary location is underway, the province continues to make progress on its plan to build a new state-of-the-art building for the Ontario Science Centre at Ontario Place, which will feature approximately 15% more permanent exhibit space than the current site.

Earlier this year, Infrastructure Ontario released a Request for Qualifications to begin the procurement process to identify a team that will design, build, finance and maintain the new state-of-the-art home for the Ontario Science Centre at Ontario Place.

Graham has been awarded the Early Contractor Involvement Contract for the new Regina Specialized Long-Term Care project.

The Progressive Design Build Agreement allows the government to enter a contract with a single proponent for the design and construction of this project but also provides an “off-ramp” if the government is unable to conclude negotiations with Graham at an acceptable price for the build. 

“Our government is committed to providing seniors and other residents in long-term care with safe and comfortable spaces to live,” Minister Responsible for Seniors Tim McLeod said. “We are investing $20 million this year to further advance work on the future 240-bed Specialized Long-Term Care Home in Regina. I look forward to these additional long-term care spaces being available to support the needs of residents requiring specialized care.”

The Regina Specialized LTC Home is expected to be built as a multi-story building designed to create a home-like environment with individual rooms featuring ensuite bathrooms and indoor and outdoor multipurpose spaces. More details will be shared once the design is finalized.

The new home will be built on a site owned by the Government of Saskatchewan, located south of the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Regina Campus. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will own and operate the facility.

This specialized LTC home will focus on caring for individuals with dementia, cognitive and acquired brain injuries, and other complex behavioral needs.

Graham Construction noted that it’s team has a strong history of delivering medical facility projects in Saskatchewan, including the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital in Moose Jaw, the Southwest Integrated Health Care Facility in Maple Creek, the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon, and the recently completed Regina Urgent Care Centre.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Government of Saskatchewan to deliver the new Regina Specialized Long-Term Care Home as a local contractor. Projects like this are immensely significant to us, and we take great pride in positively impacting our province and communities,” said Brad Kornum, Graham Construction district manager.

Design will commence immediately, and construction is anticipated to begin in early 2025.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Ontario government signed agreements with four First Nations to upgrade roads and build new infrastructure near mineral-rich areas. This improved infrastructure is expected to unlock economic opportunities in resource development and better connect First Nations communities to the province’s highway network.
  • The project prioritizes First Nations involvement by including funding for skills training programs for resource development and ensuring First Nations workers are involved in construction.
  • The agreements go beyond just roads. The project includes funding for a rest stop, relocation of a police station, and collaboration on a pre-charge diversion program.

The Whole Story:

The Government of Ontario has signed Letters of Confirmation with four First Nations to create infrastructure near mineral-rich areas.

Agreements were signed with the Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation and Long Lake #58 First Nation to unlock economic and resource development opportunities in northern Ontario, including future critical minerals projects.

“As we rebuild Ontario’s economy, our government is developing meaningful partnerships with First Nations across Ontario that create real opportunities for economic growth and job creation,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Together with First Nations partners, we’re improving and upgrading northern roads to better connect First Nations communities to the province’s highway network and to support future critical mineral and resource development opportunities. These are all season roads that will support First Nations communities, built by First Nations workers.”

The commitments outlined in the Letters of Confirmation include an agreement to upgrade the roads that connect First Nations communities to the provincial highway network and contain funding for other community infrastructure and skills training programs for First Nations people, including in resource development.

The agreement includes the following:

  • Building and improving the highway infrastructure that will help connect more First Nations communities to the province’s highway network. This work includes maintenance and upgrades to Highway 584 and Highway 11, with work starting this construction season.
  • $1.9 million from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development for the Indigenous Workforce Development Program through the province’s Skills Development Fund. The program will provide training and support to secure jobs related to mineral development in the region.
  • $2 million to fund the construction and maintenance of the Migizi Plaza Rest Stop, which will serve the needs of First Nation members, tourists and residents, create jobs and drive revenue for the First Nations and Municipality of Greenstone.
  • The province will work to relocate the Greenstone OPP detachment, with support for the relocation costs from Greenstone Gold Mine. Relocating the station will ensure that people have access to police services, close to home, following the displacement of the station during the mine’s construction.
  • The province will engage with relevant First Nations communities and police services to develop a pre-charge diversion program.

“Our government is proud to build consensus with First Nations leaders around key economic development opportunities in the north,” said Greg Rickford, minister of northern development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs and First Nation Economic Reconciliation. “Through strategic partnerships and critical infrastructure investments, we are laying the foundation for Greenstone to become the new centre of gravity for mining, in partnership with First Nations.”

Key Takeaways:

  • BC Hydro is investing $725 million over the next decade to upgrade and expand Langley’s electricity grid. This is part of a larger provincial plan with a 50% increase in capital investments.
  • The Langley upgrades are designed to address population growth, new housing developments, and a shift towards clean electricity. 
  • Investments are also being made in transmission and distribution infrastructure to enable the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. That work is expected to be complete by spring 2025.

The Whole Story:

BC Hydro will spend approximately $725 million in capital construction throughout Langley over the next decade to upgrade and expand the electricity grid and provide clean power for homes and businesses in growing communities.

“We must build out B.C.’s electrical system like never before, to power our homes and businesses, to power a growing economy and to power our future,” said Josie Osborne, minister of energy, mines and low carbon Innovation. “In Langley and communities across B.C., these construction projects will create thousands of good jobs over the next decade and ensure that people have access to clean, affordable and reliable electricity, when they need it and where they need it.”

In January 2024, the Province announced BC Hydro’s updated 10-Year Capital Plan containing $36 billion in regional and community infrastructure investments across B.C., which is a 50% increase in investments over its previous capital plan. These new construction projects are forecast to support 10,500 to 12,500 jobs on average annually, and will increase and maintain BC Hydro’s capital investments as major projects such as the Site C hydroelectric dam are completed.

The plan reflects growing demand for electricity across sectors due to population growth and housing construction, increased industrial development, and people and businesses switching from fossil fuels to clean electricity, among other factors.

“In growing cities like Langley where we are seeing substantial housing, building, transportation and industrial growth, we are embarking on significant upgrades to our electricity system, including investments in new and expanded substation projects as well as major distribution investments to support underground and overhead infrastructure extensions to ensure we can continue to provide reliable and clean electricity to our customers,” said Chris O’Riley, president and CEO of BC Hydro. “We are also making important changes to our customer connections process to speed up timelines for newly constructed homes and buildings.”

Langley is experiencing significant growth in the Willoughby, Brookswood and Gloucester neighbourhoods. To meet growth in these areas, BC Hydro is investing in several projects as part its 10-Year Capital Plan, including:

  • McLellan substation expansion will be done in two phases that are expected to be in service in 2026 and 2028 and will power an additional 40,000 to 70,000 homes;
  • new Campbell Heights substation will be in service by 2032 and will power an additional 20,000 to 35,000 homes;
  • new Willoughby-Clayton substation will be in service by 2032 and will power an additional 20,000 to 35,000 homes; and
  • major distribution investments to support underground and overhead infrastructure extensions, keeping pace with increased and growing demand in Willoughby-Clayton, Brookswood and Gloucester.

Investments are also being made in transmission and distribution infrastructure to enable the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. That work is expected to be complete by spring 2025.

Separate from its 10-Year Capital Plan, BC Hydro recently launched a call for power to acquire approximately 3,000 gigawatt hours per year (GWh/y) of clean electricity. This is BC Hydro’s first competitive call for power in more than 15 years and will add 5% to its current supply. This will be the first in a series of calls for power as BC Hydro requires more power to electrify B.C.’s growing economy and reduce harmful pollution.

Key Takeaways:

  • Advanced Construction Robotics (ACR) is partnering with Nucor, a major rebar installer, to integrate ACR’s robotic rebar tying solution, TyBOT, into Nucor’s operations.
  • The collaboration aims to enhance job site safety by reducing physical strain on workers. It also suggests that TyBOT can increase productivity and improve overall efficiency in rebar installation.
  • The agreement highlights a growing industry interest in using advanced technologies to improve construction processes.

The Whole Story:

Advanced Construction Robotics (ACR), announced it has entered into an agreement with Nucor Rebar Fabrication, Inc. (Nucor), North America’s largest fabricator and installer of rebar. This partnership will introduce cutting-edge technologies into Nucor’s operations.

Nucor Rebar Fabrication will be integrating TyBOT, ACR’s robotic rebar tying solution, with its crew for rebar installation projects, with the first unit being delivered to Washington State. Officials say the partnership will augment Nucor’s crews by increasing productivity, reducing physical strain on workers, and improving job site safety in a seamless integration of innovation and efficiency.

Danielle Proctor, President and CEO of Advanced Construction Robotics, expressed her enthusiasm about the collaboration: “We are excited to partner with Nucor, a company that shares our vision for innovation and excellence in the construction industry. This partnership not only demonstrates Nucor’s commitment to adopting cutting-edge technologies but also sets a new standard for efficiency and safety in rebar installation.”

Stephen Muck, Founder and Executive Chairman of ACR, added, “Through this partnership, we are not just integrating TyBOT into Nucor’s operations; we are also setting the stage for a broader adoption of construction robotics across the industry. Our mission has always been to enhance the capabilities of construction crews with advanced technology, and this collaboration with Nucor is a testament to the industry’s readiness for change. We are proud to be at the forefront of this evolution.”

This partnership between ACR and Nucor Rebar Fabrication not only highlights a shared commitment to safety and advancing construction technology, but also marks a significant milestone in the commercialization and distribution of robotic solutions. 

“As a leader in the industry, partnering with ACR allows us to enhance job site safety for our team and brings much needed innovation to the industry,” said Chad Beard, president Nucor Rebar Fabrication.

Key Takeaways:

  • Raven Indigenous Capital Partners is investing in NUQO Modular, a company building affordable housing and childcare facilities specifically for Indigenous communities in Canada.
  • NUQO will use the investment to not only accelerate affordable housing construction but also launch modular childcare and education facilities.
  • NUQO prioritizes cultural sensitivity in their designs, offers a welcoming work environment for women in construction, and uses sustainable practices to minimize environmental impact.

The Whole Story:

NUQO Modular and Raven Indigenous Capital Partners have announced an investment partnership they believe could revolutionize the landscape of affordable housing and child-care solutions across Canada.

“Raven is thrilled to support the next phase of NUQO’s growth and development as it expands its offerings of innovative, sustainable, and culturally grounded modular spaces in the housing, child-care and education sectors,” said Stephen Nairne, chief investment officer of Raven Indigenous Capital Partners.

NUQO Modular, woman-led, Indigenous-owned company specializing in modular construction, has received a multi-million-dollar investment from Raven Indigenous Capital, a leading investor in Indigenous and Native American entrepreneurs. NUQO will use the funds to accelerate the construction of affordable housing and launch modular solutions in the child-care and education sectors.

“As a values-led company, NUQO has a high bar for partnership criteria.  Raven met those expectations. Their investment strengthens our ability to expand to meet community demands for quality housing and childcare. We are honoured by this partnership,” said NUQO founder and CEO, Rory Richards.

NUQO is creating a lasting impact in Indigenous communities, having recently completed two award-winning affordable housing buildings, including 82 units of housing, in partnership with the Squamish Nation. Cultural integrity and safety are at the heart of NUQO’s designs. In Canada’s construction industry, where women comprise a mere 12% of the sector, NUQO is committed to providing a safe and inclusive workplace for women. A certified B Corp, NUQO’s innovative approach to modular building significantly reduces construction timelines and minimizes waste and disposal costs.

Burnaby-based ETRO Construction is embarking on a long-term partnership on Vancouver Island through a strategic joint venture alliance with Victoria-based Durwest Construction Management. This alliance aims to leverage the strengths of both firms to offer enhanced construction services on the island.

ETRO Construction views this partnership as a natural fit due to shared values and construction approaches, in addition to a true focus on building impact in their communities.

Mike Maierle, President of ETRO, highlighted the synergy between the two companies, explaining that his team’s innovative approach to construction coupled with Durwest’s decades of experience and established relationships in the region will provide significant value to their clients.

The joint venture will focus on mixed-use master-planned communities and institutional work. Additionally, ETRO plans to offer its Revive brand, targeting retrofits, heritage upgrades, building rehabilitations and more. 

“We’re excited about working with a great company who have 40 years of history, deep roots and a fantastic reputation,” said Maierle. 

Zoe Mitchell, President of Durwest, said she was excited to work with an innovative and technologically sophisticated builder like ETRO as opportunities in the region grow. 

“There is so much development of affordable housing projects and ancillary developments like schools, hospitals and transportation infrastructure. There is an influx of population growth because it’s a great place to live,” said Mitchell. “We are set up for the future and it looks bright here.”

Founded in 2015, ETRO Construction is one of Vancouver’s fastest growing construction management and general contracting firms. Built on a foundation of quality and rooted in a commitment to creating exceptional projects and experiences, we add value to lives and communities through our people, our expertise, and our passion for doing things differently.

Key Takeaways:

  • The VRCA’s Constructive Conversations is a platform for industry stakeholders to engage with decision-makers and discuss solutions for a sustainable future for the construction sector.
  •  The first event, held on April 11, welcomed Premier Eby as the inaugural guest. The third edition of the series is scheduled for August 28, with BC Conservative Leader John Rustad as the guest speaker.
  • Kevin Falcon, BC United Leader, emphasized the need for collaboration between government and industry to address these challenges. He highlighted attracting more youth to skilled trades and prompt payment legislation as key areas needing attention. 

The Whole Story:

The Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) hosted its second Constructive Conversations event last week featuring BC United leader Kevin Falcon. This event brings together VRCA members, industry leaders and stakeholders to address critical issues impacting the construction sector in B.C. The province will be holding an election this October.

“I think sometimes legislators, certainly at the provincial level, feel a little untouchable and out of reach and we want to let our members know that these are the people we need to be talking to about construction and what’s going on in construction,” said Jeannine Martin, VRCA president. “Construction is 10% of our GDP and the fact that construction isn’t getting more attention from legislators is surprising to me.”

Martin added that these conversations are a great opportunity to understand what a candidate’s views are on the construction sector and let them know the major issues the industry is thinking about.

The 90-minute conversation with Falcon covered various crucial topics related to the growth and sustainability of the construction industry.

These included elevating the brand of construction to attract more individuals to skilled trades, addressing the housing crisis and its impact on drawing people to B.C., the necessity for targeted immigration, short- and long-term infrastructure funding, and the importance of affordable childcare for working families.

Do you support prompt payment?

When asked about his stance on prompt payment, Falcon noted that he has heard the stories of developers taking advantage of contractors. He expressed his support for implementing some form of prompt payment, but wanted to make sure time was taken to structure it well.  

“You have to pay your people so it doesn’t take long before you can find yourself in a whole world of hurt. How will it be structured? I would take a lot of guidance from you on how to get it right,” said Falcon. “I would look at who does it best in Canada. Alberta? Ontario? And why they do it best. But I 100% agree that we need some form of prompt payment legislation. I know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, you’ve got those receivables and you are waiting on some big payments that are due. That just doesn’t work.”

BC Construction Association President Chris Atchison responded to Falcon, noting that cross-jurisdictional analysis is currently being done on prompt payment language and processes that work best. He also reminded Falcon of his previous comments around developers. 

“You mentioned one thing that is an irony when we are talking about prompt payment,” said Atchison. “We recognize that they are all different, but when you say we need to make the developers whole if we are introducing a program to inspire building. You can’t on one hand make the developers whole and offer to make tradespeople whole if you don’t connect the dots to make sure payment flows to the people.”

How do we attract and retain more workers?

Falcon lamented that B.C. was becoming a harder and harder place for young people to succeed, adding that this is particularly challenging for B.C.’s construction sector which is looking to recruit the next generation for workers. 

“One in three British Columbians is looking to move outside the province,” he said. “We lost 70,000 people to Alberta last year. Right now B.C. is a really tough sell. It’s tough for you to attract and retain employees. Even more concerning, of 18- 35-year-olds, 50% are looking at leaving British Columbia. That terrifies me.” 

He believes that improving healthcare, bringing down home and rental prices, and providing affordable childcare can help prevent more young families and workers from leaving.

“When you talk to workers and people in the trades, they say ‘I can’t make it here. I can’t ever dream of owning a home in British Columbia,” said Falcon. “At least I can go to Alberta and have a chance.’”

Falcon also believes more work needs to be done to educate young people in school about trades opportunities and to honour trades workers.

“Not every child should go to university. We need to do a better job of letting young women and men know that there is great opportunity,” said Falcon. “We have given parents the mistaken impression that somehow every child must go to university or they will be less than successful. We have to change that. Many of them graduate and still have no jobs or opportunity”

He recalled that during his time as minister of transportation, he would go around to major projects with plaques, medals and ceremonies to celebrate workers.

“We have to do a better job of celebrating the trades and make people proud to be trades people like they are in Europe,” said Falcon.

He also plans to pressure the federal government on immigration to prioritize more skilled trades immigration. And he wants to work to immediately funnel immigrants toward the construction sector by providing them with language and skills training, 

Does construction get the attention it deserves?

Martin explained that construction drives more than 10% of GDP in B.C. but rarely is in the limelight. She asked if Falcon thought there should be a government official or department that could focus on the sector and its issues.  She was curious what Falcon’s thoughts on the construction sector were and if he feels like it needs more attention.

“I think the construction industry is a huge, important part of the economy and they did such a great job for us when we were in government,” said Falcon. “I was minister of transportation and infrastructure for six years and was responsible for over $14 billion in capital projects, many of them built by your members. The vast majority were delivered on schedule and on budget, granted those were different times with different challenges. I don’t know if we need a minister of construction, but we need a minister responsible that understands the importance of the sector.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Construction leaders in B.C. have issued a warning about a growing trend of public owners removing “Contract A” from procurement processes.
  • “Contract A” is a legal concept established in Canadian law that ensures fairness, openness, and transparency in construction bidding.
  • Construction industry advocates argue that removing “Contract A” undermines trust, increases risk for bidders, and could lead to unfair practices.
  • The BC Construction Association recommends that construction firms proceed with caution and consider legal advice when encountering situations where “Contract A” is absent.

The Whole Story:

The BC Construction Association (BCCA) has issued a province-wide industry alert following the confirmation of cases of removal of “Contract A” from the procurement process by a growing list of public owners, including some municipalities, school districts, universities, and crown corporations. 

The association stated that in the absence of “Contract A”, general contractors and trade contractors should not assume that they will be treated fairly and probably have no legal recourse for being treated unfairly.

In Canadian contract law, “Contract A” ensures fairness, openness and transparency between the owner and each compliant bidder who responds to a procurement call. “Contract A” typically includes terms and conditions such as deadlines, evaluation criteria, privilege clauses and often the requirement for bid security. It serves to protect the legitimate expectations and interests of all parties.

“The removal of ‘Contract A’ is the most significant violation of public sector procurement processes that the construction industry has seen to date. It is a serious concern for industry associations and should be of equal concern to BC taxpayers,” says BCCA President Chris Atchison. “When a public sector owner willfully removes an obligation to act fairly in its dealings with you at the start of a project, you have to ask yourself: do you really want to bid on that project and work with that government entity?“

According to the BCCA, the absence of “Contract A” undermines the integrity of the procurement process, and may result in:

  • Lack of transparency
  • Bid shopping
  • Unequal treatment
  • Increased risk for bidders
  • Legal vulnerabilities
  • Reputational damage to the public sector owner.

“Contract A” is a legal convention that was created in 1981 by the Supreme Court of Canada in The Queen (Ont.) v. Ron Engineering. The association says the landmark decision is the cornerstone for fair, open and transparent procurement, providing a mechanism to protect both owners and bidders from unfair practices. It forms the basis of an understanding that all owners have a duty of fairness towards compliant bidders. Through the use of the “Contract A” bidding contract, Ron Engineering has brought certainty to the procurement process.

“Those who actually do the work in the construction industry cannot proceed on the assumption that it is ‘business as usual’, given the deliberate removal of ‘Contract A’ by certain public owners,” says Michael Demers, legal counsel for BCCA. “Before Ron Engineering, procurement was the wild west, where bidders were subject to the misconduct of unscrupulous owners, and owners did not know where they stood legally with bidders. After 40 years of relative clarity in procurement rules, and a legal basis to ensure both owners and bidders followed the rules, it appears some public owners want to take us all back to the old days where they can’t be held to account for their wrongdoings. It’s a sad day for an industry that is already under so much pressure to perform for the benefit of British Columbians.”

BCCA recommends construction firms proceed with extreme caution in the face of the unprecedented implications of the removal of “Contract A”. Contractors are advised to:

  • read all procurement documents carefully.
  • use the RFI process to question the intent of the Owner’s procurement process in cases where “Contract A” has been removed.
  • seek legal advice when they have questions or concerns about procurement and contract conditions.
  • consider qualifying their bid only once they have fully evaluated the associated risks and are prepared to accept the consequences.
  • advise their Regional Construction Association and BCCA of any irregularities in the procurement process through the BCCA Public Sector Transparency Tip Line.

“When public sector owners remove “Contract A”, they break the covenant of trust, integrity and transparency that it represents,” says Atchison. “Public sector owners must be held to a higher standard in procurement. We urge public owners to commit to fairness by maintaining “Contract A”. When it comes to the construction projects British Columbians rely on, it’s in the public interest.”

To access the full Industry Alert on “Contract A” removal, visit this link.

To signal a case of “Contract A” removal by a public owner, access BCCA’s Public Sector Transparency Tip Line.

A webinar on the implications of the removal of “Contract A” will be presented on June 25th, at 10 a.m. To register visit this link.

Here’s what other industry leaders had to say:

The Canadian Construction Association is a staunch champion for equitable procurement practices. Projects thrive when partnerships are based on trust, fairness, and transparency. The removal of “Contract A” risks taking the industry back to a time when bidders were not adequately involved from the beginning of a project, potentially compromising the integrity of the process, which ultimately impacts taxpayers the most. CCA continues to advocate for a balanced procurement process, where risk is shared, competition is fair, and innovation is encouraged.

Rodrigue Gilbert, President, Canadian Construction Association

The construction industry is being asked to do more than ever: building community infrastructure, healthcare facilities, schools, public transit, record amounts of housing and enabling the clean energy transition. It is essential at this time that public owners commit to fair and reasonable procurement practices and contract structures. The removal of “Contract A” is step backwards, fails to provide the transparency British Columbians expect for public projects, and shifts a disproportionate amount of risk onto contractors throughout the supply chain, the majority of which are small and medium sized businesses.

Matt MacInnis, President, Electrical Contractors Association of BC

BCCA has touched a nerve with this Industry Alert; the issue of “Contract A” removal has long been an irritant for the Surety Association of Canada. We have encountered this many times over the years: a construction buyer trying to contract out of Ron Engineering by simply inserting language to that effect. In our mind, it’s the equivalent of trying to lift yourself off the floor by pulling up on the top of your socks! We urge contractors to consult with their surety and broker when they see this language to discuss the risks to their submission and company.

Steve Ness, President, Surety Association of Canada

Key Takeaways:

  • Procore is integrating its AI assistant, Procore Copilot, further into the platform and with Microsoft Teams. This will allow users to ask questions about projects in natural language and get answers directly within Teams.
  • New features like AI Locations will automatically generate project location lists and Procore Maps will offer better visualization of project progress through photos.
  • Procore will leverage AI to surface key information on responses to requests for information (RFIs) and submittals, providing context on project requirements and industry benchmarks.

The Whole Story:

Construction management software provider Procore Technologies is deepening its integration with artificial intelligence. 

Among the many solutions announced at Innovation Summit 2024, newly announced product updates give Procore customers deepened access to AI, improve field productivity, and drive efficient cost management:

Procore Copilot AI will further integrate into the Procore platform via Microsoft Teams. This upcoming integration will bring important project data and context directly from Procore into Microsoft 365. Procore Copilot AI users will then be able to simply ask questions about Procore projects in Teams, in normal, conversational language, and receive a complete summary of the pertinent information along with links to related information sources. Users will be able to search for, view, and attach Procore project information (such as requests for information (RFIs), Specifications, and Submittals) in work on calls, meetings, and chats.

AI Locations will allow users to scan project drawings and automatically build out project location lists. This will unlock the ability to organize project items by location as they’re created in the field later on. Procore will also utilize AI to surface key information on RFIs and submittal response time, alongside context on project requirements and industry benchmarks.

Procore Maps will enable viewability of photos on a map to understand work status across all areas of a project to help optimize workflows and reduce delays. Procore Maps will be able to filter photos on a map by date to pinpoint specific milestones or events captured during a project timeline.

Procore says this will streamline visual data and support smart decisions on the go. Users will also be able to navigate to where photos are captured directly from the map interface, providing context and clarity to team members regardless of their location.

Key Takeaways:

  • The contract was awarded to Capital Line Design-Build Ltd., a member of the Ledcor Group of Companies, with AECOM as their design partner.
  • Work includes building an underpass, two bridges, two stations, an operations/maintenance facility and more.
  • An economic assessment estimates the extension will generate 9,500 full-time jobs and $1 billion in wages and salaries through construction, operations and maintenance.

The Whole Story:

The City of Edmonton has awarded the Design-Build contract for Phase 1 of the Capital Line South Extension project from Century Park to north of Ellerslie Road.  

The City completed negotiations and formally awarded the contract to Capital Line Design-Build Ltd., a member of the Ledcor Group of Companies, with AECOM as their design partner. Over the coming months, the Ledcor team will begin detailed design with major construction along 111 Street anticipated to begin in 2025. Phase 1 of the project is a 4.5-kilometre, high-floor LRT extension along the west side of 111 Street and includes:

  • An LRT underpass at 23 Avenue
  • Two bridges (one across Blackmud Creek and one across Anthony Henday Drive)
  • Two stations (Twin Brooks station and Heritage Valley North station connecting to the Heritage Valley Transit Centre and Park and Ride)
  • An Operations and Maintenance Facility (south of Anthony Henday Drive)
  • Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs)

“Our city is experiencing rapid growth,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. “As more people choose to call Edmonton home, we need to respond to the added pressure on our transportation network. The Capital Line South Extension will help improve sustainable mobility options as we grow to a city of two million by increasing ridership capacity and providing additional transportation options to communities in south Edmonton.”

Ledcor was selected as the preferred bidder in April 2024. Contract negotiations between the City and the preferred bidder occurred throughout April and May.

“The Capital Line South Extension project is a critical addition to our LRT network,” said Craig Walbaum, acting deputy city manager, Integrated Infrastructure Services. “This project has been many years in the making and delivers on The City Plan goals of improving how we move people quickly, efficiently and sustainably along our transportation corridors. We look forward to working with Ledcor to bring this transformational infrastructure to life.”  

“Building on Ledcor’s 75-year legacy of serving Edmontonians, we are thrilled to be chosen by the City of Edmonton, with our design partner AECOM, to construct this vital new phase of public transit which will serve the city’s growing population for many decades to come”, said Brad Mytko, SVP Infrastructure, Ledcor Group. “With passion and dedication, we will deliver a successful project, ensuring safety every step of the way.” 

In addition to expanding the city’s mass transit infrastructure, the Capital Line South Extension project is expected to financially benefit the region. An economic assessment estimates the extension will generate 9,500 full-time jobs and $1 billion in wages and salaries through construction, operations and maintenance. The project is also projected to generate $88 million in tax revenue for Alberta and $211 million for the rest of Canada over 30 years. 

The $1.34 billion project has funding commitments from the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta and the City of Edmonton.

Building a sterling reputation in the renewable energy sector doesn’t come easy. It takes years of doing things right and building trust. 

For Alltrade Industrial Contractors, its journey to becoming a respected contractor in the field can be traced back to its very inception. Its first major project was performing the electrical scope on a 10MW solar project outside of Ottawa in 2011. From there, the team quickly built up a solid reputation for executing renewable work. Within four years, it had 350 team members working across Ontario, with many focused on utility-scale solar and wind projects during the province’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program.  

“We didn’t know much about the market at that point, but we won the electrical self-perform scope and we took that project on,” said Kevin Ritzmann, Alltrade’s Senior Director, Energy. “We learned a lot, and this was just as the FIT program was launching in Ontario. We didn’t really realize how big that would be for us at the time, but we just focused on doing a good job on this first project.”

Banking Experience

With the FIT program in full swing, Alltrade’s growing skills were in high demand.  

“It seemed like all of these projects came at once due to the funding that came in Ontario. They were all very focused and schedule driven—you had to be able to execute on time,” said Ritzmann. “That was the main driver.”

Its renewables resume today is impressive: Alltrade has worked on over 1GW of utility-scale solar projects in Canada, 500MW of wind projects, and 360MWh of Battery Energy Storage (BESS) projects. Some of the most notable are the 102MW Sollair Solar Project, the 300MW Henvey Inlet Wind Project, and the Elmira BESS Project (Alltrade’s first major BESS project), and its first BESS augmentation project.

One key to Alltrade’s success has been its company culture of empowering workers and giving them the necessary resources to achieve their goals. This cuts down on red tape and allows the agile team to move quickly and keep projects on schedule.    

“We have always been very focused on empowering the people, the team members doing the work by providing the right tools, information, and material,” said Ritzmann. “Most people naturally want to do a good day’s work, so supporting them through the challenges of construction so that they can achieve their personal and professional goals builds trust and loyalty over time.”

Growing a Reputation 

Reputation is everything when it comes to renewable projects. Clients have to trust that their contractor will perform quality work on time. One of the ways Alltrade builds trust is by getting involved early on in a project.  

“We are able to provide guidance and advice as well as show our customers ongoing or completed projects so that they can see our work firsthand,” said Ritzmann.

Over time as projects are completed,this success can enhance a company’s   reputation. 

“Having a strong track record of executing work safely, with a high level of quality, and delivery on time is very important when you are talking to owners,” said Ritzmann. “We have been fortunate to have been on many projects over the last 13 years in this industry. We have seen what works and what doesn’t and have been able to avoid many major challenges by having this experience.”

Getting it Done, Together

Alltrade also doesn’t believe in silos. Instead, the company has adopted a partnership mindset with suppliers and subcontractors; a victory for one is a victory for all. 

“We want everyone to be successful on the project so that it’s a win-win-win for all involved. We want to continue working together on the next project and take all the efficiencies gained and lessons learned and apply them moving forward together as a team.  This approach has proven to be very valuable to us over the years in maintaining a good reputation in the industry.”

Working together is especially critical for renewable energy projects, which can be deceptively complex. Executing takes a detailed understanding of the full project process, from permitting and interconnection to detailed design and long-lead procurement. Thinking quickly is essential when challenges arise.

“Once you actually start on site, you have to maintain that assembly line of installation while facing inevitable material delays and geotechnical challenges,” he said. “Knowing what challenges your client will face and avoiding those pitfalls on the front end as much as possible and working together closely with the owner to collectively come up with innovative solutions is how trust is built.”

The entire process is a carefully orchestrated dance that cannot be interrupted. Using solar as an example, Ritzmann explained that sequencing is critical. The civil work has to go first, the pile foundations next, and then your rack and panel installations follow. If you have a log jam in one area, the entire flow gets backed up and problems compound quickly. 

“Scheduling is very important, making physical space for the work on site is important,” said Ritzmann. “And, of course, you can’t install material that you don’t have, and you can’t order the material without a design.”

That’s where Alltrade’s early involvement and collaboration shine. The team can work together to anticipate any potential interruptions and solve them before they happen. 

“We don’t go into a project crossing our fingers,” said Ritzmann. “We have a plan. If you don’t have one when you hit the site, it’s already too late. It’s very difficult to make that time up once you’re in construction, and it’s very, very expensive.”

If you are looking for a trusted partner, Alltrade offers full turn-key Engineer, Procure,and  Construct (EPC) solutions on utility-scale solar and battery energy storage projects up to any system size across Canada. Alltrade offers value by self-performing the electrical scope up to 230kV and above to be able to handle the interconnection process for clients and help manage the overall schedule to complete projects on time. 

Alltrade has experienced estimators, engineering managers, project managers, and construction managers, as well as key superintendents and field supervisors who are involved throughout the construction process.  

Alltrade is supported by its parent company, Barton Malow, which was listed among the top 400 contractors of 2024 by Engineering News-Record (ENR). Barton Malow checks in at No. 19 with $6.4 billion USD in revenue.

Key Takeaways:

  • BC Hydro is investing over $1.25 billion in Burnaby over the next decade to upgrade and expand the electricity grid. 
  • These new construction projects are forecast to support 10,500 to 12,500 jobs on average annually, and will increase and maintain BC Hydro’s capital investments as major projects such as the Site C hydroelectric dam are completed.
  • BC Hydro’s plan reflects a growing demand for electricity across the province. Electricity demand in B.C. is expected to increase by 15% or more between now and 2030.

The Whole Story:

BC Hydro plans to construct more than $1.25 billion in capital projects throughout Burnaby over the next decade. The goal is to upgrade and expand the electricity grid as the region’s population grows. 

“We must build out B.C.’s electrical system like never before, to power our homes and businesses, to power a growing economy and to power our future,” said Josie Osborne, minister of energy, mines and low carbon innovation. “In Burnaby and communities across B.C., these construction projects will create thousands of good jobs over the next decade and ensure that people have access to clean, affordable and reliable electricity – when they need it and where they need it.”

In January 2024, the Province announced BC Hydro’s updated 10-year capital plan, which contains $36 billion in regional and community infrastructure investments throughout B.C., which is a 50% increase in investments over its previous capital plan. These new construction projects are forecast to support 10,500 to 12,500 jobs on average annually, and will increase and maintain BC Hydro’s capital investments as major projects such as the Site C hydoelectric dam are completed.

The plan reflects growing demand for electricity across sectors due to population growth and housing construction, increased industrial development, and people and businesses switching from fossil fuels to clean electricity, among other factors.

“In growing cities like Burnaby, where we are seeing significant housing, building, transportation and industrial growth, we are embarking on significant upgrades to our electricity system, including investments in new and expanded substation projects as well as voltage conversion projects to ensure we can continue to provide reliable and clean electricity to our customers,” said Chris O’Riley, president and CEO, BC Hydro. “We are also making important changes to our customer connections process to speed up timelines for newly constructed homes and buildings.”

Burnaby is experiencing significant growth in the Brentwood, Metrotown and Burquitlam/Lougheed communities, as well as forecasting industrial growth in the Big Bend and Lake City areas. To meet growth in these areas, BC Hydro is investing in several projects as part of its 10-year capital plan, including:

  • Horne Payne substation expansion: will power an additional 10,000 to 17,500 homes, expected completion in 2027.
  • Newell substation expansion: will power an additional 10,000 to 17,500 homes, expected completion in 2027. 
  • Lougheed substation expansion: will power an additional 20,000 to 35,000 homes, expected completion in 2029.
  • Barnard substation expansion: will power an additional 18,000 to 30,000 homes, expected completion 2029.
  • New substation to serve Metrotown area: will power an additional 40,000 to 70,000 homes, expected completion 2033.
  • Voltage conversion projects in Metrotown and Barnard.
  • Converting BC Hydro’s equipment to a higher voltage.

“Burnaby residents and business owners are seeking affordable and reliable options for clean energy and these investments in electricity infrastructure will help meet those needs as our city grows,” said Sav Dhaliwal, acting mayor of Burnaby. “We seek to be a leader in the transition away from carbon-intensive energy and these foundational investments from BC Hydro are essential steps on that path.”

Separate from its 10-year capital plan, BC Hydro recently launched a call for power to acquire approximately 3,000 gigawatt hours per year of clean electricity. This is BC Hydro’s first competitive call for power in more than 15 years and will add 5% to its current supply, and will be the first in a series of calls for power as BC Hydro requires more power to electrify B.C.’s growing economy and reduce harmful pollution.

Canada’s cement sector is a major force in the construction industry, driving economic growth and job creation. 

The industry employs over 166,000 people and contributes $76 billion annually to the economy. Concrete itself is the backbone of countless construction projects, valued for its durability and versatility. 

It also has a role to play in decarbonizing the construction sector. In November 2022, the Cement Association of Canada partnered with the government to launch the “Roadmap to Net-Zero Carbon Concrete by 2050”. This ambitious plan outlines a path for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 15 million tonnes cumulatively by 2030, followed by ongoing annual reductions exceeding 4 million tonnes.

Lafarge Canada

Lafarge Canada, a member of the LafargeHolcim group, is the largest provider of construction materials in Canada with over 6,000 employees and 350 sites. They offer a variety of building solutions including aggregates, asphalt, cement, and precast concrete. Their recent focus is on sustainability, with a pilot project achieving 100% circular production of clinker in Nova Scotia and their ECOPact and ECOPlanet lines offering green concrete and cement options.

  • Cement plants in Bath, Ontario; Richmond, British Columbia; Exshaw, Alberta; Brookfield, Nova Scotia
  • Ready-mix concrete plants across Canada, including major locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal

CRH Canada Group

CRH Canada Group, a subsidiary of the global building materials giant CRH plc, is one of Canada’s leading players in the construction industry. They employ over 4,300 people across 110 locations in seven provinces. CRH Canada offers a wide range of building materials including cement, aggregates, and ready-mix concrete through their network of companies.They also manufacture architectural products and have a strong presence in the precast and infrastructure sectors. In recent news, CRH Canada has been expanding its footprint through acquisitions, but has also sold off some assets in eastern North America to Béton Provincial.

  • Cement plants in Mississauga, Ontario; Joliette, Quebec
  • Ready-mix concrete plants across Canada

Heidelberg Materials

Heidelberg Materials, formerly known as HeidelbergCement, is a major supplier of construction materials in Canada.Acquired in 1993, their Canadian operations boast 3 modern cement plants, extensive aggregate deposits, and numerous ready-mixed concrete facilities. They strategically distribute cement throughout the country and are a leading supplier of aggregates in western Canada. Additionally, they operate pipe companies across several provinces. Their 2016 acquisition of Italcementi further strengthened their presence with the addition of Essroc, a historic Canadian cement producer.

  • Cement plant in Redcliff, Alberta
  • Ready-mix concrete plants across western Canada

Ciment Quebec

Ciment Québec, boasting one of the most modern cement plants in North America, is a key player in Quebec’s construction industry. Their offerings include cement, concrete, construction materials, and aggregates. Founded in 1952,the Saint-Basile-based company celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Looking towards the future, Ciment Quebec is committed to sustainability efforts, with a recent multi-million dollar project aiming to develop less polluting cement.

  • Cement plant in Saint-Basile, Quebec

Votorantim Cimentos North America (VCNA)

Votorantim Cimentos North America (VCNA) is a leading cement producer in North America, with a strong presence in the United States and Canada. They are a subsidiary of Votorantim Cimentos, the seventh largest cement producer in the world. VCNA operates six cement plants, 198 aggregate production units, and concrete centers across North America, with a total capacity of 31.8 million tons/year of cement, 7.8 million m³/year of concrete, and 23.0 million tons/year of aggregates. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, they have 134 locations in North America, operating as St Marys Cement, Canada Building Materials (CBM), Prairie Materials, Superior Materials, and United Materials. Together, these companies provide jobs to more than 2,600 building materials employees.

  • Cement plants in Bowmanville, Ontario; Dixon, Illinois; Charlevoix, Michigan

Federal White Cement

A Canadian manufacturer operating since 1979, Federal White Cement, based in Woodstock, Ontario, specializes in white Portland and masonry cement for the construction industry. This family-owned company prioritizes innovation, offering traditional and eco-friendly white Portland cement options alongside white masonry cement. While specific recent updates aren’t readily available, their website provides details on their commitment to high-quality and sustainable white cement solutions.

  • White cement plant in Woodstock, Ontario

Béton Provincial Ltée

Béton Provincial Ltée, a Quebec-based family-owned company established in 1960, stands out in Eastern Canada for its diverse, high-quality concrete and paving products. They focus on a personalized customer approach and boast a wide distribution network, supplying construction projects across the region. In recent news, Béton Provincial made headlines by acquiring assets from CRH Canada, further solidifying their position in the market.

  • Major ready-mix concrete plants in Quebec

Key Takeaways:

  • The project is being completed in phases to allow the arena to remain operational throughout construction. 
  • The renovations prioritize enhancing the visitor experience through features like digital signage, frictionless payment systems, and upgraded food and beverage options. 
  • The project involves collaboration between the venue owner, architects, designers, and construction managers. 

The Whole Story:

Last year, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) announced the $350 million Scotiabank Arena Reimagination project, a multi-phased renovation featuring significant enhancements to virtually all corners of the arena including concourses, premium clubs, suites, technology as well as retail and food and beverage spaces. 

This month, the organization is beginning the second phase of construction covering an all-encompassing design makeover of the 100 Level concourse and building a brand-new luxury club space. As the arena undergoes this new phase of construction, the venue will remain open at full capacity for all scheduled events.

The Scotiabank Arena Reimagination is being completed in collaboration with Brisbin, Brook, Beynon Architects, DesignAgency, owner’s representative firm CAA ICON and construction manager PCL Construction.

“Following the success of last summer’s first phase of the Scotiabank Arena Reimagination project, we are thrilled to introduce even more state-of-the-art improvements to Canada’s top-ranked venue this summer,” said Keith Pelley, president and CEO, MLSE. “Delivering the very best sports and entertainment fan experience will always be our top priority, and we are thankful to MLSE ownership for their commitment and investment in this project as we strive to build on Toronto’s reputation as a world class market with top venues for our teams, performers and fans.”

In October 2023, the first phase of the project was completed and fans were introduced to a complete floor to ceiling remodel of all Mastercard Executive Suites on the 200 Level along with the first-of-its-kind Mastercard Lounge, a shared members space with a premium viewing and dining experience. 

Scotiabank Arena was also the first Canadian venue to unveil two concession stands using Amazon’s Just Walk Out Technology that revolutionized fans’ food and beverage experience with no checkout lines. In 2019, a preliminary phase of the project took place with the addition of a new 2,200 square foot LED videoboard in Maple Leaf Square, two largescale screens in the Galleria, LED colour changing arena signage and a full renovation of Real Sports.

“Leveraging over a quarter-century worth of history and collaboration with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, PCL is passionate about bringing the reimagined vision for Scotiabank Arena to life,” said Marc Pascoli, senior vice president and district manager, PCL Constructors Canada Inc. “Following the successful completion of the first phase of renovations last summer, the second phase of the complex renovation will again be delivered through a fast-track schedule starting ahead of and carrying through the 2024-2025 Maple Leaf and Raptors seasons. We look forward to helping MLSE take their fan experience to even greater heights.”

Phase 2: Summer 2024

Beginning now and through to October 2024, the following upgrades are scheduled to be completed:

  • A complete renovation of the first section of the 100 Level concourse with transformative design and functional elements. The arena’s redesigned main concourse will include upgraded finishes, additional LED screens, digital beacons and hubs that can change to align with the atmosphere of the event being hosted on a particular night.
  • The addition of a second Real Sports Apparel retail store on the 100 Level concourse for a 2,600 square-foot fan shopping experience. The larger store offers increased access to official team and event merchandise while integrating a new contactless RFID (Radio-frequency Identification Technology) check-out experience. The existing store by Gate 1 will also be renovated to match the new design of this location.
  • Conversion of apparel kiosks on the 100 Level into mini walk-in shops equipped with rotating walls and digital signage for an enhanced shopping experience. Two new autograph memorabilia glass showcases will also accompany these shops, replacing ad hoc memorabilia auction locations.
  • Additions to the ongoing museum-like art collection curated in collaboration with Sports & The Arts (SATA).
  • The remodeling and addition of more inclusive and accessible spaces onto the 100 Level concourse including an infant feeding room, prayer room, all gendered bathrooms and more.
  • The introduction of the all-new MNP Pass Social Club on Event Level. Members of the club will be embedded into the action of the game as they get an exclusive, arms-length view of players making their way to the ice or court from their locker room and have access to corresponding platinum seats.
  • The reinvigoration of the Hot Stove steakhouse restaurant on the 200 Level with a new dedicated entrance from outside of the arena by Gate 1 of the Galleria.
  • The implementation of secure, frictionless security screening.
  • Digital signage upgrade within the renovated spaces using LG’s expansive suite of display and LED technology to support with fan communications and wayfinding.                                                                                                  

Phase 2: Fall 2024 to Spring 2025

Through the duration of the 2024-25 Maple Leafs and Raptors regular seasons, the venue will undergo the following improvements:

  • Completion of the 100 Level concourse transformation, consistent with the dynamic designs and digital upgrades being made to the first portion of the space this summer.
  • Continued expansion of self check-out and mobile ordering capabilities alongside traditional counter service for food and beverage as well as merchandise to give fans more choices, flexibility and reduce line ups inside the arena.
  • An arena-wide audio-visual system and WIFI enhancement.
  • Design makeover of the Molson Brewhouse on the 100 Level concourse, spotlighting the original façade of the Toronto Postal Delivery Building and seamlessly integrating the historic windows as the backdrop.
  • Upgrades to the open-concept broadcast studio located at Gate 6 on the 100 Level concourse.

Future changes include enhancing further fan-facing spaces as well as back-of-house artist and athlete areas to continue to position Scotiabank Arena as a top-ranked live events venue.

“This latest reimagination phase marks a pivotal moment in the project as every fan that enters through the doors of Scotiabank Arena will get to feel the visual, functional and atmosphere enhancements as they begin their experience from the main level concourse to their seats,” said Nick Eaves, Chief Venues & Operations Officer, MLSE. “From purposeful design transformations to innovation technology additions to culturally impactful art integrations, this summer’s ground-breaking celebrates our commitment to ensuring our space is continuously improving to best serve our valued fans.”

As Phase 2 renovations take place from Summer 2024 to Spring 2025, Scotiabank Arena will remain open at full capacity for all expected games and shows. To ensure the timely completion of the in-depth renovations, Gate 1 will be closed during the construction period along with select concession stands, bars and bathrooms on a rolling basis. Fans are encouraged to allow more time for entry and consult their “Know Before You Go” email prior to each event to plan their visit.

The Scotiabank Arena Reimagination is being completed in collaboration with Brisbin, Brook, Beynon Architects, DesignAgency, owner’s representative firm CAA ICON and construction manager PCL Construction. Fans can learn more about the project at  scotiabankarena.com/reimagination and access renderings and videos here.

 Scotiabank Arena is home to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors Basketball Club. Owned and operated by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), Scotiabank Arena opened its doors in February 1999. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Bird Construction plans to acquire privately-owned, B.C.-based civil infrastructure contractor Jacob Bros for $135 million.
  • Jacob Bros has a workforce of over 350 salaried, hourly and craft personnel. For full year 2024, Jacob Bros is expected to generate approximately $300 million of revenue and $37 million of Adjusted EBITDA. 
  • Jacob Bros’ two shareholders, Scott Jacob, CEO and Todd Jacob, COO, will join Bird to lead the combination of Bird’s Western Infrastructure business and their existing business. 

The Whole Story:

Bird Construction has announced plans to acquire B.C.-based civil infrastructure contractor Jacob Bros for $135 million. 

The transaction, pending relevant regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed early in the third quarter of 2024. 

Headquartered in Surrey, B.C., Jacob Bros is a privately-owned civil infrastructure construction business with self-perform capability, serving public and private clients across the region with a workforce of over 350 salaried, hourly and craft personnel. Jacob Bros’ two shareholders, Scott Jacob, CEO and Todd Jacob, COO, will join Bird to lead the combination of Bird’s Western Infrastructure business and their existing business. 

“Today is a momentous day for Jacob Bros as we become part of the Bird Construction team – one of Canada’s oldest and most respected brands in the construction industry,” stated Scott Jacob, president and CEO of Jacob Bros. “Bird shares many of our core values and our cultural attributes, and will be a great fit for our people and our clients. With access to Bird’s resources, we will be able to build on our success and accelerate our growth and capacity as one of Western Canada’s most respected builders of public and private infrastructure”.  

Jacob Bros specializes in civil infrastructure construction across a wide array of projects, such as airports, seaports, rail, bridges and structures, earthworks, energy projects, and utilities. Additionally, Jacob Bros delivers expertise in specialized projects that require innovative, purpose-built, custom solutions that leverage their suite of comprehensive services.  

“We are really pleased that Scott and Todd Jacob will be bringing their comprehensive experience to the Bird team. The acquisition of Jacob Bros, a full-service infrastructure provider in BC, represents a significant milestone in the evolution of our business, establishing a broader and more diversified operation. The company brings a strong market reputation, highly skilled team, and proven track record for delivering complex projects to sophisticated, long-term clients,” stated Teri McKibbon, president and CEO of Bird. “The combined company will have a greater platform from which it will be able to access larger-scale projects and expand career opportunities for employees. The acquisition will enable Bird to advance our strategic focus on complex work in high-demand, higher-margin self-perform sectors, which we expect will contribute to continued margin enhancement.”   

Bird offered the following reasoning for the acquisition: 

  • Aligns with M&A criteria: The acquisition supports Bird’s M&A strategy of targeting high-performing, culturally aligned, complementary businesses with strong cross-sell opportunities and developing a national civil infrastructure vertical. 
  • Increases exposure to key secular tailwinds: Positions the combined company to capitalize on opportunities related to electrification, the growing demand for low-carbon and green infrastructure solutions, and transportation infrastructure requirements. 
  • Adds civil infrastructure expertise: Jacob Bros augments the strong Bird team with a highly experienced leadership team and skilled workforce with the ability to execute civil infrastructure and special projects of varying size, complexity, and scope. 
  • Enhances core Infrastructure vertical: Significantly increases revenue generated by Infrastructure projects, which advances Bird’s strategy to balance its portfolio across its three core verticals, Industrial, Buildings, and Infrastructure. 
  • Expands scale and geographic reach: Together with other recent acquisitions in Ontario, Jacob Bros brings Bird closer to its goal of establishing a national full-service civil infrastructure footprint through the expansion of civil capabilities into the largest market in Western Canada.  
  • Anticipated contribution to margin accretion: The combined company will leverage Jacob Bros’ capabilities in higher margin self-perform and special projects areas, in addition to its robust backlog with a diversified project mix and fleet of modern equipment to further pursue profitable growth. 

For full year 2024, Jacob Bros is expected to generate approximately $300 million of revenue and $37 million of Adjusted EBITDA. 

The Jacob brothers were raised in a construction family. The Jacob brothers established three individual careers within different sectors of the construction industry. In 2008, they decided to collaborate, combining years of experience and individual specializations into one multi-faceted firm—Jacob Bros Construction. Jacob Bros has grown rapidly over the past decade and recently expanded into a new office and maintenance facility that was designed and built by its own team.

One of Jacob Bros’ biggest projects in recent years was the Centerm Expansion Project in Vancouver. Their team was involved the design and construction of a container terminal expansion and improvements to surrounding port road infrastructure for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. The project was carried out by Centennial Expansion Partners, a joint venture that included Jacob Bros, Dragados Canada Inc., and Fraser River Pile and Dredge (GP) Inc.

Time will tell what the root causes were that led to the main water feeder breaking, but we can all agree today that its failure has provided another significant example of the need to plan, design, maintain, and invest in critical infrastructure. While capital planning often favours more visible assets (i.e., recreation centres, fire stations, affordable housing) that lead to political photo ops, ensuring the services that fuel a city can continue to function should always be a top priority.

What should be next for municipalities and businesses that own real estate and infrastructure assets to deliver services?

First, they should identify critical components and ensure they can function as intended. This involves conducting thorough assessments to pinpoint vulnerabilities and potential failure points within their infrastructure. Regular maintenance schedules and proactive upgrades should be implemented to address issues before they escalate into major failures.

Additionally, municipalities and businesses should invest in modernizing their infrastructure with resilient and sustainable technologies. This includes adopting smart technologies that can monitor and manage infrastructure health in real time, allowing for swift responses to emerging issues. Collaboration between public and private sectors is also essential to pool resources, share expertise, and create comprehensive strategies for infrastructure resilience.

Finally, it’s crucial to foster a culture of continuous improvement and preparedness. This means staying informed about the latest advancements in infrastructure technology, engaging in ongoing training for personnel, and developing robust emergency response plans to mitigate the impact of any unforeseen events. By prioritizing these actions, municipalities and businesses can ensure their infrastructure remains robust and capable of supporting essential services for their communities.

We’ve seen bridges fall in Montreal and Saskatoon, and a previous pipe burst in Calgary (2009, Mount Royal). Let’s hope the Gardiner can stay up a little longer. As we inherit assets from generations before us, I don’t think we will have the resources to support them all. It’s time for us to be innovative, explore private and public innovation, and reconsider the levels of services we expect for our cities.

About the author

Scott Pickles is a seasoned real estate professional with over 20 years of experience in various sectors (public, non-profit, and private). Combining his background as a registered architect with consulting and client-side experience, he has a successful record of delivering complex real estate projects. His expertise spans strategic advisory, financial analysis, planning, and various building types.