Local housing action: How provinces are responding to Ottawa’s construction tax cut

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

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

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


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


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

Newfoundland and Labrador

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


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


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


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


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

Nova Scotia

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

Prince Edward Island

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

Key Takeaways:

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

The Whole Story:

Federal GST will be dropped for new rental apartment projects. 

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

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

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

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

Other efforts to spur housing construction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What qualifies for the rebate

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

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

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

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

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

Key Takeaways:

  • The report, published every five years, shows roughly 84,600 households earning less than 65% of Calgary’s median income spend more than 30% on housing costs.
  • The data is based on conditions in 2021 and the city suspects the issue has gotten worse.
  • An annual income of $84,000 is needed to adequately afford average market rent in 2023. That number has increased from $67,000 in 2022.

The Whole Story:

The city of Calgary’s latest Housing Needs Assessment report shows nearly one in five Calgary households can’t afford their housing and the issue is likely getting worse. 

The Housing Needs Assessment report uses quantitative data from the Federal Census, the city of Calgary Corporate Economics and Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation.

Published every five years, the information in the assessment informs the city’s affordable housing policies. It also helps the city plan its work with housing providers who build new developments and with other orders of government who fund them.

The latest report shows at least 84,600 or almost one in five Calgary households didn’t have enough money to pay for housing in 2021. The city noted that based on current housing conditions, it is expected that the numbers in 2023 are almost certainly even higher.

“Calgary is experiencing a housing crisis. The latest data published in the Housing Needs Assessment shows us that an increasing number of Calgarians are struggling with housing affordability,” said Tim Ward, manager of housing solutions. “The findings in the assessment also highlight that the housing crisis is affecting a wide range of Calgarians including those looking to buy or rent a home, and those that are in greatest need of affordable housing supports.”

Based on recent market housing data, the median cost to buy a detached home has increased in price by 37% in the last three years. For Calgarians looking to buy their first detached home in 2023, an annual household income of $156,000 is required to adequately afford it, meaning they would not be spending more than 30% of their income before tax on housing.

To adequately afford the median purchase cost of an apartment in 2023, an annual household income of $70,800 is needed for that new home-buyer. For those looking to rent, an annual income of $84,000 is needed to adequately afford average market rent in 2023. That number has increased from $67,000 in 2022.

Based on Calgary’s forecasted population growth and historical rate of housing need, the number of households in need of affordable housing is expected to reach close to 100,000 by 2026.

Calgary presents the findings of their report:

The city is currently developing a housing strategy that names specific actions to address the issue.

The strategy includes five sought outcomes:

  • Increase housing supply
  • Support affordable housing providers
  • Support The city’s housing subsidiaries
  • Ensure housing choices meet the needs of equity-deserving populations
  • Meet the affordable housing needs of Indigenous people living in Calgary

It incorporates the 33 actions from the Housing and Affordability Task Force, a handful of additional new actions and 38 previously council-approved actions for work that’s underway. The strategy will be reviewed by members of council at the Community Development Committee meeting on Sept. 14.

Key Takeaways:

  • Enbridge has entered into three agreements with Dominion Energy, Inc. to acquire EOG, Questar and PSNC for an aggregate purchase price of $19 billion.
  • The acquisitions will add gas utility operations in Ohio, North Carolina, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
  • Upon closing, Enbridge’s gas utility business will be the largest, by volume, in North America with a combined rate base of over $27 billion and about 7,000 employees delivering over 9 billion cubic feet per day of gas to approximately 7 million customers.

The Whole Story:

Enbridge Inc. has inked a series of deals totaling $19 billion that would make it the largest natural gas utility franchise in North America upon closing.  

The deal involves three separate definitive agreements with Dominion Energy, Inc. to acquire EOG, Questar and PSNC for an aggregate purchase price of $19 billion.

Upon the closings of the three transactions, Enbridge will add gas utility operations in Ohio, North Carolina, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, representing a significant presence in the U.S. utility sector. 

The company stated that the gas utilities fit Enbridge’s long held investor proposition of low-risk businesses with predictable cash flow growth and strong overall returns. Following the closings, the acquisitions are expected to double the scale of the company’s gas utility business to approximately 22% of Enbridge’s total adjusted EBITDA and balance the company’s asset mix evenly between natural gas and renewables, and liquids.

Following the closings, Enbridge’s gas utility business will be the largest, by volume, in North America with a combined rate base of over $27 billion and about 7,000 employees delivering over 9 billion cubic feet per day of gas to approximately 7 million customers.

“Adding natural gas utilities of this scale and quality, at a historically attractive multiple, is a once in a generation opportunity. The transaction is expected to be accretive to DCFPS and adjusted EPS in the first full year of ownership, increasing over time due to the strong growth profile,” said Greg Ebel, Enbridge president and CEO. “Following the closings of the acquisitions, our Gas Distribution and Storage (GDS) business will be North America’s largest gas utility franchise. These acquisitions further diversify our business, enhance the stable cash flow profile of our assets, and strengthen our long-term dividend growth profile.  The transaction also reinforces our position as the first-choice energy delivery company in North America.”

Ebel noted that the assets have long useful lives and natural gas utilities are “must-have” infrastructure for providing safe, reliable and affordable energy. Ebel noted that the gas utilities have each committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

“We are very excited by today’s announcement as these businesses align with Enbridge’s business risk model and long-term growth targets,” he said. “The entire Enbridge team is committed to working with the EOG, Questar and PSNC teams and to investing in the communities they serve.  We look forward to serving our customers with dedication and to providing them with safe, reliable, and affordable energy service for years to come.”

Following the closings of the acquisitions, EOG, PSNC and Questar each will continue to be regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Ohio, the North Carolina Utilities Commission, and the Public Service Commissions of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, respectively.

“Acquiring these natural gas utilities makes strong strategic and financial sense. Enbridge is currently the only major pipeline and midstream company that owns a regulated gas utility and we’ve further strengthened that position today by doubling the size of our GDS business. After closings, the acquisitions will extend and diversify our natural gas footprint and importantly add low-risk, ratable investments to our growth portfolio” said Patrick Murray, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Enbridge. “The financing plan for the transaction includes significant equity pre-funding and a suite of financing options that will be optimized to maximize accretion and protect our strong investment grade ratings.”

The acquisitions are expected to close in 2024, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including the receipt of certain required U.S. federal and state regulatory approvals. 

Key Takeaways:

  • A portion will go to single and lower tier municipalities that have not been assigned a housing target, including small, rural and northern communities. 
  • The fund will provide $400 million in new annual funding for three years to municipalities that are on target to meet provincial housing targets by 2031.
  • The province is also expanding strong mayor powers to municipalities projected to have populations of 50,000 or larger by 2031 that commit to meeting their provincial targets.

The Whole Story:

Municipalities that are hitting homebuilding targets are set to receive millions in Ontario. 

To encourage home construction, the Ontario government is launching the Building Faster Fund, a new three-year, $1.2 billion program that provides new funding to municipalities based on performance against provincial housing targets. 

To ensure more municipalities have the tools needed to build homes and to expand eligibility for the Building Faster Fund, the province is also expanding strong mayor powers to municipalities projected to have populations of 50,000 or larger by 2031 that commit to meeting their provincial targets.

“With these new measures, we’re supporting municipalities and giving them the tools they need to build more homes faster to tackle the affordability crisis that’s pricing too many people, especially young families and newcomers, out of the dream of home ownership,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We have two choices: We can sit back and ignore the crisis, or we can build more homes. Our government is choosing to build homes.”

The fund will provide $400 million in new annual funding for three years to municipalities that are on target to meet provincial housing targets by 2031. Municipalities that reach 80% of their annual target each year will become eligible for funding based on their share of the overall goal of 1.5 million homes. Municipalities that exceed their target will receive a bonus on top of their allocation.

Funding from the Building Faster Fund can be directed toward housing-enabling infrastructure and other related costs that support community growth. Eligible expenses will be determined following consultations between the province, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the City of Toronto and the Housing Supply Action Plan Implementation Team. 

A portion of the overall funding will also be allocated to single and lower tier municipalities that have not been assigned a housing target, including small, rural and northern communities, in order to address their unique needs, following municipal consultations.

Ontario is also expanding strong mayor powers to 21 more municipalities that are projected to have populations of 50,000 by 2031 and whose heads of council are committed to a provincially assigned housing target. The expansion of strong mayor powers will take effect on October 31, 2023. The expansion is in addition to the 28 municipalities that already have strong mayor powers, having committed to targets through municipal housing pledges. Once a housing pledge is received from the head of council, these municipalities will also become eligible for and will have access to the Building Faster Fund.

“There is an urgent need to get more homes built quickly across Ontario,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark. “By providing additional financial resources to our municipal partners as well as strong mayor powers to help speed up the approvals process, our government is acting decisively to tackle Ontario’s housing supply crisis and build the homes our residents need and deserve.”

Key Takeaways:

  • July saw a healthy number of actual housings starts from a historical perspective, said experts.
  • The housing starts trendline increased for the second consecutive month.
  • Toronto and Vancouver have been performing well this year compared to last.

The Whole Story:

Canada’s home builders may not yet be feeling the effect of the most recent interest rate hikes.

Bob Dugan, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) chief economist explained that the latest data on housing starts show historically positive activity, but these projects were not financed under current conditions. 

“Despite a decrease in the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of housing starts relative to last month, July saw a healthy number of actual housings starts from a historical perspective,” said Dugan. “This pushed the trend of housing starts upward for the second consecutive month. Market intelligence suggests multi-unit projects started in June and July were likely financed a few months prior, so, the effect of the most recent interest rate hikes on housing starts remains to be seen,”

According to CMHC, the housing starts trendline increased for the second consecutive month due to a healthy number of actual housing starts in July. The trend was 242,525 units, up 2.8% from 235,819 units in June, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada.

The standalone monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada decreased 10% in July (254,966 units) compared to June (283,498 units), which was the strongest month so far this year. Despite the monthly drop, total SAAR housing starts for all areas in Canada was 7.4% above the 5-year average.


The monthly SAAR of total urban starts (centres 10,000 population and over) decreased by 11%, with 234,857 units recorded in July. Multi-unit urban starts decreased 12% to 193,446 units, while single-detached urban starts decreased 4% to 41,411 units.

The Vancouver and Toronto CMAs saw decreases in total SAAR housing starts in July, with Vancouver down 23%, and Toronto down 29%. In contrast, the Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton CMAs recorded respective increases of 12%, 33%, and 67% in total SAAR housing starts.

CMHC noted that Toronto and Vancouver have been performing well this year compared to last. Actual 2023 year-to-date housing starts were 35% and 49% higher than the same period in 2022 in Toronto and Vancouver respectively.

When you’re hunting for a mortgage to buy a house, finding the best rates is as easy as checking out bank ads online. But for growing construction businesses seeking financing, understanding the ins and outs of rates and terms can feel like cracking a code.

“Most business owners aren’t finance experts,” explained former banker Brad Kiendl. “They’ve got a team for that, maybe a controller or CFO. However, dealing with financing often ends up on the back burner as they focus on more pressing needs within the company. Bank agreements are lengthy, confusing and don’t seemingly have a lot of wiggle room and thus clients simply end up taking the first deal presented to them.”

Inside Knowledge

Kiendl knows this better than most. He spent years at big banks, fighting to get the best deals for commercial clients. But he felt he could do more to guide them through the maze of commercial financing.

“Every business had a different deal,” he said. “Rates, fees, structures – they all varied. I saw how much a bank’s account manager could influence the final financing deal.”

Wanting to bridge this gap, Kiendl started Ashdown Capital. They help businesses get more working capital, buy equipment, start new projects, or invest in real estate.

“I wanted experts who truly get financing, who understand how different banks and lenders think,” said Kiendl. “With our inside knowledge, we uncover better pricing, more appropriate structures, and help navigate the unique risk factors that construction companies present. I wanted to show what’s possible.”

Six years later, Ashdown has a team of 27 people who mostly work with clients in British Columbia and are moving into Alberta. Why B.C.? It’s a hotspot for construction and development.

“Construction companies, developers, contractors – they all need financing and lots of working capital,” Kiendl noted.

But the construction world has its own challenges. Payments can drag, and even when they arrive, there are holdbacks. Banks get cautious when it comes to construction financing. “Construction is a roller coaster,” Kiendl said. “There are long gaps between spending and getting paid. Plus, builders’ liens take priority over bank financing, so banks can be wary. It’s tough.”

Navigating the Money Maze

Despite the hurdles, BC’s construction scene is booming.

“We see fantastic businesses growing like crazy, struggling to match their growth with enough working capital. It’s a real challenge,” said Kiendl.

Most construction companies fund their day-to-day with credit lines. Banks typically do something called “margining,” using their receivables and inventory to secure financing. But it looks back, not forward and often the banks just offer their standard formula.

“We see companies in a bind. They’re booming, tackling big projects, winning great business, but they’re not getting the financing they need,” said Kiendl. “The banks give them the financing they needed last month or quarter, not what they need to accomplish future work”

“Getting financing in construction is no cakewalk, no matter the size. Unless you’re swimming in cash, it can be tough to get and even tougher to know if you’re actually getting a good deal.”

Brad Kiendl – Principal, Ashdown Capital

The real pinch is felt by small-to-medium-sized businesses aiming to expand, looking for loans from $50,000 to a million.

“Getting financing for this space is tough. Most banks treat it like a personal loan,” Kiendl explained. “Walk into a bank with a growing business, doing millions in sales, with new projects in the pipeline. If you ask for a credit line, they’ll often want your house as security.”

Lately, Ashdown has been turning this around, getting true financing packages. Kiendl tells of a recent construction client doing $3 million in sales, offered a $42,000 credit line by a bank. Ashdown was able to secure them $500,000 by taking them to the right bank and then showing the bank the full picture and how the deal could be structured in a way that works for everyone.

Larger clients aren’t exempt from banking challenges, and Ashdown also works with companies with revenues over $100 Million and everything in between.

“Getting financing in construction is no cakewalk, no matter the size. Unless you’re swimming in cash, it can be tough to get and even tougher to know if you’re actually getting a good deal. Often larger businesses are overlooked by the banks and sometimes taken for granted.” Kiendl acknowledged. “For the big players, we help by negotiating better structures and ensuring they have forward looking capital that is priced and structured to their benefit.”

Trends and Challenges in Financing

Beyond the complexities, financing in construction is wrestling with other big issues, from rising inflation to labor shortages. But the standout challenge is interest rates.

“Banks are pickier now due to higher rates,” Kiendl noted. “We’re seeing more projects, from land loans to full-on construction, going the alternative financing route. That drives up costs, and those get passed on to developers and ultimately the end consumer.”

This has led to projects stalling as teams wait for better conditions.

Consolidation is another theme. As construction companies grow, they’re snapping up rivals or similar businesses. But this presents a puzzle, as these deals often lack sufficient assets to back the loans.

“Imagine a client buying a $10 million business, but their assets – equipment, receivables, inventory – are only worth a few million. The bulk of the loan is unsecured,” clarified Kiendl. “It’s a head-scratcher for banks. But it’s a road we’re travelling a lot lately, helping to get the banks comfortable with cash flow lending for acquisitions.

He added that nobody wants financing to become the deal-breaker – but, it’s always been the trickiest part in the acquisition space. It’s the area where Ashdown can help companies the most.

While acquisitions come with their own set of challenges, Kiendl and his team find satisfaction in aiding in acquisitions and management buyouts, where senior leaders and employees buy out owners.

“They’re some of the best stories,” Kiendl enthused. “These businesses often thrive after and it’s a win-win for all parties. Financing them can be tough, but we relish the challenge.”

In the complex world of construction financing, Kiendl’s advice boils down to this: Don’t wait for trouble to start seeking financing.

“If times are good and you don’t need money, that’s when you should secure financing. That’s when you’ll secure a credit line and the most favourable terms,” he advised. “There might be a small setup or monitoring fee, but think of it as insurance. When things get tough, and your results aren’t trending in the right direction, it’s much harder, or even impossible, to secure financing at that point.”

If your construction company is on the growth path, explore the financing options Ashdown Capital offers today. They’re your partner in navigating the financial landscape of construction.

From essential infrastructure like bridges to the pipes that serve the energy sector, steel is a critical component of the economy. Many of the steel companies in Canada come from humble roots, often just a handful of people, a welding machine and a truck. Some have grown into international giants that are tackling some of the most complex projects in the world. Here are just a handful of those companies with compelling backstories.

Algoma Steel

The Gordie Howe Bridge project is one of many Algoma Steel is supplying with steel. – Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority 

Algoma Steel was forged in 1901 with two small blast furnaces, a 60-ton Bessemer furnace, a 23- inch bloom rolling mill and rail mill. It has since grown into a fully integrated steel producer based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The company manufactures and sells hot and cold rolled steel products including sheet and plate. The company is currently constructing two new state-of-the-art electric-arc-furnaces to replace its existing blast furnace and basic oxygen steelmaking operations. It’s the biggest construction project in Sault Ste. Marie history. The change is expected to reduce Algoma’s carbon emissions by 70%.


Crews perform a signing ceremony for the last load-bearing steel stud wall panel at the Trio Orléans Apartments project in Ottawa, Ont. – Canam

Canam Steel Works Inc. was founded in St. Gédéon de Beauce, Que. in 1960. Despite a series of devastating fires, the company persisted. The company says it has been involved in more than 300,000 Construction projects in North America. They are also embracing technology. The group recently won an award for its Building Engineering Platform (BEP) which aims to modernize, update or replace some in-house engineering and detailing applications for Canam’s steel products. 

Solid Rock Steel Fabricating Co. Ltd.

Solid Rock’s team is all smiles after installing successfully installing some intricate galvanized structural steelwork for a pool enclosure. – Solid Rock Steel

Solid Rock is a classic immigrant success story. Berend Steunenberg learned the metal fabricating trade while growing up in Holland and and took his skills to Vancouver in the 1950s. He worked day and night shifts at two jobs to buy an old flat deck truck, a second-hand welding machine and a torch set-up to start Solid Rock Steel. Now the company is helping tackle large, complex projects like The Butterfly, the Surrey Central Library and Microsoft’s Vancouver headquarters.


Steel is produced at one of Stelco’s facilities. – Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie

Originally called the Steel Company of Canada, Stelco was created in 1910 via the merger of Montreal Rolling Mills, the Hamilton Steel and Iron Company, and a handful of secondary companies located from Gananoque to Brantford. The company shifted its production during WW1 and WW2 to help with the war effort. Today it serves the construction, automotive, energy, appliance, and pipe and tube industries.

LMS Reinforcing Steel Group

LMS crews place rebar at a project site. – LMS

Started in the 1980s with one pickup truck and a crew of 14 ironworkers, LMS Reinforcing Steel Group is one of the biggest independent fabricators and installers of reinforcing steel B.C. The company specializes in residential towers, complex commercial developments, sports facilities and infrastructure in the transportation, energy, oil and gas sectors. Their project resume is iconic: the Golden Ears Bridge, the Sea-to-Sky Highway project, the Vancouver Convention Centre, Ruskin Dam, BC Place and more.

Walters Group

Steel pieces prepare to leave Hamilton, Ont. – Walters Group

Founded in 1956, Walters Group is a family-owned steel construction company that designs, fabricates, and constructs commercial and industrial projects throughout North America. An iconic Hamilton Ont. business, one of Walters’ first big jobs was with Dutch marine contractor Boskalis as they dredged Hamilton Harbor. Since then it has grown in size and now performs work for major projects like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Brookfield Place and the Burgoyne Bridge.

Sperling Industries

While it started in Manitoba, Sperling now has facilities in Canada and the U.S. – Sperling

Three Nicolajsen brothers joined forces in 1978 to start Sperling. The private family-owned business began as a small welding repair shop and has since turned into a full-service provider that offers design, engineering, fabrication and installation. The company started with smaller projects in Manitoba, moving into Western Canada, and eventually engaging in work overseas.

Supreme Steel

Supreme says it is the biggest privately held steel fabricator in Canada. – Supreme

Now a somewhat familiar tale on this list, Supreme began in 1972 as a modest steel erector business with prairie couple John and Sally Leder’s single welding truck. Through acquisitions and investing in technology, the company has grown beyond Western Canada and expanded across North America. Some of its major projects include the Rainier Tower in Seattle, the Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver and the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories.

Capitol Steel

Capitol crews lift steel pieces into place. – Capitol

Capitol began as a one man, welding operation and has grown into a highly specialized, structural steel fabricator and erector for some of the largest and most demanding projects in the public infrastructure, commercial construction and heavy industrial sectors. Some of Capitol’s projects include the Walterdale Bridge, the Remai Art Gallery, the Grand Valley Bridge Cofferdam and Manitoba Hydro Place.

George Third & Son

George Third & Son’s team explains their role on the Telus Garden project. – George Third & Son

Burnaby, B.C.-based George Third & Son was founded in 1910 as a blacksmith shop. Over the past 110 years the blacksmith shop has been upgraded to 55,000 square-foot steel fabrication shop. GTS has a gained a reputation for combining various materials – most notably timber – with structural steel. Its services include design, engineering, welding, cutting, steel forming, machining, custom fabrication, and managing the installation process.

Contractors, engineers, heavy equipment and more – we dove into the Toronto Stock Exchange to explore some of the largest publicly traded companies related to construction.

*Editor’s note: Market cap is accurate as of 10:00 a.m. PST, Aug. 3, 2023.

Enterprise Group (E)


Enterprise is a specialized equipment rental and services organization, providing critical site infrastructure and services in Western Canada and beyond. The company’s first quarter report for 2023 touted higher capital spending in the energy industry combined with increased customer activity levels for improved results. Revenue for the three months was $10,008,332 compared to $7,629,418 in the prior period.

Market cap: $22.52 million

DIRTT Environmental Solutions Ltd. (DRT)

DIRTT / LinkedIn

Calgary-based DIRTT specializes in industrialized construction which utilizes a system of physical products and digital tools to build high-performing, adaptable, interior environments. It’s latest financial results show revenue of $44.8 million, up 22% from the first quarter and flat compared to prior year period. Earlier this year, DIRTT entered into assignment and co-ownership agreements with Armstrong World Industries Inc. resulting in cash inflow of $10 million

Market cap: $59.33 million

Bird Construction (BDT)

Bird’s crew works on the Neepawa Hospital project. – Bird Construction / LinkedIn

In its latest report to investors, Bird stated that it achieved a significant increase in construction revenue for the first quarter of 2023, with healthy seasonal margins reflecting strong execution across work programs. At the same time, Bird grew its backlog and pending backlog to record combined levels, including recurring revenue awards now exceeding $1.1 billion. During the quarter, Bird also acquired Trinity Communications Ltd. It’s next report is scheduled for Aug. 9

Market cap: $485.18 million

Aecon Group (ARE)

Aecon and officials celebrate the opening of the Réseau express métropolitain. – Aecon / LinkedIn

Aecon Group Inc. is a national Canadian construction and infrastructure development company. One of the company’s biggest moves this year came when it announced a definitive purchase agreement with Green Infrastructure Partners Inc. to sell its Aecon Transportation East roadbuilding, aggregates and materials businesses in Ontario for $235 million in cash.  In its last quarterly results announcement, officials reported an 8% year-to-date increase in revenue and backlog of $6.9 billion at June 30, 2023.

Market cap: $682.76 million

North American Construction Group Ltd. (NOA)

North American Construction Group / LinkedIn

The company was founded in B.C. in the 1950s with just one secondhand bulldozer. It has grown into Canada’s largest independent heavy equipment and mining contractor. North American recently announced plans to acquire MacKellar Group for an estimated $395 million. The Australian company boasts a heavy construction equipment fleet and serves the mining and civil sectors. officials said the deal came together after two years of discussions.

Market cap: $900.7 million

Badger Infrastructure Solutions (BDGI)

Badger Infrastructure Solutions

Badger Infrastructure Solutions Ltd. is North America’s largest provider of non-destructive excavating services. Badger’s customers typically operate near high concentrations of underground power, communication, water, gas and sewer lines, where safety and economic risks are high and where non-destructive excavation provides a safe alternative. Badger recently announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.1725 per share.

Market cap: $1.11 billion

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC)

An aerial view shows one of SNC-Lavalin’s job sites, the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. – SNC-Lavalin / LinkedIn

Founded in 1911, SNC is a fully integrated professional services and project management company with offices in more than 40 countries and 30,000 employees. It’s recent news is a binding agreement to sell its Scandinavian Engineering Services business – comprising Denmark, Sweden and Norway – to SYSTRA Group, a France-based engineering and consulting group specialized in public transport and mobility solutions. In June it launched Decarbonomic, its decarbonization service for the industrial sector.

Market cap: $7.27 billion

Stantec (STN)


Stantec Inc. is an international professional services company in the design and consulting industry. The company was founded in 1954, as D. R. Stanley Associates in Edmonton. Just last month, it announced the closing of its private placement offering of $250 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes. The Notes bear an interest rate of 5.393% per annum and were priced at par. Stantec was also recently selected to serve as owner’s engineer for the SunZia Transmission project, the largest clean energy infrastructure project in U.S. history.

Market cap: $9.86 billion

WSP Global (WSP)

A rendering shows one of WSP’s recent projects, phase 2 of the Sainte-Catherine Street West reconstruction project in Montreal. – WSP / LinkedIn

WSP is one of the world’s largest professional services firms in the world with 67,000 employees. It provides strategic advisory, engineering and design services to clients seeking sustainable solutions in the transportation, infrastructure, environment, building, energy, water, and mining sectors. In 2022, WSP reported $11.9 billion in revenue. Last month, WSP completed its acquisition of Australian mining expert Calibre Professional Services One Pty Ltd.

Market cap: $22.23 billion

Key Takeaways:

  • The plan calls for creating a separate, spinoff business that focuses on pipelines.
  • TC Energy will focus on natural gas infrastructure and expand its power and energy solutions business.
  • The deal expected to be finalized on a tax-free basis during the latter half of 2024, after shareholder and court approvals.

The Whole Story:

TC Energy plans to separate into two distinct, publicly listed companies, both investment-grade entities, through the spinoff of TC Energy’s liquids pipelines business. This decision follows a two-year strategic review and is expected to be finalized on a tax-free basis during the latter half of 2024.

The company explained that the primary objective of the strategic spinoff is to unlock shareholder value and enable each newly-formed company to focus on its growth objectives while maintaining disciplined capital allocation, efficiency enhancement and operational excellence. TC Energy stated that by becoming independent entities, these new firms will be better equipped to pursue specific opportunities, ultimately benefiting their shareholders, customers, and the communities they serve.

Following the completion of the spinoff, TC Energy will emerge as a diversified, natural gas and energy solutions company. The new entity will be uniquely positioned to address the increasing demand for reliable, lower-carbon energy by leveraging its complementary business sets.

On the other hand, the liquids pipelines company will be established as a critical infrastructure entity with strategically positioned assets that connect supply routes to high-demand markets. The company aims to drive incremental growth and value creation opportunities in this space.

“This transformative announcement sets us up to deliver superior shareholder value for the next decade and beyond,” said François Poirier, president and CEO of TC Energy. “Fundamentals have always driven our strategic direction, and as a result, we have grown into a premier energy company with incumbency across a wide range of energy infrastructure platforms. As we have become the partner of choice for a magnitude of accretive, high-quality opportunities, we have determined that as two separate companies we can better execute on these distinct opportunity sets to unlock shareholder value.”

He emphasized that the decision was grounded in fundamental considerations and that the separation into two companies would enable them to execute distinct opportunity sets more effectively, thereby maximizing shareholder value.

Upon the completion of the spinoff, TC Energy will focus on natural gas infrastructure, backed by strong, long-term fundamentals. The company will also expand its power and energy solutions business, including nuclear, pumped hydro energy storage, and other emerging energy opportunities. TC Energy, with its extensive energy infrastructure network spanning over 93,700 km (58,200 miles), is expected to deliver about 30% of total natural gas supply for LNG export from the U.S. Additionally, it will play a pivotal role in providing Canada’s first direct connection to LNG markets through the Coastal GasLink project.

Poirier further emphasized TC Energy’s commitment to a strong balance sheet and the continuation of its efforts to achieve deleveraging goals, reinforcing the company’s focus on delivering sustainable value to shareholders.

The liquids pipelines company, as an independent entity, will be led by Bevin Wirzba, who will serve as president and CEO. This entity will operate a crude oil pipeline infrastructure covering 4,900 km (3,045 miles) and will supply crude to over 14 Mbbl/d of refining and export capacity, transporting 16% of crude exported from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB).

TC Energy intends to capitalize the liquids pipelines company in a manner that aligns with its business model and growth plans, ensuring the new entity maintains its investment-grade credit ratings.

The proposed Transaction is expected to be tax-free for TC Energy’s Canadian and U.S. shareholders. The company plans to seek shareholder approval for the spinoff in mid-2024. In addition to shareholder and court approvals, the transaction is subject to receiving favourable tax rulings from Canadian and U.S. tax authorities and meeting other customary closing conditions. The completion of the transaction is anticipated in the second half of 2024.

There is no green energy transition without doing some digging. 

As the backbone of the green and digital economy, minerals are essential for technologies like batteries, electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels. Building resilient critical minerals value chains with high ESG standards is vital for global sustainability, and Canada aims to lead the way.

According to the federal government, Canada is home to almost half of the world’s publicly listed mining companies and has a market capitalization of $520 billion.

To seize these opportunities, Ottawa recently released the Critical Minerals Strategy backed by a $4-billion budget. The comprehensive strategy not only promises economic growth and job creation but also seeks to strengthen Indigenous reconciliation efforts and foster collaboration with allies. 

Of Canada’s 31 critical minerals, six are initially prioritized in the strategy for their distinct potential to spur Canadian economic growth and their necessity as inputs for priority supply chains. These six minerals are lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, copper, and rare earth elements.

Here’s a list of mining companies that are searching for these minerals and others.

Teck Resources

Teck is Canada’s largest diversified mining company. – Teck Resources

If you are driving around in an electric car, it’s likely thanks to Teck Resources. The century-old, diversified natural resources company headquartered in Vancouver is engaged in mining and mineral development, including coal for the steelmaking, copper, zinc, and energy. Their products are critical for making solar panels and electric vehicles. They are also on a mission be carbon-neutral by 2050 and in the last decade, they have reduced GHG emissions by more than 411,000 tonnes. Their name comes from Teck Township in Kirkland Lake, Ont. where the company developed a gold mine. The mine produced gold until 1968. In addition to Canada and the U.S., Teck has major operations in Chile and Peru.


Nutrien is the largest phosphate producer in North America. – Nutrien

Nutrien is all about putting food on the table. Formed in 2018 from merger between PotashCorp and Agrium, they are the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services, playing a critical role in helping growers sustainably increase food production. They produce and distribute over 27 million tonnes of potash, nitrogen and phosphate products for agricultural, industrial and feed customers world-wide. A major focus of theirs in recent years has been shifting to automated and tele-remote mining and other digital technologies to safety performance, lower production costs, increase production and reduce emissions.

Barrick Gold

Crews survey mining operations in Nevada. – Barrick Gold

Toronto-based Barrick Gold owns six tier one gold assets, the most in the world. They also have been building a strategic copper portfolio to support the transition to clean technology. Their CEO, Mark Bristow, recently said that he believes that mining is the “flywheel of development” and mining companies will be critical for reaching the world’s sustainability goals. The group’s current key focus areas are: using its purchasing power to drive down emissions from suppliers; developing a tool to measure its contribution to the conservation and regeneration of biodiversity; continuing to provide ESG raters with the latest sustainability-related information; and progressing the environmental and social studies at the giant Reko Diq project in Balochistan, Pakistan.

First Quantum Minerals

The Botswana United Nations Development Programme visit’s Quantum’s Kansanshi mine in Zambia. – First Quantum Minerals

With likely the coolest name on this list, First Quantum Minerals is a Canadian-based mining and metals company whose main activities include mineral exploration, development and mining. Its primary product is copper, which accounts for 80% of revenues. Their team produces copper in the form of concentrate, cathode and anode, and has inventories of nickel, gold and cobalt. They operate long life mines in several countries and employ approximately 20,000 people around the globe. Just this month, Quantum announced it has started production at the Enterprise mine in Zambia, which is set to become Africa’s biggest nickel mine. Nickel is a key component for electric vehicle batteries.

Agnico Eagle Mines

Agnico’s team celebrates the company’s 60th anniversary. – Agnico Eagle

Toronto-based Agnico Eagle Mines has a legacy that traces back to 1957. It has operations in Canada, Finland, Australia and Mexico and exploration and development activities extending to the United States. The company’s flagship LaRonde mine, located in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region 62 kilometres west of Val-d’Or in Quebec, has produced 6.6 million ounces of gold since 1988 and remains a consistent engine of earnings and cash flow for the company.

Pan American Silver Corp.

2023 has been a big year for Pan American. The Vancouver-based mining company has operations in Ontario, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Earlier this year, they completed a massive deal added four Yamana Gold mines to its assets: the Jacobina mining complex in Brazil, the El Peñón and Minera Florida mines in Chile, and the Cerro Moro mine in Argentina. The multi-billion-dollar deal also required Yamana to sell its share of the Canadian Malartic mine to Agnico Eagle Mines.

Lundin Mining

Lundin recently acquired a majority interest in the Caserones Copper-Molybdenum Mine in Chile. – Lundin

Toronto-based Lundin Mining Corporation has a global presence. It owns and operates mines in Sweden, the United States, Chile, Portugal, and Brazil. These mines are focused on the extraction of essential base metals like copper, zinc, and nickel. The company’s headquarters are based in Toronto, and it was initially established by Adolf Lundin, later operated by Lukas Lundin. Originally, the company’s primary interest was in a diamond mine located in Brazil. However, it later underwent a restructuring phase and successfully raised funds to develop the Storliden mine in Sweden. Over time, Lundin Mining Corporation expanded its portfolio by acquiring significant assets.

Avalon Advanced Materials

Avalon Advanced Materials, formerly known as Avalon Rare Metals Inc., is a Canadian mineral development company based in Toronto. They have a unique focus on rare metals and minerals that play a crucial role in emerging technologies. Among their key assets are the Nechalacho Project located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, the Separation Rapids near Minaki, Ont., the East Kemptville in Nova Scotia, Lilypad Cesium near Ignace, Ont., and the Warren Township in Ontario. Avalon recently Announced $63M strategic investment by Sibelco to create a vertically integrated lithium strategic partnership.

Hudbay Minerals

Hudbay’s team explores a mining site in Arizona. – Hudbay

Hudbay Minerals has a rich Canadian history spanning over 90 years. It has been a key player in mining copper concentrate, which includes valuable deposits of copper, gold, and silver. Flin Flon, Manitoba, has been a focal point of its operations for decades. Presently, Hudbay operates in both Manitoba and Peru. Additionally, the company is actively engaged in establishing a copper mine in the southern region of Arizona.

Key Takeways:

  • After federal mediators stepped in, both parties have tentatively agreed to a four year deal that would open B.C.’s ports back up.
  • The 13-day port strike is the longest in decades, disrupting an estimated $9.7 billion in trade.
  • Some pushed federal officials to develop new tools that might prevent future strikes.

The Whole Story:

A tentative four-year deal has been reached to end a strike at B.C.’s ports

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan announced that he received notice Thursday morning, July 13, that the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have accepted the Terms of Settlement from federal mediators. 

The parties have reached a tentative agreement and they are finalizing details for the resumption of work at the ports. 

“We thank the union and the employer for their commitment to the collective bargaining process and federal mediators for their instrumental role in supporting the parties in their negotiations and proposing the successful settlement,” said O’Regan.

He noted that the scale of the disruption has been significant. 

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade President and CEO, Bridgitte Anderson explained that it will still take time to get operations back to normal, noting that it is the longest strike the region has had in nearly 40 years. It also follows years of already disrupted supply chains. 

“The 13-day strike has had a significant impact on Canada’s west coast ports and Canadian economy, disrupting an estimated $9.7 billion in trade,” said Anderson. “The consequences of the strike have been felt across various industries nationwide and will continue for some time.”

She urged the federal government to explore adding additional tools in their toolkit that can better address labour disputes on the waterfront to avoid further damage to Canada’s supply chains.

O’Regan stressed that the disruption is not something Ottawa wants to see repeated.

“The extent of it has shown just how important the relationship between industry and labour is to our national interest,” he said. “Our supply chains and economy depend on it. We do not want to be back here again. Deals like this, made between parties at the collective bargaining table, are the best way to prevent that. They are the best way to preserve the long-term stability of Canada’s economy. But we do not want to be back here again.” 

Canada’s business community is calling for an end to a labour dispute that has shut down Western Canadian ports.

On July 1, more than 7,000 International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU Canada) workers walked off the job after negotiations with the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) failed to produce a new collective agreement. Days later, the two parties seem no closer to a solution.

“The BC Construction Association is deeply concerned about the labour dispute at Canada’s West Coast ports,” said Chris Atchison, BC Construction Association (BCCA) president, in a statement to SiteNews.

Approximately 25 percent of Canada’s total traded goods flow through these ports and this shutdown will fuel inflation, increase costs for business and consumers, and damage the Canadian economy.

Chris Atchison / BC Construction Association President

Atchison noted that with BC Contractors already feeling operational pressures tied to high demand for construction services, coupled with a continuing shortage in labour supply and rising costs due to post pandemic supply chain issues, the added strain will push BC’s builders into an even tougher spot while also negatively impacting the 230,000+ British Columbians employed in the sector.

Atchison added that the BCCA, along with its partner associations across Canada, have implored the Government of Canada to take immediate action to resolve the dispute.

Fiona Famulak, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, noted that the shutdown is not sustainable. 

“The continued shutdown of Canada’s busiest and third busiest ports, where as much as $800 million worth of cargo is moved daily, is untenable,” she said in a statement to SiteNews. “Every day the job action remains unresolved increases impacts on Canadians, businesses and our economy. Without swift resolution, this strike will become dire for every organization that relies on international supply chains to produce, supply and sell goods or services.”  

Striking workers walk the picket line with Canada’s largest port, the Port of Vancouver, in the background. – ILWU Canada

Famulak urged the union and the employers association to reach a deal as quickly as possible. 

“On behalf of the 100 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and the 36,000 businesses that we represent, we are calling on the parties to resume negotiations immediately and commit to finding a mutually acceptable resolution to the impasse,” she said.  “If negotiations do not bring resolution to the labour action, the federal government must act with urgency to facilitate an end to the strike.”

The BCCA and BC Chamber of Commerce are just the tip of the iceberg. Over 120 associations, chambers of commerce, and boards of trade representing the Canadian business community have united in a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to express their deep concern over the labour disruption at Canada’s West Coast ports.

In addition to the BCCA and BC Chamber, industry signatories include the Canadian Construction Association, the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, BC Council of Forest Industries, Northern Regional Construction Association, Canadian Home Builders’ Association, Southern Interior Construction Association, Western Retail Lumber Association, Vancouver Regional Construction Association and the Vancouver Island Construction Association.

Here is the letter in its entirety:

“Dear Prime Minister:

On behalf of the Canadian business community, we are writing to express our deep concern regarding the labour dispute at Canada’s West Coast ports.

As associations, local chambers of commerce and boards of trade, whose members employ millions of Canadians, we are calling on the Government to reconvene Parliament and pass back-to-work legislation, immediately.

The shutdown of our ports will fuel inflation, increase costs for businesses and consumers, and damage the Canadian economy. It will severely reduce the ability of our exporting industries to move their products to market, making it much more difficult to secure the global contracts that drive investment and employ Canadians.

Approximately 25 percent of our total traded goods flow through the ports in Western Canada. They are Canada’s largest gateway, handling over $800 million worth of cargo, from agri-foods and potash to critical minerals, forestry, construction materials and household necessities, every single day. As a result of Canada’s heavy reliance on trade, the smooth delivery of goods is in the national public interest making the impact of this dispute far more profound than that of most other more isolated labour disruptions.

To position Canada as a reliable trading partner that is competitive in the global economy, businesses must be able to reliably and efficiently get goods to and from market. Canadians expect our elected officials to ensure that this labour dispute is resolved quickly.


Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce
Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada
Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
Alberta Chambers of Commerce
Innovative Medicines Canada
Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce (Manitoba)
Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce
Barriere & Area Chamber of Commerce
Kelowna Chamber of Commerce
BC Chamber of Commerce
King Chamber of Commerce
BC Chamber of Shipping
Leamington District Chamber of Commerce
BC Council of Forest Industries
Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce
Beaumont Chamber of Commerce
Life Sciences BC
Brampton Board of Trade
London Chamber of Commerce
British Columbia Construction Association
Madoc & District Chamber of Commerce
British Columbia Trucking Association
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce
Burlington Chamber of Commerce
Melfort Trade Alliance Chamber of Commerce
Burnaby Board of Trade
Mining Association of Canada
Business Council of Canada
Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce
Calgary Chamber of Commerce
Mississauga Board of Trade
Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce
Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters
New Car Dealers Association of BC
Canadian Automobile Dealers Association
North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Canola Growers Association
Northern Regional Construction Association
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Oakville Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Construction Association
Ottawa Board of Trade
Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Owen Sound & District Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Food Exporters Association
Parkland Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Home Builders’ Association
Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association
Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Perth & District Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Meat Council
Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Produce Marketing Association
Prince Albert & District Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Society of Customs Brokers
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Sugar Institute
Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Toy Association
Railway Association of Canada
Canadian Trucking Alliance
Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada
Canola Council of Canada
Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce
Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce
Responsible Distribution Canada
Restaurants Canada
Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant
Retail Council of Canada
Chetwynd Chamber of Commerce
Richmond Chamber of Commerce
Clarenville Area Chamber of Commerce
Ridge Meadows Chamber of Commerce
Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce
Rocky Mountain House & District Chamber Of Commerce
Cochrane Board of Trade
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce
Cold Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce
Saskatchewan Mining Association
Crowsnest Pass Chamber of Commerce
Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce
Delta Chamber of Commerce
Sherwood Park & District Chamber of Commerce
Edmonton Chamber of Commerce
Shipping Federation of Canada
Electro-Federation Canada
Smithers District Chamber of Commerce
Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ)
South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce
Fertilizer Canada
Southern Interior Construction Association
St. Albert and District Chamber Of Commerce
Food Producers of Canada
St. Andrews Chamber of Commerce
Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada
Surrey Board of Trade
Freight Management Association of Canada
Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce
Global Automakers of Canada
The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton
Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce
Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce
Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce
Toronto Region Board of Trade
Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce
Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce
Vancouver Island Construction Association
Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce
Vancouver Regional Construction Association
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
Vermilion & District Chamber of Commerce
Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce
Western Canadian Shippers’ Coalition
Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Western Retail Lumber Association
Halifax Chamber of Commerce
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce
Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce
Woodstock Chamber of Commerce
Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce
Yorkton Chamber of Commerce.”

Work will resume on a $5-billion electric vehicle (EV) battery plant after work halted seven weeks ago over government funding. 

Union officials announced that Stellantis and the federal and Ontario governments have reached an agreement that will see construction of the Windsor EV battery plant resume.

“We knew the high stakes. We knew these commitments had to be kept because the alternative would have been unthinkable for so many workers. I know what resonated with all parties was the persistent message from our union that thousands upon thousands of workers’ livelihoods were hanging in the balance throughout this dispute,” said Lana Payne, Unifor national president. “We would like to thank Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Doug Ford and the company for reaching this important conclusion and taking the necessary action to secure the Stellantis production footprint in Canada.”

The lithium-ion battery plant is a joint venture of Stellantis and LG Energy Solution. It was first announced in March 2022. Construction at the future plant was halted on May 15, 2023, after Stellantis claimed the federal government had not met its financial commitment and that the company was implementing contingency plans for battery production. Windsor officials called the delays unacceptable and are circulated a petition to push Ottawa to finalize a deal.

Key Takeaways:

  • This year’s wildfire season is already well on its way to beating the 1989 record of 7.5 million hectares burned.
  • Sawmills, oil and gas sites, and construction sites have all been impacted and could be impacted more if severe wildfires continue as predicted.
  • The nation’s GDP lost could be as high as 0.6 ppts.

The Whole Story:

Canadian wildfires aren’t just destroying trees. They are burning Canada’s GDP.

According to advisory firm Oxford Economics, Canada’s early-season wildfires have already reduced GDP in Q2 by 0.1ppt. 

And if predictions of record-breaking wildfires this summer are realized, Oxford’s preliminary analysis suggests cuts to Q3 GDP could be between 0.3 ppts and 0.6 ppts. This would make the impact worse than the catastrophic 2016 Fort McMurray fires. 

So far, Canada has passed the halfway mark to the previous record-holding year of 1989, when about 7.5 million hectares burned. According to Natural Resources Canada, over 100,000 people have been affected by evacuation orders so far this year, with an estimated 27,643 people still evacuated across the country due to fires as of June 8.

The firm noted that the bulk of the hit to the economy will be in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction in Alberta, Quebec, and B.C. where fires have forced operations to shut down for various periods since mid-May. 

Researchers noted that poor air quality due to wildfire smoke may also curtail or postpone some construction activity

“In our low-impact scenario, we assume 10 more poor air quality days than normal this wildfire season, while our high-impact scenario assumes 20 more poor air quality days than normal,” they wrote. “However, once the wildfire season is over, rebuilding efforts should provide a meaningful but gradual boost to the construction sector.”

The forestry industry has also been directly impacted by the closure of sawmills in hard-hit areas, particularly in Quebec.

One of the most visible impacts is in the sky. Wildfire smoke is causing periods of poor air quality across much of Canada and parts of the U.S. 

“So far, we don’t think this has had a measurable macroeconomic impact,” said researchers. “But, if the wildfires lead to a large number of poor air quality days this summer, outdoor economic activities like recreation travel, tourism and construction could be disrupted.” 

The firm noted that a larger number of poor air quality days could disrupt Canada’s construction sector if labourers aren’t able to work safely outdoors. They noted that a growing body of economic research on the effects of poor air quality and air pollution show the impact on hours worked and productivity, though most focus only on specific sectors and regions and the research techniques used vary considerably. 

In a worse case, should wildfires shut major traffic corridors, cutting off supply lines or disrupting power supply to large population and business centres, the economic consequences could be even more severe, said Oxford. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Several days into the strike, both parties have accused the other of being unreasonable and negotiations appear to have stalled.
  • Automation of ports, the rising cost of living and the use of outside contractors are major issues that have been raised by workers.
  • The employers association argued the union is trying to expand their scope and redefine their work.
  • The strike includes more than 7,000 workers and impacts West Coast ports, including Canada’s largest port, the Port of Vancouver.

The Whole Story:

A supply chain crisis is brewing in Western Canada as workers at some of Canada’s largest ports are striking. 

On July 1, more than 7,000 International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU Canada) workers walked off the job after negotiations with the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) failed to produce a new collective agreement. Days later, the two parties seem no closer to a solution. 

What the employers say

On Monday BCMEA announced that a continuation of bargaining at this time is not going to produce a collective agreement.

“The BCMEA has continued to advance reasonable proposals and positions in good faith with the urgent objective of making progress, reaching a fair deal, and ensuring ports are open and supply chains are stable and reliable,” officials said. “Rather than work towards an equitable deal, ILWU Canada seems to have entrenched their positions. The BCMEA has gone as far as possible on core issues.”

The group stated that the ILWU Canada is attempting to “aggressively expand” their scope and re-define regular maintenance work far beyond what is set out in the industry-wide agreement. The BCMEA’s view is that changing this definition would result in immediate and significant impacts to terminal operations. They explained that under the current collective agreement, the ILWU exclusively supplies the labour force, however, the employers noted that the union has been consistently unable to fulfill the trades work they have jurisdiction over.

“Further, ILWU Canada’s proposals for compensation are unreasonable, and well outside the established norm of union settlements in Canada,” they said.

In 2022, the median salary of an ILWU Union longshore worker in B.C. was $136,000 per year, plus benefits and pension. Over the course of the past 13 years, longshore wages have risen by 40%. ILWU Canada member wages have increased by approximately 10% in the past three years since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“ILWU Canada went on strike over demands that were and continue to be outside any reasonable framework for settlement,” said the BCMEA. “ILWU Canada needs to decide if they are going to continue this strike with no hope of settlement, or significantly modify their position so a fair and balanced deal can be reached.”

Workers float on the picket line as part of the ILWU strike in B.C. – ILWU Canada

What the union says

When the union issued its strike noticed, it cited three main objectives: 

  • Stop the erosion of their work through contracting out.
  • Protect current and future generations from the impacts of port automation.
  • Protect longshore workers from record high Inflation and sky-rocketing cost of living.

According to the union, the association was not willing to engage in any meaningful way on substantive issues based on their experience with how the the BCMEA approaches collective bargaining. In response, the union issued notice of dispute in an effort to move the process along and parties have been involved with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) since April. 

The union replied to the association’s argument of them trying to expand its scope of work beyond regular maintenance. 

“The fact is that the union has been raising the issue of rampant contracting out of our maintenance work for years,” said ILWU officials. “Our focus in this round of bargaining has been to stop the erosion of jurisdiction and the extensive use of contractors.” 

According to the union, they moved substantially from their original position on regular maintenance issues and the parties had produced a document that was largely agreed upon. They accused the employers of changing their position at this late stage to “muddy the water” and mischaracterize the union’s concerns. 

“The BCMEA drew a line in the sand and ended the progress that had been made so that the new maintenance document would have no ability to achieve the aims set out in it,” stated union officials. “The association deliberately sabotaged the progress that had been made therefore we must question their motives and the appropriateness of the BCMEA bargaining committee to actually negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.” 

The unions also argued against the employers’ position on compensation, noting that the BCMEA’s members have enjoyed record profits before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and other industries, like the transportation sector, have shared those profits with workers.

“We implore the BCMEA to get back to the table to achieve a fair and reasonable agreement that the parties negotiate together,” stated the union. “It is unrealistic to think that a collective agreement that is imposed will result in long term labour stability in the industry. The parties need to put their best effort forward for the entire country and not just their individual aims.”

Automating port facilities

The automation effort the union is referring to is the the $3.5-billion Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project which received federal approval earlier this year. The work, to be funded by the port authority and private investment, involves the construction of a new three-berth marine container terminal in Delta, B.C. The terminal will serve container ships bringing a wide variety of goods such as clothing, electronics, food, auto parts, manufacturing parts, furniture, and household goods. 

The terminal will also serve overseas markets, shipping export containers loaded with a range of Canadian goods including pulp, lumber, crops such as lentils and legumes, grain, fruits, and specialty items like wine and craft beer. As part of the project, the existing causeway will be widened to accommodate additional road and rail infrastructure, and the existing tug basin will be expanded to accommodate a second tug operations

When it comes to automation, port officials stated that the future terminal operator will determine the final configuration and operating concept for the terminal, taking into account the conditions and commitments set out in the environmental process. 

“However, it is important to note that all the work we have completed to date has planned for a semi-automated terminal and we assume the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project will be partially automated, similar to newer container terminals around the world,” they said.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce urged the Government of Canada to immediately intervene in order to prevent further disruption to Canada’s supply chains and limit the impact of the strike.

“The government should immediately recall Parliament to pass back-to-work legislation to protect the livelihoods of Canadian workers and the health of Canadian businesses affected by disruption to the more than $800 million worth of cargo flowing through West Coast ports every single day,” said Robin Guy, vice president and deputy leader of government relations for the chamber.

Key Takeaways:

  • Transit passes issued by a developer to residents in transit-oriented buildings increased their transit use by 10%
  • Approximately 50 percent of the participants did not own private vehicles, indicating a reduced reliance on personal cars.
  • TransLink is actively seeking partners to support a larger-scale study conducted over an extended period.

The Whole Story:

Early research conducted by TransLink and PCI Developments (PCI) suggests that incentives provided by developers can significantly increase the use of public transit among residents and employees of transit-oriented developments. 

Moreover, the study found that these incentives also create a new source of revenue for transit services. Officials say the findings shed light on the potential of encouraging developers to offer transit passes as part of their projects to promote sustainable transportation options and enhance the financial sustainability of transit systems.

“This study gives us a clearer picture of how people travel when they work or live near SkyTrain,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn. “These results show that developer-granted incentives would lead to more transit use, less car-dependency, and a new revenue stream independent from taxes.”

The study involved PCI providing Compass Cards with $150 stored value to 300 residents or employees of King George Hub, a transit-oriented development located near the King George SkyTrain Station. TransLink closely monitored the travel patterns of the participants before and after the subsidy was implemented, while also conducting surveys to gather valuable insights. The results of the three-month study revealed an increase of approximately 10 percent in transit use among the participants.

Prior to receiving the subsidy, 82 percent of participants reported using transit twice a week or more. However, after the subsidy was introduced, this number surged to an impressive 92 percent. Officials said that the growth suggests that individuals who choose to live or work near rapid transit options like the SkyTrain are more inclined to use public transportation when provided with subsidized transit passes.

A chart compares transit use with and without the subsidy. – TransLink

TransLink stated that it intends to share these results with regional municipalities, highlighting the potential benefits of developer-sponsored incentives. In addition to promoting increased transit use, the study revealed several other findings. Approximately 50 percent of the participants did not own private vehicles, indicating a reduced reliance on personal cars. Furthermore, about 40 percent of the participants reported owning only one vehicle per household. Over the course of the three-month pilot, the 300 participants collectively took more than 12,000 transit trips.

While these initial findings are certainly promising, officials noted that they are based on a relatively small sample size and a short timeframe. Recognizing the need for further research, TransLink is actively seeking partners to support a larger-scale study conducted over an extended period. They believe that by replicating these results on a broader scale, transit authorities can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the potential impact of developer-sponsored incentives on transit usage and revenue generation.

Key Takeaways:

  • Saint-Gobain also recently acquired Kaycan and CertainTeed as part of its Canadian business strategy. 
  • Saint-Gobain plans to add $435 million to its leadership in Canada, where it already has around $1.4 billion of sales, primarily gypsum, insulation, ceilings and siding.
  • Saint-Gobain stated that the acquisition completes its offering of solutions for light and sustainable construction in Canada.

The Whole Story:

International building materials giant Saint-Gobain announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Building Products of Canada Corp. (BP Canada) for $994 million in cash.

The company is a privately owned manufacturer of residential roofing shingles and wood fiber insulation panels in Canada. Saint-Gobain said the acquisition will reinforce its leadership in light and sustainable construction in the Canadian market. 

“Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the history of Building Products of Canada,” said Yves Gosselin, BP Canada president and CEO. “Our focus on delivering the best solutions and satisfaction to our customers has enabled us to become a leading player in roofing in Canada. The opportunity to join Saint-Gobain, the worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction, and which is investing significantly in Canada, is the perfect next step to further enrich our offer by leveraging Saint-Gobain’s innovation and technology.”

BP Canada is a leading roofing and exterior building products player in Canada with three manufacturing plants – Montreal, Edmonton, Pont-Rouge – and 460 employees. It has a leading position in asphalt shingle roofing in Canada and offers a comprehensive range of exterior building products including wood fiber insulation panels and acoustic panels. It sells through more than 1,200 points-of-sale across home center retailers and specialty distribution channels.

Saint-Gobain plans to add $435 million to its leadership in Canada, where it already has around $1.4 billion of sales, primarily gypsum, insulation, ceilings and siding. 

“This is an important and logical step for Saint-Gobain, allowing us to establish a leading position in roofing in Canada, completing our offering for the building envelope which we have reinforced with the recent Kaycan and GCP acquisitions,” said Benoit Bazin, Saint-Gobain CEO. “It completes our offering of solutions for light and sustainable construction in Canada as we have done successfully in the United States.”

Canadian investment and advisory firm Hillcore has completed the acquisition of Alberta-based Thompson Construction Group. 

Thompson was established in Barrhead, Alta. in 1964 with a handful of employees and a couple pieces of heavy equipment. It has been headquartered in Spruce Grove, Alta. since 1984 and has grown to include 1,500 employees and 2,000 pieces of equipment. 

The heavy civil contractor focuses on heavy civil earth moving, infrastructure construction, oil sands reclamation and plant construction.

Hillcore, which has partnered with Thompson’s existing senior management team on the acquisition, stated that Thompson’s long-standing history of operational excellence, safety, and quality will continue. Hillcore will work with the management team as it builds its service capacity to support its growing customer base through capital expenditure, acquisition, and geographic expansion plans.

“We are excited to partner with such a great leadership team and an industry leader and see tremendous opportunities to grow this platform,” said Russell Negus, Hillcore chairman. “We welcome Thompson’s 1,500 employees to our existing family of over 3,500 employees across our affiliated businesses.”

Negus gave a special thanks to Larry Thompson for building the business and said that Hillcore is committed to being first rate stewards and custodians of the business as it continues to grow.

“I am thrilled that the Hillcore Group is dedicated to continuing the vision of Thompson, supporting all the great staff and clients in the excellent work we do,” said Larry. “I also want to thank all Thompson employees past and present who have been instrumental in delivering so many successful projects to our long list of great clients over the years.” 

Structurlam Mass Timber Corporation is filing for bankruptcy. 

The company announced  it has entered into a stalking horse asset purchase agreement (APA) with Mercer International Inc. to sell its assets in B.C. and Arkansas for US$60 million. Mercer is one of the world’s largest producers of market pulp.

In conjunction with the APA, the Company has voluntarily filed petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. code. Recognition of the Chapter 11 proceedings will be sought in the Supreme Court of British Columbia shortly thereafter.

The company explained that APA is subject to higher and better offers as part of a court monitored auction process. In addition, the company secured a C$7.5 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) facility from the Bank of Montreal to fund its operations throughout the court process.

“I am delighted and grateful for Mercer’s vote of confidence in Structurlam and in its leadership in the mass timber industry. It is especially rewarding given the difficult period the company has had since suspending its operations in Arkansas mid-January, and it will help in normalizing the plant operations going forward” said Matthew Karmel, CEO of Structurlam.

Operations were suspended at the Arkansas plant due to a customer contract cancellation.  Local news outlets reported Walmart cancelled its contract due to production delays. Walmart’s headquarters is also in Arkansas.

Structurlam products have been used on many Canadian projects, including:

  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Prince George’s Wood Innovation and Design Centre
  • Brock Commons
  • The Richmond Olympic Oval