Article

Push on for industry ‘champion’

0 31 Associations

by Patricia Williams

Canadian Construction Association (CCA) is pressing for creation within Industry Canada of a secretariat to foster innovation and enhanced productivity for construction, Canada’s largest industry.

CCA lobbies feds

Staff Writer

Canadian Construction Association (CCA) is pressing for creation within Industry Canada of a secretariat to foster innovation and enhanced productivity for construction, Canada’s largest industry.

While such entities exist for other key sectors of the economy, construction is “lumped into” the service industries branch, which covers some 40 areas, said CCA president Michael Atkinson.

“Given that the industry employs more than one million people and accounts for 12 per cent of the GDP, we find it somewhat incredulous that Industry Canada does not appear to perceive the industry as an identifiable sector that is key to Canada’s future prosperity,” Atkinson said.

An estimated 95 per cent of construction companies across Canada are classified as small businesses, “which are considered the engine of the Canadian economy.”

Acting on a motion approved by the board of directors at its annual conference in Hawaii, the association wrote Industry Minister Maxime Bernier requesting a meeting.

The motion was tabled by Lloyd Ferguson, newly elected chair of research and innovation task force, saying industry sorely needs “a champion” within the federal bureaucracy.

Atkinson, whose association represents 20,000 companies across the country, said the change of government in Ottawa has given CCA an opportunity to broach the matter with the new industry minister.

CCA envisages that a dedicated construction secretariat could work with the industry to develop policies, programs and services aimed at encouraging innovation, international competitiveness and technology advancement.

“I think there is a tendency (within government) to concentrate more on what are perceived to be burgeoning sectors of the economy such as high-tech,” Atkinson said.

“It is an absolute disconnect to think that construction isn’t part of the equation when it comes to enhancing productivity and increasing our future prosperity. Our industry is relied upon by all other sectors.

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