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Ontario construction industry pushes for single ministry

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by Vince Versace

With an expected cabinet shuffle at Queen’s Park in the new year, Ontario construction industry stakeholders have pushed for a single ministry responsible for infrastructure.

Politics

With an expected cabinet shuffle at Queen’s Park in the new year, Ontario construction industry stakeholders have pushed for a single ministry responsible for infrastructure.

“It is an opportunity to consider whether the experiment with a combined energy and infrastructure ministry should be continued,” said Andy Manahan, executive director, Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO). “We feel that in light of ongoing stimulus spending and catching up on infrastructure priorities that we need someone to be a dedicated infrastructure minister.”

Premier Dalton McGuinty created the combined infrastructure and energy ministry in June 2008.

RCCAO states in a letter to McGuinty that “it was clear to us” that energy issues absorbed a majority of attention and infrastructure received “less focus than it deserved” because they were grouped together, despite efforts to address them equally.

Clive Thurston, president, Ontario General Contractors Association, said the division of attention between the two files was inevitable because energy and infrastructure, though somewhat similar, are both complex and different industries.

Also, with the combined ministry, the province’s construction advisory council was also eliminated, reducing chances for industry consultation and feedback.

“The infrastructure file is definitely a standalone file,” he said. “It is as large and equal in importance as the energy file in our opinion ... and infrastructure lost some of its prominence.”

The Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA) is also among construction industry representatives calling for a sole ministry responsible for infrastructure.

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