My focus during my presidency will be on advocacy in alignment with NCHCA’s first objective to advocate strong, clear positions and expectations to regarding issues that affect the heavy construction industry.
In particular, history shows that investment in infrastructure is not only the best way to stimulate the economy, it also creates immediate employment opportunities and improves the economic and environmental quality of life for all of us. I will advocate that:
- the projects we deliver are essential. They provide transportation routes for people and goods, ensure safe drinking water, process waste, and protect our community against flooding and other natural disasters. This foundation enables our communities and local businesses to grow and ensures that we enjoy a high quality of life.
- it is in the best interest of Ottawa’s economy that the City maintain a robust capital budget for infrastructure construction and maintenance. Relying on the construction sector to play a leading role in economic recovery is a time-tested and proven strategy and one that should be embraced as fundamental to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ottawa will benefit from the economic stimulus created by thousands of working construction people as well as the multiple effect in terms of the economic activity generated throughout a broad and diverse materials and services supply At the same time, infrastructure construction creates tangible new public assets that will support further economic development and growth in the longer term.
Although the mandate of NCHCA is to lobby at the local level, in 2020 we also lobbied the federal and provincial governments regarding stimulus funding. I invite you to take a moment to see the 2020 Advocacy Report posted on NCHCA’s website.
Other priorities during 2021 include improving the recruitment and retention of workers in the heavy construction industry. In 2020, NCHCA undertook a multi-year recruitment project with funding from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to address industry labour shortages in the Ottawa area. We will be calling on you, our members, to provide input and feedback as we develop recruitment strategies to help us all going forward.
We recognize and value our relationships with our stakeholders. We will continue to work closely with our partners – municipal governments, private sector owners and consulting engineers – and will build on the success of the 2021 Education Series, which brought together over 560 (attendance to be updated after March 25 & April 8 events) industry professionals at this industry-wide educational and networking event.
We will continue to work closely with the City of Ottawa through monthly liaison meetings and providing feedback on City initiatives such as the use of broadband backup alarms, rolling out Health & Safety Management System Requirements for Contractors, payment processes, VPM improvements, the Road Activity Bylaw review and specification updates.
I look forward to my term as president and to providing our members with information and resources so that they, in turn, can be successful.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time.
Steve McEachen, P.Eng.