February 2018 – Article – Celebrating Our 25th Anniversary – Part Two: Newsletters From Then To Now


When the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) was created in 1993, one of the key objectives defined in the Labour Relations Act was “collecting, analyzing and disseminating information concerning the collective bargaining and economic conditions in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector of the construction industry.”  To achieve this objective, the OCS has consistently shared information with our stakeholders through the publication of a regular industry newsletter.

The Internet was new and many organizations did not have access to the internet, let alone have a presence on the web.  Therefore communication with OCS stakeholders (employer and employee bargaining agents, union locals, construction associations and contractors) was through hard copy newsletters and publications.

We thought it would be a fun trip down memory lane to dig through our archives and share images and stories from some of our early newsletters.

The very first OCS newsletter was a total of 4 pages and prepared by the Industry Promotion Committee of the OCS (in 1994, the OCS did not have any staff).  This inaugural newsletter focussed on describing the objectives and committee structures for this brand new organization and announced the upcoming Annual General Meeting.  The newsletter also introduced stakeholders to the hardcopy OCS Information Base which compiled a vast array of data on the construction industry.


By 1996, the age of electronic information sharing had begun.  Despite its infancy, the internet provided an excellent opportunity for the OCS to develop a visual identity that was used both in the newsletter and on the organization’s website.  The OCS now had two ways to communicate with its stakeholders.  Content remained extremely important, and in August, the newsletter provided several updates on various initiatives as well as highlights from several inaugural regional meetings.


The July 1998 edition introduced Scott Macivor as the first Chief Executive Officer of the OCS.  In his inaugural CEO Message, Macivor wrote:

“To date, the work of the OCS under the direction of only the volunteer directors and, primarily, the efforts of The ARA Consulting Group, has been exceptional.  We now have an opportunity to expand these efforts, improve our communication networks to and from our representative EBA’s, and become a more definite voice for organized ICI construction.”

The following year, the newsletters continued to enhance and strengthen the OCS brand.  Technology was also changing and the used of improved graphics resulted in more appealing visuals.

Future Building made an appearance in the newsletter for the first time in the March 2000 issue.  A full front page article in March announced the first Future Building to be presented by the OCS.  The event would be held over two days late in the year at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  Given this was to be an annual event, the OCS developed a visual identity to help support its marketing initiatives.

By this time, newsletters were full colour with photos and graphics.  Content included quarterly economic updates, information on Regional Building permits, an industry spotlight and information from the OCS such as conference and market updates. The newsletter was branded and published under the name “Eye on ICI” – a name that continues to this day.

In the spring of 2016, the OCS launched a fully digital newsletter as part of a growing environmental consciousness that was helping to reduce paper waste.  Distributed monthly by email, the digital version of Eye on ICI continues to be a current source of construction and OCS news for over 2,000 industry stakeholders.

Stay tuned for more!




Fred Lehmann
Communications Coordinator,

Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
180 Attwell Drive, Suite 360, Toronto, ON M9W 6A9
P 416.620.5210 ext. 222
F 416.620.5310