September 2017 – From the Research Desk


September is by far my favourite month of the year. Perhaps it has something to do with new beginnings (all those first days of schools), the cooler weather or just getting back into a routine after making the most of summer.  Whatever it is, I always find myself taking stock, planning and looking to the future.  So, with that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to share with you some of the research initiatives OCS has been working on as well as some of the industry issues and trends we have been keeping our eye on.

2016-2019 ICI Collective Bargaining

As we are now approaching the midway point in the Collective Bargaining cycle, OCS is working diligently to update the ICI Collective Agreement database.  With over 20,000 variables, this is a massive undertaking. Stay tuned as we expect to launch the updated database in the next few months. In the meantime, all current ICI Collective Agreements are now available on the Members’ section of the OCS website ( If you don’t have a login (or have forgotten it), please contact Ian Worte at


The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) hosted a number of discussions over the summer that focused on their mandate to create a “modernized” apprenticeship system in Ontario. MAESD is particularly interested in focusing on three key priority areas:
1) Increasing completion rates
2) Increasing participation of traditionally under-represented groups
3) Creating clearer and better pathways for learners

Numerous stakeholders from the unionized construction industry attended these sessions, with almost every construction trade represented. Although there are still strides to be made in the three priority areas, many stakeholders from the unionized sector assert that their existing practices already contribute to higher completion rates. Joint apprenticeship training committees work to effectively select apprentices who have the academics, skills aptitudes and work ethic needed to succeed. Union apprentices also have access to a pool of employers as they proceed through their apprentices. UA Canada submitted a comprehensive brief outlining why the union model is successful and provided several suggestions for continued improvement to the apprenticeship system.

Over the past several years, OCS has been contributing to the apprenticeship dialogue through its research on union investment in apprenticeship, completion rates and our 5 year longitudinal study. With close to 1000 apprentices participating in our longitudinal study, we are starting to learn more about the apprentices and their journey through the apprenticeship system. We are currently analyzing the early feedback we have received from apprentices. Of particular interest is the apprentices who have withdrawn from the program. Although the numbers are small, the primary reason for leaving the program was ‘insufficient work’.

Market Trends

Be sure to look at our Regional Building Permit article. Ontario’s ICI permit values reached a record high in this year’s second quarter, totalling just under $4.38 billion. Perhaps this is a sign that the annual building permit value for 2017 will top the $12 billion mark for the first time since 2012. Industrial building permits are showing strength, particularly in Hamilton, Sudbury and Kitchener-Waterloo.

On a final note, we have recently posted the Queen’s University report on Jurisdictional Disputes on our website. Dr. Richard Chaykowski presented preliminary findings of this research at the 2016 OCS Annual General Meeting. This report helps to unravel the types, causes and resolutions to jurisdictional disputes. We look forward to your input and observations as we consider additional research on this topic.





Katherine Jacobs
Director of Research,

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