October 2018 – Article – Looking Back – 2018 Annual General Meeting and Conference


The OCS AGM and Conference headed to Niagara-on-the-Lake in late September. Held over two days, our labour, management and government stakeholders had numerous opportunities to network and engage with each other. This year we invited Chris Cummins, a motivational TedTalks speaker, who inspired us to “think bigger” and “act bigger” while also encouraging us to develop a personal and organizational “GPS” to take us where we want to be.

Shifting gears to focus on growing union market share, OCS Director of Research Katherine Jacobs facilitated a discussion with Marc Arsenault (Ironworkers District Council of Ontario) and Stephen Callender (President of Bass Installation). Marc and Stephen spoke about their partnership and how they support each other in successfully bidding new work opportunities.

The second panel explored the impact of Mega Projects on union market share. Patrick Dillon and a diverse panel of labour and management stakeholders had an interesting discussion ranging from the pressures mega projects place on the broader marketplace, social impact on workers, recruiting and training apprentices, jurisdiction and opportunities for adapting collective agreements for different types of work. All panelist agreed the unionized industry in Ontario does not want to head down the path of working exclusively on mega projects and there is an opportunity to continue this dialogue. A great discussion, thanks to Patrick and the panelists – Steve Fox (IBEW Local 105), Mike Mahon (Sheet Metal Workers Local 235) Cosmo Mannella (LiUNA), Graeme Aitken (Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario), Tom Kemp (Kemp Construction) and Jim Lyons (Windsor Construction Labour Relations Board).

We shifted gears on Day 2 to all things political. Hon. Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour, brought greetings from Queen’s Park and congratulated OCS on its 25thAnniversary. She spoke briefly about the government’s intention to review the economic impacts of Bill 148.

The conference wrapped-up with a keynote presentation by Paul Wells, Sr. Editor for Macleans Magazine, and a lively political panel sponsored by Navigator featuring Amanda Galbraith, Colin Macdonald and Sally Housser. They talked about the provincial election, the first 100 days of the PC government and what we can expect over the next few years.

Next year, the AGM and Conference will be held September 25thand 26th in The Blue Mountains.


(Photos: Ontario Construction Secretariat)





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