Tender advertising to proceed, unless MI told otherwise
MHCA has assured Manitoba Infrastructure the industry will work with the government to ensure construction work planned for the year proceeds as normally as possible, adjusting as necessary amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“MI has assured us that, to date, the department intends to proceed with advertising construction tenders as planned, and is working to minimize any disruption that may follow as all workplaces adjust to reduce risk presented by the coronavirus,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said.
MI and the association remain in touch, and MHCA has been assured it will be advised should the status of the advertising schedule change. The MHCA is in touch with other branches of government that provide services to the industry, including permitting for aggregate resource extraction.
“We have been told that MI recognizes the difficulty of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on business and the community as a whole,” Lorenc noted. “The government is working diligently to preserve its business operations to the degree that it can.”
As well, the MHCA has reached out to the Canadian Construction Association, which is in discussions with the federal government concerning its response to the pandemic. The federal government announced earlier this week an economic package that has financial assistance for businesses and individuals hurt by the shutdown.
Lorenc said the heavy construction industry needs to see how the provisions for EI can be extended to construction workers, should projects be delayed or cancelled this season.
Further, in light of some jurisdictions halting their construction plans, Lorenc asked CCA to recommend that the federal government approach such decisions carefully, and caution it against a country-wide halt. Such halts should apply on a province-by-province basis, dependent on conditions in each.
Lorenc said he understands that MI’s transition to digital procurement platforms such as MERX has allowed the Department to continue such operations even as staff operate remotely.
MI is reviewing staff safety, alternative service and contingency options for upcoming construction projects to ensure work continues safely, with minimal interruption to work activities. That includes the development of staff safety protocols which may affect normal business operations.
Lorenc said he told MI the industry itself is keeping abreast of advice to protect the safety and health of its workforce throughout the pandemic.