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MHCA focused on bolstering infrastructure investment programs

The city and provincial governments are looking to the construction industry to help fuel economic recovery as Manitoba moves toward reopening the economy, the MHCA Executive Committee heard at its April 22 teleconference meeting.

The association is working with a group of six industry and business associations to support both the Winnipeg and Manitoba governments in their efforts to kickstart the economy, put people to work and shore up their general revenues which have been hurt by the shutdown of non-essential businesses.

Among those efforts are:

  • Letter April 15 to Premier Pallister asking that he lead an economic recovery plan, with short, medium and long-term initiatives, and:
    • Accelerate and enhance by over-committing provincial capital core infrastructure budgets by up to double, alone and/or jointly with the federal government, to get people working and money churning in the economy
    • Direct resumption this season of the Provincial Quarry Rehabilitation Program whose reserve account holds more than $8 million dedicated by legislation to quarry rehabilitation programs
    • Announce the creation of an economic recovery task force led by 5-7 key business leaders, resourced by Manitoba, equipped to reach out, assess and offer advice directly to you on the economic recovery matters
  • Letter April 17 to three cabinet ministers with responsibility for infrastructure and the economy, to establish an economic recovery task force, led by key business leaders and supported by the provincial government
  • Support to Winnipeg City Council and administration on the recent administrative report on financial management of impacts of pandemic business shutdown

These initiatives build upon the work MHCA has done since the COVID-19 shutdown of non-critical businesses to ensure capital investment and infrastructure programs would roll out as planned at both levels of government, and to work with key safety program partners to equip the heavy construction industry with necessary workplace procedures and protocols for operating during the pandemic.

MHCA President Chris Lorenc noted the federal government is looking to accelerate investment in infrastructure in agreements with the province and municipalities, focusing on projects that can be rolled out immediately (shove-ready); 1 year to 18 months; and, between 18 months and 5 years.

The MHCA and its WORKSAFELY™ program worked to clarify the provincial public health order that took effect April 17 that requires all individuals entering Manitoba to self-isolate for 14 days. The association has secured assurance construction workers, or companies supplying services to the industry on projects, are able to attend worksites when moving between jurisdictions on projects. Construction is listed as an essential service by both Manitoba and Winnipeg.

WORKSAFELY™ Director Don Hurst told the board the program is working on resuming COR audits and providing COR training online in the coming weeks.