For over forty years, the National Capital Heavy Construction Association has represented the interests of the heavy construction industry in the national capital region. Our industry is a significant economic driver, with over 9,000 employees and an annual capital investment of $165 million. We play a vital role in the construction and maintenance of the infrastructure that is so critically important to maintaining the well-being of our community.
I am honored to act as the 42nd President of the Association and build upon the foundation laid by our Past Presidents and Board Members. I am very fortunate to have the support of our committed Board of Directors, our Executive Director, Kathryn Sutherland, and outgoing President, Stephen Goodman.
This year is an important one as we roll out new programs and initiatives to support our members so that they, in turn, will be successful. To this end, we have a robust 3-year Business Plan in place that identifies all of NCHCA’s objectives and the outcomes that we hope to achieve.
Our top priority in 2020 is to improve the recruitment and retention of workers in the heavy construction industry. We recognize that the shortage of workers in our industry is expected to worsen as it is predicted that 1 in 5 workers will retire in the next 10 years. We must improve public perception of our industry and address barriers such as restricted hours of work that impact on our ability to recruit and retain a sustainable workforce.
In 2020, we are undertaking a multi-year recruitment project and have applied for funding from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to address industry labour shortages in the Ottawa area. We will be calling on you, our members, to provide input and feedback as we develop recruitment strategies to help us all going forward.
We also recognize and value our relationships with our stakeholders. We will continue to work closely with our partners – municipal governments, private sector owners and consulting engineers – and will build on the success of the 2020 Education Series, which brought together over 350 industry professionals at this industry-wide educational and networking event.
We are initiating a joint co-op program in partnership with the City of Ottawa and Consulting Engineers of Ontario. Students accepted to the program will experience a placement at the City of Ottawa, at a consulting engineering firm and with a contractor, resulting in a graduate with a well-rounded understanding of our industry.
We will continue to work closely with the City of Ottawa through monthly liaison meetings and providing feedback on City initiatives such as the use of broadband backup alarms, Health & Safety Management System Requirements for Contractors, Construction Act prompt payment processes, VPM improvements, the Road Activity Bylaw review and specification updates.
2020 will see our first Annual Project Forecast report, based on information from municipalities, the Ministry of Transportation and private sector owners. We are hopeful that this resource will be of assistance to our members in planning for the future.
I invite you to take a moment to review our 3-Year Business Plan which is posted in the members-only section of our website to see all of the other initiatives that are underway.
I look forward to my term as president and to providing our members with information and resources so that they, in turn, can be successful.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time.
Darrin Alberty, P.Eng.