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Ending carpenter’s union monopoly on city projects expected to save Hamilton taxpayers ‘millions’

Hamilton taxpayers are expected to save millions of dollars annually as more companies are able to bid on municipal projects. Don Mitchell / Global News Hamilton

A wider range of bidders will soon be able to vie for major City of Hamilton building projects.

Councillors have voted 11-1 to open the construction market to competition by taking no action on Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act.

The provincial legislation deems the city to be a “non-construction employer” under the Labour Relations Act.

READ MORE: MPP Skelly touts ‘big savings’ for Hamilton

The decision, made by the general issues committee on Wednesday, will end the Carpenters Union of Ontario’s almost 15-year-old monopoly on all city projects that include carpentry work.

Hamilton taxpayers are expected to save millions of dollars annually as more organizations, and other unions not affiliated with the carpenters, are able to bid on municipal projects.

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READ MORE: Walkerton residents worry about Ford government’s Bill 66

A report prepared by the Construction Competitive Monitor estimates that the carpenter’s monopoly has cost the city an extra $4-10 million each year.

Michael Gallardo, Executive Director of Merit Ontario, says that compounded annually since 2005, “that’s a lot of savings for taxpayers.”

Sean Reid of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada says this is not only a “golden opportunity” to save money, but also a chance to “treat all workers fairly and equally without compromising safety, impacting fair wage policies or diminishing worker’s rights.”

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Skydiver injured after parachute mishap in Hamilton – Jun 8, 2019