Manitoba’s construction industry is applauding the province for backing away from early indications it wanted to repeal the Construction Industry Wages Act (CIWA).
The Act sets mandatory minimum wages, overtime, and other working conditions for the sector.
Stakeholders were scratching their heads days before Christmas after letters from Finance Minister Scott Fielding suggested the legislation was convoluted and confusing, and the province would consider scrapping it.
However, those fears seemed to quell Thursday, after industry leaders and provincial representatives emerged from a consultation with a plan to update the Act without repealing it.
“We had a good discussion with Minister Fielding, who confirmed that rather than repealing the CIWA, Manitoba will update the minimum wage rates for the construction industry workforce,” said Ron Hambley, president of the Winnipeg Construction Association, in a statement.
The statement, signed by Hambley and the heads of four other construction associations, acknowledges the last minimum wage adjustment happened in 2017.
“We know the pandemic’s economic shutdown will require strategic thinking and continued investment in our construction industry workforce in the next years and it is necessary to help put Manitoba on solid ground for recovery,” wrote Chris Lorenc, president of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association.
A spokesperson for Minister Fielding’s office confirmed the government had “listened and accepted their advice to organize a working group to review the minimum wage rates and offer advice to government.”
No timeline was given for when minimum wage rates would be adjusted, however the statement from industry leaders points out most of their members pay wages in excess of the minimums anyways.