Contractor association complaint against Ottawa Hospital cites ‘restrictive’ deal

A group representing construction workers wants the federal Competition Bureau to investigate the Ottawa Hospital’s agreement with a labour group to build the new $2.8-billion Civic campus.

The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, which represents more than 25,000 construction workers, alleges the labour agreement is restrictive and decreases the number of eligible workers.

Karen Renkema, vice-president of the association’s Ontario branch, says workers without a specific union card will be unable to work on the project, shutting out local talent.

In January, the Ottawa Hospital announced it had signed a “historic” agreement with the Unionized Building and Construction Trades of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.

The Ottawa Hospital declined a request for an interview but in a statement said that employment opportunities were open to all construction workers.

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Renkema said the hospital’s statement was misleading, and for workers to be part of the project they would have to leave their current union and join one of the unions involved in the project.

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