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With existing trade regulations, this kind of treatment may be difficult, which is why Cooper wants there to be an “after-action report” when a local company loses out on a contract.
Prompt payment is also on the table with Cooper saying that it would be a huge help in the midst of COVID-19, asking for the legislation that would require construction companies to be paid quickly after work is completed to be enforced by April 1, 2021 at the latest.
Cooper said the industry has been hit hard in recent years. Some three years ago, more than 60,000 people in the province worked in construction. Now that number is closer to 44,000. The federal wage subsidy is in large part keeping the industry afloat. With private sector dollars drying up, Cooper fears a further shrinking of the industry which accounts for eight per cent of the province’s GDP.
“If we don’t see a continuation of those programs or greater growth over the rest of this year I can imagine we will see more layoffs within the industry,” he said.