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This Week in Construction Law: May 23 – 27, 2022

In Ontario, the carpenters’ union has ratified a deal providing pay increases of 10-12.5% over three years, and the 15,000 striking carpenters will now return to work. As many as 40,000 construction workers walked out at the beginning of May as the last round of three-year union deals expired across the province, causing dozens of construction projects to grind to halt.

In Quebec, former construction magnate Tony Accurso has lost a sentence appeal to Quebec’s highest court, and will begin serving a four-year prison sentence for a fraud scheme in which companies received municipal contracts in exchange for kickbacks to city employees, including the mayor of Laval.

In Alberta, construction has begun on five schools using a controversial public-private partnership model in which private contractors design, build, and then operate the schools for five years after construction. Past schools built in Alberta under the P3 model have had issues including contractors refusing to turn over control of the thermostat to school administrators, and the Progressive Conservatives abandoned the P3 model in 2014, claiming that it was cheaper to manage the construction themselves.

In Prince Edward Island, a construction lobby group is asking the provincial government for relief from fuel prices that have recently surged as much as 65%. Contractors building projects on the basis of bids made before recent fuel price volatility are now absorbing increased fuel costs on behalf of employees commuting to work sites and for the operation of heavy machinery, and many are now guaranteeing bids for only 5 to 10 days.