Labour Day Celebrates Agreement Between the Ottawa Hospital and the Building and Construction Trade Unions — Ottawa’s Newest Hospital Launches Next Phase of Development

Sep 3, 2020

OTTAWA — A historic partnership — between the Building and Construction Trade Unions of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec (BTC) and The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) — was struck in commemoration of Labour Day 2020 and to launch the next stage of  development for the new Civic hospital development.

Given the recent pandemic and the urgency for a new facility in the region, officials from the BTC and TOH signed a New Civic Development Project Charter, a commitment to work on a ‘no work stoppage’ arrangement with its 35,000 members of the unionized building and construction trades, in over 60 construction fields, for the duration of the hospital development.

“The existing Civic Hospital was created from the urgency of the Spanish Flu a hundred years ago,” said Katherine Cotton, Chair of the TOH Board of Governors. “This legacy is not lost on the Board of Governors, and our vocation is to work with our health system partners in the region to protect and prevent all from the spread of future pandemics, to train the next generation of exceptional, world-class clinicians, with the promise of compassionate, exceptional care. We cannot do this without the talent and skill of the building and construction trades.”

The Charter establishes the framework for a project labour agreement that would see the initial construction of a children’s daycare and a parking garage for construction vehicles on the Carling Avenue site.  The BTC intends for the agreement to lead to an ongoing financial contribution by all contractors and skilled trade workers.  Details are to be worked through over the coming months.

“As we celebrate Labour Day 2020, the COVID pandemic has re-inforced the importance of partnerships in ensuring our workers have safe, infection-controlled worksites,” said John Bourke, president of the BTC.  “The New Civic Development will have the highest health and safety standards as we move deliberately towards a more diverse workforce, including youth, women, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and new Canadians.”

The Charter also commits the BTC and TOH to work collaboratively to train and replace the 20 per cent of the trade workforce expected to retire in the next ten years, with indiduals from traditionally disadvantaged populations, looking to prosper in careers in the building and construction sciences.

For its part, the Ontario construction industry is seeking to recruit, hire, and train over 103,000 additional highly skilled trade workers, with the new Civic development providing a full-scale, leading-edge facility to train and work as apprecentices with skilled journeymen.

The schedule for the new build of the hospital looks to an opening date in the fall of 2027 or spring of 2028, with an official date to be announced by January 2021.  TOH has now retained the Project Management Team led by GBA Group, and Development Advisor Graham Bird, to ensure an ‘on time, on budget’ schedule, and includes HDR Architects, Agnew Peckam, Deloitte,  among other industry leaders.

Cameron Love, president and CEO of TOH, and Joanne Read, VP, Planning and Supply Services are leading the initaitive,  on behalf of the TOH Board and their Senior Management Team,  known as ‘Stage 2’ of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s Capital Planning Process.  This stage outlines the type of hospital programing, square footage allotment for space,  the high level architecture and design, financial planning, and site requirements for the new Carling Avenue site, which is adjacent to Dow’s Lake.

The Stage 2 submission distinguishes the new hospital as the major referral centre for the communities of Eastern Ontario and Nunavut; along with acute care and tertiary (or specialized) health services; the regional trauma and emergency planning centre, and as well, a neuroscience specialty in treatment, research and education.

Tony Sottile, Chair of the TOH Board’s Master Planning Committee, and a veteran of the construction industry, said the new facility will create thousands of new jobs in many sectors,  not only construction,  and stimulate the local economy for years to come.

“For patients and families, the new hospital will create a sense of comfort and hope in a setting that contributes to compassionate, exceptional care,” added Cameron Love.  “For staff and volunteers, the values of health, wellbeing and balance will resonate in modern, safe workspaces. Our clinicians, scientists, and trainees will pursue ground-breaking research and innovation in medical discovery, and the education and inspiration of our future work force. Thanks to the commitment of the skilled building and construction trades, the new facility will bring the highest level of safety in emergency and pandemic planning, of health system partnership and leadership — for the good of the region, for Canada, and the world.”