December 31, 2012
What was the biggest surprise of 2012?
The Journal of Commerce asked members of its Editorial Advisory Board what they considered the biggest surprise story of 2012. Here are their responses.
Anibal Valente | PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc.
"The systemic corruption that the Charbonneau Commission is finding in Quebec."
Bill Stewart | Merit Alberta
"Coming into 2012, I was very concerned that the federal government would not take the steps needed to reform Canada’s immigration system. I was both impressed and pleasantly surprised by initiatives and announcements made by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in 2012."
Dan Mott |Mott Electric
"That the market stayed relatively strong with economic activity spread throughout B.C. Also, the continued growth of the residential sector, particularly in light of recent, own-versus-rent data that doesn’t support the number of projects that are in the pipe."
Jack Davidson | B.C. Road Builders
"Bill 14 was a big surprise to our industry – especially the way it was rolled out. WorkSafeBC is allowing claims yet hasn’t developed effective prevention practices. Industry has been left to develop their own claims management procedures with no effective return-to-work programs in place."
Grant McMillan | COCA
"The legislative change that introduced gradual onset workers’ compensation for mental disorders (Bill 14), without any research into the impact or appropriateness."
Keith Sashaw | VRCA president
"Quite frankly, it is the fact that there is still such intense competition given the volume of work available. The level of activity is almost at pre-recession levels and yet we still see contractors beating each other up on price."
Manley McLachlan | BCCA
"How resilient the industry is in spite of past tough economic times and how quickly industry has responded and adapted to new emerging challenges and opportunities."
Michael Ernest | AIBC
"It was the relative health and ability of our industry to rebound, with architects working successfully across Canada even in regions historically less active (e.g. Newfoundland & Saskatchewan)."
Norm Streu | LMS Steel
"The resurgence of domestic steel pricing and local supply issues. While the road to full recovery was a few years longer than we anticipated, it arrived in 2012 - with a profound impact on our steel pricing and purchasing."
Philip Hochstein | ICBA
"The continued growing strength and confidence of the industry. Our wage survey shows half of the companies expect the volume of work to rise next year. And, our crane survey shows what will be the busiest year ever for tower cranes in the Lower Mainland."
Tom Sigurdson | B.C. Building Trades
"Following partisan political interference and after years of neglect, the provincial government finally admitted in its own double-speak fashion, that skills training in B.C. is woefully inadequate. After recognizing the problem, their ideological myopia failed to fix the systemic dysfunction."
Don Schouten | WorkSafeBC
"The biggest surprise for 2012 was the amount of construction that took place in BC during a period of time when there was such uncertainty in the global economy. Through this period we also continued to see an increase in engagement by industry from a safety perspective, companies are understanding that investing in worker safety is good for business."
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