February 2019

Is Construction in Ontario Open for Business?

11:30am-1:30pm | Omni King Edward Hotel - 37 King Street East , Toronto

Recent changes in Ontario’s construction industry suggest that structural changes are afoot, and that such changes may outlast the current government. The assumption that companies can rely on the protection of law to maintain a preferred place in the market can no longer be made, which raises the importance of ensuring that all segments of the industry raise their competitive game, and that public policy provides a level playing field in which competitive models -- including labour models -- can increase their productivity, value, and the quality of their work.

This event will explore what has changed in the construction industry in Ontario in the last decade, what has stayed the same, and what might be done to move Ontario’s construction industry forward in a way that benefits workers and Ontario as a whole. Is Ontario construction really open for business? And if not, what might be done to help Ontario’s construction industry step forward to face its pressing challenges?

- Lunch will be served -

Member price:
Individual seat: $89 +HST
Table (seats 10): $800 +HST
Regular price:
Individual seat: $110 +HST
Table (seats 10): $990 +HST

- For information about accessibility, please email Morgan@economicclub.ca
- Dietary restriction notes and meal requests must be submitted to Morgan@economicclub.ca by February 22, 2019
- Refunds/credits: We require three business days notice in advance of the event date for ticket cancellations

*The views expressed on the Economic Club platform are not that of the Economic Club or its affiliates but of the speakers alone and the organizations they represent*

Andrew Regnerus

Ontario Construction Coordinator

Andrew Regnerus

Andrew is CLAC’s Ontario Construction Coordinator. In 25 years with CLAC he has liaised with government and industry, organized workers, mentored staff, negotiated collective agreements, developed training programs, trained workers and served as local, provincial and national decision maker.

He promotes CLAC’s labour relations model to stakeholders in the construction industry. He guides CLAC’s Ontario construction team. These contribute to an end goal of work security for CLAC members and workforce certainty for contractor partners.

Networking among key stakeholders, Andrew focuses on CLAC’s progressive wall-to-wall, multi-skilling, workplace community approach. He is also involved in media relations, member communications and shaping CLAC’s policy and advocacy work.

His attention to innovations and new initiatives, development of alliances, strategic action and persistently seeking enhancements to member service have contributed to CLAC’s growth and transition to a sophisticated, full service, member focused force in Ontario’s economy.
Andrew is married and is proud of his two grown children.

Ashley Challinor

Vice President of Policy
Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ashley Challinor

Ashley Challinor is Vice President of Policy at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and is the lead on their health policy file. Prior to joining the OCC in 2015, she worked in market research in Toronto, media in Tbilisi, and migration policy in Washington, DC.
Ashley has an MSc. from the London School of Economics, an MA from the University of Southern California, and a BA from the University of Toronto. She currently serves on CivicAction’s Mental Health in the Workplace Champions Council.

Brian Dijkema

Program Director, Work and Economics

Brian Dijkema

Brian Dijkema is Program Director, Work and Economics at Cardus and senior editor with Comment. Prior to joining Cardus, Brian worked for almost a decade in labour relations in Canada. He also had the privilege of advocating for international human rights, with a focus on labour rights and independent unionism, in Latin America and China.

The author, or co-author of many research and policy papers, Brian’s research focuses on the links between work and the institutions which help workers, businesses, and society thrive. His work focuses especially on the foundations of public policy that can provide frameworks for new and innovative responses to the unique challenges facing the North American workforce today.

Brian can often be found making presentations to government, contributing to newspapers and periodicals across Canada and regularly speaks to industry and professional associations on labour, competitiveness and economic trends.

Cosmo Manella

Former Director

Cosmo Manella

For the over 30 years, Cosmo Mannella has used his extensive experience in both labour and government relations to advocate for workers’ rights as a key stakeholder in Ontario’s Labour Movement.

Mr. Mannella was elected Business Manager of Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Ontario Provincial District Council in 2011 – a position he held until his retirement in 2016. Prior to this Cosmo was the Director of LiUNA Canadian Tri-Fund encompassing The Labourers’ Employers Cooperation and Education Trust, the Labourers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America and the Laborers- Associated General Contractors Education and Training Fund. Mr. Mannella is also a past Regent on the Ontario Council of Regents; the governing body of Colleges in the Province of Ontario.

Mr. Mannella holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Labour Studies and gained an international perspective through his travels and participation in training and labour relations seminars in Germany, Sweden, Brazil, France and Italy.

Currently, Mr. Mannella is an Executive Board member of the Ontario Construction Secretariat and a representative on the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.

Ray Pennings


Ray Pennings

Ray Pennings co-founded Cardus in 2000 and currently serves as Executive Vice President, working out of the Ottawa office. Ray has a vast amount of experience in Canadian industrial relations and has been involved in public policy discussions and as a political advocate at all levels of government. Ray is a respected voice in Canadian politics, contributing as a commentator, pundit and critic in many of Canada’s leading news outlets and as an advisor and strategist on political campaign teams. He is also deeply committed to volunteering and has served on charitable, and non-profits boards in the education, health, and arts sectors.

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