Dear MCA Members, Ladies and Gentlemen
2020 – A Monumental Year!
Yes, Covid-19 and the lingering poor Alberta economy are in and of themselves monumental, but it is neither of these events I reference or wish to draw your attention to in these yearend remarks. 2020 is monumental to MCA because on November 24, the UCP’s Bill 37, the Prompt Payment and Construction Lien Act passed 3rd reading, with the legislation to be enacted July 01, 2021.
As an association Executive Director with more than a few decades, yes decades, of experience, I know these events can be few and fleeting. I am not prone to waving the flag to seek recognition and I only do so now to draw your attention to your association’s achievement. Please allow a few moments of your time to read this letter. I will strive to provide you with a greater appreciation of this accomplishment, and for the dedication required to make it a reality. I will attempt to make it entertaining.
Think about the movie The Right Stuff, it’s late in the movie and in this scene you, the audience, are looking into the NASA control room, its dead quiet and then with a crackle, Neil Armstrong’s voice says, “The Eagle has landed!” The control room erupts, all the engineers jump up, pat each other on the back and in less than 30 seconds they are back at the consoles thinking “holy crap, now we have to get these guys back home”. It was kind of like that with Bill 37.
Just like NASA, the idea of the need for new payment legislation in the construction industry was introduced about a decade ago. You would think that if humans can put a man on the moon in a decade we could have, should have got legislation passed much quicker. All I can think is that back in the day, things happened faster.
I started with MCA Alberta on October 01, 2013. In November, then MCA President, Brad Diggens and I met with a group of trade contractor association leaders that had already been meeting several times a year for a couple of years. The group’s focus was wide and varied, so I naively suggested we formalize the group and its objectives. By January 2014, ten trade associations signed a Memorandum of Agreement to form the Alberta Trade Contractors Coalition. The primary objective of the Coalition was, has been, and remains the implementation of Prompt Payment Legislation.
MCA initiated these first trade association meetings, introduced the idea of the coalition, wrote the MOA, solicited the partners, continues to administer the day to day ATCC operations and provides representation on the executive. It was through this considerable and sustained effort by your association, MCA Alberta, that Prompt Payment Legislation was passed on November 24, 2020.
Like NASA, there were many individuals and associations who made significant contribution to the outcome achieved, and they too deserve recognition and credit. There will also be and already has been individuals and associations quick to stand up at the finish line and say, “look what we did”. You know and I know, it was MCA and our ATCC partners, who were in it for the long haul, investing considerable time and resources that made this happen.
To me, what is more important than the getting ‘credit’ for this achievement, is providing recognition that MCA Alberta listened to the concerns of its members and by utilizing the resources available, pursued a solution that will ultimately improve your industry. And just like NASA, we still need to bring this legislation and corresponding regulations home, so it is enacted in July. We can’t drop our guard or lose sight of the end goal.
While prompt payment legislation is a milestone achievement, quite possibly a once in a career type monumental event, it is not by any stretch the only issue MCA Alberta has been addressing. Just like NASA, the supporting MCA team works on multiple fronts, each delivering subsidiary benefits. Many of these benefits could very well be considered as important as prompt payment and thankfully many of the industry issues we address are much quicker to resolve. In 2020, the benefits provided, and the issues resolved have been, for the most part, overshadowed by current events. So, for your benefit, I will provide a brief overview of three major MCA programs:
MCA Employee Benefits Plan:
In late 2019 MCA introduced a new employee benefits plan, Benefits by the Hour. This is the first benefit plan launched anywhere, by anyone to directly compete with the Merit Benefits Plan. While the uptake in this new program has been slowed by the pandemic, it continues to be a viable alternative. Please seriously consider taking advantage of this great program.
The Traditional Core MCA Employee Health Benefits plan has emerged from 2020 in a very competitive position and continues to offer significant savings to both members on the plan and to our members at large. Members on the Core Plan will receive, on average, a 5% discount on their 2021 premiums. A feat that is relatively unheard of in the insurance world these days. You could also be enjoying these savings.
Through our no-obligation quote service, MCA continues to drive huge cash savings to our members who are not currently on the MCA plan. We would rather have your company and employees on the MCA plan but just having MCA in the benefits market, forces your current broker to compete with the MCA program and our economy of scale pricing. Give us the opportunity, we can price your employee health benefits plan at any time. Why should you and your employees pay more for benefits?
MCA Alberta is a leader among the MCA’s across Canada in the number and the quality of education programs offered to members. Like every other program in the world, Covid-19 forced MCA to adapt and innovate to deliver an effective education program. Thanks to your support we exceeded expectations. MCA grew the number of programs offered by over 38% (up to 43 unique learning opportunities), and increased utilization by 21 % to 448 individuals taking part in our programs. Call the MCA office if your business needs industry specific training.
MCA’s advocacy program focuses on three fronts.
- Issues specific to the mechanical trades in Alberta are addressed directly by MCA Alberta.
- Issues impacting mechanical trades with broader implications for all trades or issues that may be easier to resolve with broader trade support are taken to the Alberta Trade Contractors Coalition,
- Issues that are broader yet, are pushed up through MCAC. Some issues are addressed at all three levels.
MCA’s Advocacy Focus in 2020:
- During the early days of the Covid-19 lockdown, MCA provided direct input to government on key issues that would impact the mechanical trades.
- MCA participated with ACA to lobbying government that construction was an essential service and we continue to participate with CCA on their industry leaders network calls.
- Subsequently, MCA has focused on identifying contract language to help minimize risk to contractors when terminating long term field employees, and
- Finding solutions to re-insurance and high deductible clauses being written into prime contracts.