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Labour Day celebrates agreement between Building and Construction Trade Unions and The Ottawa Hospital-Ottawa’s newest hospital launches next phase of development

OTTAWA – A historic partnership between the Unionized Building and Construction Trades Council of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec (BTC) and The Ottawa Hospital was struck in commemoration of Labour Day 2020 and to launch the next stage of the new Civic campus development.  

Given the recent pandemic and the urgency for a new facility in the region, officials from the BTC and The Ottawa Hospital 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 Campus of The Ottawa 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 prevent and protect 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 a framework to engage the most highly trained and skilled trade specialists who bring superior expertise and contemporary thinking to a best-in-class, health, research, and education campus. The Charter envisions several collaborations, including a children’s daycare on the Carling Avenue site to accommodate families of workers. The BTC intends for the framework 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-19 pandemic has reinforced 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 The Ottawa Hospital to work collaboratively to train and replace the twenty percent of the trade workforce expected to retire in the next ten years, with individuals 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 them a full-scale, leading-edge facility to train and work as apprentices with skilled journeymen.   

The schedule for the new build of the hospital looks to an opening date in the fall of 2027. TOH has now retained the project management services of GBA Group and Development Advisor Graham Bird, to ensure an ‘on time, on budget’ schedule. The project management team also includes HDR Architects, Agnew Peckam and Deloitte, among other industry leaders. 

Cameron Love, President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital, and Joanne Read, Executive Vice-President and Chief Planning Officer, are leading the initiative which is currently at ‘Stage 2’, of the Ministry of Health’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 site, which is located on Carling Ave and adjacent to Dow’s Lake.    

The Stage 2 submission distinguishes the new hospital as the major referral centre for the communities of Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec and Nunavut. As one of Canada’s largest academic, acute care and trauma centre, this new campus will provide a full range of specialized services to care for those with the most complex injuries and illness.   

Tony Sottile, Chair of The Ottawa Hospital’s Board of Governors’ 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, world-class exceptional care,” added Cameron Love. “For employees, physicians 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, Canada, and the world.”