And finally… Spat breaks out on Canadian construction sites

alberta-2519653_960_720Vehicles displaying licence plates from the Canadian province of Alberta are no longer welcome on new job sites for neighbouring Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure.

On Dec. 6, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the license plate-based ban to match a similar rule in Alberta

“Saskatchewan contractors tell us that vehicles with Saskatchewan plates are not welcome on government of Alberta job sites,” said Saskatchewan minister David Marit. “Saskatchewan operators feel forced to register their vehicles in Alberta if they want to do business there. Today’s announcement just levels the playing field.”

The decision affects new Ministry of Highways & Infrastructure’s projects. New contracts awarded by the ministry will require suppliers to ensure that no vehicles displaying Alberta license plates are present on ministry-funded sites. This will include contractors, sub-contractors, consultants and workers.  Ministry staff will enforce the contract provision through job site monitoring.

The restriction was developed in response to industry feedback that Alberta’s practice has placed Saskatchewan suppliers at a competitive disadvantage.  The restriction will apply only to new contracts awarded by the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure. Existing sites will not be impacted.

“We are very pleased to see government enacting changes that will level the playing field for our members,” said Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association president Shantel Lipp said.  “Saskatchewan heavy construction contractors have been one of the largest employers in the province in good years and in bad, creating major economic impacts and fiscal benefits for Saskatchewan.  Our members invest in people, and machinery to construct our network of roads, railways, pipelines, dams and, in the past century, build mines and cities.  As local construction companies obtain a larger share of the Saskatchewan construction marketplace they develop the people, equipment and capacity to maximize their economies of scale.”

Marit added: “Saskatchewan operators have been subject to this treatment in Alberta for years. Today, we are sending a clear message that Alberta suppliers can expect the very same treatment here.”