Construction worker looking at a laptop.

Key takeaways from the Canadian Construction Association’s annual national conference

Key takeaways from the Canadian Construction Association’s annual national conference

Synopsis
3 Minute Read

The CCA’s national annual conference brought change makers across the construction industry together to discuss key trends, opportunities, and challenges, including:

  • Resilience through adversity
  • Net-zero procurement
  • Procurement pain points and opportunities
  • Risk mitigation and digitization
Partner and Business Advisor

Every year, industry leaders and change-makers gather at the Canadian Construction Association’s (CCA’s) national conference to discuss emerging trends, opportunities, and pressing concerns facing the construction sector.

MNP welcomed the chance to attend the 2023 conference (March 7-11) in Tucson, Arizona. We made plenty of new connections and appreciated the opportunity to hear about the priorities, challenges, and topics that matter most to those in the construction industry today.

Below is our summary of some of the most important takeaways and why they matter to you:

Resilience through adversity

Tareq Hadhad, CEO of Peace by Chocolate, hosted a panel discussion focused on inspiring positive change in the industry.

Subject matter experts discussed the importance of breaking down biases around immigration and explored ideas to enable the success of immigrant or refugee employees. They also offered tips for how business owners can seek significance through their business.

The session encouraged business owners to prioritize a return on kindness (ROK) instead of solely focusing on their return on investment (ROI). Hadhad also urged organizational leaders to focus on the “why” instead of just the “what” they do to create positive community change.

Net-zero procurement

Canada continues to commit to lowering emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Net-zero procurement — or the movement towards carbon tracking in the industry — is a popular topic in construction right now. These changes are targeted to take place over the next seven years and some provinces are already monitoring carbon tracking in the industry. Still, Manitoba has not yet fully implemented the changes and both Alberta and Saskatchewan have opposed net-zero procurement.

Industry leaders discussed how to introduce the net-zero changes without overwhelming those in the construction industry. Recommendations included implementing the changes in phases, and weighting bids that include net-zero practices rather than giving the lowest bid the most weight.

This panel provided an insightful look at how construction firms can influence positive change in the industry while preparing themselves for green procurement.

Procurement pain points and opportunities

Industry leaders discussed pain points in the procurement process between the public sector and the construction industry in this panel — as well as potential opportunities to streamline communication between the government and industry.

Adapting the systems used by the government and the industry to enable smooth communication may play an essential part in reducing procurement challenges. This solution will enable all stakeholders to collaborate effectively with each other.

Additionally, enforcing the standardization of documents across federal, provincial, and municipal levels may help make the procurement process easier for both the government and the industry.

Opportunities such as construction approval phases and sessions to educate controllers, owners, and project managers on the interpretation of contracts were also discussed as a potential solution to reduce pain points in the procurement process.

CEO roundtable

The CEO roundtable brought key industry players together to discuss emerging trends and challenges in the industry. Presented by Craig Tooey Courtemanche, CEO of Procore, and Silvy Wright, President & CEO of Northbridge, topics revolved around risk mitigation and the overall economic state of the construction industry in 2023.

Due to supply shortages, the top risk in the construction industry is currently theft. Panelists discussed how to mitigate this risk, such as by investing in digitization and identification tags to protect against theft of materials. Additionally, increasing digitization can also help protect workers through technology such as roof sensors, smart hard hats, and drones.

The industry is currently coming off two of its strongest years, and many leaders are optimistic that recent changes to interest rates will ease inflation. Additionally, immigration has introduced many new employees into the workforce to address the labour shortage, and the unemployment rate in the industry is low — at five percent. Industry leaders are optimistic that this current environment will lead to future industry growth and increased innovation.

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The MNP Real Estate and Construction team looks forward to continuing to provide you with industry-specific information to help you stay ahead of the game in this constantly evolving sector.

Take the next steps towards a sustainable framework

Our firm’s experience at the CCA’s annual national conference was both positive and insightful. We left the conference feeling inspired by the panels and optimistic for the future of the construction industry. We also welcomed the opportunity to make new connections and meet key industry leaders during networking events such as the annual gala.

These sessions reaffirmed that business owners in the industry are not just builders — they are dynamic leaders who are excited about innovation and the long-term progression of the sector, with a desire to build strong communities that can thrive on economic growth.

We look forward to continuing our collaborations with the CCA and providing insights to help drive value in areas of priority within the construction industry.

Contact us

To learn more about how MNP can help your organization, contact Carla Milne, CPA, CA.

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