Public Works News

2024 National Public Works Week

Spend National Public Works Week with AORS!

We are excited to bring you 3 webinars focused on issues that are important to you – phragmaties on right of ways, using MMS in your legal defences and the importance of taking care of your mental health.


2024-2025 AORS President Joe Reid and Executive

The Association of Ontario Road Supervisors (AORS) proudly announces the induction of Joe Reid, Director of Transportation & Operations for the City of Belleville, as its new President. The announcement was made during the Annual General Meeting held in Toronto during the Good Roads Conference on April 22nd, 2024.

In his new role, Joe Reid brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to advancing the interests of public works professionals across Ontario. With his background in infrastructure and operations, Reid is poised to lead AORS into a new era of innovation and collaboration.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the new appointment, Joe Reid stated, “I am honoured to serve as President of AORS and to work alongside my esteemed colleagues in advancing the vital work of road supervisors throughout our province. Together, we will strive to enhance the efficiency and safety of our road networks, while also fostering professional development opportunities for our members.”

Outgoing President Mike Alcock, Director of Public Works for the Municipality of Morris-Turnberry extended his congratulations to Joe Reid and reflected on the achievements of his tenure. “It has been a privilege to lead AORS during a period of significant growth and accomplishment. I have full confidence in Joe’s ability to continue this momentum and to lead the association to even greater heights.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a major milestone for the Association of Ontario Road Supervisors, as it secured a $1.3 million grant from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development through the Skills Development Fund. This funding will allow AORS to develop and implement a new Municipal Equipment Operator course.

Poised to steer AORS towards continued success and innovation is the newly elected AORS Executive comprised of:

  • President Joe Reid
  • 1st Vice President Karla Musso-Garcia, Manager of Operations, Township of Oro-Medonte
  • 2nd Vice President Cyrus Rife, Operations Supervisor, Township of North Dumfries
  • Immediate Past President Mike Alcock

Municipal Equipment Operator – Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Association of Ontario Road Supervisors Secures Major Funding from Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development

(TORONTO, ON, APRIL 22, 2024) – The Association of Ontario Road Supervisors (AORS) is pleased to announce a significant investment from the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) to address the imminent labour shortage facing municipal public works departments across the province. This funding, provided through MLITSD’s Skills Development Fund, will enable the development and implementation of a specialized Municipal Equipment Operator course designed to equip future municipal employees with the essential skills needed to maintain and improve our communities’ infrastructure.

As Ontario municipalities’ grapple with the challenges posed by an aging workforce and increasing demands for infrastructure maintenance, the need for skilled municipal workers has never been more pressing. The Municipal Equipment Operator course, developed in collaboration with industry experts and educators, will provide comprehensive training in heavy equipment operation, basic road maintenance techniques, legislative compliance, and more.

One of the primary barriers for individuals seeking employment in municipal public works roles is the requirement for a DZ license. Recognizing this challenge, successful graduates of the Municipal Equipment Operator course will not only receive training in heavy equipment operation, but will also undergo testing for their DZ license, removing a significant barrier to entry into the field.

“As Ontario’s growing population increases the need for new road infrastructure, as well as the pressures on road maintenance, municipal public works departments are facing growing demands for more workers,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, and Skills Development. “To complement our government’s historic investments in new road infrastructure, we are proud to invest over $1.3 million through our Skills Development Fund to create the talent highway we need to maintain and improve our road infrastructure.”

“This investment from the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, and Skills Development is a crucial step towards ensuring that Ontario’s municipalities have access to the skilled workforce needed to maintain the essential infrastructure that supports our communities,” said John Maheu, Executive Director of AORS. “By working with Fanshawe College Corporate Training Solutions to provide specialized training and support for individuals pursuing careers in municipal public works, we are investing in the long-term health and safety of our communities.”

Mike Alcock, Immediate Past President of AORS and Director of Public Works for the Municipality of Morris-Turnberry, emphasized the dedication of AORS’ staff in advocating for solutions to address the looming labour shortage in municipal public works departments. “Over the past year, AORS has worked tirelessly to bring attention to the critical need for skilled municipal workers,” said Alcock. “This funding represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to ensure that municipalities have the resources and support they need to maintain essential infrastructure to keep our communities safe.”

Looking towards the future, AORS President and City of Belleville’s Director of Transportation & Operations Joe Reid, expressed optimism about the organization’s role in shaping the landscape of municipal public works. “This investment marks a turning point for AORS and underscores our commitment to providing innovative solutions to the challenges facing our industry,” said Reid. “With this funding, we have the unique opportunity to expand our offerings and support the next generation of municipal public works superheroes as they embark on fulfilling careers in public service.”

 

For media inquires, please contact:

Kelly Elliott

Marketing and Communications Specialist

Association of Ontario Road Supervisors

Email: kellyelliott@aors.on.ca

Phone: (519) 873-0374

About AORS:

The Association of Ontario Road Supervisors (AORS) is dedicated to supporting and enhancing the skills and knowledge of municipal public works professionals across Ontario. Through training, advocacy, and networking opportunities, AORS strives to ensure that Ontario’s municipalities have access to resources and support needed to maintain safe and sustainable infrastructure. Visit www.aors.on.ca for more information.


Advocacy Updates – March 2024

On February 4, 2024, on behalf of the AORS Executive Committee, a letter was sent to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on behalf of our members on the need to support legislation that brings accountability to elected officials when they are found to have violated codes of conduct regarding the mistreatment of municipal staff.

On February 15, 2024, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the City of Sudbury’s motion, without reasons, to have the SCC re-hear the appeal as the original appeal was heard before 8 judges, therefore the initial decision from November 2023 stands. The City argued a re-hearing before a full complement of 9 judges would break the deadlock and provide much needed clarity on stakeholders’ obligations and potential liability under the OHSA unsuccessfully. The case will now return back to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to determine if the City can establish a due diligence defense. AORS will continue to update our members with how this case impacts your municipality. You can watch our webinar held in January that offers more legal and insurer advice. Has your municipality passed a motion supporting the City of Greater Sudbury’s request to the Province to amend the OHSA to clarify the definition of “employer”? Find it here to take to your next Council meeting.

On February 22, 2024, Bill 153, An Act to Amend the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012, received Royal Assent. In this amendment, utility owners are specifically prohibited from charging a fee for locates. Also coming into effect on May 1st is exceptions to time limit for standard locate requests and administrative penalties. You can find more information about this here.

At this time, we have not received any updates on the status of our Skills Development Fund grant application to implement a Municipal Equipment Course. We appreciate your support as we have received over 95 motions of support from municipalities across the province. We will keep you updated as we learn more.

Do you have an issue that you would like to see AORS advocate on? Contact Kelly Elliott at kellyelliott@aors.on.ca, or have your AORS Representative from your local association bring to the next Board of Directors meeting.


Ontario One Call Webinars

The Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery (MPBSD) recently announced that two regulations will come into force on May 1, 2024.

As the organization responsible for administering the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, we want to inform you about these upcoming changes and support you through them. Please see below more details on the two recently approved regulations.

Reg. 1/24 – Exception to time limit for standard locate requests

Under this regulation, underground infrastructure owners (UIOs) will have 10 business days to complete locates for large excavation projects once notified by Ontario One Call. Large excavation projects in the new regulation are defined as an excavation site comprised of:

(a)  at least two properties or parts of properties, each having its own municipal address, or

(b)  one or more properties or parts of properties, at least one of which has no municipal address.

Interested stakeholders can access the regulation via this link.

Reg. 2/24 – Administrative penalties 

This regulation will give Ontario One Call the ability to include administrative penalties among their available compliance tools. The organization’s compliance activities are aimed at promoting safe excavation practices and supporting industry locate performance improvement.

The amended regulation can be accessed via this link.

Ontario One Call is hosting upcoming webinars on these two important topics to ensure the industry has a clear understanding of the impacts of these regulations.

LARGE PROJECTS – Wednesday March 6th – 12:30 pm 

ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES – Wednesday March 20th – 12:30 pm