Public Policy and Research
From the very beginning in 1986, the Merit Contractors Association has been actively researching issues and advocating public policies to:
- support the right of employees and employers to promote free enterprise and the right to determine wages and working conditions through either individual or collective bargaining as they choose;
- promote economy and efficiency in the construction industry;
- encourage and support a business climate where construction contracts and employees are rewarded on the basis of individual merit;
- support sound legislation in the areas of labour relations, workers’ compensation, safety standards, working conditions, apprenticeship training and unemployment compensation for employees in the construction industry.
By focussing on construction industry human resource issues, Merit holds a unique position among industry stakeholders and is recognized as the voice of Open Shop construction in Alberta.
Merit member companies and their employees play a critical role in identifying issues and concerns that need to be addressed and participating in developing and promoting solutions. They also represent the Association on boards, agencies or committees where industry representation is needed.
At the local government level, Merit has undertaken research and made presentations on municipal procurement policies that would discriminate against open shop contractors.
In terms of the Alberta Government, Merit is heavily involved in issues concerning industry training and apprenticeship, procurement policy such as the recent emergence of Public Private Partnerships (P3’s) and promoting fairness and balance and fairness in employment and labour relations laws. The Labour Relations Code Amendments Act (2008), which dealt with unfair union organizing tactics and bid subsidy schemes, came about largely because of concerns raised by Merit member companies and their employees.
At the national level, Merit Contractors Association is a founding member of Merit Canada – an association of open shop construction associations from across Canada – that was founded in 2008 to deal with the federal government on issues and policies affecting open shop construction contractors.