September 15, 2017
Paul Brydges
LO President

Paul Brydges
This summer that is now gone reminds me of a song growing up by the band The Cars, called Magic. The song begins, “Summer, it turns me upside down. Summer, summer, summer, it’s like a merry go round.”
I think we all can agree with the weather being so unpredictable, that this year, like many others, has been unpredictable and unique. Fortunately, it seems for most, if not all of our ever-expanding team, this was also one of the busiest summers in history. Not just because everyone is behind due to the weather, but also because we are seeing many more, and substantially larger projects, coming in the door. With a solid economy running through the bulk of the country, clients are happy to plan new projects and implement larger portions at a time. It also seems as though more clients are in an age bracket where they are trained as a specialist in a particular area and don’t quite understand many of the complexities of what goes into a major project. This is a great thing when it comes to selling design and construction services, since the client likely has no idea how to implement the work themselves, but it also creates some challenges. How do we explain to clients what hourly rates are required in order to make a fair wage for ourselves and our staff?

Minimum wage hike

With the new minimum wage requirements quickly sneaking up on all of us, it is going to be even more critical for us to educate each and every client about what it costs us to conduct our business in the same way we have always done.

It has taken many years to shake the 1980s prices that seemed to prevail for interlock well into the mid-2010s. Now we are going to have to specify and budget for possibly an additional 15 per cent to cover the effects of wage increases in production of product as well as installation.

There have been many excited emails to LO home office and myself about what the association is going to do about this increase. The best course of action we feel we can take, is to make government aware of our grave concerns with the speed at which this is being brought forth. We do not disagree with everyone earning a fair wage. Many of our sector groups don’t fall into the minimum wage earner category. Several of our core groups do. This is a very challenging question that is being put forth to us. We have an advocacy group that lobbies for both agriculture and landscape that has the strongest voice to help us through this. We have also been reaching out, wherever possible, to ensure our collective voices are being heard.

With only a few weeks left until fall, LO meetings will start up once again and we will reconvene to discuss the trials and tribulations of yet another unique year.

Summer, you have truly turned us upside down.
Paul Brydges may be reached at