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Our 3 top stories of the year

Contractors who have ever felt defamed by online comments about them will want to watch Calvin Gordon's legal action closely


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December 31, 2018 by John Bleasby

It’s always entertaining to look back over a year just completed and marvel at the stories that made headlines in Canada’s residential housing industry.

Ever said to yourself, “Boy! If someone had told me last January this was going to happen, I would have said ‘No way!’”.

Us too! So after some review and discussion, we present to you our medal winners in the 2018 News Stories Olympics.

Gold Medal
Convicted contractor counter-sues for defamation (among other things)

He’s facing a law suit claiming multiple allegations of poor workmanship and questionable business practices for renovations undertaken in a residential park near Orillia, ON, as well as inquiries by the OPP. In response, contractor Calvin Gordon has chosen to go on the offensive. In late October, Gordon, his company More For Less, and his “life partner” (as described in court documents) Leslie Morris, took the somewhat unusual approach of counter-suing not only the original plaintiff homeowner but six other individuals including homeowners (mostly seniors), two sub-trade workers and a park director, claiming “assault, intentional infliction of distress, nuisance, breach of privacy, conspiracy to injure, loss of income, and defamation of character.” Gordon, his company and Morris are each seeking $25,000 from each of the seven defendants — a total of $525,000. Gordon first became the subject of media attention after his 2015 conviction under the Ontario Consumer Protection Act.

Both the original legal action against Gordon, and the Gordon/More For Less/Morris countersuit, are scheduled to be heard in Ontario Small Claims Court this April.

To read our past overage, type “Calvin Gordon” in the Canadian Contractor search bar, and stay tuned this spring for more developments.

Silver Medal
Ontario’s OCOT to be shuttered in 2019 and apprenticeship ratios rolled back

The Ontario Conservative government’s announcement that it would be “winding down” the reviled Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) was met with a hearty cheer from almost all sectors of the skilled trades. OCOT had been characterized for years by many of our Ontario-based readers as nothing more than a money-grabbing bureaucracy.

What could be better news for an industry already facing a serious skilled trades shortage and multiple regulatory challenges? How about the return to 1:1 apprenticeship ratios in Ontario? That announcement was part of Premier Doug Ford’s Bill 47 labour overhaul. While the bill has been criticized by many labour observers for certain sections contained in the legislation, the OCOT and apprenticeship announcements were seen as long overdue.

Want to read more? Simply type ‘OCOT’ in the Canadian Contractor search bar, and choose from over 100 posts and comments!

Bronze Medal
CertainTeed Gypsum Canada tries and fails to gain more drywall tariff protection

Back in early 2017, French-owned CertainTeed Gypsum Canada (CGC) succeeded in having massive tariffs imposed on drywall board shipped into Western Canada on the grounds of “dumping” by American manufacturers. That dramatically increased the price of the product for Canadian end users, of course, but was only applicable to 48-inch wide boards. In June 2018, CGC went back to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) and asked for tariffs to be extended to include 54-inch wide product. That was curious because CGC does not manufacture 54-inch wide board anywhere in Canada. However, the company suggested that if the protective tariffs were put in place for 54-inch wide imports, they would gear up CGC plants at some point in the future to include production in their Western Canadian plants.

The CITT didn’t buy their argument. “The Tribunal should not extend anti-dumping protection unless there will be some production to protect in the near future,” the CITT said. “By its own admission, CTG is not yet in position to assure the Tribunal that it will proceed to establish domestic production and that it will do so in the near future. Indeed, in a forthright and key admission, CTG explicitly states that the necessary capital spending has not been approved and that CTG will not even formally request capital authorization from its parent company without anti-dumping duties in place. This is because, without such protection, CTG’s proposed expansion into the production and sales of like goods is not seen as producing the necessary rate of return required by its parent company.”

To read our past overage, type “drywall tariff” in the Canadian Contractor search bar

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JBleasby@canadiancontractor.ca

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