Industry INSIGHT

Industry leaders convene for CCA Annual Conference: opportunities ahead, uniting for impact, and sharing best practices highlighted!

The tropical beaches and Caribbean sun of Punta Cana were the backdrop for this year’s Annual Conference in Dominican Republic where more than 630 delegates, including 126 first-timers, were in attendance for the four-day event that took place March 12 – 15, 2024.

David Usher, Juno-award winning musician turned AI entrepreneur, kicked things off with a compelling keynote on how artificial intelligence (AI) will revolutionize the future of construction. Sponsored by Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc., delegates were treated to expert insight from the founder of Reimagine AI, mixed with engaging demonstrations and musical interludes. Usher urged delegates to start small and build their knowledge of AI slowly to leverage its power rather than diving in and becoming overwhelmed.

Delegates attended 15 sessions with 25 speakers, ranging from discussions on Canada’s housing crisis, association best practices, future-proofing infrastructure for sustainability, leveraging immigration to attract workers, a CEO roundtable, sponsored by Buildots, exploring the link between employee engagement and organizational success, as well as a roundtable on CCDC documents and working group on ways to improve procurement.  

Several themes emerged from the four-day event:

Uniting for impact!

The conference served as a rallying point for industry leaders and stakeholders, echoing a resounding desire for the industry to come together to drive meaningful change. This sentiment was underscored during the CEO Roundtable by Kieran Hawe, President and CEO at EllisDon, who issued a call to action for the industry to unite for impact to deal with the critical issues and harness the opportunities ahead.

Throughout the conference, delegates attended sessions that hammered home the importance of speaking up for what we need through public advocacy, and how a united voice can drive policy changes, gather public support for the industry, and effect transformative change on key issues. There were eye-opening talks on how the construction industry can step up with fresh ideas to tackle the housing crisis head-on.

We also learned how forging strong partnerships, especially with public owners, can make or break project success. The message was loud and clear: let’s roll up our sleeves, join forces, and get things done!

Preparing for the future: the good, the bad and the unknown

This year’s conference highlighted several of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for the industry. Workforce development and building labour force capacity remain critical issues for the industry. Delegates heard about the opportunities and challenges with leveraging immigration to address the shortages and emphasized the need for fair policies to do so.  

Sustainability took centre stage, urging proactive measures to mitigate environmental impacts and build with resiliency in mind. Additionally, in anticipation of the upcoming federal election and a potential change in leadership, strategies were shared to help delegates prepare for disruption, mitigate their own risk, and proactively plan for the future.

Industry community building

Uplifting the conference was the vibrant exploration of “industry community building,” celebrating leaders and fostering collaboration within diverse sectors. Throughout the event, we honoured trailblazers in the industry, recognizing their contributions and vision to Build a Better Canada.

Participants seized the opportunity to forge connections, exchanging insights and best practices to elevate our collective endeavors. Networking sessions buzzed with energy as professionals from various backgrounds converged, fostering an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual support. Together, we embraced the spirit of collaboration, united in our commitment to enriching our industries and ecosystems for a brighter future.

Delegates also took advantage of the many networking and social activities throughout the conference.

The first day started with a golf tournament, sponsored by Zurich Canada, at the Cocotal Golf and Country Club and ended with a welcoming night reception and mesmerizing fire show on the beach, sponsored by Travelers Canada; an afternoon fun party by the pool, courtesy of EllisDon Corporation and Intact Surety, gave delegates a chance to soak up the sun; a music-laden Rhymes, rants and rum talent showcase, presented by Procore Technologies, entertained the masses; and a closing gala, sponsored by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and Graham, lit up the night and paid tribute to CCA’s outgoing President, Mary Van Buren.

From the welcoming drink provided by Western Surety and Trisura’s colourful resort bracelets (the key to both accessing resort amenities and rooms) to Aviva’s lanyards and Liberty Mutual Insurance’s sponsorship of our conference badges, CCA’s 2024 Annual Conference felt like a true community away of home for our delegates.

We can’t wait to do it all again next year in Quebec City, March 11-14, 2025.