The construction strike affecting much of Ontario is reaching a conclusion, but residential drywallers appear to be the last major holdouts.

The strike has taken thousands of workers, including about 15,000 carpenters, off the job in southern, eastern and southwestern Ontario, and while a legislated end to the strike looms on June 15, the lone holdout might be sprung to ratify a deal in light of news that ICI drywallers just settled.

Richard Lyall, President of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON), indicated to STOREYS that some progress has been made.

“Framing is back and all our structural stuff is back. Tile just got a settlement, too, but residential drywall is the big outstanding holdout,” he said. “If you don’t have a wall, you can’t run anything through it. ICI drywall did settle last week, so it’s just the residential drywalling that’s hanging out there. They had a deal before that was recommended by the union and contractors, but it was rejected by members of the union and failed ratification.”

The construction union is represented by the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 183, which did not respond to STOREYS’ request for comment before publication time. STOREYS also reached out to an organization representing drywallers which was not able to provide comment.

The longer a strike lasts, the longer it takes to ramp up production, although it’s also contingent upon which stage individual builders with active sites are in the construction process. Moreover, certain equipment like cranes have to be recalibrated as well, and that takes at least two weeks because they have to pass inspection.

Lyall pointed to high-rise housing starts increasing over the last year and a half or so, while low-rise starts have fallen recently. In any case, nearly a month into the strike, he says expeditious resumption of activities isn’t in the cards.

“Subdivisions are a little more flexible in their production but I don’t know if I want to say it will be faster or easier,” Lyall said. “Once a strike is over, everyone wants to get going really fast, but you don’t have that capacity to make up for lost time.”

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