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ICBA CAST: Lucy Sager Joins Chris & Jordan to Talk LNG, Northern Worries, #ComeOn and #BCLib18 Power Rankings

ICBA CAST! Terrace’s Lucy Sager joins Chris Gardner and Jordan Bateman to talk about the impact of the loss of Pacific Northwest LNG on northwest B.C., along with regular features #ComeOn and social media questions. And we debut our first-ever BC Liberal leadership race power rankings. Will Chris and Jordan agree on who is most likely to win the race to Christy Clark?

#GET2YES: ICBA Files in Court to Support Trans Mountain Pipeline

ICBA continues to support projects to #Get2Yes and #Stick2Yes by filing an application to intervene in the Squamish Nation’s B.C. Supreme Court case against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The issue being raised by Squamish Nation is that the Province relied on the federal government’s assessment of Trans Mountain’s proposal and its consultation and negotiations with Indigenous communities impacted by the project. In the opinion of Squamish Nation, the Province cannot cede its obligations in this regard to the federal government. The Province took this position given the federal government’s responsibility for reviewing and approving interprovincial pipelines. In recent years, Ottawa and Victoria agreed that in such cases, having one environmental review and consultation process was simpler and more efficient for all parties: proponents, Indigenous communities and other stakeholders.

ICBA is not challenging the constitutional obligations that the federal or provincial governments have vis-à-vis Indigenous communities and ICBA recognizes that in some cases, the obligations of the Crown to Indigenous communities may in fact prevent some projects from moving forward. ICBA is simply asserting that project reviews and consultations take place in a timely manner so that infrastructure and resource development projects can be approved in a fashion that allows Canada and BC to get projects built and its resources to market efficiently. ICBA’s concern is that duplicative and overlapping reviews will result in confusion and conflicting proceedings that could paralyze major projects and cost our economy jobs and investment. In this case, since the federal government has jurisdiction over the Trans Mountain pipeline project, we believe it is appropriate that the federal government lead the review and consultation process.

The Application was filed by our attorney, Peter Gall, Q.C. and we are being joined in the application by the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA), the Canadian Iron, Steel and Industrial Workers’ Union (CISIWU), and the Canada West Construction Union (CWCU). Click HERE to read ICBA’s application to intervene.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Providing Exceptional Customer Service

Providing exceptional customer service also leads to customer retention. Companies not only need to advertise, but must have strategies to retain business.  Ask yourself: how do I or my employees serve our customers? Are all customers the same?  If you want to improve this side of your business, ICBA’s brand-new Providing Exceptional Customer Service course is for you and your employees!

In this seminar, you’ll learn how to:

  • Develop your customer engagement and experience strategy;
  • Apply effective listening skills;
  • Draw out what your clients really need, and how to add value;
  • Work with difficult and demanding customers; (we all have them);
  • Build strong and lasting relationships with potential and existing clients.

We’re bringing this course to Kelowna and Victoria in October, Burnaby in November, and Prince George in December. Check out www.icba.ca/training for a full course description and to register. While you’re there, take a peek at our full course list!

Not a member? Not a problem! We offer courses to members and non-members, though you’ll save on registration if you become a member with us.
If you’re interested in a private course, we would be pleased to bring the trainer directly to your office. Email our training team at training@icba.ca for more details on how we can bring this course or any of our other workshops directly to you.

ICBA OP/ED: George Massey, Avoiding Another Sad Chapter in our ‘Do Nothing Novel’

By Chris Gardner, President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
(This op/ed first appeared in The Province on August 4, 2017, and is now free for anyone to publish.)

Bureaucrats aren’t known for their horror writing skills. But Delta’s report on what would happen to the Massey Tunnel if there was an earthquake should send chills down the spine of every driver in the Lower Mainland.

Imagine an ordinary weekday morning, with traffic on Highway 99 backed up, as usual, in both directions. Hundreds of vehicles are slowly trickling through the tunnel when the ground begins to shake – a 6.7 earthquake.

The tunnel, described in the report as, “a brittle structure in highly unstable/liquefiable soils,” buckles. The ground under it turns to mush. Power is lost almost immediately, plunging the structure into darkness.

Cars and trucks slam on their brakes, causing major accidents in every lane. The tunnel rocks upward, breaks free and starts moving downstream, pushed by the Fraser River.

Muddy river water gushes into the dark tunnel, trapping motorists. At this moment, an emergency pump is supposed to whir into action and “should” keep the water level low enough for people to escape during the following hour. “Should” isn’t a great bet.

One can only imagine the terror in what would likely be the final moments for many of these people. It’s a risk that motorists using the Massey Tunnel take every day.

If this was not scary enough, where is the other place you wouldn’t want to be in a car when the “big one” hits? The 80-year-old Pattullo Bridge, already on the verge of falling into the Fraser.

How did one of the largest cities in a G7 economy, a city considered one of the most desirable places to live in the world, end up with two major pieces of failing infrastructure? Two reasons: old-fashioned government neglect, and a relatively new, but increasingly fashionable, movement finding favor among activists: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone. 

To their credit, the previous BC Liberal government tried to address Massey. The tunnel is not safe, it’s not effective at moving people and it’s become one of the biggest traffic chokepoints in the country. Yet the Metro Vancouver mayors are fighting its replacement tooth and nail.

All the mayors have voted against Massey – except for Delta’s Lois Jackson, who has spent the most time studying and considering it. Jackson knows that, after 145 technical and scientific reports examining all of the options, a new bridge is the safest and most cost-effective. The environmental assessments are complete, more than 3,000 people attended 110 public meetings, and construction is about to start. So, what’s the problem?

The provincial government has changed hands, and the NDP-Green alliance is looking to kill the project under the guise of “working with” the Metro Vancouver mayors.

Yes, they want to work with those same Metro Vancouver mayors who can’t even manage their own TransLink infrastructure properly. The mayors have responsibility for two major bridges: the new Golden Ears and the old Pattullo. It’s failing at half its portfolio, yet the NDP give their opinion precedence.

In the mayors’ world, failure at TransLink is always someone else’s fault: ‘out-of-touch’ Ottawa, ‘anti-urban’ Victoria, chintzy taxpayers for not excitedly handing over more money to wasteful TransLink, or ‘selfish’ drivers who should just get out of their cars and take transit.

We need to build more infrastructure – not less. Metro Vancouver is growing. We need to invest in transit, in new roads and new bridges to ensure that we can move people and goods in, around, and through the region. It’s not about choosing one project over another, it’s about revitalizing our aging infrastructure and building a strategic mix of new assets so that businesses located in the region can compete and families living in the region can get around safely and efficiently.

As the NDP prepares to cancel the Massey Tunnel replacement, keep in mind two facts: the Geological Survey of Canada records more than 2,500 earthquakes in western Canada and off the B.C. coast every year. Metro Vancouver has at least a 30% chance of a major earthquake in the next 50 years.

Let’s pray our elected officials are not really prepared to roll the dice with people’s lives.

TRAINING THURSDAY: FREE BREAKFAST BCSA Orientation Course (Electrical) – “A Great Start”

Calling all electricians! Are you new to the industry or need a refresher? Make sure you register for our FREE BCSA Orientation Course – “A Great Start” on September 8 in Burnaby!

We’re hosting a complimentary orientation session and breakfast for those looking to learn a bit more about the industry. You’ll also get the chance to speak to your local BC Safety Authority Safety Officers.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • An overview of permit types, when they are required, and how to obtain one
  • Managing your relationship with BCSA through contact with safety officers and the website
  • How to stay up to date with the latest changes in your technology
  • How BCSA uses compliance and enforcement actions to level the playing field

Don’t forget to bring a laptop, tablet or cell phone with you so you can take full advantage of these tips.

While the breakfast is free, we require that you register in advance. Check out this breakfast and our full list of upcoming courses at www.icba.ca/training.

For the latest updates on our courses and events, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter at www.icba.ca/trainingnewsletter!

IN THE NEWS: ICBA Stands Up For Site C Workers

ICBA’s Chris Gardner and Jordan Bateman were in Victoria yesterday to stand up for Site C workers and oppose the NDP-Green’s move to send the dam project to the B.C. Utilities Commission for review. Here are a few of our media clips from yesterday.

From Global BC:

Canadian Press: Construction will continue while the review is underway, but that provides little solace to the 2,400 people working on the project, said Chris Gardner, president of the Independent Contractors and Business Association. “They’ve got to be thinking that six months from now they may not have a job,” he said.

Times Colonist: “We’re very disappointed; 2,400 men and women in construction woke up today, went to that job site to help build a clean-energy project that will provide hydroelectricity for B.C. for over 100 years. The review is unnecessary. This project has been a decade in the making,” said Gardiner, who showed up at the B.C. legislature with 2,400 fake pink slips to illustrate his point.

Energetic City: “This review is redundant and irresponsible,” said ICBA Communications Director Jordan Bateman. “The focus should be on finishing the dam, not slowing it or stopping it. With 20 per cent of the work complete, and billions spent or committed, we need to finish the job. Judging Site C on ‘current’ demand – as outlined in the NDP-Green agreement – makes no sense given that demand in B.C. is expected to grow by 40 per cent over the next 20 years.”

Vancouver Sun: “The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association held a press conference outside the legislature with more than 2,000 mock pink slips to symbolize the workers who might lose their jobs if the government cancelled the project. “The review is unnecessary,” said association president Chris Gardner. “This project has been a decade in the planning, an independent panel took three years and reviewed the project, the federal and provincial levels of government both approved this project. The focus now should rightly be completing this project on time and on budget.

ANALYSIS: Prince George Growth Slowing; Construction Slipping

The Conference Board of Canada released a new report this week, looking at the economic prospects of several Canadian mid-sized cities. This included Prince George, B.C.

Basically, they foresee very, very moderate growth for B.C.’s Capital of the North: 1.5% this year, 1.7% in 2018. That’s down from a 1.8% growth rate in 2016.

It also predicts 5% employment growth for PG this year, which will help after the city saw an 8.2% loss in 2015. Still, the unemployment rate will hit a seven-year high of 6.9%, before edging back down to 6.4% in 2018.

“Construction output will contract in 2017 following exceptional gains over the last five years,” the report says. This is mainly because housing starts will cool – 245 this year, 213 in 2018; way down from the 313 started in 2016.

“On the non-residential side, work continues on $440 million in Highway 97 improvements, including the widening of the Cariboo Connector to four lanes. Composed of 27 projects that started in 2007, the entire venture is expected to wrap up at the end of 2018,” the report says. “Meanwhile, construction on the new $44.3-million Kelly Road secondary school is anticipated to begin this fall, with completion slated between 2018 and 2019. The construction of the proposed beef processing plant also provides upside risk to the metro area’s non-residential investment outlook.”

Two other notes: here’s a year-by-year look at the GDP of three mid-sized B.C. cities. Note how Prince George lags Nanaimo and Chilliwack.

And, given the awful news this week that the Pacific NorthWest LNG project has been scrapped, this paragraph is especially rough:

“Some Good News for B.C.’s Important LNG Industry – Recent federal approval and local First Nations support of Pacific NorthWest LNG’s proposal to construct a plant on the northern B.C. coast is welcome news for the struggling mining and mineral fuels sector… This agreement is a welcome boost for an industry that has been hurt by lower global demand, increased competition from the U.S., and weak commodity prices.”

Sigh.

ICBA CAST: PNW LNG AWOL

ICBA CAST: Chris Gardner & Jordan Bateman talk about the collapse of the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, John Horgan’s trip to Ottawa and Washington, NDP cabinet mandate letters, Aussie Senators, floating wind farms, fake CFL games (Go B.C. Timberwolves!) and more!

Search the iTunes podcast store for ‘ICBA Cast’ or listen below:

TRAINING THURSDAY: How We Choose New Courses

Have you ever wondered how the ICBA training department chooses new courses? Each year, ICBA offers hundreds of courses and provides training for

thousands of people across B.C. Our calendar is constantly updated, with new courses added several times a month. We are always searching for new and exciting presentation topics. These come in several different ways:

  • Through suggestions from our students
  • Requested by our members
  • Following key trending ideas
  • In support of new technology
  • Courses that improve safety in the workplace

“Life-long learning is essential to existence. Continuous improvement requires continuous training, and companies today will only remain competitive if they have a highly skilled workforce,” says ICBA Vice-President Dr. Lindsay Langill. “Training one’s workforce is not only the correct thing to do, but is a good investment.”

New to our training calendar this year:

  • Electrical Quality Management Systems
  • Estimating with Bluebeam Revu and Document Control with Bluebeam Revu
  • Arc Flash Safety
  • Leading and Managing Organizational Change
  • Responsibilities of Joint Health and Safety Committees, and many others!

Several new courses are currently in development and we can’t wait to tell you about them!

By the way, have you subscribed to our training newsletter to make sure you never miss a new course update? If you haven’t, make sure to subscribe at www.icba.ca/trainingnewsletter.

We’d love to see you in one of our courses, even if you’re not an ICBA member. Check out our full course calendar at www.icba.ca/training. Have a suggestion for a new course? Our inboxes are always open; email us at info@icba.ca.