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Organizational changes at the ICBA

Dear friends,

After more than 30 years leading ICBA I have decided to take a step back in the organization. The announcement below outlines the new leadership team. I will continue with ICBA as special counsel to the new President Gord Stewart.

It has been my honour to have served the ICBA members and the construction industry. Special thanks to those members who served with me on boards and committees through the years. They helped make the organization better.

These are exciting times for the BC construction industry. I am confident ICBA will continue to serve its members, their employees and the industry well for many years to come.

My contact information remains the same. Please never hesitate to get in touch.

Philip H.

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Woodfibre LNG’s positive decision is welcome news for B.C. families and workers

(November 4, 2016 – Burnaby) ­– On behalf of B.C.’s construction industry, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. (ICBA) offers congratulations to Woodfibre LNG for their positive decision for the liquefied natural gas project in Squamish. Their investment in this project is welcome news for the families and workers of B.C.

“LNG is potentially one of the best things to ever happen to B.C.’s economy, and Woodfibre LNG’s decision to invest reflects tremendous confidence in this emerging industry,” said Philip Hochstein, president of the ICBA.

“We need to ensure that this project has every opportunity to reach its full potential,” he said.

Woodfibre LNG’s project will be the first of its kind in B.C., and will grow our economy by significantly increasing the return that B.C. and Canada receives from our natural gas reserves.

Squamish residents will reap many long-term benefits including spin-off jobs and opportunities for local small businesses, as well as tax revenues that will support new and improved community centres, parks, festivals, and more.

The project will create more than 650 construction jobs per year during a two-year construction period, and 100 full-time jobs during operation.

About ICBA (www.icba.ca) The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. services and represents B.C.’s construction sector. ICBA’s 1,200 members build in every construction sector and are involved in virtually all major capital projects in British Columbia.

Media Contact:
Philip Hochstein
President, ICBA

Employment Insurance Changes 2016


The Government has made several changes to the Employment Insurance Act through Budget 2016, aimed at improving the coverage and services available to claimants.

Below we have outlined the changes that are most likely to affect your employees, including the reduction of waiting periods for EI and the ability to work during parental or compassion leave.

There are other changes to the act, and more details to the information below listed on the Service Canada website.  For further information, click here.


Reducing the two-week waiting period to one week

The Employment Insurance (EI) waiting period is a period of time that must be served before a claimant can begin to receive EI benefits.  It has been set at two weeks since 1971. Shortening the waiting period is expected to ease the financial strain for EI claimants at the front-end of a claim and will put an additional $650 million in the pockets of Canadians annually beginning next year. Read more

Coalition welcomes ICBA as 1st Associate Member

The Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition today announced the Independent Contractors and Business Association of BC (ICBA) as its 1st Associate Member.  The announcement was made today at a Coalition Community Luncheon in Fort St John.   The Coalition’s Associate Membership program has several categories aimed at allowing companies, associations, institutions, organizations and individuals who support the Coalition’s goals and objectives to demonstrate their support by becoming an Associate Member. 

ICBA Vice President, Regional Initiatives Mike Davis states “ICBA is really pleased to become the 1st Associate Member of the Coalition.   We’ve seen the Coalition as a very proactive organization that brings together municipalities and rural communities in Northeast BC with industry, government and other organizations to support and enhance existing communities and to support responsible resource development and access to new markets.

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Generous ICBA donation benefits Northern Lights College Carpentry students

Carpentry students from Northern Lights College (NLC) will be pleased to learn of a new $10,000 donation from the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).

Dean of Trades and Apprenticeships, Mark Heartt, said the donation will directly benefit the College’s Carpentry program.

“The Trades Department was able to purchase audiovisual equipment worth about $5,000 to date that will enable better online training for our learning management system,” said Heartt, “the additional funds will go towards other much needed carpentry equipment.” Read more

Recent letter to the Globe and Mail: Housing shut-out

It’s pretty rich to read that Mayor Gregor Robertson is complaining about inaction on Vancouver’s housing affordability from every level of government but his own (Government To Blame For Middle Class Being Shut Out Of Vancouver Home Market, Mayor Says – Sept. 30).

Sure, senior governments have a role to play. But we see little to no concern on the city’s part with the bloated regulatory costs it unnecessarily tacks onto the price of housing. Those costs come in at more than $37,000 per housing unit in Vancouver – one of the highest levels anywhere in the region – and a typical residential project approval requires more than 15 months.

These are significant affordability barriers, and in our view responsibility for them lies squarely on Mr. Robertson’s shoulders. Instead, he seems to want to deflect. And while that’s a classic political strategy, it rarely brings us any closer to real solutions on difficult issues.

Philip Hochstein, president, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, Vancouver

How much do you pay for Financial Advice?

If you’ve been reading the Vancouver Sun, The Province, The Globe and Mail, the National Post or merely glimpsed at that little screen in the elevator, you may have seen a reference to a very significant change in the Financial Industry called the Client Relationship Model, Phase 2 or CRM2.   These upcoming changes do not increase what you are paying for advice, but you will now have a few more numbers on the statement showing investment performance and cost in actual dollar figures.

When you invest in a Mutual Fund, you pay a Management Expense Ratio (MER) based on the amount of money you have invested.  For instance, if you have $100,000 invested in a Mutual Fund with a 2.50% MER, you are paying $2,500 per year in overall fees.  In many cases, this Mutual Fund Company will pay the Investment Advisors Company 1% or $1,000 per year in annual revenue.   This $1,000 will be disclosed on your statement if you work with an Investment Advisor.  If you work with a Bank Sales Representative or any Advisor that is only able to offer their firms own products, this will not necessarily be disclosed. Read more

Affordable Housing: The BC Construction Monitor

It’s been an active and interesting few months on the housing file in British Columbia. There was a sharp step-back in sales in Metro Vancouver over the summer, in the wake of the retroactive 15% tax on foreign real estate purchasers. But it’s not at all clear that the long-term impact of this and other recent housing-related actions will be all that significant.

The problem is that we’re trying to regulate – and, ironically, tax – our way to affordable housing; and with an almost exclusive focus on decreasing demand. But even if we brought foreign investment in Metro Vancouver real estate to a full stop, what about the tens of thousands of new households that will be formed through population growth in the years to come?

Among the ranks of those struggling to find acceptable housing here are a growing number of pro-housing “Yes-in-my-Backyard” or YIMBY activists. And they are calling for an at least equal focus on the crucial supply side of the equation.
In this Monitor, we detail how intense the supply-demand imbalance has become, and we identify some of the ways of moderating it. Certainly a reduction in the large municipally imposed regulatory burden has to be part of the solution, since research demonstrates that housing supply is particularly sensitive to added delays and uncertainty. Read more

How unions got $85 million from the Trudeau government to help them recruit construction workers

Labour Day usually results in a host of self-congratulatory press releases from unions trumpeting their importance in ensuring Canadians do not toil away in factories reminiscent of the London of Charles Dickens.  Rather than debate whether that would be the reality without unions, most Canadians are happy to give labour its day and spend a long weekend at the cottage.

However, when overstated union claims of their importance start to impact public policy and the economy, then it is time for Canadians to take notice.

One such example lies buried in the 2016 Federal Budget, which promised $85.4 million over five years to support union-based apprenticeship training.  While investments in apprenticeship training are critical to address the looming labour shortages in the construction sector, this particular investment completely ignores current employment realities.

The issue is simple: other than Quebec, the vast majority of employment in construction is in the open shop sector, wherein union membership is not a condition of employment.  For example, in Saskatchewan 15% of the construction workforce is unionized versus 85% in the open shop sector.  In Alberta, fewer than 20% of the construction workforce is represented by a building trades union.  In New Brunswick, over 75% of the workforce is open shop.  These figures are consistent across the country, yet the Federal Government has chosen to give union training centres $85.4 million. Read more

Additional grants available for your Registered Educations Savings Plan (RESP)

Keeping up with all the changes to Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) since 1997 is a difficult task to say the least. You are now able to contribute up to $50,000 per child and the Federal Government will contribute up to $7,200.

Many additional educational programs qualify in addition to traditional University and College degrees. In order to maximize the value of the RESP, comprehensive planning is required.

One benefit available to residents of B.C. is the Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG). Unlike the Federal Government Grant, this is not based on how much you contribute. However, you do need to apply for this. In order to qualify, the following criteria must be met:

  • Child born in 2006 or later

  • You and the child are residents of B.C.

  • The child is a beneficiary of an RESP with a participating institution

For children born between 2006 and 2009, the BCTESG is now available. Depending on the year of birth, the last day to apply may be as soon as August 14, 2018. Start the process early to ensure you are dealing with a qualified institution that is able to access this grant for you.

Article Courtesy

Creed Capital Management

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