Hundreds of billions worth of construction projects are on the drawing board in B.C. As a result, most construction contractors geared up for even more work this year, despite an already intense pace. This will keep the industry’s GDP and employment contributions growing at the same pace as the provincial economy.
Our Jordan Bateman and TheOrca.ca’s Maclean Kay talk some big, heavy issues today: the COVID-19 death toll, Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond’s investigation into racism against Indigenous people within the BC health care system, a trillion-dollar federal debt, and more. Plus a look at the BC Liberal critics.
Congratulations to Lincor Enterprises Ltd., which has won the 2020 ICBA Gord Stewart Award for its outstanding Industrial Athletes Injury Prevention Program.
The Gord Stewart Award is presented annually by ICBA and WorkSafeBC to acknowledge individuals and companies for their efforts in the prevention of workplace incidents, injuries and illnesses. The award recognizes the employee or team of employees who come up with an innovative program, policy, tool or project that demonstrates a proven accomplishment in the area of health and safety for the construction industry sector. The Award comes with a $5,000 prize.
In 2020, Lincor Enterprises started a pilot program using technology and a team of contracted physiotherapists to provide a personalized, engaging and comprehensive physiotherapy program. This innovative new program initiative is designed to add value to their existing Health and Wellness program by connecting staff with a unique set of services not previously available to construction companies in British Columbia.
An initial screening of participants at the UBC Allan McGavin Sports Physiotherapy clinic provides a baseline and serves as the starting point for a daily warm up and cool down program. This screening is repeated every six months while weekly surveys are conducted between the physiotherapists and company employees to ensure the exercise routines are meaningful and effective. Another positive outcome of this experience is the team building taking place at the start of shift on site when employees do their daily warm-up together.
A key driver for this program was the current basic approach to injuries on site, send someone home or work through the pain. This new innovative program provides construction workers access to a personalized physiotherapy program as well as a physio on demand through zoom, phone or text during regular working hours.
A major barrier Lincor had to overcome was combating the stigma was associated with workers looking “soft” on the job site by doing yoga exercises or warming up in a group setting each morning. Another barrier was the technology required to provide an app-based program allowing video calling, text surveys and confidential relaying of information between the physio clinic and company employees.
The innovation reduces workplace risks by making construction workers aware of ongoing injuries, wear and tear, and things they may typically work through. Additionally, workers are being contacted by the same physiotherapist week after week and developing a relationship while working towards improving their baseline health and mobility. There is a mental health and wellbeing component that can be associated to this type of care.
The information is very current and is being updated on a weekly basis with feedback provided to and from both the physiotherapists and construction workers.
This innovation is transforming construction workers, who typically endure heavy loads of physical strain over extended periods of time, into industrial athletes who are being given the tools and resources to understand what is hurting them, how to take better care of their bodies on a daily basis and set long term health and wellness goals measured every six months in a renowned physiotherapy clinic.
John Horgan unveiled his cabinet yesterday, and our Jordan Bateman joined TheOrca.ca’s Maclean Kay to break down the winners and losers in this round of cabinet-making. Plus they discuss the wisdom of flashing a Vulcan salute during a swearing-in ceremony.
Workplace Safety is a team effort – and ICBA is again going to reward one of our members’ workers for their safe work practices! All ICBA members are invited to submit the names of their safest workers — as long as they meet the criteria below.
The winner, drawn at random from all the workers’ names submitted, will win $1,500 from ICBA!
The submission deadline for ICBA’s annual Safety Merits Contest is noon Pacific, Thursday, December 17, 2020. Don’t miss your chance to submit the names of your company’s safest workers.
Entrants must be employed below the superintendent level (office staff are not eligible) and must have worked a minimum of 2,500 hours without any time lost due to an accident.
The construction industry recognizes that a safe workplace is the responsibility of management and of the workers on site. The industry realizes that those individuals who have taken great care to avoid injury to themselves and others are invaluable to their firm and an example for all workers. The purpose of the Safety Merits Contest is for the industry to recognize these individuals, draw attention to their achievement, and encourage others to follow their example.
1) All entrants must be employed by an ICBA member company.
2) Entrants must be employed below the superintendent level. Office staff are NOT eligible.
3) Entrants must have worked a minimum of 2,500 hours for one employer without any time lost due to an accident as of November 15, 2020. Proof of hours may have to be submitted and verified. Note: The required hours need not have been worked consecutively with that one firm.
4) Names of those who meet the above criteria are to be submitted to the ICBA office by the employer to email@example.com (Excel spreadsheet preferred) no later than noon Pacific time, Thursday, December 17, 2020.
5) Names of employees submitted in previous Safety Merits Contests may be submitted again.
6) One name will be drawn at random.
Our Jordan Bateman joins The Orca’s Maclean Kay to discuss the selection of Shirley Bond as interim BC Liberal leader — and what it means for Todd Stone and Mike Lee. They also consider the Wilkinson era, systemic sexism in the Leg, and the latest COVID measures.
The following op-ed by ICBA President Chris Gardner first appeared in The Vancouver Sun on Nov. 19, 2020.
Even before the mail-in ballots were counted and the final results of the provincial election certified, an executive from one of the biggest unions in the country was urging the new NDP government to trample all over the hard-won rights of workers across BC. In an op-ed for the Vancouver Sun, Unifor regional director Gavin McGarrigle called on the NDP Government to immediately enact “pro-worker” legislation that would strip workers of the secret ballot vote when deciding whether or not to join a union.
The secret ballot has been the law in B.C. since 2001 – it ensures that neither employers nor unions are able to coerce or intimidate workers. Certification votes are fair, transparent and they are supervised by a neutral party, the Labour Relations Board.
What some big labour organizers like McGarrigle want is a “card check” system that is notoriously open to manipulation and abuse. In 2018, an independent panel appointed by the NDP Government recommended that the secret ballot remain part of the Labour Code in BC. The Panel found that the secret ballot is “most consistent with our democratic norms, protects the fundamental right of freedom of association and choice, and is preferred.”
However, governments often drive by recommendations of panels that they find inconvenient. In this case, the NDP did exactly that and attempted to replace the secret ballot with a card check system in 2019. Fortunately, BC Liberal and Green MLAs voted together to save the secret ballot and preserve this important right for workers.
There is nothing more fundamental to our democracy than the secret ballot – whether it’s when we elect governments or members to local community associations, it is the secret ballot we rely on to provide assurance that the vote is free from manipulation by any interested party. Working men and women deserve no less when they are deciding to join a union.
The alternative proposed by McGarrigle is union organizers walking around workplaces, showing up on doorsteps or in social settings in an attempt to get people to sign union cards. This process is open to abuse and undue pressure being brought to bear on individual workers. It is backroom politics at its worst and it goes against every principle of openness and transparency that should define the modern workplace.
On its website, the Labourers’ International Union of North America highlights the problems inherent in a card check system – organizers making “false promises”, workers being “tricked into signing cards”, and concludes with a strong warning to its members, “do not sign anything.”
Card check also raises the spectre of work places being disrupted and destabilized by in-fighting between unions. In fact, the United Steelworkers called McGarrigle’s union Unifor “misleading and dishonest”, when Unifor left the Canadian Labour Congress two years ago.
The decision to support joining a union is a deeply personal one and not one workers should have to make while a union organizer is standing over his or her desk, or when surrounded by colleagues watching to see if they sign a union card, or when a union card is put in front of them on their doorstep.
Stripping workers of the secret ballot will only serve to weaken the rights of workers at the expense of big unions and harkens back to a bygone era. In a rapidly changing and modern economy, workers deserve choice, openness and fairness.
All British Columbians should be concerned about this attack on the democratic rights of workers and fairness in the workplace. We have enjoyed relative labour peace in B.C. over the past two decades and it is troubling to see voices like McGarrigle so committed to turning back the clock on labour relations in our province.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent provincial election campaign, we heard repeatedly from John Horgan that he “will be a Premier for all British Columbians” and that he will “listen to good ideas no matter where they come from.”
Well, the secret ballot for workers is a good idea and preserving it is one way for John Horgan to demonstrate that as he starts his second term with a strong majority, he truly is committed to being a Premier for all British Columbians.
Our Jordan Bateman talks with Jim Goddard of Howe Street about the hope of a COVID vaccine, how BC small businesses can survive until then. the disaster of mobility pricing, and more.
Our Jordan Bateman and TheOrca.ca‘s Maclean Kay talk about Gavin Dew’s analysis of the BC Liberal age problem; Jane Thornthwaite’s controversial op-ed, Trudeau’s Vaccine-mania, COVID, and other stuff.
Also: nerdy (I think you mean fan favourite) references to The Mandalorian, the nWo, Battlestar Galactica, and Dave Teixiera.