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TRAINING THURSDAY: How To Be A Better Foreman

Becoming a foreman is an important step on the career ladder in the trades, but it can be a hard transition if you haven’t been properly trained! Our How To Be A Better Foreman course is here to help give you the tools you need to succeed in your role.

You’ll learn the fundamentals of field leadership, organization, crew morale, efficiency and productivity in our one-day course. Here’s what’s covered:

  • Understanding why and how many foremen fail
  • How the foreman’s role has changed
  • Dealing with workplace conflict without being a jerk
  • Learning how to anticipate production and jobsite issues
  • Understanding general and subcontractor dynamics
  • Understanding your role as a leader
  • Understand how you play a major role in increasing jobsite productivity

You’ll also earn 7.5 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing, and 1 Gold Seal Credit!

We’re offering the course in Victoria and Burnaby in June; we often fill the course so don’t procrastinate in signing up! For more information on these courses and others, or to register, visit www.icba.ca/training.


IN THE NEWS: Wallace Gives Fair and Balanced Look at America During ICBA Outlook Forum

The following story on the 2018 ICBA Outlook Forum first ran in the Journal of Commerce on May 24, 2018.

One of the biggest stars on Fox News recently gave Vancouver’s construction industry insights on where America has been and where it’s going, as seen through the lens of a broadcast career spanning decades.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was the guest at the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association’s Outlook Forum, which was held recently in downtown Vancouver.

Vancouver developer Bob Rennie held a wide-ranging interview with Wallace covering the current American political climate and the anchor’s own anxieties when hosting the third and final presidential debate in October 2016.

“You see Melania at one end of the room, and Bill and Chelsea at the other, and it’s pretty freaky,” Wallace said. “But after about five minutes I figured ‘I can handle this.’ ”

Current events don’t affect how Wallace frames his questions, he said.

While at the time of the presidential debate he moderated Donald Trump was at one of his roughest patches and Hillary Clinton widely touted to win, Wallace said he wanted to avoid what he regarded as the “silly questions” of previous debates.

“My feeling was I’m not going to pile on. I’m like a cop on the beat with a night stick. I’m just trying to keep everyone honest,” Wallace said.

One of the jobs of any interviewer, whether the interview subject is a Democrat or Republican, is to get them off their carefully prepared scripts, he added.

“But the flip side is that they can throw hardballs back at you, and you just have to take it,” Wallace said.

One of the main reasons Clinton lost the election, Wallace stated, was that she struggled to appear authentic, while Trump was able to convey he understood globalization had created both winners and losers.

“Trump brought some considerable appeal to millions of voters, and Clinton didn’t. Part of that was that she had eight-point programs for every problem, but no solutions. If she’d come across as more authentic, I don’t know if it would have affected the polls, but it might have helped her,” Wallace said.

Regarding the surprise shift to Trump by part of the American electorate, Wallace said the news media, when caught flat-footed having misjudged the mood of the public, has to recalibrate so they don’t get flat-footed again.

But the split in the American electorate and between its representatives in Congress and the Senate pre-dates Trump’s election, he said. Wallace arrived in Washington in 1978 and said the changes since then have not been for the better.

“In the 1970s legislators tried to compromise and that has withered over the course of the last 40 years,” Wallace said.

Gerrymandering is one of the reasons for this change, he said, and as a congressman in a reliably red or blue area you have “absolutely no impetus whatsoever” for compromise.

But media is also to blame for America’s current polarization, he said, with Americans increasingly “in a separate universe” regarding facts, with almost no opportunity for compromise over important issues.

Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both tried to reach across the aisle and before 9-11 George Bush tried to work with the Democrats, he added.

“But there hasn’t been much since then, and I include Obama in that. Had he reached out to Republicans he could have picked up the more moderate ones, but in the height of the Great Recession he turned it over to Nancy Pelosi, and I think that was a huge mistake,” Wallace said.
Turning to Canada, Wallace said he thinks North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations won’t conclude until next year.

“Canada is the most stable position right now; Mexico is currently going through elections where NAFTA is an issue, and the U.S. has midterms where the last things Republicans fighting for their lives are going to want is a wild card like NAFTA as an issue,” Wallace said.

IN THE NEWS: Canada’s energy sector is being left behind: Brad Wall

The following piece about ICBA’s 2018 Industry Outlook Forum first ran in the Journal of Commerce on May 23, 2018.

The former premier of Saskatchewan is concerned Canada’s energy sector is being held back and left behind.

Brad Wall presented at the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of British Columbia’s 2018 Industry Outlook on May 16 in downtown Vancouver.

He spoke to the current state of Canada’s energy industry, which he said has until recently not been helped by government action at either the federal or provincial level.

“In a time where federal and provincial governments should have followed the policy of ‘do no harm’ due to low energy prices, the government has done the opposite,” Wall said, citing B.C. Premier John Horgan’s opposition of the Trans Mountain pipeline project as well as the federal carbon tax.

In contrast to Canada, Wall said, the U.S. has increased exports and “they are our only customer and number one competitor.”

The federal government’s hewing to environmental protocols such as the Paris Agreement while the Donald Trump administration has walked away from the same restrictions will also affect Canada’s competitiveness, he said.

“We’ve hard wired a carbon tax into our energy sector, and the U.S. has gone the opposite way,” he added.

Wall was optimistic about a recent decision by the federal government to compensate Kinder Morgan or any other entity that will complete the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion despite opposition from British Columbia.

“It’s an indication that the feds are prepared to act, and for those of us who want the pipeline built, we should acknowledge this is a priority for them,” Wall said.

But the former premier expressed concern that while the government has shown it will act, there are other options available that don’t involve taxpayer money.

“Before you take the fairly extreme position of using taxpayer dollars to mitigate the risks caused by the province of B.C. to this pipeline company, how about use other points of leverage like transfer payments or funding from the feds being withheld until that approval is granted,” he said.

Wall said he respected and appreciated the wishes of British Columbians who want to protect their coast, but stressed the importance of completion of the project.

“They care about the environment; we all do. But this is an expansion of an existing pipeline and it has gone through all the approval processes to address some of those concerns, so I’m surprised that it’s come to this, and this is really the only pipeline we’re left with,” he stated.

“From an emissions perspective, if the oil doesn’t come from Alberta or Saskatchewan and get to the coast and then is sold around the world, will that reduce the amount of emissions in the world or the amount of oil sold in the world? Of course not.”

In the absence of Canadian oil supply, he added, bad actors may fill the void.

“Worldwide oil demand is forecast to grow significantly over the next number of years, and if Canada isn’t supplying it to the world because we can’t get it to market, Saudi Arabia will, Nigeria will, Venezuela will, and I promise you they care less about the environment than Canada does, and have a checkered history regarding the rule of law and human rights,” Wall claimed.

But he said several factors could decide the fate of the Canadian energy sector in the near future, including upcoming elections in Ontario and Alberta, the possible resolution of the Trans Mountain issue, equalization payments this year and in 2019, and a federal election in 18 months.

Wall also said in order for the federal government to back down on carbon taxes, there are two options.

“There are two sources for relief: the courts, and the other, a sure remedy, is a federal election,” Wall said.


When a newspaper calls, we’re happy to give an interview. We only ask that we be quoted in context. Last week, The Toronto Star Vancouver wanted to talk about an idea to have government have a quota of female workers on publicly-funded projects, and to publicly publish how many women work on each project.

Interesting idea, but one we found has some significant flaws. In a 15-minute interview with The Star, we made the following points over and over again (these are our actual notes for the interview):

  • It’s a bit old-fashioned, as gender is no longer binary – if people identify as something other than male or female, their privacy will be compromised
  • BC Hydro is trying this on the Site C dam, but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence it’s actually helping
  • Not every company tracks gender – it isn’t relevant to the work they do.
  • There’s no context – in an industry where 90? per cent are men, how do we know what a correct ratio is?
  • Women on worksites often want to be treated same as men – this makes them different
  • Lots of things to encourage more women in trades – this isn’t one of them

So how did The Star report this lengthy conversation?

Jordan Bateman, spokesperson for the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA), which represents construction companies, said the idea of requiring companies to track the gender of their employees is “old-fashioned” and “isn’t relevant to any of the work that goes on.”

Eye roll. But not unexpected when a media outlet has already picked a side.




TRAINING THURSDAY: Understanding Anger in the Workplace and Healthy Responses

Everyone gets angry; it’s a normal human emotion. However, we all need to learn how to deal with our anger without turning into a monster. Our Understanding Anger in the Workplace and Healthy Responses workshop on June 4 in Burnaby will give you tools to understand and manage anger constructively.

Here are the topics it covers:

  • Understanding Anger (Consequences, Purpose, Payoffs)
  • Early Warning Signs, Concept of Balance (Perspective, Reframing, Life balance)
  • Anger Plan & Healthy Responses
  • Self Intervention – Challenge Anger Causing Beliefs
  • Understanding Emotions & Grounding
  • Conflict De-escalation
  • Building Resilience

You don’t have to be a member to take our courses, but you will save on your registration fees if you are! Register for this or any of our other courses at www.icba.ca/training. While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe to our biweekly training newsletter at www.icba.ca/trainingnewsletter.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Project Planning & Cost Control

Controlling your costs is a very important aspect of business and planning your projects effectively will definitely help you with that goal! Our popular Project Planning and Cost Control workshop is back in Burnaby on May 31 to June 1; will we see you there?

The course is designed to provide owners, managers, estimators, and field personnel with a general knowledge of the process of planning and controlling a project from beginning to end utilizing ways and means of monitoring, saving and controlling costs. Here’s what’s covered:

  • Understanding the impact and methodology of construction cost control.
  • Ways and means of minimizing and controlling costs on site.
  • Project cost forecasting and accounting functions on site.
  • Project planning and its purpose and effect on project cost control.
  • How to communicate & assist management re: cost methods and control.
  • Gain additional insight into the process of work and cost analysis.
  • Cost reporting systems – new technology in monitoring costs and reports.
  • Understanding the effect improper field reporting has on cost control. Maintaining and managing documents, material, tools and equipment.
  • Understanding the Contract process from bidding to project close-out.
  • Review of 100 companies and their methods in controlling & saving costs.

You’ll also earn Gold Seal Credits and Continued Professional Development Points from BC Housing. You can register for this or any of our other workshops at www.icba.ca/training. Don’t miss your chance to register!