The BC Construction Monitor - Environmental Assessments
In the debate over energy infrastruc-ture and other major projects, one common question recently has been whether proposals are being rigorously enough reviewed. This issue of the Monitor takes a close look at what major project review processes actually consist of.
Even with more renewables and energy efficiency, rising global demand means we’ll need to rely on conventional energy sources for a long time yet. Fossil fuels provided 84% of the world’s energy in 2012, and are projected to provide 78% in 2040.
The 2018 edition of the ICBA Wage and Benefit Survey has been all over the media, and rightfully so: it highlights that construction workers are looking at a 10% wage boost over the next two years, and that there are critical shortages in several trades. See the report HERE.
It was an exciting week for ICBA, as we sponsored BUILDEX Vancouver 2018, the largest construction trade show west of Toronto.
BUILDEX kicked off with our 21st annual CEO Breakfast, which also featured the release of the 2018 Independent Magazine, an ICBA publication looking at what the organization does, and projecting what challenges are to come this year.
Download your copy of the Independent Magazine HERE.
ICBA President Chris Gardner released the results of the survey Wednesday morning at ICBA’s annual CEO Breakfast, kicking off the BUILDEX tradeshow in Vancouver.
“With such strong demand for workers, construction wages are growing more than twice as fast as inflation,” said Gardner. “The need is intense. Every single glass company we surveyed this year said they needed more glaziers. For pipefitting companies, 93% said they needed more help; sheet metal workers, 91%; electricians and plumbers, 89%. The message is clear: if you want to work in construction, there’s a job out there for you.”
Construction in B.C. now employs more than 225,000 people and contributes nearly 10 per cent of the provincial GDP. This year, survey respondents said they expect to give their workers a 4.5% raise; in 2019, they expect another 5.1% increase.
The ICBA Wage and Benefits Survey also looks regionally at how optimistic companies are about adding more work in 2018. Fully 96% of construction companies expect business in 2018 to be as strong or stronger than 2017:
Interior: 43% of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 82% say they are short of workers, especially labourers, carpenters and framers.
North: 60% of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 80% say they are short of workers, especially carpenters, truck drivers and drywallers.
Vancouver Island: 49% of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 76% say they are short of workers, especially carpenters, labourers and framers.
Lower Mainland-Fraser Valley-Whistler: 55% of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 82% say they are short of workers, especially carpenters, labourers and plumbers.
“Our findings bode well for opportunities in construction and its $19 billion annual contribution to provincial GDP – as long as we can continue to get to and stay at ‘yes’ on major projects and otherwise maintain a competitive business climate,” said Gardner. “We must do more to attract investment into British Columbia, ensuring that we continue to build the infrastructure and harness our resources responsibly.”
The following open letter was sent today to Premier John Horgan by five key B.C. business organizations: ICBA, The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Business Council of British Columbia, and the BC Chamber of Commerce. PDF version HERE.
Dear Premier Horgan and Cabinet,
We are writing to express our deep concern regarding your government’s opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.
Regardless of one’s personal views on the pipeline, it has been given a green-light to proceed by both the National Energy Board (NEB), and the federal cabinet. The former BC government also explicitly approved the project following significant deliberation and debate.
The pipeline proponent went through a four- year process of consultation and rigorous regulatory review and is meeting 157 federal conditions as well as 37 additional provincial conditions. Many of these requirements were crafted to ensure the highest possible level of environmental protection and operate separately from the $1.5 billion commitment by the Trudeau government to protect coast lines, including a $500 million commitment to BC. Now the rule of law must be respected, and the expansion of the pipeline must be allowed to proceed. Failing to do so, in practice or in spirit, by creating additional delays and uncertainty, is clearly not in the best interests of British Columbia or Canada.
Failing to respect the rule of law and the largely federal jurisdiction over this project is not only deeply unfair to the stakeholders who respected the process, but also represents a fundamental departure from what it means for BC to be part of Canada. The stakes are high. Many small business owners, construction workers, people who support their families in manufacturing, and First Nations are now caught in the crossfire as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the project’s future and the retaliatory trade actions of the Alberta Government. To achieve many of the priorities of your government, from creating good paying jobs, to easing affordability concerns, to spending more on housing, education and healthcare, the province needs the investment and revenue that will flow from this $7.4 billion investment in our economy.
We are concerned that if a resolution is not found quickly, British Columbians, already facing the prospects of Alberta stopping negotiations to purchase our hydro power and banning the sale of BC wine, will be hurt by additional retaliatory action from Alberta. Not finding a resolution quickly creates further risks including expensive lawsuits, and large companies going elsewhere to invest their dollars, create jobs and attract talent.
Like most British Columbians, we believe that economic growth and environmental protection can and do go together, a view reiterated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It might interest you to know that a recent poll of small business owners— major employers and drivers of economic growth —shows strong support for the project (see attached chart). Many of these businesses will provide goods and services to support this project, from welding supplies and construction materials to hotel rooms, restaurant meals and haircuts which, in turn, will provide thousands of hard-working British Columbians with good-paying jobs to support their families and their communities.
We urge you and your government to stop its opposition to this approved project before we do further damage to the province’s reputation as one that is open for business or, worse, causes a provincial trade war that inflicts lasting damage on the relationship between BC and Alberta. It’s now time to put shovels in the ground.
Laura Jones, CFIB
Chris Gardner, ICBA
Andrew Wynn-Williams, CME
Greg D’Avignon, BCBC
Val Litwin, BC C of C
Our training department is hard at work organizing brand-new courses for 2018! The latest addition is our Municipal Map Reading & Utility Safety Workshop. The first session takes place March 21st in Burnaby!
This course is designed to give participants an understanding on how to interpret and read documentation that relates to the Municipal Infrastructure.
Participants will learn the related Regulations, Acts and Master Municipal Construction Documents as well as blueprint reading symbols, legend and design specifications for local cities, municipalities and townships.
They will also review BC One Call documentation, utility owner’s roles and responsibilities, ground disturbers’ roles and responsibilities, and safe utility locating practices.
After completing this course students will get a better understanding of how to read and interpret municipal Construction Drawings.
You can register for this workshop and any of our other training courses at www.icba.ca/training. And don’t miss out on any of our new courses by subscribing to our training newsletter at www.icba.ca/trainignnewsletter. You don’t want to miss the latest updates!
The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) is the voice of B.C.’s construction industry and the single largest sponsor of construction apprentices in B.C. ICBA’s insurance company, ICBA Benefits, is one of the largest providers of group health and retirement benefits in British Columbia. Representing more than 2,000 companies and clients, ICBA members and their skilled workers are involved in virtually all major capital and infrastructure projects built in British Columbia.
With a combined staff of more than 40 professionals, ICBA and ICBA Benefits offer a wide range of member and client services including public policy research and advocacy, group health and retirement benefit programs, training and apprenticeship programs, and conferences and forums. ICBA and ICBA Benefits’ head office is in Burnaby’s Metrotown, with regional offices in Prince George and Fort St. John.
Membership Services Coordinator
ICBA members are amazing. They are incredible, growing companies that are literally building British Columbia. From small owner-operator operations to some of B.C.’s largest companies, they have diverse needs: benefit plans, advocacy, training, apprenticeship management, and more.
ICBA can help – but we need a point person, a first point-of-contact to deliver that help. That’s you, our Membership Services Coordinator. We need you to triage calls and emails from members, connecting them to the services ICBA and ICBA Benefits offers. You won’t always have all the answers, but if you don’t, you know who will – and will connect the member and the solution.
Answer and/or route our general emails and take member phone and email inquiries as appropriate, along with being proactive in reaching out to members who we have not had much contact with.
Work with the Communications department and be the point person on getting member mail out, including annual invoices and reports.
Discern and offer insight into member needs and questions as we redesign and enhance our membership communication tactics such as monthly e-mail newsletters and welcome packages.
Develop a membership life cycle plan, that includes initial contact, invoicing, welcome packages, promoting training and insurance, and (most importantly) relationship-building.
Provide the senior leadership team with reports on members who have gone untouched by ICBA, and coordinate events with them. You’ll be proactive in reaching out to members who we can help.
Assume responsibility for our affinity program, working with vendors to get even better deals for ICBA members, and promoting the program to our membership. You will also help members with log-ins and other details needed for ICBA.ca.
Periodic coverage for reception, covering breaks and holidays as needed.
Event coordinating and support for events including trade shows and our four major ICBA events – our AGM Gala Dinner, our ICBA Open golf tournament (you’ll take a lead role organizing the tournament), our BUILDEX CEO Breakfast, and our Outlook Industry Forum.
Meeting with members in our office or, better yet, at their workplace.
At least 5 years of experience in client care, membership services or sales coordinator roles
Highly organized and self-motivated
Ability to strategically develop professional relationships and recognize member needs
Strong office and administrative skills
Proficient with MS Office, including Word, Excel (especially mail merge functions) and Outlook, familiarity with Windows environment
WordPress and social media experience
Capable, self-motivated, able to work well alone and as part of a team
Interpersonal skills: organized, resourceful, strong communicator, tactful, flexible, works well with others
Ability to prioritize and multi-task in a fast-paced environment
ICBA has a lot of moving parts, so you’ll need to be a quick learner. We’ll teach you the basics of our training, insurance, and public policy advocacy, so you’ll be able to communicate effectively with members.
Our members are the lifeblood of ICBA. We want someone who understands and values that. If that’s you, please apply – we’re looking forward to having you on our team.
Growth-oriented office with many opportunities to learn and develop new skills.
This role reports to the Director of Communications and Marketing.
ICBA offers a progressive training, benefits and compensation package.
This role is full-time, based out of our Metrotower III office in Burnaby.
Some flexibility will be necessary, as some events are outside of regular business hours.
To apply, please send a cover letter (sell us on why you are the one for this job!) and resume with the subject line, “Membership Services Coordinator”.
Last week, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced his government would stall the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project indefinitely by convening yet another panel to do yet another study. Many experts believe the B.C. Government is violating the Canadian constitution by exceeding its jurisdiction over this federally-approved project.
Indeed, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, a member of the same NDP as John Horgan, has strongly rebuked her B.C. counterpart, rightly pointing out that B.C. is just trying to stall the pipeline project until it is cancelled.
Trans Mountain must meet 194 federal and provincial conditions, many of which relate to the environment
Green leader Andrew Weaver, whose support is the sole reason why John Horgan is in power today, has said the BC Government should choke out the pipeline project with unfair permit conditions
This project spent 29 months under intense review and consultation. There is nothing new for B.C. to add
The Conference Board of Canada says this pipeline would generate 678,000 person-years of employment and $18.5 billion in government revenue. B.C. would get 80% of the construction jobs and 12% of the revenue
We need to stand up for this pipeline project, for responsible resource development, and for the construction jobs they create.
This op/ed, by ICBA President Chris Gardner, first appeared in The Province newspaper on Feb. 6, 2018. It is now available for all media outlets to use.
It’s provincial budget time again – the first full-fledged NDP effort in 17 years.
It’s show time for the NDP government, and the scene is set. They assumed office in an enviable fiscal situation: five consecutive balanced budgets, a $2.7 billion surplus, a triple-A credit rating, and a debt-to-GDP ratio hovering just over 16 percent. This legacy of fiscal prudence will be hard to match given the challenges ahead.
First, B.C.’s overall competitiveness. As the Business Council of B.C. notes, B.C. has the sixth highest marginal effective tax rate for business when compared to 34 OECD jurisdictions and the 10 Canadian provinces.
While other jurisdictions are working to make their tax regimes more competitive, B.C. is heading in the opposite direction. The top marginal personal income tax rate for those earning more than $150,000 annually in B.C. now stands at 50 percent, up from 43 percent a mere 18 months ago.
Add to this the provincial government’s $5 increase to the carbon tax last fall while ending its revenue neutrality by cancelling offsetting tax cuts and tax credits.
Unfortunately, the list goes on – corporate tax increases, CPP hikes starting in 2019 (a federal measure), and a host of one-off increases to government fees and levies.
Further, the recent moves by the United States to significantly cut taxes will make it more difficult for Canadian companies to compete in the US, unless our federal government and the provinces coordinate more effectively.
Second, the new NDP government is also reviewing a wide-range of government programs and policies, such as environmental assessment rules, WorkSafe B.C. regulations, labour and employment policy, and more – creating a sense of uncertainty and sending negative signals to investors here and abroad about B.C.’s suitability as a place to invest.
Against this rather ominous backdrop, what should Premier Horgan and Minister of Finance James be thinking about as they finalize the provincial budget documents?
Early indications suggest the theme of the budget is affordability, framed largely around housing. So far, talk has centered largely on demand-side measures, such as expanding the foreign buyers tax. However, what really is required are measures to increase supply quickly – freeing up land for development, speeding up permitting and approvals at municipal halls, and taking action to truly increase density around key transit nodes, colleges and universities, and along major traffic corridors.
The NDP government, working with federal and municipal partners, must also get shovels in the ground for new rapid transit projects and value-destroying road bottlenecks.
To help pay for this, the provincial budget must deliver an overarching commitment to grow the economic pie through responsible resource development. Focus is needed to advance LNG projects to successful final investment decisions this year. While the economic reasons are very compelling, so too are the environmental benefits. B.C.’s LNG can help reduce global GHG emissions from more carbon-intensive fossil fuels being used in rapidly growing Asian markets.
The NDP government should also walk back its ill-advised, illegal and reckless attempt to delay construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. This $7.4 billion project is in the national interest, and was the subject of an exhaustive review process that stretched nearly three years. Nearly two years ago it was approved by the Trudeau Government with 194 conditions and a commitment to spend $1.5 billion to protect our coastline. The consultation is over, the approval has been granted, it’s time to start building.
At risk is billions in investment, thousands of family-supporting jobs for construction and energy services-related companies, and contract opportunities for Indigenous Nations and communities across the province.
This is reason enough for the premier to ignore Andrew Weaver’s anti-LNG and anti-pipeline rhetoric. B.C.’s economic future is far too important to be held hostage by the whims and policy jiggery-pokery of Weaver’s brand of politics, which seeks to undermine significant, sustainable, and shared prosperity. In just six months, Weaver has demonstrated the danger of having a government propped up by a small group of MLAs focused on a narrow agenda and willing to hold the province hostage to advance its deeply flawed goals.
As Budget 2018 approaches, it’s not too late for Premier Horgan and Finance Minister James to try and recast the NDP’s well-earned reputation in the 1990s for causing economic havoc so that this time the movie ends differently.
Taking a thoughtful, forward-looking approach to jobs and investment would show the public that the NDP government is serious about “building” economic prosperity, not just “sharing” it.