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.
Maclean and Jordan talk about what the TransMountain approval means politically for Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May, John Horgan, Andrew Wilkinson and Andrew Weaver.
NEW ICBA CAST: The Trudeau Government #Got2Yes on the #TransMountain pipeline (again) – our Chris Gardner and Jordan Bateman discuss whether he will #Stick2Yes and what it means for Canada, the politicians and our construction members.
NEWS RELEASE: Confidence In Canada Coalition ‘Pleased’ With #TMX Decision; Wants More Certainty for Energy Projects
ICBA is a founding member of Confidence in Canada, a coalition of more than 130 business, labour, municipal and other groups supporting investment in Canada.
Vancouver, B.C. – We are pleased to see the federal government’s final decision today granting approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) Project. After more than seven years of review, it’s time to get shovels in the ground. The government of B.C. must now respect the federal government’s decision that this project is in the national interest and must proceed without further delay.
The ongoing and unprecedented uncertainty around the TMX project led a group of over 113 business organizations, communities and leaders from across Canada to form the Confidence in Canada movement last spring. The group remains concerned as there is more than just a pipeline at stake. Uncertainty continues, fueled by the mounting regulatory burden and new legislation, including Bills C- 69 and C-48. Canada is mired in process paralysis and political division, self inflicted measures that are undermining our ability to get projects built by adding cost and complexity at the expense of our country’s future prosperity and impacting families and our reputation.
Investment in Canadian natural resource projects has been the lifeblood of our economy for decades, paying high wages and generating government revenues for health, education and social services across the nation. Even as this project is granted approval, Canada is increasingly being passed over for global investments in our natural resource, energy and related technology sectors. This is a lost opportunity for all Canadians.
Canada ranks 13th in the IMD World Competitiveness ranking in 2019, down three places from 2018 with an increasing risk premium. In the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Competitiveness Report, Canada ranked 53rd for its burden of government regulation.
We are at a crucial juncture where Canada needs to take an honest assessment to support our future growth through a comprehensive review of our regulatory and tax competitiveness. Our standard of living and ability to make continued progress on issues such as Indigenous reconciliation and climate action depends on it. Failure to get this right will hold back future generations from achieving their goals and realizing the quality of life that Canadians have enjoyed for decades.
The founding organizations of the Confidence in Canada movement will continue to advocate for citizens, communities and businesses to ensure Canada is an attractive place to invest, work and raise our families for generations to come.
“Canadians know that our country is stronger and better when we lever our strengths and act as a federation. British Columbia came into Canada through the promise of being connected by federal infrastructure. It is now up to B.C. to play a leadership role by respecting today’s decision in the interest of getting Canadian resources to diversified markets where they will receive fair market value.”
– Greg D’Avignon, President & CEO, Business Council of British Columbia
“Bill C-48, the Trudeau government’s north coast tanker ban, combined with Bill C-69, which will make it virtually impossible to get another major energy infrastructure project approved in Canada, are a one-two punch that will put Canada’s energy sector on its knees.”
– Chris Gardner, President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
“It is high time that we move forward, collectively as Canadians, to build this infrastructure and get our natural resources to international markets.”
– Iain Black, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
“Today’s news that the TMX pipeline has been approved is welcome news – but it’s long overdue. We call on the federal government to move quickly from approval to construction, so we can the unlock benefits of this project for all Canadians.”
– Val Litwin, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce
“Today’s decision is important in that it doesn’t further exacerbate the challenges we face with investor confidence and alienating Albertans. But we still have a huge challenge ahead of us to create the certainty that we are a country where decisions can be made in a reasonable timeframe and big projects can be built. “
– Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President and Chief Strategic Officer for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
“Today’s decision by the federal cabinet on the TMX pipeline is a much needed confirmation of the critical role that responsible resource development—be it oil and gas, mining or forestry—plays in the Canadian economy and in the lives of countless workers, their families and communities right across our country.”
– Michael Goehring, President and CEO, Mining Association of British Columbia
BURNABY – The federal government’s announcement today that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project (TMX) has been greenlit is excellent news for the thousands of construction workers waiting to get to work on it, says the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).
“TMX has seen many twists and turns along the way, but we are happy and relieved that construction has been given the green light,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA president. “This much-needed expansion should have started years ago, but was stalled by an obstructionist court action by B.C. NDP Government, the purchase of the pipeline by the federal government, and U.S.-funded professional protesters fighting it, even as polls showed the majority of Canadians supported the pipeline. It’s time to build this pipeline and secure the investment, jobs and opportunities that will be an important part of Canada’s long-term prosperity.”
ICBA led the fight for the Trans Mountain pipeline project for several years, using its #Get2Yes platform to generate thousands of messages from British Columbians supporting the expansion; created an award-winning Get Canada’s Big Gas Moving video viewed 800,000+ times on Facebook; encouraged BC construction companies to participate in the planning, bidding and eventual construction of the project; intervened in various hearings and court challenges; provided public policy and advocacy support; and was a founding member of Confidence in Canada.
“We have been proud to champion this nation-building project from the very beginning and will keep on working to ensure Canada’s energy industry has the workers, infrastructure, support and approvals needed to be successful,” said Gardner. “It is impossible to overestimate how important responsible resource development is to our economy and to Canada’s ability to attract investment and create opportunities for hundreds of thousands of families across our country.”
Despite today’s welcome news, there remain dark clouds on the horizon for Canada’s energy industry and threats to Canada’s ability to compete globally.
“Bill C-48, the Trudeau government’s north coast tanker ban, combined with Bill C-69, which will make it virtually impossible to get another major energy infrastructure project approved in Canada, are a one-two punch that will put Canada’s energy sector on its knees,” said Gardner. “Through regulation and red tape, the Trudeau government’s aggressive attacks on the oil and gas sector are doing significant damage to Canada’s reputation as a place to invest and do business with confidence and certainty.”
“We cannot allow Trans Mountain to be the last energy project built in this country. Holding one of the most important drivers of our prosperity hostage makes no sense – through confusion and complexity, we are scaring away investment and opportunity not attracting it,” said Gardner.
“Over the past few years, Canada has lost billions of dollars in jobs and opportunity as our energy sector has been hollowed out. We have put at risk an entire industry and the family supporting jobs it provides in thousands of communities across Canada.”
The following op-ed, co-authored by ICBA President Chris Gardner, first appeared in The Financial Post on June 6, 2019.
This week, the Senate of Canada began third reading of Bill C-69. When the government commenced the regulatory review process in 2016, Canadians were promised legislation that would restore public trust, introduce new, fair processes, and get our resources to market. The Bill C-69 that the House of Commons sent to the Senate fell far short of that promise. If passed, it would only cause increased uncertainty for major infrastructure projects — projects that are essential to delivering economic growth and a high quality of life for all Canadians.
Let us be clear and unequivocal. We believe in the value and importance of proper environmental-impact assessment processes that are robust and science-based, and in the value of sustainability in our operations. These things are fundamental to us.
Bill C-69 caused us, and Canadians across the country, great concern when it was introduced in February 2018. It fuelled greater uncertainty in project assessment and review processes. It introduced longer timelines for some projects, and vague criteria that would increase the risk of legal challenges. It substantially increased ministerial discretionary powers.
When the House of Commons standing committee on environment and sustainable development studied Bill C-69 last spring, it did not address the fundamental issues that many had identified with the bill. In fact, the committee amendments made it even less likely that major infrastructure projects would be built, and put at risk the investment needed for Canada to create the jobs and government revenues that support our quality of life.
Fortunately, the Senate, and specifically, the standing Senate committee on energy, the environment and natural resources (ENEV), composed of senators from across the country, with different political perspectives, decided to take a comprehensive look at the Bill C-69 sent to them by the House of Commons.
ENEV members consulted extensively with a broad cross-section of Canadians across the country. Members of this committee travelled to locations from British Columbia to Newfoundland. They heard from individuals, associations, companies and non-governmental organizations. They heard from premiers and cabinet ministers, lawyers and academics. And what they heard convinced them to undertake a multi-partisan effort to improve the deeply flawed Bill C-69.
Working together, members of the ENEV committee examined hundreds of proposed changes and recommended nearly 200 amendments to Bill C-69. These amendments were proposed by members of the Independent Senators Group, Liberal, Conservative and non-aligned senators. By diligently applying sober second thought to Bill C-69, these thoughtful public servants have produced a bill that truly reflects the values of Canadians and deserves to be approved substantially as-is by the Senate, and then by the House of Commons.
Is the new Bill C-69 perfect? By no means. For industry, there will remain increased risk when proposing major infrastructure projects. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about how the new agencies and processes created by Bill C-69 will work and how proponents will be able to navigate the new impact-assessment processes. However, what the Senate has done is make it much more likely that new projects will be proposed and built, creating jobs and government revenues while protecting our environment.
Communities, businesses and families all over the country are feeling the strain of Canada’s failure to provide a clear path to approval for major infrastructure projects. Investment and jobs are being re-directed to other countries where there is greater predictability in the regulatory process and where there are greater opportunities for investors — investors who would otherwise be coming to Canada.
We can revitalize our reputation as a great place to do business. It is essential that we do so for the long-term livelihood and prosperity of all Canadians.
The ENEV committee has done Canada a great service and positioned the federal government for success by shaping a Bill C-69 that comes closer to achieving the original objectives. We urge the full Senate, and the House of Commons, to accept this improved version of Bill C-69 to ensure a better future for Canadians.
- Wendy Zatylny, president, Association of Canadian Port Authorities
- Sandip Lalli, president and CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce
- Tim McMillan, president and CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
- Chris Bloomer, president and CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association
- Timothy M. Egan, president and CEO, Canadian Gas Association
- Bob Masterson, president and CEO, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada
- Tristan Goodman, president, The Explorers and Producers Association of Canada
- Chris Gardner, president, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
- Gary Mar, president and CEO, Petroleum Services Association of Canada
Do you have a strategy in place for achieving your project Step Code targets cost effectively? Let us help! Our Strategic and Cost-Effective Step Code Compliance half-day workshop is in Burnaby June 12.
This half-day course will not only enhance your comprehension of the Step Code for Part 9 buildings, it will enable you to prioritize the energy conservation measures you consider for your projects based on construction cost and energy impact.
Here’s what’s covered:
- Understand the Step Code performance targets, and to what extent their achievement is influenced by:
- Building envelope components (windows, wall assemblies, etc.)
- Building airtightness
- HVAC equipment selections
- Improve your ability to:
- Facilitate an efficient design and documentation cycle, from acquisition of development permit through to submission of the building permit application
- Ensure design details, particularly related to airtightness, are successfully implemented in the field
- Learn to predict which Step Code projects will be especially challenging
- Be able to identify and rank the most cost effective measures for achieving Step Code targets, and estimate corresponding cost premiums
- Expand your knowledge about high efficiency mechanical systems and their relevance to Step Code, including:
- Common and not-so-common options for hot water heating, space conditioning and ventilation
- Proper application, selection, and installation of equipment
Plus, you’ll earn 4 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing! Register for this or any of our other upcoming courses at www.icba.ca/courses.
BURNABY—Non-union construction companies sponsor four times as many trades apprentices as unions in British Columbia, according to documents obtained from the provincial government’s Industry Training Authority through a Freedom of Information request.
The documents show that 23,172 of the province’s 28,432 registered construction apprentices – meaning 81.5 per cent of B.C.’s construction apprentices are sponsored by open shop companies, not unions.
“The numbers thoroughly debunk the building trades unions’ myth that only they train construction apprentices,” said Chris Gardner, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA), which represents more than 2,100 of these open shop companies. “In fact, it’s open shop companies which do the heavy lifting of recruiting, training, equipping and sponsoring trades apprentices in this province.”
While ICBA is proud to be the single largest sponsor of trades apprentices in B.C., with more than 1,100 registered, this is just a slice of the more than 23,000 sponsored by non-union companies.
In many trades, the percentage of open shop apprentices is even higher:
- Welders – 96% open shop (777 apprentices); 4% union (29)
- Plumbers – 87% open shop (2,892); 13% union (438)
- Carpenters – 85% open shop (4,437); 15% union (801)
- Electricians – 83% open shop (6,150); 17% union (1,301)
“Over the past 35 years, the building trades unions have lost market share, lost any wage and benefit advantage they used to have, and alienated generations of B.C. construction workers,” said Gardner. “Rather than truly represent the best interests of workers, the building trades unions are focused on saving their failing business model and are relying on NDP government-ordered union monopolies on taxpayer-funded projects in a bid to remain relevant.”
Gardner noted that the building trades unions are advertising a program to certify Canadian union plumbers to work (and move to) New Zealand. And the same with union electricians: the first group of B.C. union electricians started working in New Zealand in March.
“The same unions who claim B.C. has a huge worker shortage and constantly fear-monger about foreign workers taking jobs from British Columbians is shipping B.C.-trained plumbers and electricians halfway around the world,” said Gardner. But where the building trades unions have failed B.C. workers and the construction industry, ICBA, open shop and progressive labour organizations have more than picked up the slack, Gardner said.
“Workers want choice, flexibility and opportunities to grow and succeed, that’s why non-building trades construction contractors are growing,” said Gardner. “It’s hard to find innovation and new approaches to work in 1970s style union hiring halls where union organizers tell you when, where or even if you can go to work in the morning.”
Click HERE for an infographic illustrating the statistics above.
Click HERE to read an op-ed from Chris Gardner on these trends. This op-ed is available for media outlets to publish, free-of-charge.
This op-ed by ICBA President Chris Gardner first appeared in The Province newspaper on Wednesday, May 29, 2019.
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Decades after Mark Twain popularized this remark, the building trades unions in B.C. have breathed new life into his observation.
Only 15 per cent of B.C.’s 250,000 construction workers are affiliated with the traditional building trades unions. While the rest of the men and women in construction have moved onto more flexible models that give workers greater choice, better career options and participation in profit-sharing and bonus plans, the building trades cling to old-school hiring halls, rewarding seniority over skill, rigid rules and antiquated business practices that hurt workers and are financially unsustainable.
Desperate to turn back the clock and to justify to their members – and government – that they remain relevant, the building trades have adopted apprenticeship training as their last line of defence. Unfortunately for them, neither the facts nor the statistics back up their sanctimony.
Learning a skill and mastering a craft happens on the job working side-by-side with colleagues who have the experience and expertise to pass on to those following in their footsteps. What is learned in the classroom is enhanced and refined on the job.
It should then come as no surprise that the building trades train only 15% of the construction workforce – that’s the percentage of the workforce they represent. The remaining 85% of construction workers who are members of employee associations and progressive unions or who work for construction companies not affiliated with the building trades unions are trained in classrooms by instructors and on the job by their colleagues, just like their building trades counterparts.
In fact, statistics obtained from the Industry Training Authority (ITA) through a Freedom of Information request shows that 23,172 of the province’s 28,432 registered construction apprentices are not affiliated with any union. That means 81.5 per cent of construction apprentices are not sponsored by the building trades or any other union, including progressive ones like CLAC.
The vast majority of apprenticeship sponsorship in this province is done by Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) and open shop companies – not the traditional building trades unions. It’s not even close.
That ICBA sponsors more construction apprentices than any other entity in B.C. is an ever-present uncomfortable reality for unions who collect millions in “training” funds from their workers.
In a recent op-ed, building trades union president Tom Sigurdson tried to downplay ICBA’s number of apprentices by cherry-picking a stat claiming that “there are more than 1,300 registered apprentices in just two of our union trade schools alone: the Electrical Joint Training Committee and the Piping Industry College.”
But the ITA’s numbers show that ICBA and non-union companies have thousands more apprentices in those trades. Combined, ICBA and non-union companies sponsor 10,329 construction and industrial electrician, plumber, sprinkler fitter, steamfitter-pipefitter and welder apprentices. The unions train 2,073. That’s a margin of 5 to 1 for the open shop.
And we’re not certain those union-trained apprentices are even staying in B.C. The Piping Industry College is advertising a program to certify Canadian union plumbers to work (and move to) New Zealand. That’s right: the same unions who claim B.C. has a huge worker shortage and constantly fear-monger about foreign workers taking jobs from British Columbians is shipping B.C.-trained plumbers halfway around the world. And it’s not just plumbers – the first group of B.C. union electricians started working in New Zealand in March.
All of this makes the NDP Government’s move to building trades union-only monopolies on major taxpayer-funded projects so offensive. By forcing all workers on the Pattullo Bridge to join a building trades union and to become an employee of a new crown corporation is a sop to the building trades unions who happened to have donated $2.5 million to the NDP over the past few elections.
Money talks, folks. This gift to the friends and insiders of the NDP Government is not about training or hiring more young people or providing more opportunities for women – indeed, the statistics prove non-union apprenticeship is thriving. It’s money at the heart of one of the most offensive backroom deals to come out of Victoria in decades.