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NEWS RELEASE: Union Monopoly Costs Taxpayers Millions – And It’s Only The First Contract

VANCOUVER – The NDP Government’s first construction contract under their union monopoly deal will cost taxpayers $22.5 million more than expected, and is another reason why the NDP should kill its so-called Community Benefit Agreement scheme, says the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).

On Thursday, the NDP Government announced that the Illecillewaet project near Revelstoke, which will widen Highway 1 to four lanes for two kilometres, had been awarded to a building trades union-organized company. The contract came in at $85.2 million – $22.3 million more than originally budgeted, and work hasn’t even started yet.

“The NDP’s sweetheart deal with their building trade union allies has driven the cost of this project up by a third, and they’re not even in the ground yet,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA President. “It’s no surprise – there were far fewer bidders than expected as many roadbuilding companies are avoiding the NDP’s forced labour model. It’s a backroom deal of the worst kind.”

Under John Horgan’s new law, within 30 days of employment on the job site, any non-union worker or a worker from another affiliation is forced to join an NDP-approved union for work specific to the project. The new policy gives the building trades unions a monopoly on several government-funded construction projects, reducing efficiencies and driving up costs to taxpayers.

“By giftwrapping a monopoly to their union allies, the NDP government is overspending on labour on this, on other Highway 1 work, the Pattullo Bridge replacement, and the Broadway subway,” said Gardner. “This means there will be less money for other construction priorities around B.C.”

ICBA, other construction and business associations, progressive unions, and open-shop companies have joined forces in a court challenge of the NDP’s CBA scheme.

“The NDP should not be allowed to cut out 85 per cent of construction workers in this province, simply because they do not belong to a union that gave them campaign donations,” said Gardner. “This building trades union-only monopoly on major taxpayer-funded projects is offensive. Forcing workers to join a building trades union and to become an employee of a new crown corporation is a sop to the unions who happened to have donated $2.5 million to the NDP over the past few elections. It should be stopped immediately.”

TRAINING THRONESDAY: Social Media for your Business

These days, social media for business is as much of a requirement as bilingualism in Parliament. Not sure how to take advantage of it? Register now for our Social Media for your Business workshop June 4 in Langley!

Social media is a powerful (and not to mention FREE) tool that can be used to promote to, engage with, and learn about your customers. Here are the key takeaways from this half-day session:

  • Picking the RIGHT platforms for your brand
  • How to optimize these platforms
  • Measuring the ROI of social media efforts
  • Tips and tricks for creating a calendar full of great content
  • How to manage your time spent on social media

Plus, you’ll earn 2.5 Group B CPD Points from BC Housing! Register at

ICBA/PROCORE EVENT: Construction Tech Breakfast, June 4, Vancouver

The construction industry moves fast. Technological challenges and advances come quickly, and businesses need to be ready.

That’s why ICBA has joined with Procore to present an ICBA event, “Construction Technology: Reshaping the Industry”, a complimentary breakfast at Vancouver’s Terminal City Club on June 4th.

Four very accomplished leaders from our industry will share their perspectives on how we can adapt and navigate our organizations through unprecedented change coming to our industry.

We expect a turnout of more than 250 attendees from our industry so it should be a great opportunity to network as well. We would be delighted if you could join so please register at the link provided below. If you would like to bring a colleague or two please register them as well or forward them this post.

How to Register: 

Program Details:

  • Tuesday June 4, 2019
  • 7:00 – 7:45 AM – Check in / Networking / Breakfast.
  • 7:45 – 9:30 AM – Panel & Q&A. Please note there will be no individual presentations (no PowerPoint), instead it will be a panel event throughout.
  • 9:30 – 10:00 AM – Networking / Finish.


  • Terminal City Club – 837 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1B6
  • Dress Code – Business casual
  • Cost – Complimentary – You are our guest

Panel Moderator Extraordinaire

Accomplished Panelists 

It’s a great panel representing a cross section of the industry so looking forward to you joining us so we can eat, drink, and learn about how to make the hard work of construction easier.

TRAINING THRONESDAY: Responsibilities of Joint Health and Safety Committees

Do you serve on a joint health and safety committee in your workplace? Our Responsibilities of Joint Health and Safety Committees course is here for you! As of April 2017, all new committee members must receive eight hours of training. This course will help you fulfill that requirement.

Participants will:

  • Know how to use the OHS Regulation and WC Act to access health & safety requirements;
  • Explain the roles and functions of the Joint Committee and the Worker Representatives;
  • Learn how to perform an incident investigation;
  • Learn how to perform a formal site inspection; and
  • Develop a foundation in knowledge to:
    • Promote workplace health and safety
    • Assist in ensuring the health and safety program elements are implemented;
    • Conduct and participate in Joint Committee Meetings; and
    • Work cooperatively to address workers’ health and safety concerns.

Topics covered:

  1. Use of WorkSafe OHS Regulation;
  2. Joint Health and Safety committee and workers representatives;
  3. OHS Program;
  4. Safety Inspections;
  5. Incident investigations;
  6. Refusal of unsafe work;
  7. How to work as a committee;
  8. Different types of recommendations; and
  9. Hazard management.

You’ll also earn 8 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing! Our next session is May 17 in Burnaby, and again June 7 and July 9. Register for this or any of our other upcoming sessions at

BC Construction Monitor: Standing Pat is No Economic Vision for B.C.

Annual budgets are probably the truest measure of a gov­ernment’s priorities and vision, or lack thereof. The most recent B.C. NDP bud­get, passed with the help of the Greens, was widely characterized as a “stand pat” exercise – so much so that reporters didn’t have enough questions to fill their allotted time with the finance minister.

But it’s hard to square the outlook that underpins this budget with global economic trends. While we have enjoyed a lengthy period of economic expansion, a slowdown has already taken hold in China and Europe, and the predominant view among economists is that 2018 is likely to have been the economy’s high point for some time to come.
If ever we needed a focus on productivity, competitiveness, and maximizing the economic benefit from every public dollar spent, now is the time. Yet we saw none of that in the NDP budget. In fact, debt accumu­lation, spending and tax levels are all heading in the wrong direction and at a troubling pace.

Added burdens like these will be a further drag on already slowing investment, growth and job creation. The budget was frightening in acknow­ledging such an impact in the construc­tion sector – a projected 30 per cent drop in housing starts over the NDP’s term of office. Winter is coming, economically speaking, and NDP mis­management is going to make it tougher to weather the storm that is closing in. Read more

TRAINING THRONESDAY: Electrical Estimating Course 1 (Basic)

Are you confident in your estimating skills for today’s competitive market? Our Electrical Estimating course in Langley May 15-16 and in Burnaby September 19-20 is here to help!

Our two-day, hands-on course will take you right from the start of an estimate to the final bid price. Here’s some of what’s covered:

  • Role of an Estimator
  • Setting up to Estimate
  • Methods of Estimating
  • Estimating Tools and Forms
  • Labor Manual and Use
  • Pricing
  • Review Drawings and Specifications
  • Organization of Estimate
  • Measuring and Counting
  • Use of Forms
  • Reviewing of Addendums Listing of Material
  • Pricing, Labour Units and Extension

And much more! Check out the full course listing and register for either session at Plus you’ll earn 2 Gold Seal Credits and 28 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing!

We’re also offering an advanced session on June 12 and 13 in Langley, and October 24 and 25 in Burnaby. Subscribe to our training newsletter at for the latest updates.

ICBA MEMBER ALERT: NDP Forced to Keep Secret Ballot, But Labour Code Changes Still Skew Against Employers

A message from Chris Gardner, president of ICBA:

Today, the BC NDP Government introduced significant changes to the Labour Relations Code. We are still analyzing all the different aspects of the legislation, but there are some major issues that construction employers need to understand.

First the good news: the secret ballot for union certification votes will remain. This is a big departure from the typical NDP playbook, and is thanks to the work of associations like ICBA and the steadfast opposition to cardcheck by the BC Greens and the BC Liberals. In his news conference today, NDP Labour Minister Harry Bains made it clear he would have scrapped the secret ballot if the NDP had a majority government. Without Andrew Weaver and the Greens’ support, the NDP didn’t have enough votes to strip the secret ballot out of the code.

However, the legislation does shorten the communication period before a secret ballot vote takes place from 10 days to 5 working days. It also greatly curtails an employer’s ability to communicate with workers during a certification vote period. We will have more detail on this to come.

Other key points:

  • Minister Bains says fines for employers violating the Labour Code will be increased by five times
  • The Labour Board will have greater discretion to impose automatic union certification if an employer is found to have interfered with the certification process
  • Construction will be treated differently from other sectors – union raids will be allowed in July and August every year of a collective agreement, rather than longer intervals for other sectors
  • There will be Code reviews at least every five years

These Labour Code changes come a day after the NDP Government made a series of changes to the Employment Standards Act, including:

  • A requirement to “meet or exceed” the Act’s requirements in collective agreements, which could have a big impact on scheduling, overtime, and shortened work weeks
  • New restrictions on employing children under the age of 16 (and rules around the type of work 16-18 year olds can do) – Minister Bains cited construction specifically as an industry that should not have younger workers
  • In disputes, employees can go back up to two years for unpaid wages, rather than the six months previously allowed
  • The Employment Standards Board will be ordered to investigate every complaint and be more proactive
  • The right to an oral hearing has been taken away

Taken together, these changes skew Employment Standards and the Labour Code to the NDP’s big labour allies. There will be no benefit of the doubt given to employers by this government.

We will continue to inform you of changes and concerns as we assess and analyze these pieces of legislation.

ICBA NEWS: Another Award For Our Big Gas Video

Oops, we did it again: we won another major North American award for our Get Canada’s Big Gas Moving web video.

This time, it’s a 2019 CampaignTech Award for Funniest Web Video.

The CampaignTech Award comes on the heels of Big Gas winning five Reed Awards, including Best Web Video – Overall. (ICBA itself won a sixth Reed Award, for North American Trade Association of the Year.)

Big Gas has been viewed more than 700,000 times in the past year, and its message still resonates as British Columbia drivers struggle under the highest gas prices in North American history.