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NEWS RELEASE: Business Community Calls on Government to Protect Workers’ Right to a Secret Ballot

BURNABY – In a joint submission to the BC Labour Relations Code Review Panel, 13 significant business associations – including the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) – have called on the BC Government to protect workers’ rights to a secret ballot in union certification votes.

“The right to a secret ballot is a fundamental part of our democracy,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA President. “The current system, which uses a secret ballot, ensures that neither employers nor unions can coerce workers one way or the other. Certification votes are fair and transparent and they are supervised by a neutral party, the Labour Relations Board.”

The joint submission points out that the current Labour Relations Code is the result of uniquely consultative processes in 1992/93 and enhanced in 2002. The Code is working well, evidenced by British Columbia’s long period of labour relations stability, with very few work stoppages.

“If they make radical changes to the labour code, the NDP government will hurt business confidence and put at risk jobs and opportunities for British Columbians,” said Gardner. “The current labour code is serving BC well and has provided certainty for both workers who are increasingly demanding more choice and flexibility in the workplace and employers seeking to invest in BC and grow their businesses.”

Beside protecting the secret ballot in union certification votes, the submission also calls on the panel reviewing the labour code to:

  • Ensure appointments to the Labour Relations Board reflect balance between union and employer representatives
  • Protect the court-tested definition of “essential services”
  • Protect the personal and private information of employees
  • Prevent legislated sectoral bargaining
  • End governments dictating employee choice on large construction projects through project labour agreements

The business community is increasingly concerned that the signal being sent by the NDP government is that BC is not open for business.

“Along with the array of new taxes recently introduced by the NDP Government – everything from the new payroll tax, to increases in personal income tax, to new gas taxes – radical changes in the labour code will have a chilling effect on investment, job creation and new opportunities in BC,” said Gardner.

The joint submission was filed yesterday, and was signed by ICBA as well as the BC Chamber of Commerce, BC Hotels Association, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Franchise Association, Canadian Home Builders Association, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, New Car Dealers Association of BC, Restaurants Canada, Retail Council of Canada, Tourism Industry Association of BC, and Urban Development Institute. Read the full submission HERE.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Managing Employee Terminations (Breakfast)

One of the hardest parts of a supervisor’s job is terminating an employee, and it’s essential that you know to manage this task properly. Human Resources professionals are often the ones dealing with the situation, both with the legal aspects and with the employee him or herself. Our training department is here to help! Register now for our March 27 breakfast session in Burnaby.

It will explore the following topics:

  • Employee misconduct and “just cause”;
  • The investigation;
  • Without cause: what do I owe?;
  • Employment Standards Act versus Common Law in the construction industry;
  • Human rights and termination decisions;
  • The termination offer/termination meeting.

The Managing Employee Terminations session is presented by a partner at Pulver Crawford Munroe LLP. Register now at www.icba.ca/training; you’ll also earn 2.5 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing!

You don’t have to be a member to take courses with us, but members save on their registration fees. For more information about becoming an ICBA member, visit www.icba.ca/become-a-member.

NEWS RELEASE: ICBA Joins Small Business Organizations Calling for Payroll Tax Repeal

BURNABY – The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) today joined eight other associations representing small businesses in several industries in calling on Finance Minister Carole James to cancel her poorly planned payroll tax.

The B.C. Government stunned business owners when it introduced the tax in its 2018-19 provincial budget.

“This tax is a job killer,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA President. “It came completely out of left field, with absolutely no consultation before it was announced. How can government announce a brand new, $2-billion tax without any discussion or warning beforehand? It’s heavy-handed and sends a clear message that the new NDP government is out of touch with the affordability concerns of working families and small businesses.”

Gardner pointed out several other costs heaped on job creators since the NDP took power last summer (to highlight this burden, ICBA this week released a Facebook video showing the plight of small business owners. To watch it, click HERE):

  • Unexpected minimum wage hikes;
  • Federal EI hikes starting in 2019;
  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payroll costs will increase by 20 percent starting in 2019 until 2023;
  • Property tax increases, which will be exacerbated by this new NDP payroll tax;
  • Environmental regulations and new fees such as Recycle BC (formerly MMBC) and movement away from single-use items; and,
  • Gas prices will rise due to the increase in the carbon tax – an extra $5 per tonne annually until 2021, starting April 1.

“Small business is the heart of healthy and strong communities, but the backs of entrepreneurs looking to start or invest in a business are being broken by government’s never-ending tax hikes and -growing red tape,” said Gardner. “This payroll tax is punitive and will dampen the creation of new jobs and opportunities for young people and for those looking for work, it will push up costs for consumers, and it will prompt significant tax increases from local governments.  There is nothing affordable or balanced about this new tax.”

The letter calls on James to cancel the payroll tax and instead consult with stakeholders to find a fair and balanced approach. It was signed by ICBA, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, BC Construction Employers, Urban Development Institute, Restaurants Canada, B.C. Hotel Association, Progressive Contractors Association, Tourism Industry of B.C., and Retail Council of Canada. Read the full letter HERE.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Get the PST Right (Breakfast Session)

Understanding how Provincial Sales Tax works for your construction business can be challenging, but our training department is here to help! We’re hosting a breakfast seminar in Burnaby on March 23 to help home builders, renovators and trade contractors understand how PST applies to their business. You’ll also learn about who pays PST and how to pay it, as well as:

  • When to pay PST on your goods and supplies
  • How PST applies to goods for resale vs. those you install
  • How PST applies to goods used to fulfill a contract outside B.C.
  • When you need to be registered to collect PST
  • When to charge your customers PST
  • How PST applies to goods bought outside B.C.
  • When you may be eligible for a PST refund and how to apply

Plus, you’ll earn 2 Group B CPD Points from BC Housing!

You can register for this or any of our other upcoming courses at www.icba.ca/training. And while you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe to our biweekly training newsletter at www.icba.ca/trainingnewsletter so you don’t miss any of the latest updates on our workshops!

TRAINING THURSDAY: Construction Business Management

Managing a business can be challenging, and that’s no different when it comes when it comes to a construction business. Our upcoming Construction Business Management workshops are here to help!

At the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • Understand the strategic planning process and how to implement it within their context
  • Understand the importance of a business plan and how to prepare one
  • Understand the participants within the construction industry – their roles, responsibilities and limitations
  • Understand the benefits of a participatory management culture
  • Formulate a marketing plan and understand the marketing mix
  • Develop a human resource management plan
  • Understand the employment cycle/process
  • Develop an employee performance evaluation system
  • Increase staff morale and engagement
  • Understand operational planning for construction companies
  • Formulate a financial plan, budgets, ratios and break-even analysis
  • Understand the importance of financial internal controls
  • Develop benchmarks and key performance indicators
  • Understand bonding and insurance for construction companies
  • Use risk management tools to identify risk and how to mitigate risk

You’ll also earn 5 Gold Seal Credits and 30 Group B CPD Points from BC Housing!

Our next two-day session takes place in Burnaby on March 8-9; register now so you don’t miss out! You can register for this or any of our other upcoming sessions at www.icba.ca/training.

ICBA RESPONSE: Federal Budget Does Nothing To Attract Investment, Build Economy

Four thoughts from ICBA on the 2018-19 federal budget that came down yesterday:

#1 – No Vision for B.C. Infrastructure

We are disappointed that the federal budget did not contain any clear commitments on any of the following important projects for B.C.:

  • Metro Vancouver port infrastructure, especially Terminal II;
  • Massey Tunnel Replacement;
  • Broadway SkyTrain Line;
  • Surrey Light Rail;
  • Contribution to the Pattullo Bridge replacement
  • Trans-Canada Highway – 4-laning Kamloops to Alberta Border;
  • Trans-Canada Highway – adding capacity from Langley to Abbotsford; and,
  • Cariboo Connector 4-laning Program – Central Interior of B.C.

Building and investing in infrastructure is critical to our competitiveness, is imperative for the smooth functioning of Metro Vancouver, Canada’s Asia Pacific Gateway, and is foundational for spurring urban and regional growth, supply chain efficiency, job growth, affordable housing, and livability. The absence of clear commitments in this regard is very disappointing.

#2 – No Help for B.C. LNG 

ICBA is disappointed that there was no reference in the budget to providing relief to the LNG industry for duties resulting from a decision of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) that will unfairly penalize companies like LNG Canada that is planning a $40 billion investment in B.C. LNG development on Canada’s coasts represents a generational opportunity for Canada. Benefits from the industry also accrue to all levels of government – including the federal government – through increased tax revenue, job creation, and the purchase of goods and services throughout the energy value chain.

The potential Canadian LNG industry operates within a highly competitive global context. As providers of construction services, ICBA fears that, should these determinations of CITT stand, there will likely be no LNG industry in British Columbia.

#3 – It Did Not Address Competitiveness

There was no reference to addressing Canada’s competitiveness. Canadian companies compete in a global marketplace, and Canada’s regulatory and tax regime are increasingly out of step with its major competitors. The United States recently introduced dramatic tax reductions that will now make increasingly even more challenging for Canadian companies to compete against their American counterparts or for Canada to position itself as an attractive place for companies to invest.

Canada continues to be a place where it is extremely difficult to do business, where taxes and regulation discourage investment and job creation, where investment in infrastructure is insufficient and where the approval process for large resource development projects is onerous, costly and has forced the cancellation of many projects and resulted in talent, opportunity and investment going to other jurisdictions.

#4 – They Stepped Back on Their Small Business Tax Measures – But Not Enough

The government has provided greater clarity on Small Business Tax Measures; the rules appear to be simpler and mark an improvement over the changes the government tabled last summer. We will be assessing and reporting back on the new passive income rules in the days to come. While this clarity is helpful and some of the most punitive aspects of the changes proposed last summer have been addressed, the Federal Government is simply not doing enough work to enhance the competitiveness of Canadian business.