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Did you know that you can get up to $300,000 per fiscal year in government funding to train your employees? The Canada-BC Job Grant is open!

The Grant is funded under the new Workforce Development Agreement, and provides funding for employers to support skills training for their current and new employees. More information can be found at www.workbc.ca/Employer-Resources/Canada-BC-Job-Grant/What-is-the-Canada-B-C-Job-Grant.aspx

The criteria features three streams this year: foundational training, technical skills training, and workforce training.

The foundational stream allows for 100 percent of eligible training costs up to a maximum of $10,000 per participant with no contribution from the employer. This stream includes apprenticeship training and safety training courses!

The technical skills training stream will reimburse 80 percent of the training costs, again to a maximum of $10,000 per participant. As an employer, you would contribute the remaining 20 percent.

The workforce training stream will return 60 percent of the costs up to maximum of $5,000 per participant, with the employer contributing 40 percent.

Most of our training courses are eligible for this grant! Check out the full list of our upcoming courses at www.icba.ca/training, or send our training team an email at training@icba.ca; they’d be happy to help you!

NEWS RELEASE – Horgan Plunges Canada Into a Crisis of Confidence: ICBA

BURNABY – Premier John Horgan’s “double-down” today on his flawed, obstructionist, unfair attack on the duly-approved Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is shaking investor confidence and showing the BC NDP Government has no interest in doing what’s right for Canada.

“B.C. has created a crisis of confidence and the implication is that Canada cannot get major projects approved and built,” said ICBA President Chris Gardner. “It is abundantly clear that the responsibility for this crisis we are facing today rests squarely at the feet of Premier John Horgan – he went to Ottawa and ‘doubled down’ on his obstructionist approach to the pipeline, rather than offer solutions to resolve the impasse.”

ICBA commended the federal government for convening today’s meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Premier Horgan in Ottawa, and is pleased that the Federal Government will assert its authority over this project to increase the chances of the project being built.

However, Premier Horgan’s comments that his government has every right to undo a project approval granted under a previous administration sets a very dangerous precedent that will further erode the confidence of investors seeking stability and certainty when looking to invest in BC.

“Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement today that Premier Horgan’s attempt to block the pipeline is the direct cause of this impasse is a stunning indictment on the actions of Premier Horgan,” said Gardner. “Premier Horgan is effectively ripping up a contract which Kinder Morgan negotiated in good faith with the federal and provincial governments of the day – that’s not how we must do business in Canada. It’s not right, it’s not fair, and it’s not legal.”

Kinder Morgan is prepared to invest $7.4 billion in our economy but Premier Horgan’s actions have forced the federal government to act in a way that means taxpayers could assume risk that a private sector investor was willing to undertake. “Canada is now basically saying that only governments can build major projects – and BC is saying we’re not interested in having private companies invest in our economy,” said Gardner. “This has profound implications beyond BC now – investor confidence in Canada is also being seriously undermined.”

IN THE NEWS: ICBA Joins #ConfidenceInCanada Coalition to #Get2Yes on Trans Mountain Pipeline

On April 12, ICBA joined more than 75 other organizations calling on Justin Trudeau, John Horgan and Rachel Notley to break the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project impasse. We want to show #ConfidenceInCanada! Make your voice heard at ConfidenceInCanada.com!

Some of the news coverage of the event:
The full news conference, including the speech by ICBA President Chris Gardner, can be seen here:

TRAINING THURSDAY: Communication Skills Workshop

Our training department wants to make you a better communicator! Our Communication Skills workshop is designed to improve your communication skills as a supervisor and manager, both in the office and in the field. 

You’ll learn effective leadership, how to deal with difficult people, how to prepare for and facilitate meetings, and much much more! Here’s the full course outline:

  • Effective Leadership through Communication Skills
  • Dealing with Difficult People, Conflict and Confrontation
  • Assertive Training and Speaking Skills
  • Communicating Motivation
  • Communication through Body Language
  • Managing a Good Impression to Clients
  • Constructive Use of Anger and Persuasion Skills
  • Anger and Conflict Management Skills
  • Communicating Discipline and Termination
  • Resolving Disputes through Communication
  • How to Prepare for and Facilitate Meetings
  • Communication through Writing Skills
  • Drafting and Preparing Proper Reports and Correspondence
  • Communicating Teamwork to Staff and Workers

This two-day workshop also gives you 5 Gold Seal Credits and 14 Group A CPD points from BC Housing. Our next workshop is April 19 to 20 in Burnaby, and then we’re coming to Kamloops on June 13-14! Register for either session or any of our other upcoming workshops at www.icba.ca/training.

We can also provide this or any of our other courses as a private session for you and your employees! You can email our training team at training@icba.ca for more information.

And, the Canada-BC Jobs Grant is accepting new applications, and most of ICBA’s courses are applicable! We’ll talk about it next week on Training Thursday but in the meantime, visit www.workbc.ca/Employer-Resources/Canada-BC-Job-Grant/What-is-the-Canada-B-C-Job-Grant.aspx for more information.

NEWS RELEASE: ICBA Joins Campaign to Scrap the ‘Speculation’ Tax

BURNABY – The NDP government should scrap its so-called ‘speculation’ tax, as it risks the health of the provincial economy with a host of unintended consequences, says the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).

While the government wants to address housing affordability, this patchwork tax will do the exact opposite. It will kill jobs, make the housing affordability issue worse, and hurt the B.C. tourism industry.

“This speculation tax targets hardworking British Columbians and other Canadian taxpayers,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA president. “It is difficult to fathom why the B.C. Government wants to stop or penalize Canadians from investing in B.C.”

Gardner noted that ICBA represents hundreds of small residential construction companies, most of whom point out that the lack of supply of new housing is the biggest cost driver for buyers.

“If the NDP government wanted to get serious about making housing more affordable, they would have dedicated at least one point in their 30-point housing plan to cutting red tape and getting more supply to market,” said Gardner. “Instead, they’ve resorted to simply raising taxes. At ICBA, we want to ‘Get to yes’ on new housing supply – not on new taxes.  No amount of new taxes is going to make housing more affordable for young families starting out looking to buy a home.”

To help spread the word, a website, www.scrapthespeculationtax.ca, launched today. It allows citizens to learn more about the tax and send an email to their local MLA with their concerns.

“Just because John Horgan calls it a ‘speculation’ tax doesn’t mean it has anything to do with actual speculation,” said Jordan Bateman, ICBA Communications Director. “This tax does nothing to address the speculation that has helped drive up housing prices. It does, however, hurt people who own second properties or may be looking to move to B.C. when they retire. That’s why cities like Langford, West Vancouver, Kelowna and West Kelowna are desperately appealing to Victoria to be exempted from this tax.”

ICBA has joined a coalition of provincial groups recommending that the B.C. government immediately scrap the ‘Speculation’ Tax and do the following to address housing affordability:

  • Target real speculators, not long-term homeowners, including many out-of-province residents;
  • Protect our local tourism-dependent economies, like Kelowna and the South Island;
  • Reduce the cost of delivering housing units by exempting vacant development land from this tax;
  • Exempt Canadian and British Columbian taxpayers from this unfair tax measure; and,
  • Work with municipalities to speed up permitting and approvals to help bring more housing supply to market faster.

NEWS RELEASE – Proposed Federal Regulations Will Slow Investment in Canadian Energy: ICBA

BURNABY – New rules and bureaucracy proposed by the federal government will adversely impact Canada’s energy industry, says the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) in a submission to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

ICBA opposes Bill C-69, introduced by the Trudeau government aimed at dramatically changing how major resource development projects are vetted in Canada.

ICBA is concerned that over the past several years, it has been excruciatingly difficult – often impossible – for major infrastructure projects to ‘get to yes’ in Canada. Energy East, Pacific Northwest LNG, and Keystone XL have all been cancelled. In addition, nearly every major international energy company has sold its assets in the oil sands and left Canada.

“Unfortunately, the exodus may continue given the recent announcement by Kinder Morgan that its $7.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project may be the next major project to be shelved in Canada,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA president. “The message sent by Bill C-69 is not helpful.”

ICBA noted in its submission that the president of RBC, Dave McKay, recently raised concerns about investment capital leaving Canada and going elsewhere – mainly the United States – as a result of lower taxes, more effective regulations and an investment-friendly environment.

In recent years, investors in Canada have had to digest significant federal and provincial tax increases which – taken together with recent substantial tax reductions in the United States and general uncertainty over NAFTA negotiation outcomes – underscore that Canada’s (and British Columbia’s) small, open trade-exposed economy is no longer competitive.

“We need to make it easier to attract investment and do business in Canada not harder,” said Gardner. “By adding gender-based analysis, climate change objectives, and other socio-economic concerns to the existing list of items a proponent must examine as part of their review, the government has made the process more – not less – complex.”

Canada’s energy sector directly employs more than 425,000 men and women and is the single largest source of private sector investment in the country. “We have to stop vilifying Canada’s energy industry,” said Gardner. “No jurisdiction in the world harnesses its natural resources more sustainably than Canada – we have a lot to proud of, yet we seem content to lose investment, jobs, opportunity and talent as companies decide to invest billions of dollars, not in Canada, but in other countries.”

“This legislation seems designed to make it more difficult to invest in Canada and aimed at relegating bold, visionary and nation-building construction and infrastructure projects to something found only in Canadian history textbooks,” said Gardner.

See ICBA’s full submission HERE.

NEWS RELEASE – Canadian Economy Hangs On Future of Pipeline: ICBA

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must act immediately to get the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project built, a project that was approved 18 months ago, says the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA). ICBA is floored by today’s news that Kinder Morgan is close to pulling the plug on this vital national project because of the interference of the B.C. Government.

“By strangling Trans Mountain, the B.C. NDP Government would throw away $5.7 billion in provincial tax revenue, $1 billion in municipal tax revenue, and the opportunities that come with 15,000 construction jobs and 189,000 person-years of employment,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA president. “This decision will send a simple chilling message to businesses looking to start or expand major projects here – stay away from B.C. because you cannot rely on the government to honour its commitments or follow the law.”

Trans Mountain pipeline was approved two years ago after a 29-month long process and had 194 environmental and legal conditions attached that Kinder Morgan has to meet during the construction and operation of the pipeline. But the deliberate and unfair interference of the B.C. NDP and Burnaby city governments saw the province and city hall actively engage in activities designed to deliberately terminate the project.

“Once this project was approved by the federal government after an exhaustive review process, the provincial NDP government and Burnaby city hall were required to act in good faith, and to process permits properly – a message reinforced by court decisions,” said Gardner. “If this project fails because of their illegal maneuvering, it would be a crushing blow to Canada’s oil and gas sector and the repercussions for Canada’s economy would be irreparable.”

“The impact would be felt in communities across not only B.C. but also Western Canada – no Trans Mountain royalties, no Trans Mountain jobs, and no investment in training and new technology that comes along with a $7.4 billion investment in our economy.”

“The province and the city of Burnaby have not acted fairly and have given no thought to the national interest. In fact, the opposite has occurred, Premier Horgan has started a trade war with Alberta and brought into question what it means for a province to be part of this great country.”

The energy sector in Canada directly employs over 425,000 men and women and is the single largest source of private sector investment in the country. Yet the companies like Kinder Morgan, which are investing, or planning to invest, billions of dollars in our economy are vilified at nearly every turn.

“Canada’s energy sector is being hollowed out – Canada is losing investment, jobs and talent. Capital that should be committed to projects in Canada is instead being deployed in other jurisdictions providing opportunities and growth for our competitors.”

ICBA has been a strong supporter of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project through its #Get2Yes platform. It is concerned that everyday British Columbians – including the nearly 50,000 who work with ICBA-affiliated companies – will be hurt by this decision.