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Provincial Government announces roundtable on the environment and the economy

Environment Minister Mary Polak recently announced a roundtable of representatives from communities, industry, labour, First Nations and the environmental sector has been established to discuss ways to find the right balance between economic development and environmental protection.

ICBA President, Philip Hochstein was appointed to the roundtable.

The roundtable will be an opportunity for stakeholder groups to work with the B.C. government on environmental policy priorities to strike a balance between sustainable resource development and the protection of human health and the environment. The roundtable will be chaired by Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier, while the topics for discussion will be set by the Minister of Environment in consultation with roundtable members.

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IKEA must not punish loyal workers:

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Things aren’t always what they appear to be, something that is becoming increasingly clear from the Teamsters strike at the Richmond IKEA store. It appears to be a David vs. Goliath battle, in which unionized workers faithfully toe the union line in a prolonged battle against global corporate giant IKEA. But as the facts surface, it is clear the only thing currently standing between IKEA workers and returning to their jobs is an unprecedented power play by the union leaders at Teamsters Local 213.

Rather than focusing on putting employees back to work, union leaders have decreed there will be no deal unless those employees who crossed the picket line to support their families (as they are legally entitled to do under B.C. law) are terminated from the store. For full article

New TRU program counts trades apprenticeship training toward degree


Thompson River University is offering a new and unique program for tradespeople interested in advancing their careers. The new Trades & Technology Leadership degree program takes existing trades or technology qualifications and integrates previous practical experience with studies in leadership and management skills.

Certified tradespeople and technologists can transfer up to 50 per cent of their credits toward the new degree and gain the business and leadership knowledge they need for management and other advanced positions.

Delivered primarily on-line, this unique program is a first of its kind in Canada and includes credit for previous trades/technology education and expertise, flexibility and accessibility for working persons and elective courses that suit the individual’s particular needs

For more information:


New West Partnership premiers to harmonize apprenticeship initiatives across the West

With 13 apprentice systems in Canada, it is encouraging to see Western Premiers take steps to address the cross jurisdictional challenges apprentice’s face. Allowing skilled trades apprentices to move across provinces without having to retrain is advantageous not only for the apprentice but also for employers who operate in multiple jurisdictions.

This move is also a step in the right direction when it comes to dealing with a looming skilled labour shortage. With the expected resource boom in B.C., there will be more jobs and not enough skilled workers to fill them. British Columbians should be first in line for those jobs, but when we need more workers; our industry is going to look to our neighbours in Alberta and Saskatchewan next. Alberta and Saskatchewan will do the same.

This decision removes barriers and makes it easier for western provinces to share resources.


Canada Jobs Grant good news for B.C.

Having foresight and the fortitude to plan for the decade ahead is not an easy feat.  Minister Bond’s deserves credit for sticking up for B.C. on the Canada Jobs Grant file and for tackling the skills training challenge that looms.

The Canada Jobs Fund and Canada Jobs Grant agreement in principle is good news for British Columbians. The agreement means there is a $65 million pot of money that the province will invest in skills training through the Canada Jobs Fund. It also means that the new job grant will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs.  Businesses with a plan to train British Columbians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant.  Most importantly, it will help workers get the skills they need and put skills training decisions in the hands of employers.

There is no easy solution to resolving the skills training shortage and there are challenges ahead. It is a shared responsibility between government and industry, and government is doing its share with limited and scarce resources.

What is most evident is Minister Bond is leaving no stone unturned and taking necessary steps to ensure  we have a trained workforce with the skills to meet our labour demands today and tomorrow.

With the major resource and infrastructure projects pending including LNG, they are steadfastly determined to ensuring that British Columbians are first in line for those jobs.