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Opinions remain divided over B.C. apprenticeship requirements

Journal of Commerce, by Peter Caulfield, August 14, 2015

apprenticeship in bc
B.C. construction industry organization heads are divided on the effectiveness of the provincial government’s new Apprentices on Public Projects policy, which came into effect July 1,2015.

The government initiative will require contractors working on public construction projects that contain at least a $15 million government investment to sponsor apprentices through the entire project cycle and report on their on-project use before they receive their final payment.

“I believe the government’s plan to require contractors to hire apprentices is unnecessary,” said Jack Davidson, president of the British Columbia Road Builders and HeavyConstruction Association.

“Labor market forces will dictate the amount and type of training contractors need to be involved in.”

He said the government should take a different approach.

“Government would do better focusing on helping individual industries develop industry-designed training that fits their specific needs, rather than trying to support training using only the apprenticeship model,” Davidson said.

Philip Hochstein, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C., said the best thing the B.C. government can do to increase the number of trained construction workers is to make sure there’s plenty of work.

“The province should stick to doing its utmost to attract investment to B.C.,” he said. Read more

Opinion: National rebar tariff is a Buy America preference imposed on B.C.

Pile of rebar
BC is collateral damage due to CITT’s national tariff on imported rebar. ICBA will continue to fight for BC’s construction industry.

Canada is a trading nation that is the envy of many because of the wealth of our resources and the resourcefulness of our people. Every province is formed by diverse

and unique trading economies requiring diverse skilled people.

It’s our unyielding ability to import and export goods that help our provinces grow, our national economy thrive and our country compete in a global marketplace.

Pivotal to maintaining our competitiveness, the Canada Border and Services Agency and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal share responsibility for protecting our industries from unfairly traded imports. Part of their job is to investigate complaints from Canadian industries.

The CBSA and the CITT have a number of tools to safeguard and protect Canadian businesses. For example, when foreign-owned eastern Canadian steel mills complained to the CBSA of dumping of rebar from China, Korea and Turkey, the CBSA and the CITT justly initiated an investigation. It was concluded there was dumping and a national tariff on rebar was put in place.

In many cases, a national tariff on goods from other countries can be the best solution to protecting our competitiveness and protecting Canadian jobs. However, we must acknowledge and recognize Canada is a diverse nation that does not allow for a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to trade policies.

Read more