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Silent majority supports responsible development in B.C.

B.C. is earning an international reputation as a difficult place to do business. Pipelines and mining developments are just some of the projects being stalled by a vocal minority in B.C. What these protesters don’t realize is that major projects strengthen our economy by creating countless spin-off jobs like residential, institutional, commercial and industrial projects. Major projects bring wealth to a community and drive business to contractors in all fields, like new plumbing installations for a newly renovated complex, or building a new hospital for a growing town.

A recent poll ICBA commissioned to NRG Research Group suggests that these groups do not speak for the majority of British Columbians.

An overwhelming 84 per cent of British Columbians support responsible development in the province and understand that new projects create much needed direct and in-direct jobs in communities. Click here to view the poll results that explores support for various projects throughout B.C.

As ICBA continues to enhance our benefits and services for members, we will also take on this new challenge – standing up for responsible development in our province, getting shovels in the ground and putting B.C. to work. We hope you will join us in bringing projects to ‘Yes’ and join our group of supporters determined to show that responsible development balances the needs of a community and the project while safeguarding the environment. We encourage you to join the fight and sign up at www.icba.ca/Growing-The-Economy.

BTU’S criticism of Fort St. John contractor winning Site C’s $1.5B contract is no surprise

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A Fort St. John contracting company has been chosen as part of a partnership of companies that will build the main infrastructure for the Site C hydroelectric dam. Approximately 1,500 people will be working on main civil works at the peak of construction, and Site C will create opportunities for local, regional and Aboriginal businesses.

However, the B.C. building trades is not celebrating the naming of the preferred proponent for Site C’s $1.5 billion main civil works contract. According to the Building Trades, BC Hydro has selected a consortium, which does not include any BCBT affiliates and workers.

It’s no surprise that the Building Trades Unions are being critical of the preferred proponent for the main civil works contract at Site C. Read more

Construction industry optimistic for 2016 except in northern B.C., survey suggests

(December 16, 2015 – Vancouver)  B.C.’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are optimistic for increased work volumes and wages in 2016, according to the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C.’s annual survey. However, Northern B.C. projects a decline in growth despite increased activity.

While previous surveys indicated promising years for the construction industry, the 2016 survey suggests a shift in northern B.C.

The survey found that only 22 per cent of open shop businesses in northern B.C. are predicting an increase in activity in 2016, down from 58 per cent in 2015 and 71 per cent in 2014. With fewer companies in northern B.C. projecting an increase in work volume, many respondents suggest they will be hiring fewer tradespeople, and many will not increase employee hours.

Despite the dip in growth in northern B.C., the overall outlook is positive. The survey suggests that on average:

  • 48 per cent of companies will see an increase in work, and 46 per cent of companies are expecting the same workload as they did in 2015.
  • 42 per cent of companies will hire new tradespeople in 2016 to deal with the projected increase. This trend remains consistent over the past three years.
  • Companies across B.C.’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are expecting wages to rise 3 per cent in 2016, continuing the trend for upward growth. Many businesses will increase the hours of existing employees.
  • Wage ranges for construction trades have consistently risen since 2013.
  • 80 per cent of companies surveyed will employ apprentices, up 5 per cent from last year, and half will pay for at least part of the apprentices’ tuition.

Read more

Site C decision has support of open shop (Letter to the Editor)

Re: B.C. Building Trades angered by Site C main civil works – Dec. 2, 2015 issue of the Journal of Commerce. To the editor: It’s no surprise that the Building Trades Unions are being critical of the preferred proponent for the main civil works contract at Site C.

Letter to the Editor: Site C decision has support of open shop

It’s another blow for the outdated model in which big unions could count on cornering such work and no doubt another reason why building trades affiliates have come to represent such a small proportion of B.C. construction workers.  Even with a union-preference clause built into the selection process, the building trades were, yet again, unable to put forward a competitive bid and could not convince the bidders to work with them. As a result, they’ll collect no dues from the workers doing this particular component of Site C work, which is likely the biggest reason for their disappointment. But, that hardly makes it a “bad decision for B.C.”, quite the contrary, in fact.

The Building Trades Unions should embrace the fact that the preferred proponent includes a local company from Fort St. John that has a local workforce and can be expected to maximize opportunities for British Columbians. The preferred proponent will hire skilled British Columbians and may even include workers, who are members of the building trades. This particular contract is another example of the open shop model working fairly and delivering good value for all of us as taxpayers, as it has for the past 30 years.

New Express Entry program aims to find skilled international workers

Express Entry allows employers to find skilled international workers who desire to live in Canada permanently, as opposed to a temporary foreign worker.

Express Entry program allows government officials to invite international workers with the highest chance of success to immigrate to Canada. Express Entry, now fully electronic, requires the candidate to create a profile online that scores them based on skills and language proficiency, among other categories. Individuals with the highest scores are invited to apply to Canada through Express Entry.

A common question asked was whether a tradesperson and a candidate with a bachelor’s degree would receive the same rank and points if they were equal in years of experience, age, and family composition. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) that Express Entry uses is a points-based system that assesses and scores a candidate’s profile to rank them in the Express Entry pool.

Read more

Feedback on B.C. One Call and other business challenges needed

As stakeholders and members of the BC Common Ground Alliance you have a unique understanding of what frustrates your businesses when interacting with government. This is your opportunity to engage with your network and help government in its quest to cut red tape and make it easier to do business in BC.

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We ask that if your business has been hampered by the lack of a universal One Call system in BC that you use this opportunity to make your views known in addition to other items of red tape that you face in your business.

To contribute ideas please forward your comments to mj@whitemarsh.ca with the words Red Tape Reduction in the subject line by December 15th. All responses will be presented to the Deputy Minister at an upcoming meeting.

Philip Hochstein: Pro-development majority must fight B.C.’s bad reputation

British Columbia has a reputation as a hard place to get things done. Resource development, infrastructure builds, even residential construction — they all face regulatory complexity and intense interest-group scrutiny. Even with solid business cases and eager investors, many never make it to “yes.”

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And now we have the NDP’s chilling suggestion that it would cancel the approved and under-construction Site C Clean Energy Project. In other words, something that is done would be undone and a hard-earned “yes” would turn into a “no” — at a massive cost in dollars and energy security.

Is this how British Columbians want things to be? Do we want to consistently signal to investors that they will have to get over much higher hurdles here? That even a final word on a proposal is never really final?

We’ve never believed that’s what British Columbians want and a recent poll by NRG Research Group clearly shows that it’s not. In fact, more than two-thirds of British Columbians agree that our economy is based on resource development and 82 per cent agree that such development can be balanced with the environment. Read more