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Is the Federal government trying to say ‘no’ to B.C. LNG?

It was one of the largest expressions of grassroots concern and opinion that we’ve seen recently in B.C. Thousands of residents in Fort Nelson, Fort St. John and Terrace held “Northern Jobs for Northern Families” rallies.

They were driven by deep concern with the impact of the resource downturn on their communities, businesses and families and by a deep conviction that the development of an LNG export industry in B.C. is a decisive turnaround opportunity.I can’t think of any better evidence that LNG projects have the coveted stamp of “social licence.” And it extends across the northern region that will be most directly involved in the industry’s development — from the gas-producing areas in the northeast to the coastal northwest where the export facilities will be located.

So it would have been hugely welcome if these rallies had been followed, as expected, by a federal decision on environmental approval of one the largest and most promising LNG proposals. Instead, on the weekend prior to the anticipated decision, federal regulators “paused the legislated timeline” in the review of the Pacific Northwest LNG project near Prince Rupert.

BC Rally Terrace supporters say YES
Terrace residents who want the provincial and federal governments to push ahead with a liquefied natural gas export industry in B.C. show their support at a recent rally.

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LNG projects are welcome news

 Responsible resource development means growing and thriving communities. It also means jobs for our kids and grandkids. And it pays for the vital services upon which British Columbians have come to rely.

Overall, our resource industries have made great progress in protecting the environment while providing jobs that support families and paying taxes that support hospitals and schools. Many companies go beyond regulation to take a balanced approach to meeting the environmental and social needs of the community.

Unfortunately, the disturbing truth is that resource-based projects face unprecedented and often unreasonable challenges from a vocal minority.

That’s why, on behalf of B.C.’s construction industry, I’m writing to provide my strong support for the Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish and FortisBC’s Eagle Mountain pipeline expansion that would deliver natural gas to the facility. Combined, Woodfibre LNG and the Eagle Mountain Pipeline involve an investment of close to $2 billion. These two projects are welcome news for families and workers in B.C. Read more

How you can access PharmaCare’s Special Authority program

One of the most important things you can do to control cost and ensure the sustainability of your benefits plan is to access PharmaCare’s Special Authority program. This program grants full benefit status to a drug, medical supply or medical device that otherwise would not be covered or only partially covered. Clickhere to view a list of Special Authority drugs.

talk to your doc

If you would like access to the Special Authority Program, first you will need to register online here. You will also need to talk to your doctor as they will apply to Special Authority on your behalf. Bring this form to your doctor. If you are approved for the program, PharmaCare will notify your doctor, and you may request a copy of their decision as you might be required to submit the decision document to Pacific Blue Cross if your plan requires documentation before a drug is eligible.

Once you are approved, you may fill your prescription. With a successful application, PharmaCare will cover all or a portion of your drug cost (once a deductible has been satisfied) for the duration of time indicated on your decision document.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 604-298-7795 or email info@icbabenefits.ca.

Recent developments regarding Temporary Foreign Worker Program

 

In February, the federal government announced it would conduct a full review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) with completion in Fall 2016. The review will begin in May, and although the government has not provided clarification on the scope of the review, there will be an opportunity for British Columbians perspective to be presented to the committee. ICBA will engage with you when these opportunities arise. For now, there are some recent developments you should be aware of.

One-time waiver of 10% cap on TFWs

In June 2014, the federal government capped the percentage of low-wage TFWs an employer can have at a work site. Originally, this cap was 30 per cent, and will fall to 10 per cent on July 1, 2016. They have also announced that employers in seasonal industries hiring TFWs in low-wage seasonal positions of 180 days or less are not subject to this cap. The government has also confirmed that this waiver applies to all seasonal industries across Canada. Employers can use this exemption once per work location, for applications to hire TFWs received on or after Feb. 19, 2016, and no later than Dec. 31, 2016. For more information on this waiver, click here. Read more