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Canada is Failing on the Get-to-Yes Challenge

Chris Gardner, President, ICBA

In this Monitor, we highlight the challenges of moving forward with important infrastructure projects. We dig a little deeper into Site C, following the release of the BC Utilities Commission preliminary report.

That report is consistent with the outcome of the independent review panel that studied Site C for 29 months, and concluded it is the best way for B.C. to lock-in a source of clean power for the next 100 years. IBCA representatives spoke in favour of Site C at BCUC public forums in Vancouver, Prince George and Fort St. John.

It was frustrating to see provincial  lawyers in Federal Court in an effort to scuttle the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion just as construction is about to begin. This after a decade of effort, extensive independent review, and federal and provincial approvals (subject to 194 conditions that will be rigorously enforced).

We were also disappointed to see the provincial government decide to review the Massey Tunnel replacement – one of the most dangerous traffic choke points in Canada. Metro Vancouver is growing fast and we need better transit and new roads and bridges. This is not about choosing one project over the other – it’s about the infrastructure investments that will enable businesses to compete and families to get around safely.

Finally, ICBA recently weighed in on the federal government’s proposed changes to small business corporation tax rules – changes that clearly fail the test of fairness. We should be doing every-thing we can to promote and support entrepreneurship, not penalizing the Canadians behind the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy.  The family-owned restaurant, the mom-and-pop corner grocer, the boutique hotel, and the local construction contractor are all unfairly targeted by these proposed measures.

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TRAINING THURSDAY: Supervisory and Management Skills Workshop

How are your skills as a supervisor and manager? Could they be better? Our Supervisory and Management Skills workshop, coming to Prince George November 16-17, is for you!

Here’s what you’ll be able to do by the end of this two-day course:

  • Understand the differences between leadership, management and supervision;
  • Identify different leadership styles and approaches;
  • Apply different leadership styles to deal with various situations;
  • Understand motivational theories – Mazlow, Herzberg, MARS;
  • Enhance individual and group performance and engagement;
  • Understand different personality styles and how to communicate appropriately
  • Effectively manage time
  • Understand stress and how to manage it at work
  • Understand substance abuse, recognition and prevention
  • Conduct a successful toolbox talk
  • Appropriately discipline and/or terminate staff
  • Apply various negotiating skills
  • Deal with difficult people, conflict and confrontation
  • Use collaborative decision-making skills
  • Understand a systems approach to management of construction companies

This course is also good for five Gold Seal Credits and 32 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing, upon completion of an online portion following the workshop!

Interested? Check out www.icba.ca/training for more information and to register. We can also bring this course directly to you and your staff; email our training department at training@icba.ca for more information on how to set this up.

We also offer course discounts! Register two or more people for any of our training and you will receive a 10 percent discount on each additional registration.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Incident Investigations

No one wants an incident on their site, but when one does happen do you know how to investigate it? WorkSafeBC’s amendment to Bill 9 includes changes to requirements for employer incident investigations, and our training department wants to help you out!

Our upcoming Incident Investigations course on October 27 in Victoria will help participants understand the principles of incident investigations and the methods of ensuring a proper investigation is completed.

Here’s the course outline:

  • The regulatory requirements to investigate Accidents/Incidents
  • Why are we investigating Accidents/Incidents
  • Who makes a good investigator
  • How to gather evidence and information
  • How to photograph a scene
  • How to measure and diagram a scene
  • How to conduct interviews
  • What is the principle of Root Cause Analysis
  • Developing recommendations for prevention
  • Completing the Incident Report

Interested? Visit www.icba.ca/training for more information and to register. Don’t forget; you don’t have to be a member of ICBA to register for any of our courses!

Have you subscribed to our training newsletter yet? Subscribe now at www.icba.ca/trainingnewsletter.

BC BUDGET 2018-19: ICBA Recommends Faster #Get2Yes, More Infrastructure & Fighting For Small Biz

Each fall, the B.C. Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services holds province-wide public consultations on the next provincial budget that is released in February. In this session of the Legislature, the Select Standing Committee has 9 members – 4 BC Liberal MLAs, 4 NDP MLAs, and 1 Green Party MLA.

This is an important opportunity for ICBA to go on record and express its views on issues important to the construction sector and for the economy as a whole. In this year’s submission, we focus on three areas:

  • Major project approval challenges;
  • Enabling infrastructure for urban and regional British Columbia; and,
  • Recent federal tax changes for Small Business Incorporations.

To see our full submission, click HERE.

TRAINING: Managing Risks and Disputes in Construction Projects (Breakfast Session)

Every construction project brings some element of risk with it, but you must manage those risks in order to be successful. Our November 17 Managing Risks and Disputes in Construction Projects breakfast session in Burnaby will provide practical advice on how to manage risks, and teach you strategies for dealing with disputes. Plus, you’ll earn 2.5 Group A Continued Professional Development Points from BC Housing!

Here are the topics that will be covered:

  • An overview of the most frequently encountered construction claims/disputes;
  • Tips for avoiding claims before they happen;
  • Tips for keeping the situation from escalating too far;
  • Ways to minimize exposure if claims are made;
  • A discussion of alternative dispute resolution methods.

You can register for this or any of our other upcoming courses at www.icba.ca/training.

Our training department is already adding courses for 2018; keep up to date by subscribing to our bi-weekly training newsletter at www.icba.ca/trainingnewsletter.

You don’t have to be a member to take any of our courses, but it will save you some registration fees! For more information about becoming a member, visit www.icba.ca/become-a-member.

OP-ED: End of Energy East, Another Win for our Competitors

By Chris Gardner, President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association

This op-ed was first published in The Vancouver Sun on Oct. 11, 2017.

It’s another week in Canada when businesses and investors are taking their ideas, their people, and their capital elsewhere.

This week, it was the announcement that TransCanada has scrapped its $15.7 billion Energy East pipeline proposal, after the National Energy Board (NEB) changed the regulatory review process and after it was clear there was no way around the opposition from local and provincial politicians in Quebec.

In a decade, we have gone from a country on the verge of becoming a global energy superpower to a place where, because we have so little access to international markets for our oil, we have to sell it at a discount to the United States. This is a $48 million daily gift to our neighbours, who export their own oil at the full international market price.

Sadly, this is self-inflicted. Canada is now a country where it is simply becoming too difficult to build big infrastructure projects.

Earlier this summer, Desjardins announced it will refuse to finance Canadian energy projects. The oil and gas sector directly employs more than 425,000 Canadians and are the largest source of private sector investment in the country. It’s hard to imagine a leading national financial institution in China, Germany, Singapore or the U.S. abandoning a major sector of their economy – it would be an unacceptable national betrayal. Yet, this announcement conjured a collective yawn from most Canadians as though it is routine and without consequences for our national economy.

As federal and provincial governments across Canada have made regulatory approval and permitting process increasingly complicated, time-consuming and expensive, one could be forgiven for thinking they are doing their level best to shut down our energy economy. Well, their plan is working. Consider that TransCanada just spent $1 billion on due diligence for Energy East and has absolutely nothing to show for it.

The energy sector in our country is slowly being hollowed out – talent, opportunity and family-supporting jobs are slipping away. Over the past three years, there has been an exodus of international investors from Canada’s oil and gas sector. The largest players in the world are leaving and are not coming back.

Too often in Canada, the rules change, the goal posts are moved, and companies seeking to invest billions of dollars, create jobs and provide opportunities for Canadians are unjustly vilified in the process.

In British Columbia, the Site C clean energy project – which has been under construction for two years – is now being forced to undergo yet another review. This, after years of independent reviews and government approvals upheld in no less than 14 court challenges.

Petronas threw in the towel on its $36 billion LNG project to export natural gas from B.C. to markets in Asia hungry for cleaner sources of energy than coal or oil.

And the new provincial government in B.C. launched a last-minute challenge to the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain Pipeline project, asking the court to overturn all the National Energy Board and federal cabinet approvals. This, after a decade of effort, a 29-month independent review by the NEB, and federal and provincial government approvals.

It’s easy to say it was never in the cards for Canada to become an energy super power and some do. But it does not help when every conceivable roadblock is placed in the path of companies that have the vision, capital and courage to try.

The past few weeks have been dominated by conversation over changes to the small business taxes. Shockingly, some say we have too many small businesses in Canada and that not enough of them grow into larger enterprises. That’s a matter of opinion, but surely the answer is not to penalize Canadians who want to start a new venture or who are managing small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy and to label them tax cheats.

Unfortunately, we are losing sight of what it takes to attract investment, create opportunities and compete internationally. And, by this measure, Canada’s loss is the gain of its competitors – countries focused on fostering growth, attracting investment, and getting their natural resources to markets. The brash and bold character that built our great country is in danger of being read about only in the pages of history textbooks.

Training Thursday: Negotiation Skills Workshop

When you sit down at the negotiating table, are you walking away with what you want? Do you ever feel like you’re being taken advantage of?

ICBA can help! Many people fail in their negotiations because they walk away from the table when they could have done much better. Our Negotiation Skills Workshop will teach you a proven, practical approach to win-win negotiations, and how to protect yourself from hardball negotiators.

Here’s what’s covered:

  • The most common negotiating mistakes people make and how to avoid them
  • Understanding the difference between Collaborative “win-win” and Competitive “hardball” negotiations and how to know what game you are playing
  • The characteristics of highly effective negotiators
  • Understanding the different sources of negotiating power
  • How to strengthen your bargaining position
  • How to create an open communication flow that allows you to deeply understand the other party
  • The 5-step process to quickly and effectively plan and prepare for your negotiations
  • How to determine your “walk-away point”
  • How to defend yourself against “hardball’ negotiators
  • How to counter the 5 common manipulative strategies being used against you
  • How to create win – win outcomes that ensure the other party lives up to their end of the bargain

We get fantastic feedback on this course every time we offer it; to learn more about this course or register for one of our upcoming sessions, visit www.icba.ca/training.