ICBA is proud to be a founding member of Confidence in Canada, which released this statement today:
BUSINESS, INDIGENOUS, AND COMMUNITY LEADERS call for a return to order, the free movement of goods and people, and a commitment to certainty and future prosperity
Vancouver, March 4, 2020 – A growing chorus of business, Indigenous and community leaders are calling for a commitment to certainty and future prosperity following weeks of economic disruption.
Rail blockades and challenges with respect to numerous significant infrastructure projects representing billions of dollars of investment are symptoms of very serious problems requiring urgent action.
Blockades have caused havoc and uncertainty in people’s lives, relationships and supply chains and have negatively affected a quarter of Canada’s small business owners.
More broadly, uncertainty about the timeliness of decision making around major projects and whether decisions, once made, count for anything has become a serious problem. Billions of dollars that could have supported well-paying jobs, reconciliation for all Canadians, and the means to improve Indigenous and non-Indigenous health care, education and other important social goals have been sacrificed.
Compromise and common purpose are key to the functioning of democracy. We must continue to build an inclusive economy and society for all Canadians—and cannot allow a handful of uncompromising minority voices to undermine this collective progress.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders have had considerable success working toward economic reconciliation. Events of the past few weeks clearly demonstrates that more needs to be done.
Now is the time for all Canadians to stand together to build a modern, competitive, sustainable country – one which continues economic reconciliation with Indigenous people; one which balances economic growth with environmental protection by providing a practical, realistic and achievable regulatory framework; and, one which promotes an inclusive and prosperous society based on respect for all Canadians.
This must begin with strong leadership by federal and provincial authorities to restore order without further delay. It continues with a strong focus on the foundations required of a modern economy, including ensuring clear pathways for projects to get to timely decisions that can be respected.
We encourage those interested who support this message to share it, and endorse it on the Confidence In Canada website: www.confidenceincanada.com
Signatories and Quotes:
“A dysfunction has settled into our politics that is turning away investors, stifling the creation of family supporting jobs, and making it nearly impossible to get the kind of infrastructure built that we need to increase our competitiveness. Canada is now being labelled a place where it is simply too difficult to get things done, or worse, a place where regulatory approvals and stakeholder agreements are not worth the paper they are printed on.” Chris Gardner, President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
“First Nations across the country are building relationships and partnerships that are bringing us back into control of our own destiny, these relationships are giving us a foundation to protect what is important and build sustainable economies that will increase human well-being and opportunity in our communities. The shutting down of vital infrastructure is only setting the cause back and making a better tomorrow that much farther out of grasp.”Dallas Smith, President of Nanwakolas Council
“We ask the Federal and Provincial authorities to implement fair, meaningful Government to Government working relationships with Indigenous peoples.”Wilf Adam, Lake Babine Nation
Chief Rick McLean, Tahltan Band Council
Chief Joe Alphonse, Tsilhqot’in National Government, Tribal Chair
Chief Willie Sellars, Williams Lake Indian Band
“Canada has lost its way. Our current path undermines our immense potential as a nation and as a preferred provider of lower carbon natural resources and energy that reduces global and local climate emissions while advancing Canadian technology solutions. Looking forward together, we need to stand up to those who seek to divide us and commit to accelerating and celebrating the thousands of ongoing relationships and partnerships between business and Indigenous communities. These partnerships are based on mutual respect, certainty and a common purpose, and they can resolve our challenges and advance shared prosperity, particularly when strengthened through practical, focused government leadership.” Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia
“Without a clear path forward, peoples’ livelihoods, our communities and the economy will continue to be negatively impacted. We need strong leadership that will unify our country and move forward towards a brighter future that will benefit all Canadians.” Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
“The people with the most to lose in this moment are average, hard-working Canadians. We’re going to create a platform to amplify these voices and prove to ourselves, as a nation, that Indigenous prosperity, economic sustainability and a healthy environment can be achieved. Indeed, Canada can and will do it better than anyone else.” Val Litwin, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce
“We have to find our way out of this mess and back to a place where compromises are made for the good of the country. The moderate middle needs a stronger voice.”Laura Jones, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategic Officer of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
“We are a resource rich country and I believe we have a responsibility to share our abundant energy resources with the rest of the world. In the process, we can demonstrate that Canada is a great place to conduct business and change the lives of indigenous and northern communities.” Peter Zebedee, President and CEO, LNG Canada
“We, as Canadians, need to remember that the things that unite us are much stronger and more enduring than those things that divide us. Canadians have a history of working together to accomplish shared goals and deliver prosperity for all. We did not become one of the best countries in the world in which to live by dividing each other along political or social lines. Our leaders – whether they be federal, provincial or Indigenous – must work together in the spirit of collaboration to right our ship and ensure we remain the best place in the world to live, work and raise our families.” Chris Bloomer, President and CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association
“Canada is a world leader not only in climate policy, but also in oil and natural gas production. And yet, Canada has an ongoing inability to see major projects through to success. This is posing a real challenge to Canadians and the health of our economy. The long-term success of our resource sector has real implications on Canadians and their ability to make a living and support their families.
Recent events, like Teck’s decision to withdraw its project application from consideration, further damages Canada’s reputation as a reliable, productive nation that welcomes innovation and opportunity. To date, it’s been the energy sector that has taken most of the blows, but we must ask ourselves about the long-term implications for all Canadian industries.That’s why our coalition of concerned voices is calling on all levels of government to make it a priority to restore confidence in Canada.” Tim McMillan, President and CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
“It’s time for our leaders to come together and create a framework that moves our nation beyond this economic and social impasse. Canada must do what’s right for our entire country’s future and our nation’s shared prosperity. Let’s move forward now and ensure economic reconciliation enters into the equation – for all nations and generations.” ted LAU, CEO, Ballistic Arts Media Studios, and Chair, NEXT Leaders Council of BC
“Canada’s supply chain must include ports and waterways that are managed as part of a systems approach. A predictable and resilient supply chain will support Canada’s reputation as a competitive global trading nation.”Robert Lewis-Manning, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Shipping
“Natural resource development is at the core of Canada’s economy and is key to a rising standard of living for Indigenous peoples and all Canadians living in rural and urban communities alike. If we cannot find a more constructive pathway forward in Canada, we will miss our opportunity to be a world-leading exporter of responsibly produced low carbon commodities and products, and advance economic reconciliation with Indigenous communities while generating economic and social benefits for all Canadians.” Michael Goehring, President and CEO, Mining Association of British Columbia
“It is critical we come together as a country to work on these important issues and ensure that middle class jobs can be protected. BC’s marine sector relies on a diverse group of participants coming together to find balance, so we can continue to strengthen the communities we operate in.” Robert Wilds, Executive Director, BC Marine Terminal Operators Association
“LNG is about opportunity. British Columbians have been building an inclusive and environmentally responsible LNG industry for over a decade that has already provided billions of dollars in benefits to local communities and First Nations. The agreements signed with First Nations in British Columbia are truly precedent setting in Canadian resource development. And, LNG can help Canada play an important role in providing a tool the world needs to help reduce global carbon emissions. It is time for Canadians to move forward together.”Bryan Cox, President and CEO, BC LNG Alliance
“British Columbia is recognized globally for producing high-quality, safe, nutritious food and agricultural products. Without a reliable supply and delivery system, our domestic and global customers will lose confidence and turn to other countries to source their food, leaving local farm businesses at risk of losing hard earned markets. Agriculture continues to suffer from the effects of events that remain out of our control such as the gas pipeline rupture, rail strikes and trade disputes. Reversing the impact of this is a long and difficult process.”Stan Vander Waal, President BC Agriculture Council
“Canada is lost in a morass of public policy. But there can be a path forward. All Canadians, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, recognize that development of and access to affordable, reliable energy is key to good jobs, individual prosperity and the economic development of our country. We must recognize that all energy development, including renewables, has an impact on our environment. Therefore, the path forward for public policy must show a balance of all three interests: energy, economic development, and critically, the environment. A fourth element of participation by Indigenous partners in major infrastructure is essential to satisfy all Canadians that we have a common interest of economic reconciliation.”Gary G. Mar, QC, President & CEO, Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC)
“Canada is at a crossroads when it comes to major energy projects and investor confidence. Recent events have demonstrated that our political institutions, public discourse and regulatory regime are fractured – and the world is taking note. This dysfunction means that Canada misses out on major jobs and revenue; it’s also signaling to investors that this is not the right place for their investment dollars. Those opportunities are going to more sophisticated jurisdictions that have the vision and strategic approach to get national resources projects approved and built. Major system change is needed now if Canada and its citizens are to see continued benefit from its bountiful natural resource endowments.”Paul de Jong, President, Progressive Contractors Association of Canada
“Canada and B.C. are comprised of small businesses that are being adversely affected by the deadlock, whether that be on their job sites or the movement of goods. This uncertainty has many ripple effects across our economy and the time is now to collaborate on a solution to end the disputes.”Neil Moody, CEO Canadian Home Builders’ Association of B.C.
“It’s encouraging that the government and Wet’suwet’en leaders were able to agree on a promising new protocol for future projects, but this doesn’t resolve the disputes that are happening now and central to the blockades and disruption we’re seeing across Canada. We must respect Indigenous rights and at the same time allow our skilled tradespeople safe access to build the projects which have been legally approved and which they have been hired to build. Infrastructure projects are key to our federal and provincial economies and their success depends on meaningful and timely collaboration and respect between industry, government and Indigenous elected and hereditary leaders. We all need to get much better at this.” Chris Atchison, President, BC Construction Association
“We are at a crossroads that requires strong leadership or we risk losing thousands of family-supporting jobs and the economic benefits that come with a sustainable and growing infrastructure industry. BC Road Builders are proud to support responsible resource development across the province through the building and maintaining of our critical transportation corridors. Certainty on the land base is required to enable the free flow of goods across the country and the economic certainty that investors seek.” Kelly Scott, President & CEO, BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association
“Canadians rely on the free flow of good across our country to enable our daily lives and create economic activity that supports prosperity for all. Disruption in our supply chains not only damages Canada’s reputation as a global trading nation, but also impacts each of us directly.”Dave Earle, President & CEO, British Columbia Trucking Association
“The City of Terrace continues its strong support for both the LNG Canada and the Coastal GasLink projects that are located next door to us. The responsible consultation process, professionalism, high degree of expertise, concern for the environment have given our community confidence that LNGC and CGL will be completed to the highest standards in the world. Our community and neighbouring indigenous communities have had the good fortune to gain many benefits and opportunities. One of the advantages of mega projects such as these ensures all Canadians have access to world class healthcare and education, something we must not take for granted. Let’s work together to ensure we stay focused on what a great country we live in.” Carol Leclerc, Mayor of Terrace
“We are watching billions of dollars leave our country, causing international investors to question whether or not Canada is truly open for business. It is critical that we have strong leadership in place to help ensure our resources get to market successfully. With responsible resource development comes job creation and capital investment, all of which are essential to healthy and sustainable communities.” Dale Bumstead, Mayor of Dawson Creek
“Our nation is in the hands of those who do not have our best interests at heart. The knowledge of and respect for our resource industries that provide for our quality of life and revenue for education, healthcare etc. is lost. Uncertainty is the Achilles’ tendon for communities and provinces and we need our leaders to stand up to the forces that seek to divide us as Canadians.” Lori Ackerman, Mayor of Fort St John
“We believe that the proponents have been thorough and forthright in community and First Nations engagement and consultation, including gaining support from communities and First Nations across Northern BC. Our community is very pleased with the opportunities LNG Canada provides us. I would also like to acknowledge and support other communities whose day to day lives are being impacted by the protests.”Mayor Phil Germuth, District of Kitimat
The Court of Appeal of Alberta has approved a request by ICBA to intervene in the Government of Alberta’s constitutional challenge of a series of Trudeau Government laws that will make it much more difficult to get oil and gas projects approved.
The Trudeau Government opposed ICBA’s intervention request, but Alberta Justice Patricia Rowbotham rejected their argument. “[ICBA] will bring the interests of British Columbia… with practical submissions on the efficiency and timeliness of approvals of large scale resource extraction and construction projects.”
Notably, the Trudeau Government did not oppose applications by the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Environmental Defence Fund, Mining Watch Canada, Nature Canada, or Ecojustice Canada Society to intervene.
ICBA will file a 10-page argument by April 30. The case is expected to be heard this fall in Calgary.
The impact of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, is being felt more on the construction material supply side than on the workforce, said Jordan Bateman, vice-president of communications for the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).
“We have had four or five of our members say they were waiting for materials from China,” said Bateman, who echoes what news reports around the world are saying as China deals with the severe COVID-19 outbreak.
Bateman said it is more of a slow down than a shortage currently as shipments are delayed or take longer to arrive. He said it is difficult to pinpoint how much is attributed directly to the coronavirus and how much is the result of Canada’s rail blockades. Construction companies are currently attempting to work around the slowdown of materials, he said.
By mid-February, there were 41 ships in Vancouver harbour waiting to either unload or pick up materials, according to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus, is also China’s sixth largest steel production area.
“We have confirmation from medical authorities that the worker from the Austin and North Road project site does not have coronavirus.” — ITC Construction Group statement
Bateman said he was aware of a report that ITC, a construction company, had shut down a portion of its City of Lougheed redevelopment site in Burnaby after an employee showed symptoms associated with COVID-19 on Feb. 27. He said that the Construction Safety Officers (CSO) attended to the individual and he was sent to hospital for testing, however, then the CSOs had to self-quarantine. “You can’t run a construction site without CSOs,” he said of the shutdown.
The results of the test done on the worker came back negative and on March 2, ITC issued the following statement: “We have confirmation from medical authorities that the worker from the Austin and North Road project site does not have coronavirus. The worker is safely resting at home and the project is site is fully operational.”
Bateman said that his association is leaving the lead on prevention to the experts, in this case the B.C. Centre of Disease Control, which is providing a flow of information on its website. Part of the BCCDC’s advice relates to cleanliness. Bateman said that while most workmen wear gloves, larger sites do provide areas where workers can wash their hands.
BC Construction Association President Chris Atchison said, “Safety is always a priority on jobsites and managing the risk of COVID-19 should be no exception. Simply from a human resources perspective, trades people can’t work from home, so we strongly encourage employers to provide common sense advice about the simple actions employees are expected to take to reduce the risk. We also suggest they have a clear policy regarding when workers should stay home, enforce sanitary standards in portable washrooms, and keep hand sanitizer stocked when running water isn’t available. BCCA is keeping a close watch on this issue and how it may affect B.C.’s construction sector.”
WorkSafeBC’s website added information on the coronavirus shortly after the first case was reported and recommends that measures used in the prevention of spreading common respiratory viruses like influenza such as hand washing, avoiding ill people, and cleaning often touched surfaces should be practised.
Bateman said one of the difficulties with the virus is that it is difficult to determine whether it is a normal flu or the COVID-19 virus. As the ICBA obtains information, Bateman said he will be distributing it to the association members via the newsletter.
The Canadian Construction Association has warned that the virus could cause shortages, disruption of supply partners, and impact contracts. “No-one is buying anything or producing anything in China right now,” said Peter Kapler, senior vice-president and national director of performance security with Aon.
FORT ST JOHN – Wednesday’s event with Rex Murphy in Fort St. John has been postponed due to illness, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) announced today.
ICBA had sold out its planned Evening with Rex Murphy at the North Peace Cultural Centre but, unfortunately, the National Post columnist and CBC commentator is too ill to travel this week.
“We are very disappointed to have to postpone Rex’s visit, as we were looking forward to hearing his perspective on the current crisis gripping Canada’s oil and gas industry,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA president. “We apologize to our sponsors, and members of the community who purchased tickets, for the inconvenience, and we wish Rex a speedy return to health.”
Ticket holders can obtain a full refund (with proof of purchase) from the North Peace Cultural Centre by phone at 250-785-1992, or in person at the box office at 10015 100 Ave. Sponsors will be contacted directly by ICBA.