The BC Court of Appeal delivered its decisions in two ongoing battles ICBA has been leading against John Horgan’s NDP Government – one on proportional representation and one whether a court or the Labour Relations Board should hear contractors’ concerns on the NDP’s sweetheart deal with the Building Trades Unions.

Prop Rep

During the proportional representation campaign in 2018, ICBA had filed for an injunction to pause the proportional representation referendum process because the question was unconstitutional. The John Horgan NDP Government dragged the process out for months in order to avoid addressing how it had stacked the deck for prop rep to be approved by voters.  Eventually, the whole case ended up before the Court of Appeal earlier this year.

On Friday, the BC Court of Appeal ruled ICBA’s challenge “moot” as the referendum had long since concluded. The Court offered no discussion on whether the ICBA case had merits, simply that the issues raised were now irrelevant.

Horgan’s Attorney General David Eby, while successful in preventing the case to be heard before the vote, certainly was not successful in getting proportional representation through. ICBA was among the loudest voices fighting what The Globe and Mail called “Canada’s least honest attempt” at electoral reform.

The efforts of ICBA and many others resulted in a resounding, humiliating defeat for the Horgan NDP: 61.3% of British Columbians rejected proportional representation.

Union Monopoly

ICBA – along with several other construction and business associations, progressive unions, and companies – has been challenging NDP Transportation Minister Claire Trevena’s decision to discriminate against 85% of B.C.’s construction workforce by creating the NDP government’s so-called “Community Benefits Agreement” labour framework that forced every construction worker who wanted to work on a taxpayer funded infrastructure project built under a “CBA” to join a Building Trades unions.

Earlier this year, a BC Supreme Court judge ruled that the government-appointed Labour Relations Board should deal with the industry’s concerns. But ICBA’s legal team argued otherwise in an appeal heard in May: “There are no labour relations issues under the Labour Relations Code that need to be adjudicated,” lawyers argued. “The issue is solely whether the Minister reasonably exercised her statutory authority under the Transportation Act, which comes within the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts in our constitutional system.”

Unfortunately, on Friday, the BC Court of Appeal largely sided with the lower court and punted an issue we consider to be a fundamentally unjust and disturbing violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the government-appointed Labour Relations Board.

ICBA and our allies are simply asking for a fair shot at government-tendered work for our non-Building Trades members and the hundreds of thousands of men and women they employ. Fully 85% of BC’s workforce, and 82% of trades apprentices, have been excluded from working on these projects because of the union monopoly.

ICBA will continue its fight against this discriminatory, wrongheaded union monopoly, designed by the NDP Government to reward its long-time political donors and supporters in the Building Trades Unions.