The Summer 2021 edition of the Construction Monitor is online HERE.

More than ever, work­ers are looking for the choice and opportu­nities that come from flexible work arrange­ments. In construction, we have an especially intense competition for talent, along with an acute shortage of trades training spaces and escalating material prices. The result is rising construction costs and an unparal­leled affordability crisis.

That’s why the B.C. Government’s recently announced return to compulsory trades is more than a head scratcher. This new cer­tification regime will do nothing to address the need to find more workers, or any of the other real challenges facing construction contractors.

It’s a result instead of hoping that the policies of yesterday will address the chal­lenges of today and tomorrow. And, let’s be clear, this is not about improving the quality of the work performed by B.C. construction workers. Projects are designed by the best in the world, highly regulated, effectively per­mitted and thoroughly inspected.

The government also announced that it will set ratios of the number of ticketed tradespeople who must work with an apprentice. This added bureaucracy fails to account for the dynamics of complex con­struction projects. It removes the flexibility that contractors, supervisors and workers need to get the job done, and will limit the number of workers entering the trades.

What will be served by mandating reg­istration for apprenticeship programs when the wait list to get into schools is generally a year, often two and sometimes more? How did we end up in this place? Govern­ment failed to engage in broad industry consultation. The contracting community, including ICBA and the majority of con­struction associations, was simply not at the table.

We need to build better workplaces in construction, attract more people to the trades, train them more effectively and become more innovative. Instead, govern­ment is missing the mark. We can do better for workers and for contractors.

The Construction Monitor is a quarterly ICBA publication providing ahead-of-the-curve information and statistics on the BC construction industry and issues relevant to it. Check out some of our recent issues: