It’s yet another example of the B.C. NDP’s penchant for policies that date back to before the turn-of-the- millennium.
Recent legislation has reimposed “compulsory trades”, beginning with 10 initial trades. This means all workers will have to either be a licensed tradesperson or registered apprentice to do any of the work within the scope of these trades. Government is also introducing “supervision ratios”, limiting the number of apprentices an employer can hire relative to the qualified journeypeople on the job site.
Both of these measures will restrict entry into trades training just when we need to be ramping it up. Training delivery is out-of-date and we are suffering from a chronic under-investment in new training spaces.
Do we really need government dictating to contractors the number of apprentices who can work side-by-side with ticketed tradespeople? Meanwhile, the training delivered to those who can find positions will be much more restrictive due to compulsory designations, which will erase cross- functional or more specialized learning and experience.
All this will come with a vast new enforcement regime – meaning we will be hiring inspectors rather than instructors. Any offsetting benefits are hard to see, since licensing, permitting, inspections and other regulatory oversight already provides safety and quality assurances for construction workers and end users.
Like most of the construction sector, ICBA wasn’t asked for input when these retrograde policies were designed. But like all of B.C., we’ll now have to live with their negative impact on skills training and work-place productivity, and ultimately the negative impact on housing availability and affordability.