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NEWS RELEASE: ICBA Applauds Weaver for Secret Ballot Stance

BURNABY, B.C. – The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) applauded Green Party leader Andrew Weaver following his announcement today that he would not support the NDP’s plan to take the secret ballot away from union certification votes.

For 16 years, the NDP and its union donors have been trying to strip workers of the democratic right to cast a secret ballot, instead pushing for a system where employees have to publicly sign a card approving a union.

“Stripping workers of the secret ballot would weaken the rights of workers to the benefit of big unions – we’ve enjoyed relative labour peace in BC in recent years, so it’s puzzling that the NDP want to turn back the clock on labour relations in this province,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA President. “The current system, using a secret ballot, ensures that neither employers nor unions are able to coerce or intimidate workers. Certification votes are fair and they are supervised by a neutral party, the Labour Relations Board.”

In an interview with The Vancouver Sun, Weaver explained that his preference for a secret ballot was born out of his experience with the University of Victoria faculty association. His comment that, “in any certification drive there are those people who feel pressured to sign a certification drive but they want the opportunity to have a secret ballot,” lines up with the experiences of workers across B.C.

“There is nothing more fundamental to our democracy than the secret ballot. Whether it’s when we elect governments or members to local community associations, we rely on the secret ballot to provide assurance that the process is free from manipulation,” said Gardner. “Working men and women deserve no less when they are deciding whether or not to join a union.”

LETTER: ICBA’s Chris Gardner Requests Standing in BCUC Site C Review

The following letter was sent by ICBA President Chris Gardner to the B.C. Utilities Commission today.

David Morton
Chair and CEO
British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC)
900 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2S9

June 16, 2017

Re:  BCUC Review of the Site C Hydro Electric Dam Project

Dear Mr. Morton:

We write on behalf of the more than 2,000 member companies and clients of ICBA in the construction and responsible resource development industries, including the thousands of men and women who woke up today and went to work to build the Site C Dam.

In the June 16, 2017, edition of The Globe and Mail, you stated that the BCUC is “ready and able” to review the Site C Dam project if such a request were to be made by a new NDP-Green provincial government.

We strongly object to such a review given that construction work is approximately twenty percent complete, that the Site C project was reviewed and approved by the provincial government, reviewed and approved by the federal government, and that the review process has been sustained in nine decisions by the BC Supreme Court, the BC Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Canada.

Moreover, the review’s terms of reference, laid out in the NDP-Green coalition agreement, states that Site C will be referred to the BCUC “on the question of economic viability and consequences to British Columbians in the context of the current [emphasis added] supply and demand conditions prevailing in the BC market.” As you are well aware, the decision to invest $9 billion to build Site C was based on the future energy needs and climate change goals of our province.

In addition, the short timeline – six weeks – is another sign of how politicians are attempting to unduly influence this process to deliver the outcome they desire, the cancellation of Site C. Such a rushed timeframe will likely render an incomplete report that will be in stark contrast to the usually comprehensive work of the BCUC. ICBA is concerned that the BCUC risks being placed at the centre of a political debate that is best left to elected officials and the public at large.

However, given the likelihood of this review proceeding, the ICBA requests standing to present to the Commission on behalf of the more than 2,200 men and women working on Site C and British Columbians who strongly support this long-term investment in our clean energy future.

Construction makes up 9 per cent of the provincial economy and employs more than 200,000 British Columbians – their voice deserves to be heard on this important construction and economic issue. We look forward to your response.

Chris Gardner
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association

TRAINING THURSDAY: Meet ICBA’s Apprenticeship Team

Did you know ICBA is the single-biggest sponsor of construction apprentices in B.C., with nearly 1,300?

ICBA prides itself on our incredible customer service, and nowhere is that more evident than in our apprenticeship team.

As part of our training department, our Senior Training & Apprenticeship Coordinator Ally Bodnar and Training & Apprenticeship Coordinator Desiree McGee work hard every day to ensure that apprentices and employers are supported.

“We want to make sure that apprentices have everything they need to successfully complete their apprenticeship,” Ally says, adding that her favourite part of her job is seeing people earn their journeyperson designation and go on to a rewarding career in the construction industry.

The program starts with an employer member contacting ICBA and asking us to sponsor an apprentice for them. We assist with the paperwork involved in setting up that sponsorship, and will then take on the regular tasks involved with reporting hours and certifications to the Industry Training Authority.

“We are a one-stop-shop for everything the apprentices and employers need,” Ally says. “We answer questions, offer a bursary to apprentices and help them get the other grants and bursaries that they are eligible for.”

Desiree is a new addition to our team, joining us earlier this month, but says she’s already enjoying working with apprentices and helping them on their road to certification as a journeyperson. Ally is a five-year veteran of ICBA, starting in reception and making her way to the training department.

Both of them would be happy to talk to you! Interested in learning more about how ICBA helps apprentices? Email us at

IN THE NEWS: Media Report on ICBA #Get2Yes Site C Event

Our Site C pink slip event got a lot of media coverage yesterday – but don’t forget to send your email supporting the Site C’s 2,252 workers by clicking HERE.

Here’s what Breakfast Television reported:

Or, if you’d like to see what we said translated into Chinese, click here for a Fairchild TV clip.

Some other media hits:

IN THE NEWS: ICBA Opposes Proportional Representation

ICBA believes stability is key to growing the economy. Minority governments erode that, and proportional representation would bring more elections, more minorities, and more backroom dealmaking into B.C. politics.

ICBA President Chris Gardner opposes all that. From CKNW Radio:

Instead, he says he thinks the change is wrong on its merits and will lead to more elections and more political uncertainty.

“We will definitely be campaigning against proportional representation. It’s just wrong.”

Proportional representation refers to one of several models of vote counting, in which the percentage of the vote a party receives more closely resembles the percentage of seats they get in the legislature.

Gardner says the prospect of elections and uncertainty are no good for creating a climate for investment and jobs in the province.

“I actually don’t think there is anything wrong with a majority government, whatever the stripe of the party is. At least they can govern for four years. We know where they are going and at the end of that four years we can vote for that government or a different party.”

IN THE NEWS: ICBA Signs Partnership With College of New Caledonia

ICBA Vice-President Lindsay Langill and VP-Regional Development Mike Davis were in Prince George yesterday to sign a partnership agreement with the College of New Caledonia. As reported by 250News:

Specifically, both parties will partner on recruitment, retention and advancement opportunities for graduates in the construction industry.

“I think it’s an opportunity. It’s that seamless transition from our classrooms into the industry,” said Frank Rossi, CNC Dean of Trades and Technologies. “And I think there’s a gap with industry as far as the need for students and our students are always looking for opportunities. So, if there’s an opportunity for them to transition into an industry, that’s an advantage.”

It’s the first time the ICBA has signed an MOU with a post-secondary institution. Will it be the first of many?

“We want to be strategic in who we partner with and certainly the North has golden opportunities around many new projects that hopefully come to fruition,” said Dr. Lindsay Langill, ICBA VP. “And so, working with a college like CNC, which is the anchor of training in the North, is very important for us to make sure we’re a partner in assisting and helping them achieve their goals.”

CKPG News was also at the signing and did this story:

ICBA NEWS RELEASE: ICBA Launches Campaign To #Get2Yes on Site C

Support the 2,252 Site C Construction Workers – go to and send an email to B.C.’s three party leaders! (See here for photos from today’s pink slip event in Vancouver.)

VANCOUVER, B.C.: With 2,252 jobs hanging in the balance, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) launched a public campaign today to push the NDP-Green alliance to #Get2Yes on the Site C dam.

ICBA launched its campaign with a media event at BC Hydro’s Vancouver headquarters, using 2,252 Site C pink slips to illustrate how many people went to work this morning on the Peace River dam site. It is encouraging members of the public who support clean energy jobs to visit and send an email to B.C.’s three party leaders.

“In their power-sharing deal, John Horgan and Andrew Weaver agreed that Site C should be reviewed based on ‘current’ supply and demand metrics,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA President. “This stacks the deck against a project that isn’t being built for today, but to help meet B.C.’s electricity needs for the next century, and to offer a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels.”

“B.C. can’t simply throw away the $4 billion already spent on Site C,” said Jordan Bateman, ICBA Communications Director. “Taxpayers have made a significant investment in that clean energy project, one ratified by the people who live closest to it – the BC Liberal candidate won the Site C riding by 10 to 1 over the NDP.”

Site C spent more than a decade going through environmental assessments and regulatory reviews, and was signed off by both the federal and provincial governments – all of which was upheld by a unanimous decision of the B.C. Court of Appeal last fall.

In the coming weeks, ICBA will hold more #Get2Yes on Site C campaign events in Victoria and Fort St. John.

“The 2,252 men and women working on Site C today deserve our support as their jobs hang in the balance,” said Gardner. “When Horgan and Weaver talk about ‘yesterday’s economy,’ they demean the work of hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who put on a tool belt every morning and go about building our province.”


ICBA OP/ED: NDP-Green Deal Will Burn British Columbians

By Chris Gardner, ICBA President

The big smiling premier from Kelowna always knew defeat in politics was inevitable. After all, no political party rules forever. It could come after one term, or two or three or four, but a loss was always coming. It was just a matter of time.

W.A.C. Bennett had been premier for 20 years when the NDP finally defeated him in 1972. But he saw that loss as an opportunity to cement another generation of free enterprise government. He was right: three years later, the NDP were vanquished again.

“People needed to put their finger on the hot stove, and feel it,” W.A.C. Bennett said on election night, 1975, the night the Socreds defeated the NDP and were restored to government. “They felt it! And tonight they’ve taken it away.”

As we prepare for Premier John Horgan – with his Green-infused plans to raise taxes, kill responsible resource development projects, strangle job creators with red tape, and go into deficit – W.A.C.’s words ring true again. B.C. is about to experience the economic pain NDP governments inevitably cause in British Columbia.

B.C.’s finger is on the hot stove again.

Horgan and Andrew Weaver live 1,282 kilometres away from the Site C dam, but are rigging the BC Utilities Commission process to kill Site C, and fire 2,200 construction workers. These men and women got up this morning and went to the job site to support their families and build a project that will deliver clean reliable power for future generations.

Site C spent more than a decade going through environmental assessments and regulatory reviews, and was signed off by both the federal and provincial governments – all of which was upheld by a unanimous decision of the B.C. Court of Appeal last fall.

Horgan and Weaver’s backroom deal promises a Site C review based on “current” energy supply and demand. This stacks the deck against a project that isn’t being built for today, but to help meet B.C.’s electricity needs for the next century, and to offer a climate-friendly alternative to fossil fuels.

It’s short-term thinking, partisan politics and outright hypocrisy at its worst: In 2009, Andrew Weaver was a passionate defender of Site C. He wanted BC Hydro to get back into megaprojects. “They should be carving out their niche with the Site C dam,” he told The Globe and Mail. “I cannot see what is stopping Site C.” Now he is the one stopping Site C’s clean energy.

The NDP-Green goal of “revitalizing the environmental review process” is code for finding ways to get to “No.” They plan to inject their politics into every regulatory and environmental review of important energy, resource and infrastructure projects.

Not found in the Horgan-Weaver pact: any prospect of a balanced budget, any target for economic growth, any plan to build the infrastructure we need to compete in a global economy, or any plan to harness our natural resources responsibly.  In short, no bold vision to build our province.

More than 200,000 people in B.C. make a living in construction. Another 65,000 people work in forestry and tens of thousands more on pipelines, in the mines, on the water, and in the oil and gas sector – responsibly developing B.C.’s abundant natural resources.

These are real projects, real jobs and real families. They are not “a myth,” or “unicorns,” as Weaver so arrogantly dismissed them last week with Horgan standing by his side. When Horgan and Weaver talk about “yesterday’s economy,” they demean the work of hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who put on a tool belt every morning and go about building our province.

W.A.C. Bennett knew what would happen as British Columbians saw jobs disappear and the province’s prosperity evaporate under the 1970s NDP. We’d pull our hand from the hot stove.

Let’s hope that once again we learn our lesson quickly, and that our economy doesn’t get burned too badly by this new NDP-Green coalition government.