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Generous ICBA donation benefits Northern Lights College Carpentry students


Carpentry students from Northern Lights College (NLC) will be pleased to learn of a new $10,000 donation from the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).

Dean of Trades and Apprenticeships, Mark Heartt, said the donation will directly benefit the College’s Carpentry program.

“The Trades Department was able to purchase audiovisual equipment worth about $5,000 to date that will enable better online training for our learning management system,” said Heartt, “the additional funds will go towards other much needed carpentry equipment.” Read more

Recent letter to the Globe and Mail: Housing shut-out


It’s pretty rich to read that Mayor Gregor Robertson is complaining about inaction on Vancouver’s housing affordability from every level of government but his own (Government To Blame For Middle Class Being Shut Out Of Vancouver Home Market, Mayor Says – Sept. 30).

Sure, senior governments have a role to play. But we see little to no concern on the city’s part with the bloated regulatory costs it unnecessarily tacks onto the price of housing. Those costs come in at more than $37,000 per housing unit in Vancouver – one of the highest levels anywhere in the region – and a typical residential project approval requires more than 15 months.

These are significant affordability barriers, and in our view responsibility for them lies squarely on Mr. Robertson’s shoulders. Instead, he seems to want to deflect. And while that’s a classic political strategy, it rarely brings us any closer to real solutions on difficult issues.

Philip Hochstein, president, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, Vancouver

How much do you pay for Financial Advice?

If you’ve been reading the Vancouver Sun, The Province, The Globe and Mail, the National Post or merely glimpsed at that little screen in the elevator, you may have seen a reference to a very significant change in the Financial Industry called the Client Relationship Model, Phase 2 or CRM2.   These upcoming changes do not increase what you are paying for advice, but you will now have a few more numbers on the statement showing investment performance and cost in actual dollar figures.


When you invest in a Mutual Fund, you pay a Management Expense Ratio (MER) based on the amount of money you have invested.  For instance, if you have $100,000 invested in a Mutual Fund with a 2.50% MER, you are paying $2,500 per year in overall fees.  In many cases, this Mutual Fund Company will pay the Investment Advisors Company 1% or $1,000 per year in annual revenue.   This $1,000 will be disclosed on your statement if you work with an Investment Advisor.  If you work with a Bank Sales Representative or any Advisor that is only able to offer their firms own products, this will not necessarily be disclosed. Read more

Affordable Housing: The BC Construction Monitor


It’s been an active and interesting few months on the housing file in British Columbia. There was a sharp step-back in sales in Metro Vancouver over the summer, in the wake of the retroactive 15% tax on foreign real estate purchasers. But it’s not at all clear that the long-term impact of this and other recent housing-related actions will be all that significant.

The problem is that we’re trying to regulate – and, ironically, tax – our way to affordable housing; and with an almost exclusive focus on decreasing demand. But even if we brought foreign investment in Metro Vancouver real estate to a full stop, what about the tens of thousands of new households that will be formed through population growth in the years to come?

Among the ranks of those struggling to find acceptable housing here are a growing number of pro-housing “Yes-in-my-Backyard” or YIMBY activists. And they are calling for an at least equal focus on the crucial supply side of the equation.
In this Monitor, we detail how intense the supply-demand imbalance has become, and we identify some of the ways of moderating it. Certainly a reduction in the large municipally imposed regulatory burden has to be part of the solution, since research demonstrates that housing supply is particularly sensitive to added delays and uncertainty. Read more

How unions got $85 million from the Trudeau government to help them recruit construction workers

Labour Day usually results in a host of self-congratulatory press releases from unions trumpeting their importance in ensuring Canadians do not toil away in factories reminiscent of the London of Charles Dickens.  Rather than debate whether that would be the reality without unions, most Canadians are happy to give labour its day and spend a long weekend at the cottage.

However, when overstated union claims of their importance start to impact public policy and the economy, then it is time for Canadians to take notice.

One such example lies buried in the 2016 Federal Budget, which promised $85.4 million over five years to support union-based apprenticeship training.  While investments in apprenticeship training are critical to address the looming labour shortages in the construction sector, this particular investment completely ignores current employment realities.

The issue is simple: other than Quebec, the vast majority of employment in construction is in the open shop sector, wherein union membership is not a condition of employment.  For example, in Saskatchewan 15% of the construction workforce is unionized versus 85% in the open shop sector.  In Alberta, fewer than 20% of the construction workforce is represented by a building trades union.  In New Brunswick, over 75% of the workforce is open shop.  These figures are consistent across the country, yet the Federal Government has chosen to give union training centres $85.4 million. Read more

Additional grants available for your Registered Educations Savings Plan (RESP)

Keeping up with all the changes to Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) since 1997 is a difficult task to say the least. You are now able to contribute up to $50,000 per child and the Federal Government will contribute up to $7,200.

Many additional educational programs qualify in addition to traditional University and College degrees. In order to maximize the value of the RESP, comprehensive planning is required.

One benefit available to residents of B.C. is the Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG). Unlike the Federal Government Grant, this is not based on how much you contribute. However, you do need to apply for this. In order to qualify, the following criteria must be met:

  • Child born in 2006 or later

  • You and the child are residents of B.C.

  • The child is a beneficiary of an RESP with a participating institution

For children born between 2006 and 2009, the BCTESG is now available. Depending on the year of birth, the last day to apply may be as soon as August 14, 2018. Start the process early to ensure you are dealing with a qualified institution that is able to access this grant for you.

Article Courtesy

Creed Capital Management


We need to get to Yes on projects like the Trans Mountain expansion

Is there public support for major projects in BC like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?


Through a recent poll, we determined that there is exceptionally strong support for responsible resource development. Support for these projects crosses political boundaries, and that opponents, while vocal, represent a very small minority in British Columbia.

The poll found 84 per cent of residents support responsible resource development. British Columbians understand that a resource-based economy creates jobs not only in construction but in almost every other sector of the economy. The high paying jobs created by the pipeline lead to more spending at hotels and restaurants, at auto dealers, on after-school activities and recreation.

Read more

Enduring Power of Attorney

There are some common misconceptions among people in Canada about the need for an EPA that can lead to inefficiencies when they are least needed.

Everything is joint with my spouse:

While you are able to make many financial accounts jointly held, there are certain assets such as RSP’s and Tax Free Savings Accounts that are not able to be jointly held.  Without an EPA, your spouse may not be able to access these assets should you need them.   Along these lines, your principle residence is likely jointly held.  To be able to access the value of your home through sale or to borrow against the equity in your home, both signatures are likely required.

We already have an ordinary Power of Attorney in place:

As of September 2011, an ordinary Power of Attorney is no longer valid if the person who granted the Power of Attorney becomes incapacitated.   If there is no EPA in place, the court does have the power to appoint people to manage your affairs, but this can be very time consuming, costly and contentious at a time when legal and financial issues should be secondary to health concerns for all involved.  If you have a Power of Attorney that is more than five years old, it would be recommended to review the changes by the BC Provincial Government.

There is a very useful link on the Province of British Colombia website ( under “Incapacity Planning” which outlines considerations you will want to make when looking at your entire Estate Planning scenario.  While this is a topic that is very difficult to discuss, it may be the most important piece of your Estate Plan that will protect you and those around you if they are forced to deal with incapacity.

Article courtesy:

Creed Capital Management


Upcoming Trans Mountain Ministerial Panels


The public is welcome at all sessions. Formal registration is not required. Send an email to indicating your preferred time and location to assist with their planning.

Schedules and venues will be updated on the Major Projects Management Office website here. All times below are local.

August 9: Burnaby BC, Hilton Vancouver Metrotown, Crystal Ballroom
1000-1200: Environmental NGO roundtable
1300-1430: Local government roundtable #1
1500-1630: Local government roundtable #2

August 10: Burnaby BC, Hilton Vancouver Metrotown, Crystal Ballroom
0930-1030: Education roundtable
1100-1200: NGO roundtable
1330-1700: Public town hall

August 11: Burnaby BC, Hilton Vancouver Metrotown, Crystal Ballroom
1330-1500: Economic round-table
1630-2000: Public town hall

August 16: Vancouver BCV
Socio-economic NGO roundtable
Transportation roundtable
Economic roundtable
Local government roundtable

August 17: Vancouver BC
NGO roundtable
Public town hall

August 18: Vancouver BC
First Nations roundtable
Environmental NGO roundtable

August 19: North Vancouver BC, North Vancouver District Hall
1030-1200: Local government roundtable
1430-1900: Public town hall

August 22: Victoria BC
Local government roundtable
First Nations roundtable

August 23: Victoria BC
NGO roundtable
public town hall

2016 Award for Construction Workplace Health and Safety Innovation now open

ICBA and WorkSafeBC are pleased to announce that the 2016 Award for Construction Workplace Health and Safety Innovation is now open for entries from ICBA members and their employees. 


The Workplace Health and Safety Innovation Award is presented annually to acknowledge individuals and companies for their efforts in the prevention of workplace incidents, injuries and illnesses. By honouring safety leaders and sharing their ideas ICBA and WorkSafe BC hope to encourage new programs, policies, and projects that improve the health and safety of workers. The award recognizes the employee or team of employees who come up with an innovative program, policy, tool or project that demonstrates a proven accomplishment in the area of health and safety for the construction industry sector. There is a $5,000 prize for the best submission and will be presented at the ICBA AGM on Monday, October 3 at the Executive Hotel & Conference Centre Burnaby. Eligibility All employees of ICBA member companies are eligible for the Annual Awards for Innovation in Workplace Health and Safety for Construction.

Please click here for an application form. Or click here for the submission guidelines and information.