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New West Partnership premiers to harmonize apprenticeship initiatives across the West

With 13 apprentice systems in Canada, it is encouraging to see Western Premiers take steps to address the cross jurisdictional challenges apprentice’s face. Allowing skilled trades apprentices to move across provinces without having to retrain is advantageous not only for the apprentice but also for employers who operate in multiple jurisdictions.

This move is also a step in the right direction when it comes to dealing with a looming skilled labour shortage. With the expected resource boom in B.C., there will be more jobs and not enough skilled workers to fill them. British Columbians should be first in line for those jobs, but when we need more workers; our industry is going to look to our neighbours in Alberta and Saskatchewan next. Alberta and Saskatchewan will do the same.

This decision removes barriers and makes it easier for western provinces to share resources.

 

Canada Jobs Grant good news for B.C.

Having foresight and the fortitude to plan for the decade ahead is not an easy feat.  Minister Bond’s deserves credit for sticking up for B.C. on the Canada Jobs Grant file and for tackling the skills training challenge that looms.

The Canada Jobs Fund and Canada Jobs Grant agreement in principle is good news for British Columbians. The agreement means there is a $65 million pot of money that the province will invest in skills training through the Canada Jobs Fund. It also means that the new job grant will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs.  Businesses with a plan to train British Columbians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant.  Most importantly, it will help workers get the skills they need and put skills training decisions in the hands of employers.

There is no easy solution to resolving the skills training shortage and there are challenges ahead. It is a shared responsibility between government and industry, and government is doing its share with limited and scarce resources.

What is most evident is Minister Bond is leaving no stone unturned and taking necessary steps to ensure  we have a trained workforce with the skills to meet our labour demands today and tomorrow.

With the major resource and infrastructure projects pending including LNG, they are steadfastly determined to ensuring that British Columbians are first in line for those jobs.

Federal decision on New Prosperity Mine hurts B.C.

Rejecting Taseko’s proposed New Prosperity mine comes as a surprise and is huge blow to the future of B.C.’s economy and for the Williams Lake community.  Because of the federal government’s decision, 1200 construction workers will not have jobs and 500 British Columbians will not benefit from permanent jobs. It means losing $730 million in added provincial and federal revenue during its operating life.

One of our competitive advantages is our ability to harness the power of our vast natural resource sector responsibly. We have been doing so for decades. In B.C., the sustainable environmental practices of mining are a global beacon of good practice and we are the world’s leading centre of expertise for mineral exploration.

When the world is watching, the decision to reject the New Prosperity mine sends the wrong message. Our province is focused on getting a foothold in emerging markets and attracting new investment so that the private sector can create stable, well-paying jobs for British Columbians.  Jobs in communities like Williams Lake where they are looking to grow and to keep families close to home.

A recent edition of our Construction Monitor explores the benefits of the New Prosperity mine and what it means to B.C.’s future.

CEO Breakfast Focused on LNG and the Economy

Minister Rich Coleman addresses packed room at ICBA's 17th annual CEO Breakfast
Minister Rich Coleman addresses packed room at ICBA’s 17th annual CEO Breakfast

With more than 200 construction industry leaders and representatives, it was a crowded room at ICBA’s 17th annual CEO breakfast. This year’s keynote speakers included Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development, Rich Coleman and BCBC’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Jock Finlayson.

The plans for a new liquefied natural gas industry are taking shape. It was clear from Minister Coleman’s remarks there is real momentum and B.C. can emerge as a leader in this industry. So far,12 proponents are interested in building LNG plants and final investment decisions are expected this year. If three of these multibillion-dollar LNG plants are up and running by 2020, that could result in thousands of construction jobs. This bodes well for our industry.

BC Utility Commission decision favours competition

ICBA along with the Mechanical Contractors Association of B.C., HRAI and Ameresco formed the Coalition for Open Competition and came forward to oppose Fortis BC’s attempts to broaden their gas distribution monopoly and compete unfairly in the heating and air conditioning market. The Coalition’s voice was heard.

The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) came down firmly on the side of competition. They rejected Fortis BC’s application to expand its business into mechanical contracting. Fortis BC’s application would allow their work  to be regulated by guaranteed pricing. This would extend their monopoly and hurt the small businesses in this market. Read more

Construction industry’s changing role is vital for prosperity in B.C.

As we move into 2014, the future of British Columbia’s construction industry is looking bright.

With massive resource projects on the horizon and a recently re-elected provincial government that wants to harness the power of these projects to drive economic prosperity for all, thousands of new jobs will be created.

One example is the rapidly growing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry. As of today, there are 12 projects in various stages of development. They are some of the largest projects in our province’s history. Just one, the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, is larger than the proposed Keystone Pipeline expansion in the United States. Read more

B.C.’s balanced budget provides certainty and stability for the construction industry

Last week, B.C.’s Finance Minister Mike de Jong tabled a balanced budget that forecasts surpluses for the next three fiscal years. This is good news for British Columbia and good news for the construction industry.

Part of the government’s plan to grow the economy is to invest in infrastructure. Over the next three years, there is a healthy capital spending program of $11 billion and this doesn’t include spending of Crown corporations such as BC Hydro.

The construction industry should be pleased with this and the fact that this is the kind of budget that is good to see because it has stability, predictability and consistency. Read more

Site C dam offers decades of benefit

Cheap and reliable electricity is a cornerstone of British Columbia’s economy. This month’s Construction Monitor examines the Site C Clean Energy Project, a major new source of power in northeastern B.C.  Today, B.C. has a chance to renew and extend the legacy that W.A.C. Bennett began in the 1960s when his government built massive dams and generating stations on the Peace and Columbia Rivers.

 

The Site C Clean Energy Project on the Peace would create a major new source of power, at a time when BC Hydro expects demand for power to leap with development of a new liquefied natural gas export industry. The $7.9 billion Site C project does more than drive our exports. It creates prosperity for thousands of B.C. businesses and tens of thousands of workers. Construction of the dam and its generating station brings 10,000 person-years of direct employment, and a total of 33,000 person years of work throughout the economy.

Read more

Site C generates support from B.C. business, industry and chamber groups

January 23, 2014

SITE C GENERATES SUPPORT FROM BC BUSINESS, INDUSTRY AND CHAMBER GROUPS

Federal and provincial governments urged to approve project

Vancouver, B.C. A broad cross-section of organizations representing companies, industries and chambers of commerce across British Columbia is voicing support for BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project and urging the federal and provincial governments to approve the project.

Site C would be the third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeast B.C. If approved, it would generate clean and renewable power, produce low amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and have a relatively small reservoir footprint for the 5,100 gigawatt hours of energy it would produce – enough to power 450,000 homes a year.

As part of a cooperative federal-provincial environmental assessment of the project, a Joint Review Panel has been holding public hearings in northern B.C. and Alberta communities over the past two months. The hearings conclude today and the panel will be preparing a report to the federal and provincial governments.

In supporting Site C and calling for the federal and provincial governments to approve the project, the group of organizations noted the role that hydroelectric power has played in building B.C.’s economy. They also noted the economic benefits of the project, with construction alone generating 10,000 person-years of direct employment, 33,000 person-years of direct and indirect work throughout the province, and $3.2 billion to the provincial GDP. Read more

ICBA Training: Seismic Design for Houses in the BC Building Code (Part 9 Requirements)

The 2012 BC Building Code introduced seismic design requirements for all houses and other Part 9 buildings. At first glance, the requirements can be intimidating and complex. Understanding these requirements will allow builders to design and build homes to resist lateral loads, without requiring an engineer.

The workshop on November 27, 2013  will provide a detailed review of the Part 9 requirements and hands-on practice applying the requirements to actual house plans. The format of this workshop encourages discussion, and participants can prepare by reviewing the Homeowner Protection Office’s Illustrated Guide for Seismic Design of Houses (www.hpo.bc.ca/seismic-design-guide). Read more