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TRAINING ‘THRONESDAY’: Municipal Map Reading and Utility Safety Workshop

April is Safe Digging Month, and as we’re wrapping up the month we have a few courses coming up that focus on that topic! Are you looking to gain an understanding on how to interpret and read documentation that relates to the Municipal Infrastructure? We have the course for you!

Check our Municipal Map Reading workshop in Burnaby May 9 or August 7, Prince George on May 31, and Victoria on August 30.

Participants will learn the related Regulations, Acts and Master Municipal Construction Documents as well as blueprint reading symbols, legend and design specifications for local cities, municipalities and townships.

You will also review BC One Call documentation, utility owner’s roles and responsibilities, ground disturbers’ roles and responsibilities, and safe utility locating practices.

After completing this course, students will get a better understanding of how to read and interpret municipal Construction Drawings.

Here are the course objectives:

  • Reviewing Utility information and hazards
  • Understanding Workers Compensation Act & WorksafeBC Regulations
  • Utility Safety Awareness
  • Review BC One Call Documentation
  • Blue Print Map Reading Group Activities
  • Review on Locating Underground infrastructure
  • Understanding Safety Procedures and Practices
  • Knowing the Emergency Response for Utility Owners

Plus, you’ll earn 3.5 Group A CPD Points and 4 Group B CPD Points from BC Housing!

You can register for this workshop and any of our other training courses at

TRAINING THURSDAY: Lean for Construction – A Practical Approach

Are you familiar with the principles of Lean Construction? We can help!

The application of Lean Construction principles within the industry has gained considerable traction over the last decade due to the need for productivity gains and shortened lead times.

The challenge is that traditional Lean is centered around manufacturing environments, making some tools ineffective in the construction arena. In this session, learn a simple and practical approach to implementing the Lean concepts within construction to boost productivity, shorten lead times, and heighten customer value.

In this fun and interactive full-day workshop, participants will be introduced to key Lean tools:

  • The 8 types of waste negatively impacting cost, lead time, and quality
  • How to use Value Stream Maps to identify where waste is
  • The 5S system for maintaining a safe and organized work environment
  • The Last Planner® System for heightened collaboration and effective work plans
  • The Plan, Do, Check, Act system for problem solving

Plus you’ll earn 1 Gold Seal Credit and 7.5 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing! Our next session takes place May 2 in Victoria, and July 24 in Burnaby. Register for this or any of our upcoming workshops at

And don’t forget to subscribe to our training newsletter at to receive biweekly updates on courses and events in your area.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Microsoft Excel Courses

Looking to Excel at work? We have some courses for you!

Our Microsoft Excel for Business course will teach you to use Excel to create budgets, track costs, generate quotes and more. Participants with even a very basic knowledge of Excel will progress quickly to creating basic databases, budgets, graphs, reports and equations. Here are some of the skills you’ll learn:

  • Customize excel options and views
  • Create and manipulate tables
  • Filter and sort data
  • Apply formulas
  • Use the correct syntax to insert functions
  • Create and format cells and ranges
  • Order and group cells and ranges
  • Apply cell ranges and references in formulas and functions
  • Summarize data with functions
  • Apply conditional logic in functions
  • Format and modify text with functions
  • Create and format charts and objects

This course offers 1 Gold Seal Credit.

And if you’re looking to build on your skills, we have a Microsoft Excel Advanced course! You’ll learn to use advanced functions such as lookup and reference, conditional logic and conditional summary, and work with shared workbooks and worksheets. You’ll also earn 1 Gold Seal Credit for this course.

Interested? Our next Excel for Business course is in Prince George May 6, followed by June 5 in Victoria and September 24 in Burnaby. Our next Excel Advanced course is in Prince George May 7, Burnaby May 9, and Victoria June 6.

Register for these or any of our other upcoming workshops at

OP/ED: City Hall Failing Residents on Affordability

This op-ed by ICBA President Chris Gardner first appeared in The Province on April 10, 2019.

Why do politicians given the reins of power seem so allergic to common sense?

Time and again, governments pull out of their policy hats, with a conviction that would make the boldest of rats blush, policies that confound and confuse average voters.

Federally, the Trudeau Liberals are about to impose a ban on tankers on only one of our three coasts – the west – with no scientific rationale. In addition, the Liberals sought to punish every entrepreneur and small business with a draconian set of new tax policies that penalized people for taking risk and starting a new business.

Provincially, we have seen the NDP make a ridiculous and expensive attempt to change our electoral system, restrict participation on taxpayer-funded construction projects to their favoured unions, and, with callous disregard for public sentiment, keep ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft from operating in B.C.

Ottawa and Victoria always get plenty of press, but what about local government? Much of what impacts our daily lives comes from city hall, and there are a lot of city halls and a lot to be confounded about.

And it is here where the nexus between housing affordability and families looking to purchase homes at reasonable prices meets with results that do not end well for homebuyers.

In communities across B.C., local councils make decisions every week that makes it more difficult to buy affordable homes. They impose red tape and regulations that make it harder and more costly to build homes. It is a fact that in many communities, it now takes longer to get a project approved and permitted than it does to build it. This is a stunning indictment of the ability of unchecked local councils to make life more unaffordable for homebuyers.

Take North Vancouver District for example. Newly elected Mayor Mike Little and most of his council have decided the way to bring about affordable housing is by rejecting virtually all new housing applications, including, unbelievably, non-profit affordable housing.

Shortly after their election last November, Council shot down an 80-unit affordable housing project by Catalyst Community Developments Society – a non-profit housing group. The project, two years in the making, involved the District contributing land in the form of a parking lot at the former Delbrook Recreation Centre. In return, Catalyst would build the project and offer the 80 units at approximately 20% below market rents.

Mayor Little led a 5-2 vote on Council to defeat the project, even though the proposal won an award for engaging the community.

Next up was the non-profit Hollyburn Family Services project. Hollyburn spent years putting together a 100-unit affordable housing project on district-owned land at Burr Place. The goal? All units would be offered at below market rates to provide desperately needed housing for low income seniors, families and youth.

North Vancouver District Council voted to kill the project during a closed-door meeting, before plans for it could be shared with the public. Again, it was a 5-2 vote, led by Little. In a bizarre comment following the vote, Little said that he campaigned not on creating affordable housing but on social housing!

With successive provincial governments sitting idly on the sidelines, similar stories play out in too many communities across B.C.

Whether it’s a new seniors centre, a townhome complex, high-rise or a new road, as soon as a project is proposed the forces of “no” rally for the status quo and “more consultation.” Traffic, noise, views and quality of life are trotted out at council meeting after council meeting wrapped up in a dystopian narrative that sends local councils running in full retreat.

In the middle of a full-blown housing affordability crisis, one might think city halls would be focused on increasing supply, reducing red tape and making it easier to bring housing stock on the market faster in an effort to reduce the pressure on the prices of homes.

Unfortunately, we see more “Nero fiddling” and buck-passing than city halls acting with the speed, purpose and boldness required to make a real difference in the local housing market. The actions of councils like North Vancouver District demonstrate that for families looking for relief at city hall, the wait will be long indeed.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Effective Management Skills

Are you an effective manager? We can help! Our Effective Management Skills workshop is making several stops around the province this year and we can’t wait to see you in one of those sessions!

Everyone agrees that the most important asset of any organization is the human asset.  Thus, the all important question becomes – how much untapped potential, energy, commitment and creativity currently exists within your organization, team or department?  What would it mean to your culture and bottom-line if you could learn to unleash just 10% more of the latent human potential?

This course is for all managers, supervisors, team leaders or anyone who is responsible for achieving results through people and who want to bring the best out in people.

Here’s some of what’s covered:

  • Understanding group dynamics and how to develop team synergy
  • Developing clear performance expectations for the team
  • The four core elements of a high-performance team
  • The principles of effective delegation
  • The vital importance of developing clear “outcome-based” performance expectations whenever possible
  • How to listen so that people feel understood
  • How disagree someone without being disagreeable
  • The essential difference between influence and persuasion
  • How to deliver reinforcing or positive feedback in a manner that makes it meaningful

And much more! Plus you’ll earn 1 Gold Seal Credit and 5.5 Group A CPD Points and 2 Group B CPD Points from BC Housing.

The next session is in Burnaby on April 17, followed by May 29 in Kamloops, June 3 in Prince George, June 12 in Langley, August 20 in Victoria, and October 3 in Fort St John. Visit for more information and to register for any of these workshops.

TRAINING THURSDAY: PST Issues for Oil and Gas Contractors

You asked and we listened! We’re offering two sessions of our new special presentation on PST Issues for Oil and Gas Contractors in Fort St John next month! The first session takes place April 9 from 4 to 6:30 p.m., and then the next morning from 7:30 to 10 a.m.

This workshop was developed in partnership with the BC Ministry of Finance specifically for oil and gas contractors, and discusses the real property and real property contracts involved in the oil and gas industry.

Registration is free for ICBA members! Register now at

And don’t miss our two breakfast sessions with CBC and National Post commentator Rex Murphy. The first will be in Prince George on May 7, and then on May 8 in Victoria. You can register for these sessions at