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NOTICE TO MEMBERS: Proportional Representation – bad for construction, bad for business, bad for BC

To all ICBA Members,

Today, millions of ballots are being put in the mail to ask British Columbians to change the way we elect our provincial government.

The NDP and Green Party want to move to a form of proportional representation, a system of government that has been proved in Europe to slow economic growth, bloat the size of government bureaucracy, and encourage the rise of extremist fringe parties.

After much consideration and study, ICBA has concluded that the current system of electing governments, “First-Past-The-Post” is the best one for creating the economic conditions that keep construction companies working.

We have developed this PDF, describing the choices on the mail-in ballot, and why we believe the current system must be saved. Many of our member companies and clients are distributing this to their staff, posting them in lunch rooms, and encouraging their workers to vote against proportional representation.

We ask that your company consider doing the same. This is too important an issue for the construction community to ignore.

Please read the flyer and decide for yourself. Thank you.

Chris Gardner
ICBA President

TRAINING THURSDAY: Writing Effective Letters, Scope Documents, Reports & Proposals

Everyone can benefit from being a good writer, whether you’re working in an office, on a job site, or telecommuting. How are your writing skills? Is your writing effective and focused on what you need to get across to the reader?

Our Writing Effective Letters, Scope Documents, Reports and Proposals course will teach you exactly that: to write more effectively. You’ll learn to tailor your writing for your audience and purpose, apply the strategies required for effective scope documents, letters, and reports, and incorporate key principles for editing and revising your documents.

Some of the topics the course covers are:

  • Planning your scope documents;
  • Writing concisely;
  • Crafting effective emails and letters;
  • Responding to bids and proposals;
  • Structuring your reports and project documentation.

Plus, you’ll earn 1 Gold Seal Credit, 3.5 Group A CPD Points, and 4 Group B CPD Points from BC Housing! Our next session is October 29 in Victoria, and then November 5 in Kelowna. We are also bringing it to Prince George November 27 and Burnaby November 29. You can register for this or any of our other courses at www.icba.ca/courses.

TALES OF PROP REP HORROR #12 – “The Ungovernable”

Prop rep supporters make it sound warm and wonderful, but prop rep creates nothing but backroom deals, sleazy politics, and splinter parties. As Foreign Policy magazine puts it, it makes country “ungovernable.”

The Netherlands has 150 seats in its parliament, and 13 different parties are represented. This makes it near impossible to stitch together a coalition to govern.

B.C. would eventually go the same way under prop rep. You’d see the BC Liberal splinter into Liberals and Conservatives, and then social conservatives and fiscal conservatives. You’d see the NDP lose their green folks and then their private sector union supporters and the Greens lose their rabid eco-activists and their anti-everything people. There’d be regional parties – the north, Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Kootenays, and Vancouver Island. There’d be a Surrey party. There’d be the fringe parties – anti-immigration, anti-trade.

And before you knew it, B.C. too would be ungovernable.

Don’t believe us? It’s happening in prop rep democracies all over the world. Read it for yourself.

Yet another reason to Stop Prop Rep! www.icba.ca/stopproprep

Pass this post on to your friends and family – David Eby’s draconian, anti-free speech rules won’t allow us to advertise it, but individuals can spread it as much as they like. Let’s make sure every British Columbian sees it.

And stay tuned for more “Tales of Prop Rep Horror”…

Tales of Prop Rep Horror #11 – “Czech the Commies at the Door”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #10 – “Second Place Prime Minister”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #9 – “No Kings in North(-ern Ireland)”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #8 – “How Swede It Isn’t”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #7 – “Rise of the Dictators”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #6 – “Indonesian Indecency”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #5 – “Beware the Greeks!”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #4 – “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! NO! NO! NO!”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #3 – “From Russia With Blood”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #2 – “The Pain in Spain”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #1 – “The Puzzle of Brussels”

OP/ED: Fairness Matters – tell that to Victoria

The following piece by ICBA president Chris Gardner first appeared in The Province on Oct. 15, 2018.

No matter one’s political inclination, we expect those holding office to be fair and transparent in how they govern the province.

However, not 15 months after John Horgan was sworn in as premier, at ICBA we find ourselves a party in two major lawsuits against the government. While the issues in each are vastly different, what we are fighting for can be summed up in one simple word – fairness.

The first is a challenge to the NDP government’s ill-conceived referendum on proportional representation. By any objective standard, the NDP government has done everything in its power to rig this referendum. It defined the campaign period as beginning four months before the ballots go out in the mail, severely restricting what people can say, how they can say it and what resources they can use to say it.

ICBA’s attempt to simply explain to the public why we are in court and what we are hoping to achieve was deemed by Elections B.C. to contravene the NDP Government’s rules. This draconian trampling of free speech and debate is highly offensive and undermines our basic democratic values.

The question on the ballot is the current system vs. three alternatives that many political scientists have found significant flaws in. Try and get any supporter of proportional representation to explain the “Droop Formula” or the “Gregory Method” over a cup of coffee – they can’t.

The government dropped the threshold of approval to a mere 50% plus one vote. Yet the Supreme Court of Canada has set out that there should be no significant changes to our system of government without voters expressing their view on a clear question and without a compelling majority of voters supporting that change. Fifty per cent plus one didn’t cut it for Quebec separation; it shouldn’t cut it for fundamentally changing our electoral system.

A few weeks ago, while addressing B.C.’s municipal leaders, John Horgan stated that he will use the full weight of the Premier’s Office to campaign for proportional representation while asking voters to “take a leap of faith.” That’s an astonishing departure from Gordon Campbell who made a point of staying neutral in the 2005 and 2009 referenda on electoral reform.

The second ICBA legal challenge is to the NDP government’s new policy of forcing every construction worker in B.C. who wants to work on a major transportation project funded by provincial taxpayers to join an NDP-approved union. Those NDP unions employ less than 15 per cent of the construction workers in the province – effectively shutting out 85 per cent of the men and women in B.C. who are not members of one of these NDP unions. This policy is not only discriminatory, but also impractical and will cost taxpayers dearly.

If you listen the rhetoric coming from John Horgan and the organizers of these special unions, you would think that the construction sector in B.C. has been in the dark ages for generations. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Construction accounts for about 10 per cent of the province’s economic activity and is employing more people, training more people, and has more women and Indigenous workers today than at any other time in our history. Creating a new Crown Corporation, forcing workers to join NDP-endorsed unions, and preventing businesses from working on projects with their own workers will be confusing, convoluted and costly.

The proportional representation referendum process betrays the very democratic principles that John Horgan is saying he wants to enhance. Union-only hiring is one of the worst kinds of backroom political deals with special interests by any government in B.C. history.

The common thread that links these two cases is the NDP’s lack of fairness. Fairness for voters, taxpayers, and the men and women in construction.

SUBMISSION: ICBA’s 2019/20 Pre-Budget Submission to the Government Finance Committee

In ICBA’s submission to the BC Government Finance Committee, we recap the economic headwinds Canada is facing, and add in all the tax and red tape measures brought in by the NDP Government. It’s not good news for B.C.’s job creators:

Coming to grips with these – and other — foundational elements of Canadian economic competitiveness requires concerted focus by both provincial and federal governments. Regrettably, the BC government has embarked on a path which does little to help build a more robust, resilient, and long-term competitive provincial economic policy framework.

Over the course of its first year in office, the provincial government has undertaken many policy measures which will make business investment and long-term job creation more challenging. While putatively focusing on addressing “affordability”, the government has paradoxically pursued an array of measures which raise revenues through business and personal tax increases making life less affordable and BC less attractive for investment and talented workers.

Read our full submission HERE.

MEMBER ALERT: Draft Policies Around Cannabis Legalization

There are big changes coming to Canada around the legalization of cannabis. This will have an effect on every part of Canadian life, including workplaces.

As you are all aware, on October 17th, 2018, subject to provincial restrictions, adults who are 18 years of age or older will be able legally to:

  1. possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form in public
  2. share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
  3. buy dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed retailer
    1. in provinces without a regulated retail framework, individuals would be able to purchase cannabis online from federally-licensed producers
  4. grow, from licensed seed or seedlings, up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use
  5. make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home as long as organic solvents are not used to create concentrated products

Cannabis edible products and concentrates will be legal for sale approximately one year after the Cannabis Act has come into force on October 17th, 2018.

Each province and territory will have the ability to set its own rules for cannabis, including:

  1. legal minimum age
  2. where you can buy it
  3. where you can use it
  4. how much you can possess

To help our members adapt to this new policy landscape, two draft employment policies have been prepared by our legal counselone for a small contractor and one for a large contractor. We hope these will help your company as you navigate this new environment. If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Todd Cumiskey, ICBA’s VP–Workforce Development, at todd.cumiskey@icba.ca

On Nov. 14 in Burnaby, ICBA Training is offering a course on this issue, titled Cannabis in the Workplace, that will cover the following areas related to the legalization of marijuana: 

  • Learn more about the federal “Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations”.
  • Understand that a “prescription” for cannabis does not give an employee the absolute right to use it in the workplace.
  • Understand your rights when it comes to those in Safety-Sensitive positions.
  • Discuss employee and employer obligations with regard to the use of cannabis.
  • Recognize the rights, responsibilities and risks for both employers and employees to avoid unnecessary litigation.
  • Identify the various ways the use of cannabis impacts the employer-employee relationship, and what you can do about it.
  • Identify what employers should be doing now to prepare for the pending legalization by reviewing their workplace drug and alcohol policies.

For more on that Training course, click HERE.

For the draft policy for small contractors, click HERE. For large contractors, click HERE.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Canadian Construction Documents

How much do you know about Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC) construction contracts? We can help! Register now for our October 23 breakfast session An Overview of CCDC Contract Documents.

The standard form CCDC construction contracts are used across Canada in connection with general contract, construction management and trade contract arrangements. This breakfast seminar will provide an overview of the most commonly used CCDC documents, and of the standard CCA 1 subcontract, with specific focus on the concepts and procedures of the provisions relating to the following significant concerns, among others:

– The definition of the Contract Documents;
– The role of the Consultant;
– Payment;
– Extra work;
– Delays;
– Deficiencies;
– Dispute resolution;
– Default and termination.

The presenter will also talk about the effect of supplementary conditions and the interaction of the contracts with the operation of the Builders Lien Act.

You will earn 1.5 Group B CPD Points! Register at www.icba.ca/courses.

And while you’re there, don’t forget to sign up for our bi-weekly training newsletter at www.icba.ca/trainingnewsletter.