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TRAINING THURSDAY: Cannabis in the Workplace

With the changes to the legal status of cannabis, many employers have questions!

What are the rights, responsibilities and risks to employers regarding cannabis in the workplace? What is the impact of recreational or medical use of this drug on your organization and for those in safety-sensitive positions? For medical use, how do you manage the duty to accommodate process? Do you have the appropriate policy framework in place to face related challenges?

We want to help you, so we’re holding two breakfast sessions on Cannabis in the Workplace. The first will be February 8 in Victoria, and then March 7 in Burnaby. 

Here’s what you’ll learn in this two-hour session:

  • 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 to review their workplace drug and alcohol policies.

Register now for these or any of our other upcoming workshops at www.icba.ca/courses! And don’t forget to subscribe to our training newsletter at www.icba.ca/trainingnewsletter

NEWS RELEASE: Sweetheart Deal is Sour for Workers, Employers & Taxpayers

VANCOUVER – The B.C. Government’s sweetheart deal with B.C.’s Building Trades Union cuts out 85 per cent of B.C.’s construction workforce, will cost taxpayers millions of dollars, and undermines opportunities for youth, women and Indigenous workers entering the industry, says a coalition of British Columbia’s largest construction associations and progressive unions.

The newly-formed coalition, representing an industry-wide alignment of companies and workers making up 85 per cent of the construction workforce in B.C., spoke out today as the government and the exclusive Building Trades Union hold a convention in Vancouver celebrating the introduction of preferential Project Labour Agreements (PLAs) to B.C. These agreements contravene the rights and freedoms of the majority of B.C.’s construction workforce.

Under the government’s PLA, workers on the Pattullo Bridge replacement and Highway 1 (Interior) expansion project will be forced to join the government-approved Building Trades Union, operate out of a hiring hall, and be subject to the exclusive rules of the Building Trades Union.

These outcomes result in a new government policy that is openly discriminatory against non-Building Trades Union members and exploitative of B.C. workers and taxpayers. Coalition members believe that B.C. will pay a steep price for this wrongheaded change in how the government delivers infrastructure projects.

“VRCA is a champion of fair, open and transparent procurement practices,” said Vancouver Regional Construction Association president Fiona Famulak. “The PLA is an affront to these principles – not only was it negotiated without full industry consultation, it is prescriptive, and there’s a concerning lack of clarity surrounding its operational roll-out that will force both our open-shop and unionized member companies to bid without a complete understanding of project risk. This will drive up the cost of construction that will ultimately be funded by B.C.’s taxpayers. Simply put, this PLA does not serve our member companies, their skilled tradespeople, or B.C.’s taxpayers.”

“BCCA supports all construction employers and workers, regardless of labour affiliation. When we speak on an issue, we do it based on facts and for the good of the industry,” said B.C. Construction Association president Chris Atchison. “When government makes ideological decisions, B.C. loses. The PLA is a partisan policy that contravenes worker’s rights to freedom of assembly, adds bureaucracy to projects, increases risk, and creates obstacles to workforce development.”

Government and the Building Trades Union’s claims that these PLAs will spark more opportunities for apprenticeship training, and bring more women, Indigenous and young people into the workforce, are demonstrably false.

“The only thing guaranteed about the NDP’s new PLA is the monopoly the Building Trades Union will gain by signing it,” said CLAC provincial director Kevin Kohut, a union which represents thousands of B.C. construction workers. “The lack of stated goals focused on women, Indigenous people and local hires – including any means to measure success – is proof of that. It is absurd to believe that signing a deal that limits participation to 15 per cent of the workforce will result in greater inclusion.”

“You don’t train more women, young workers or people from Indigenous communities by cutting backroom deals and forcing workers to join a government-approved Building Trades Union,” said Ken Baerg, executive director of Canada Works, which represents progressive construction unions. “In a market where the major issue facing construction companies is the shortage of workers, you hire more people and train more people by being inclusive and by investing in more training spaces. The politics of giving workers jobs based on union affiliation is a failed model from generations past that will not work in our new economy where workers want choice and flexibility.”

The four construction associations and two unions, representing 85% of BC’s construction workforce, have joined with the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and several construction companies and professionals to launch a court action to halt the Project Labour Agreements.

“The NDP’s current infrastructure framework is a complete fiasco,” said Paul de Jong, president of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada. “It is unconstitutional in that it tramples on workers’ basic right to freedom of association, and it needlessly wastes public tax dollars. It’s time the B.C. government scrapped this cynical backroom deal and came up with a model that benefits all British Columbians.”

“It’s simply not fair for John Horgan to discriminate against the 85 percent of construction workers who are not part of the old-fashioned building trades hiring hall model where unions control who works,” said Chris Gardner, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association. “Construction workers in B.C. deserve better from the NDP government – they deserve choice, fairness and a level playing field. Competition is the best way to keep costs down and reassures the public that government is being fair and transparent, and not just rewarding friends and insiders.”

OP/ED: Beware the Government’s Back Room Deal with Big Unions

By Chris Gardner, President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association. (This op-ed first ran in The Vancouver Sun on January 25, 2019.)

Hold on to your wallets, modern-day snake oil salesmen are in Vancouver this week to help the NDP government push its miracle cure for construction, Project Labour Agreements (PLAs).

But PLAs only do three things – cost taxpayers more money, rip away workers’ right to choose how they organize themselves, and discriminate against the 85 per cent of construction workers who are not part of these chosen unions.

Last year, the NDP Government announced it would create a new crown corporation to employ all construction workers building a new Pattullo Bridge and expanding Highway 1 east of Kamloops. These workers will be forced by government to join one of the 19 building trades unions that have a monopoly over these projects. Gone will be workers’ existing pay, bonus and profit-sharing plans and their existing union or employee association affiliations and, in their place, they will be forced into new agreements and a requirement to pay union dues, fees and pension contributions, a good portion of which workers will never recoup.

This sweetheart deal with the unions who have given the NDP millions in campaign donations was cynically branded by government spin doctors as “Community Benefit Agreements.” But the only benefits that flow will be those flowing into the coffers of these favoured unions.

Why is the government forcing thousands of construction workers to be hired by a new government corporation when these workers are already employed by private companies? To what end is the government forcing all of these workers to join one of just 19 selected unions?

Will more workers be trained? No. Will more young people, women or Indigenous workers be hired on these projects? No. Will workers be paid more? No.

On Friday, January 25, two NDP cabinet ministers, a host of Big Labour organizers and a parade of American “experts” will be at a Vancouver five-star hotel, trying to justify this flawed model to British Columbians.

A speaker from Seattle’s Puget Sound Transit has been hired to gush over these unfair hiring practices. What he won’t admit is that Sound Transit’s own evaluation of this model includes a litany of complaints from sub-contractors: “The majority of subcontractors… who have gone through this process have said they would not do it again.” Added one sub-contractor: “[This was] absolutely a miserable experience.”

B.C. companies know this feeling all-too-well. In the 1990s, the NDP Government of the day forced a PLA on the Island Highway project. It was confusing and ran wildly over budget.

In one of the busiest construction markets in decades, the NDP government has inexplicably decided to exclude 85 per cent of the construction workforce. Fewer companies will bid on this work and this lack of competition will drive up prices and limit innovation and limit worker choice. None of this makes any sense.

Even the NDP Government admits their model will cost taxpayers more.  Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said it would add at least $100 million on the Pattullo Bridge project.  She is grossly underestimating the costs: the American experience shows PLAs drive up construction costs by 12 to 18 per cent, say researchers at Suffolk University.

An 18 per cent overrun on the Pattullo Bridge means taxpayers would spend a quarter of a billion dollars unnecessarily. That $250 million would make a nice down payment on a replacement for the 60-year-old Massey Tunnel, or a new hospital for Surrey – but instead, it will vanish into thin air.

Another PLA salesman marching into town for the swanky conference works for the Los Angeles Unified School District. No doubt he’ll fail to mention the massive cost overruns that resulted in a high school that cost about $750 million (CDN) to build – the most expensive public school in U.S. history.

The snake oil salesmen will pack up their PLA wares and go home after this union conference. Let’s make sure they take the added construction costs and stripping of workers’ rights home with them.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Rigging Fundamentals (Fulford Certification)

We have a brand-new course!

Do you rig loads for lifting by cranes or other hoisting equipment? We have the perfect course for you.

The first session of our new Rigging Fundamentals course is in Fort St John on February 8. We want to see you there.

Here are the course objectives:

  • Identify safe rigging practices
  • Conduct prior to use inspections
  • Understand basic rigging principles
  • Load weight determination
  • Turning Loads

The topics to be covered are:

  • Rigging terminology
  • Determining load weight
  • Locating the load’s centre of gravity (COG)
  • Communicating with hand signals
  • Knot tying
  • Inspecting slings and hardware
  • Using rigging working load limit charts
  • Application of common hitches
  • Basic lift planning
  • Rigging and signaling lifts

Plus, our instructor is Fulford certified, so you will be trained to the highest standards. And, you’ll receive 16 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing!

We are also bringing this course to Kamloops February 27 and 28, and Prince George on March 6 and 7. Register for this or any of our upcoming courses at www.icba.ca/courses.

NEWS RELEASE: ICBA Proud to Support Together For LNG Campaign

ICBA is part of a coalition of B.C. groups coming together to support LNG in B.C.

VANCOUVERJan. 23, 2019 /CNW/ – LNG development in B.C. is the key to a bright future for our province. It offers economic and social benefits to First Nations, increased government revenues to pay for health care, education and other services and thousands of well-paying jobs for British Columbians.

That’s why a coalition of workers, First Nations, students, educators, businesses and others are launching a campaign to demonstrate to the public and elected representatives that there’s a broad base of support for LNG projects amongst the citizens of B.C.

The Together For LNG Campaign will (T4LNG Campaign) will give a voice to the tens of thousands of British Columbians who know that LNG enjoys unprecedented levels of support from First Nations, businesses, rural communities and others who want B.C. to continue to lead Canada in developing LNG, thanks to recent decisions to advance projects like LNG Canada towards completion.

“Blueberry River First Nation is a small community that plays a big role in LNG,” says Judy Desjarlais, President of Topnotch Oilfield Contracting and a member of the Blueberry River First Nation in northeast B.C.

“All the communities in this area have signed off on it. A lot of us own businesses and a lot of us are benefiting from the work that’s happening in our backyard.”

B.C. has the opportunity to help the world transition to a greener future, create prosperity at home and greatly reduce our global carbon footprint moving forward. Squandering that opportunity means lost jobs, lost revenues to get us to green and yielding the field to other, less scrupulous producers.

“By unlocking our world class energy asset, B.C.’s liquid natural gas (LNG) industry will play an important role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by helping many Asian countries transition off coal,” said Chris Gardner, President of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association. “The strategic development of a strong LNG sector will also provide tens of thousands of jobs in construction, maintenance, and operations for people in B.C. and across Canada, and important revenue contributions to all levels of government.  LNG is the perfect opportunity for industry and government to work together to achieve great outcomes for Canada.”

Paul de Jong, President of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, adds: “The liquid natural gas (LNG) that Canada has in such large supply is a key factor in world wide demand for clean energy. “Strategic development of a strong LNG sector also provides for tens of thousands of construction, maintenance and operations jobs for Canadians, and provides robust contributions to provincial and national GDP. LNG in Canada is the perfect venue for industry and government to work together to achieve great outcomes,” de Jong says.

The T4LNG Campaign will provide a positive, hopeful counter-narrative to the opponents of LNG development, who rely on a network of internationally financed organizations to use selective data and half-truths to divide British Columbians on this crucial issue.

Ramona McDonald, President of Complete Safety Services in Fort St. John says LNG jobs will make a huge difference in the lives of First Nations peoples. “Probably 50 per cent of my employees are of aboriginal descent. When they can go out and buy Christmas presents for their children because they’ve had a job and were able to make money, that brings me joy,” says McDonald. “We shouldn’t be in poverty, we shouldn’t see people suffering in this country, because we have what it takes to get everybody working again.”

Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead framed the LNG conversation in terms of higher values. “Communities are built around quality of life, ‘health and happiness,” he said. “Health, education and economic opportunities are the pillars. We are a province built on resource development. It is the foundation for these pillars. We all need to support responsible resource development.”

T4LNG believes that by working together, the public can let our elected leaders know there’s a broad base of support for LNG development. The campaign will build a community of interest to change the narrative around LNG. And unlike the opponents, they don’t need to shout. Their quiet, collective voices speaking their truths will drown out the negative noise that threatens to derail a greener future through LNG development.

ICBA NEWS: ICBA Up for 7 Reed Awards, Including Trade Association of the Year and Best Web Video (Overall)

JUST IN: ICBA is a finalist for 7 prestigious U.S. Reed Awards, which honour excellence in political campaigning, campaign management, advocacy, political consulting and political design.

In 2018, ICBA won 3 Reeds for our Site C/pink slip campaign (Best Canadian Online Ad Campaign, Best Canadian Use of Outdoor Advertising, and Best International Use of Outdoor Advertising). This year, we are finalists for 7 awards – including two of the biggest ones they hand out:

  • Trade Association of the Year (a category which includes U.S. and international associations)
  • Best Web Video – Overall (a category which includes U.S. and international campaigns, including all the US mid-terms), for our Big Gas ad

Being a finalist for Trade Association of the Year is an especially significant compliment to all of us at ICBA/ICBA Benefits/CIBP. What we have at ICBA is very special and it’s exciting to be recognized for it.

Getting designated as a Reed Award Finalist is extraordinarily difficult,” said Shane D’Aprile, Co-Publisher, Campaigns & Elections. “Thousands of entries compete, but very few make the cut. That’s how it should be in the most exacting award the campaign industry has. So when you encounter a Reed Award Finalist you know one thing for certain, they produce work that’s head and shoulders above the competition.”

We are also finalists for:

  • Best International Web Video (a category which includes all international campaigns outside the U.S.) for our Big Gas ad
  • Best Canadian Web Video for our Big Gas ad
  • Best International Outdoor Advertising (a category which includes all international campaigns outside the U.S.) for our Big Gas movie poster
  • Best Canadian Outdoor Advertising for our Big Gas movie poster
  • Best Canadian Website for our Stop Prop Rep pre-campaign website

The awards are handed out Feb. 21 in Austin, Texas. We will be crossing our fingers for some Big Gas Trophies!

TRAINING THURSDAY: Time Management Workshop

How’s your time management? Are you a procrastinator? Don’t put it off for another day; register now for our Time Management Workshop on January 28 in Burnaby or February 20 in Victoria!

You will gain a new mindset, skillset and toolset that will optimize your personal productivity, and learn how to produce greater results in less time. Improved time management skills mean increased productivity, met deadlines, and a positive impact on all aspects of your business.

Here are some of the benefits of attending:

  • Participants learn how to gain and keep control of competing priorities, concurrent projects and critical deadlines.
  • Participants will learn powerful lessons about themselves, enhancing self-understanding so they can leverage their personal strengths and develop strategies to minimize the impact of their weakness.
  • The focus on practicality means that people walk out with ideas and techniques they can apply the next day.

Plus, you’ll earn 1 Gold Seal Credit and 7 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing! Register now for this or any of our other upcoming courses at www.icba.ca/courses.