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Construction industry optimistic for 2016 except in northern B.C., survey suggests

(December 16, 2015 – Vancouver)  B.C.’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are optimistic for increased work volumes and wages in 2016, according to the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C.’s annual survey. However, Northern B.C. projects a decline in growth despite increased activity.

While previous surveys indicated promising years for the construction industry, the 2016 survey suggests a shift in northern B.C.

The survey found that only 22 per cent of open shop businesses in northern B.C. are predicting an increase in activity in 2016, down from 58 per cent in 2015 and 71 per cent in 2014. With fewer companies in northern B.C. projecting an increase in work volume, many respondents suggest they will be hiring fewer tradespeople, and many will not increase employee hours.

Despite the dip in growth in northern B.C., the overall outlook is positive. The survey suggests that on average:

  • 48 per cent of companies will see an increase in work, and 46 per cent of companies are expecting the same workload as they did in 2015.
  • 42 per cent of companies will hire new tradespeople in 2016 to deal with the projected increase. This trend remains consistent over the past three years.
  • Companies across B.C.’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are expecting wages to rise 3 per cent in 2016, continuing the trend for upward growth. Many businesses will increase the hours of existing employees.
  • Wage ranges for construction trades have consistently risen since 2013.
  • 80 per cent of companies surveyed will employ apprentices, up 5 per cent from last year, and half will pay for at least part of the apprentices’ tuition.

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Site C decision has support of open shop (Letter to the Editor)

Re: B.C. Building Trades angered by Site C main civil works – Dec. 2, 2015 issue of the Journal of Commerce. To the editor: It’s no surprise that the Building Trades Unions are being critical of the preferred proponent for the main civil works contract at Site C.

Letter to the Editor: Site C decision has support of open shop

It’s another blow for the outdated model in which big unions could count on cornering such work and no doubt another reason why building trades affiliates have come to represent such a small proportion of B.C. construction workers.  Even with a union-preference clause built into the selection process, the building trades were, yet again, unable to put forward a competitive bid and could not convince the bidders to work with them. As a result, they’ll collect no dues from the workers doing this particular component of Site C work, which is likely the biggest reason for their disappointment. But, that hardly makes it a “bad decision for B.C.”, quite the contrary, in fact.

The Building Trades Unions should embrace the fact that the preferred proponent includes a local company from Fort St. John that has a local workforce and can be expected to maximize opportunities for British Columbians. The preferred proponent will hire skilled British Columbians and may even include workers, who are members of the building trades. This particular contract is another example of the open shop model working fairly and delivering good value for all of us as taxpayers, as it has for the past 30 years.

New Express Entry program aims to find skilled international workers

Express Entry allows employers to find skilled international workers who desire to live in Canada permanently, as opposed to a temporary foreign worker.

Express Entry program allows government officials to invite international workers with the highest chance of success to immigrate to Canada. Express Entry, now fully electronic, requires the candidate to create a profile online that scores them based on skills and language proficiency, among other categories. Individuals with the highest scores are invited to apply to Canada through Express Entry.

A common question asked was whether a tradesperson and a candidate with a bachelor’s degree would receive the same rank and points if they were equal in years of experience, age, and family composition. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) that Express Entry uses is a points-based system that assesses and scores a candidate’s profile to rank them in the Express Entry pool.

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Feedback on B.C. One Call and other business challenges needed

As stakeholders and members of the BC Common Ground Alliance you have a unique understanding of what frustrates your businesses when interacting with government. This is your opportunity to engage with your network and help government in its quest to cut red tape and make it easier to do business in BC.


We ask that if your business has been hampered by the lack of a universal One Call system in BC that you use this opportunity to make your views known in addition to other items of red tape that you face in your business.

To contribute ideas please forward your comments to with the words Red Tape Reduction in the subject line by December 15th. All responses will be presented to the Deputy Minister at an upcoming meeting.

Philip Hochstein: Pro-development majority must fight B.C.’s bad reputation

British Columbia has a reputation as a hard place to get things done. Resource development, infrastructure builds, even residential construction — they all face regulatory complexity and intense interest-group scrutiny. Even with solid business cases and eager investors, many never make it to “yes.”


And now we have the NDP’s chilling suggestion that it would cancel the approved and under-construction Site C Clean Energy Project. In other words, something that is done would be undone and a hard-earned “yes” would turn into a “no” — at a massive cost in dollars and energy security.

Is this how British Columbians want things to be? Do we want to consistently signal to investors that they will have to get over much higher hurdles here? That even a final word on a proposal is never really final?

We’ve never believed that’s what British Columbians want and a recent poll by NRG Research Group clearly shows that it’s not. In fact, more than two-thirds of British Columbians agree that our economy is based on resource development and 82 per cent agree that such development can be balanced with the environment. Read more

CMD Group and ICBA join forces in B.C.

Strategic partnership will enhance access to industry insights and opportunities for ICBA members across the province

BURNABY, BC (November 25, 2015) – CMD Group Canada (CMD) and the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) of British Columbia today announce an unprecedented strategic alliance to enhance the value to ICBA members leveraging CMD’s powerful Insight platform.

CMILogo Final

ICBA members will access ICBA Construction Market Intelligence, a co-branded digital service providing bid and post-bid project leads; electronic plans and specs; detailed insights on firms including owners, design professionals, engineers and contractors; optional access to pre-bid leads, material and labour estimates on projects; and industry forecast and analytical data. Read more

Silent majority say ‘yes’ to responsible resource development while NDP leadership remains out of touch

A new study released today by the Independent Contractors and Businesses Associations (ICBA) reveals that overall 84 per cent of British Columbians support responsible resource development.

“It’s clear, the ‘no to everything’ movement in B.C. is not representative of citizens’ views on responsible resource development,” said Philip Hochstein, president of the ICBA. “This poll illustrates that a strong majority of British Columbians understand that B.C. is a resource-based economy and it creates jobs in every sector.”

Of the 800 British Columbians surveyed, the poll revealed that:

  • 67 per cent support the Site C Clean Energy project only 18 per cent oppose it;
  • 68 per cent support expansion of our ports and 20 per cent oppose it;
  • 62 per cent support mining and 25 per cent oppose it; and,
  • 58 per cent support LNG and 28 per cent oppose it.

With several large industrial projects going through an approval process, the ICBA commissioned NRG Research Group to conduct an online poll to understand attitudes towards the resource industry in B.C. Read more

The BC Construction Monitor: Federal Election Issue



Federal #Elxn2015: Big Gains are at Risk


We’re in the home stretch of a long election campaign that three parties are in serious contention to win. In part, that’s no doubt due to the inherent appeal that “change” tends to have whenever a long-standing government asks for another term. But “change” to what? And at what risk to the many gains we’ve made over the past decade?

The Conservatives have a clear track record. They have delivered low taxes, a return to balanced budgets, strong infrastructure investment, and economic performance and job growth that’s the envy of many other countries. These are gains well worth protecting.

The Conservatives understand the value of leaving more money in the pockets of businesses and individuals. They respect the fact that each of us is best positioned to make our own decisions about the spending that we and our families will benefit from most. In contrast, the other parties offer top-down policies, suffocating tax hikes and questionable budgetary plans.

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No silver bullet for housing affordability in BC

Governments push housing costs higher

Metro Vancouver’s high housing costs remain a discouraging reality for many local British Columbians, and there’s been a huge amount
of discussion recently about how we can ease affordability pressures.

Per House

But first, we need to give up the hope for a silver bullet and put all the issues on the table. Then we need to focus on the ones we’re most able to do something about. And on the top of that list are the added costs that our governments tack onto the price of a home. Fees, red tape, regulatory complexity and unacceptable delays add unnecessary premiums to already expensive housing in Metro Vancouver.
Governments often claim to be deeply concerned about affordability, but study after study confirms they’re part of the problem. And what’s even more troubling is lack of transparency and restrictions on consumer choice. Governments are quick to trumpet the benefits of new regulations – even if they don’t always hold up to scrutiny – but rarely have much to say about costs.

View the BC Construction Monitor that addresses housing affordability in the province.

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