BC Supreme Court refuses to hear charter challenge

February 3, 2020

The BC Building trades welcomes today’s BC Supreme Court ruling refusing to hear the charter challenge of B.C.’s Community Benefits Agreement construction framework.

“What happened today is the BC Supreme Court has, for the second time, told the Christian Labour Association, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association and others that their criticisms of CBAs do not rise to the level of issues heard by the Court,” said Andrew Mercier, executive director of the BC Building Trades.

The court ruled that the applicants’ submissions with respect to union membership requirements under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not belong before the court.

The challenge was put forward by the ICBA, the Progressive Contractors Association, CLAC and others.

In fact, charter arguments in the case had already been struck from the application last July. The court ruled at that time that the BC Labour Relations Board was the proper forum for charter arguments.

While today’s ruling marks the second time a charter challenge of this province’s CBA framework has been struck by the judicial system, higher courts have repeatedly dismissed charter challenges to similar labour agreements in place across Canada.

The Merit Contractors Association, which is affiliated to the ICBA through Merit Canada, challenged Manitoba Hydro’s union membership policy in 2012. The case was dismissed by the Queen’s Bench of Manitoba and again on appeal.

CBAs change status quo for women entering trades

December 20, 2019

“What are you doing here? Why don’t you go find some rich sugar daddy?”

With those words stinging her ears, the first tradeswoman hired under the equity provisions of the Vancouver Island Highway construction contract walked over to the piece of heavy equipment she was tasked to operate, hopped inside, and started her workday.

By the end of the project, the tradeswoman had won over her boss – an initial detractor – because she did her job well and she was the only worker who never rolled a truck.

Read the complete Journal of Commerce column here.

Hiring is underway for CBA projects

December 12, 2019

BC Infrastructure Benefits, the crown corporation with oversight for hiring on projects built under a Community Benefits Agreement, is hiring!

BCIB is seeking workers for the four-laning of Highway 1 between Kamloops and the Alberta border, with priority hiring of local residents, women, Indigenous workers and apprentices. CBA projects offer competitive wages and benefits, training, respectful workplaces and an apprentice mentorship program.

Learn more and apply!

New initiative prioritizes opportunities for women, local residents, Indigenous workers

April  30, 2019

“I can honestly say that this job changed my life,” says welder Jasmine Wagner.

Read the story in the Victoria Times Colonist here.

What the new Community Benefits Agreement means for tradespeople in B.C.

April  29, 2019

Community Benefits Agreements are growing in popularity in British Columbia, and for good reason

Read the story in the Vancouver Sun here.

CBAs can change the economic landscape for the better

April  11, 2019

Wanted: Skilled tradespeople. Must enjoy great wages, rewarding work, and a bright future.

Read the Letter to the Editor in the Quesnel Cariboo Observer here.

CBAs can change the economic landscape for the better

April  11, 2019

Wanted: Skilled tradespeople. Must enjoy great wages, rewarding work, and a bright future.

Read the Letter to the Editor in the Quesnel Cariboo Observer here.

Why do some contractors oppose worker membership in trade unions?

March. 6, 2019

Ask yourself why some contractors oppose membership in a building trades union. Is it because our collective agreements ensure workers are paid equally and in accordance with their skills and training?

Read the Op/Ed in the Vancouver Province here.

Anti-union rhetoric doesn’t hold up

February. 11, 2019

Traditional unions offer real apprenticeships, formal trades training, higher wages, better benefits, and a meaningful retirement package.

Read the Letter to the Editor in the Prince George Citizen here.

Community Benefits Agreements and the facts

Jan. 15, 2019

In a hockey game, the referees are tasked with monitoring and enforcing a rules-based game. Construction labour markets deserve the same oversight.

Read the complete Journal of Commerce column here.

Building Trades and businesses host conference on Community Benefits Agreements

Jan. 11, 2019

The Community Benefits Coalition of B.C., an organization that represents the B.C. Building Trades and community organizations, is hosting a day-long conference on Community Benefits Agreements (CBA) with speakers from government, labour and businesses.

Read the complete Journal of Commerce article here.

B.C. joins jurisdictions across North America embracing CBA model

Jan. 7, 2019

I’ve been watching with great interest the debate over Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) in B.C., and I really just have one thing to say: Congratulations!

Read the Op/Ed in the Vancouver Sun here.

A better way to manage B.C.’s public construction

October 14, 2018

The Community Benefits Agreement ensures that when public dollars are spent on major infrastructure, the projects create good jobs for local workers.

Read the Op/Ed in the Victoria News here.

Community Benefits Agreements needed to fix 16 years of mishandling apprenticeships and training

August 13, 2018

Much has been written recently about whether British Columbia’s new Community Benefits Agreements process for major public construction projects are a good thing.

Read the Op/Ed in the Vancouver Sun here.

Government’s union deal misrepresented

August 13, 2018

ICBA’s President Chris Gardner claims the Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) forces unionization on “85 per cent of construction workers”. He has come to this number by taking two distinct labour pools (residential and non-residential construction workers) and mixing them together to skew the data, even though the CBA will only cover non-residential construction projects. In fact, there are 69,000 non-residential construction workers in British Columbia and the B.C. Building Trades represents over 40,000 members — more than 58 per cent of the non-residential sector.

Read the Letter to the Editor in the Vancouver Sun here.

Busting myths about the Community Benefits Agreement

August 7, 2018

As president of the Allied Infrastructure and Related Construction Council of B.C., which is the formal body tasked with administering the new Community Benefits Agreement for members of all the affiliated unions, I feel like my title is more fittingly “myth buster,” because that’s what I’ve spent most of my time doing: busting myths, lies, half-truths and general politically motivated fabrications.

Read the Op/Ed in the Vancouver Sun here.

Community benefits deal keeps workers safer

August 2, 2018

Letter writer Roger Reimer tries to link the 1958 collapse of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge to the fact that it was built by union workers. He also implies that the new Community Benefits Agreement requirement that construction workers on projects such as the new Pattullo bridge be covered by union collective-agreements contracts, and provide for diversity, will somehow make such projects unsafe.

Read the Letter to the Editor in the Vancouver Province here.

Community Benefits Agreements in place since 1964

July 31, 2018

The editorial was woefully misinformed. Community Benefits Agreements are not new and will not force any contractor to become unionized.

Read the Letter to the Editor in the Victoria Times Colonist here.

Building Trades shares ‘truth’ on Community Benefits Agreements

July 26, 2018

Industry Voices

Read the complete Journal of Commerce column here.

New construction framework is great news for local workers

July 17, 2018

B.C. will benefit from public infrastructure projects like bridges and highways in innumerable ways, thanks to the new construction model unveiled by the provincial government today.

Read the BC Building Trades media release here.

B.C. taxpayers deserve more than just the public project on the blueprint

May 17, 2018

Community Benefits Agreements can literally change the economic landscape for the better by gifting communities with a legacy of skills, training, employability and local investment.

Read the Huffington Post blog here.

Concert supports Community Benefits Coalition of BC

May 15, 2018

Concert is proud to support the Community Benefits Coalition of BC, which has been established to advocate for Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) on publicly-funded infrastructure projects.

Read Concert Properties’ blog here.

There is ‘real evidence’ that projects built without CBAs can cost taxpayers dearly

April 26, 2018

Public infrastructure projects can and should provide community benefits that include opportunities for qualified local residence, apprentices, Indigenous workers and women in trades to help build and invest in their own communities.

Read the complete Journal of Commerce Letter to the Editor here.

Building Trades executive director says B.C. needs more apprentices on major projects

April 18, 2018

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The value of having more apprentices working on large-scale construction projects were the main topics of a speech by BC Buildings Trades Council executive director Tom Sigurdson at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday.

Read the complete article here.

B.C’s future is built on the trades

April 14, 2018

Wanted: Skilled tradespeople. Must enjoy great wages, rewarding work, and a bright future.

As employment ads go, does this sound too good to be true? It’s actually not.

April is Construction and Skilled Trades Month in B.C., which is a perfect time to raise awareness about the opportunities in the skilled trades.

Read the complete BC Local News Letter to the Editor here.

Community benefits should be embedded in public projects

March 25, 2018

What if public infrastructure projects built in B.C. came with more than just the bridge, tunnel, dam or highway listed on the construction blueprint?

What if they came with significant benefits to your community?

In a progressive society, public infrastructure projects should provide job opportunities for qualified local workers, apprentices, women in the trades and Indigenous workers.

And, in fact, this has been a common practice — embedding community benefits in public infrastructure projects — in cities throughout North America for almost 20 years. Cities like Los Angeles and Portland have found that the fair wages earned by workers are reinvested in local communities, and workers benefit from a legacy of experience, skills training and employability.

Read the complete Vancouver Sun article here.