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“Let us think that we build forever…let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be sacred because our hands touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labour and wrought substance of them ‘See! This our fathers did for us!’” – John Ruskin
There has been plenty of talk about—and some improvement—in the number of women in the B.C. trades, but the numbers are still bleak.
Once B.C. Jobs Minister Shirley Bond responded to years of lobbying efforts by the BC Building Trades and Build Together B.C., women lined up to talk about the barriers they face working in B.C. trades.
Representatives from the Labourer’s International Union of North America (LiUNA) are lobbying the federal Liberal government to persuade several key ministers to make significant changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP).
Last year, the government of British Columbia announced that effective July 1, 2015, contractors and their sub-contractors that bid on provincially funded construction projects over $15 million would have to provide opportunities for apprentices with the hours of work necessary to advance through an apprenticeship.
The BC Building Trades has learned through a Freedom of Information request that BC Hydro spent $42,200 in 2015 and $63,300 in 2016 on Site C job fairs for a total of $105,500 wasted rate payer dollars.
Members of the BC Building Trades were disappointed by LNG Canada’s announcement earlier this week they would be delaying indefinitely a Final Investment Decision on the project.
As a dispatcher for Ironworkers Local 97, Paul Beacom is used to rounding up workers for a job. But earlier this year, Beacom was asked to find a few members to travel to Haiti to help build a new trade school being sponsored by Builders Without Borders and the Canadian Construction Association. After a bit of calling around, he was able to line-up a sixperson crew.
Budgeting more federal money for apprentices and infrastructure looks good. But potential benefits for B.C. workers will depend on where the training money goes and what projects are chosen.
“The devil is in the details,” said Tom Sigurdson, BC Building Trades executive director, following the delivery of the federal Liberals’ first budget in March. “We still don’t know if any money is going to go to joint training boards.”