New BC Community Benefits Agreement Aims to Create Trades Opportunities for Indigenous Peoples, Women and Youth

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benefits for workers and communitiesA new, landmark agreement for key public-sector infrastructure projects in B.C. will deliver good-paying jobs, better training and apprenticeships, and more trades opportunities for Indigenous peoples, women and youth around the province.

“With this agreement, we’re not just investing in roads, bridges and other infrastructure, we’re investing in good jobs and new opportunities for people who live in B.C.  And with our focus on expanding apprenticeships for young British Columbians, we’re helping build B.C.’s next generation of construction workers.” Premier John Horgan​

Highlights of the agreement include:

  • A targeted approach to maximizing apprenticeship opportunities on major public-infrastructure projects.
  • Focus on priority hiring and training of Indigenous peoples, and women.
  • Co-ordinated access to existing training programs, while identifying and addressing skills gaps.
  • Priority hiring for qualified individuals who live within close proximity of the projects.
  • Hiring flexibility for contractors, who can request named hires.
  • Wage alignment to prevailing industry rates to promote good wages for all employees.

The first projects to be delivered under the new community benefits framework are the new Pattullo Bridge, and the four-laning projects on the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Alberta. The request for qualifications (RFQ) for the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project has been released.

Under government’s new Community Benefits Agreement, a diverse and qualified workforce will be supplied for select major public infrastructure projects through a newly created Crown corporation, BC Infrastructure Benefits Inc. (BCIB). BCIB will hire the project’s construction workers, and will work with unions and contractors to dispatch labour, as well as manage payroll and benefits.

Signatories to the Community Benefits Agreement are BCIB, and the Allied Infrastructure and Related Construction Council (AIRCC), which represents many of B.C.’s building trades. Contractors representing B.C.’s construction industry played an important advisory role as the agreement was developed.

Key benefits of labour agreement

The Community Benefits Agreement allows government to make sure that local people and communities get long-lasting benefits from public investments into major infrastructure projects, while maximizing the number of contractors that can bid on major infrastructure projects.

Key benefits of the negotiated labour agreement include:

Apprenticeships:

  • Increased apprenticeships in the skilled trades is essential to the development of British Columbia’s workforce. 
  • Targets will be aligned with the Government Apprenticeship Policy to maximize work-based training and opportunities to grow the skilled workforce.

Training:

  • The development of construction skills for persons other than the Red Seal apprentices is essential to the development of British Columbia’s workforce.
  • Wherever possible, existing government training programs and services will be leveraged. Training needs will be assessed for each project, and a process will be established to co-ordinate the development of new training where gaps exist, in collaboration with training partners and building trades councils, as required.

Indigenous and under-represented groups:

  • This agreement provides incremental and prioritized opportunities for the participation of Indigenous peoples and other traditionally under-represented groups on government infrastructure projects, in a safe environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.
  • Government has an existing consultation and accommodation process to address impacted Indigenous groups on projects. This process will continue and not be affected by the implementation of a labour agreement.
  • In addition, Indigenous peoples, women, and other traditionally under-represented groups will now have priority access to employment and training opportunities.

Local people and businesses:

  • When local workers have greater access to work opportunities in their communities, local people can, in turn, build, invest and stay in their communities.

Wages:

  • Wages have been negotiated to align with industry wages, based on prevailing construction rates.
  • This provides good-paying jobs to workers on these projects, and provides cost certainty to government.

Source: BC Government News - Office of the Premier

Province: 
British Columbia
Categories: 
Job Training
First Nations, Inuit and Métis
Government
Policy Development & Advocacy
Youth