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B.C. Government’s Infrastructure and Community Benefits Agreement Bad for Taxpayers and Workers

Burnaby (July 16, 2018) – The B.C. government’s new landmark agreement for building public infrastructure projects raises serious concerns about value for tax dollars and fairness for the vast majority of B.C. construction companies and their workers, according to the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) whose member companies employ thousands of skilled construction workers across B.C.

“This government is not being upfront about who will really benefit from its Community Benefits Agreements,” said Rieghardt van Enter, Regional Director, B.C., for the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA). “The government has its finger firmly on rewind, reverting to a 70s style labour model that will prove costly for taxpayers and workers.”

A workforce will be supplied for key infrastructure projects through a newly created Crown corporation called BC Infrastructure Benefits Inc. Signatories to the Agreement represent many of B.C.’s building trades. Alternative union and non-union contractor and labour associations were excluded from these discussions. The first projects to be built through this framework are the new Pattullo Bridge and four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Alberta.

Though details are scarce, indications are these projects will be modeled after the 1990’s Island Highway Project, which was millions of dollars over budget. Workers who wanted to build that project were forced to pay dues to the Building Trades Unions (BTUs). Today, Building Trades workers constitute just 15% of B.C.’s construction workforce.

“It seems the new way day of doing business in B.C., involves neither free choice nor good value for taxpayers,” added van Enter. “Our member companies have been key innovators in Community Benefit Agreements. When done transparently and in good faith, these agreements can greatly benefit communities and underrepresented groups. But that’s not what’s happening here.”

PCA is the voice of progressive unionized employers in Canada’s construction industry. Our member companies are responsible for 40 percent of energy and natural resource construction projects in British Columbia and Alberta and are leaders in infrastructure construction across Canada. PCA member companies employ more than 25,000 skilled construction workers in Canada, represented primarily by CLAC.

For further information, contact:
Danna O’Brien, Danna@obriencommunications.ca 416-500-0699

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