(February 14, 2019) – The Horgan government’s framework for building billions of dollars in public infrastructure projects is a resounding public policy failure, according to the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA). Today PCA took on the B.C. Building Trades Unions (BTUs) in a featured panel debate on restricted Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) at the BUILDEX conference in Vancouver.
“B.C.’s so-called Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) doesn’t pass even the most basic litmus test for good public policy,” said Paul de Jong, President of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA). “It was not designed to serve or protect the public interest. Instead, it’s a cynical scheme that allows Horgan’s BTU supporters to monopolize public construction projects at taxpayers’ expense.”
By the government’s own admission, the Pattullo Bridge Replacement project, the first to roll out under its new infrastructure rules, will cost as much as $100 million more than original estimates. With the scope of the project now reduced, the public winds up paying far more for less. That leaves communities with less funding for other priority projects from low income housing to schools.
B.C.’s rules for building public infrastructure fall short on every count. They force 85 percent of the province’s construction workforce to join the Building Trades Unions, even though they constitute only 15 percent of the workforce. Without clear targets for hiring women or Indigenous people, there are also no metrics for measuring success or making improvements.
“The reality is that Horgan’s claims of inclusion, fairness and training are nothing more than hyperbole,” added de Jong. “The end result will be fewer trained apprentices at a time when the province needs tens of thousands of workers to complete critical infrastructure projects.”
About the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)
With offices in BC, Alberta and Ontario, 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