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PCA Fears Alberta About to Follow B.C.’s Lead with New Infrastructure Rules

Edmonton (Sept. 21, 2018) – The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA), whose member companies build major infrastructure projects across the province, today expressed its concerns about the Notley government’s plan to begin implementing Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) for infrastructure builds across the province.

“Given the fragile state of our economy, the last thing Albertans need are insider political games that drive up costs,” said Paul de Jong, President of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada. “We think it only fair that the Notley government come clean about who stands to benefit from its Community Benefit Agreements. This government should be ensuring taxpayers get good value for their infrastructure investments, first and foremost, not playing union favourites.”

In a speech to the Building Trades of Alberta conference in Jasper, Premier Notley confirmed that the goal is for future infrastructure projects to be built using Community Benefit Agreements, with the first, small “test case” project to be announced within weeks. Her language echoes that of B.C. Premier John Horgan, who recently used CBA language while granting select Building Trades Unions a labour monopoly over major B.C. infrastructure projects. Although 85 percent of B.C.’s construction workforce has chosen not to be affiliated with the BTUs, Horgan’s measures now require all workers to join and pay dues to the Building Trades Unions in order to work on public projects.

“Social benefits are not the issue here – workplace coercion is,” said de Jong. “PCA members have been pioneers in working with under-employed groups, including First Nations, women and young people seeking to enter the construction workforce. We will certainly work with the Notley government to achieve these worthwhile aims – provided it rejects the cynicism and cronyism that the Horgan NDP government has displayed in B.C.”

PCA believes Community Benefit Agreements can be useful public policy instruments, when they’re done transparently and in good faith.

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 Alberta and British Columbia 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.

Contact: Danna O’Brien, Danna@obriencommunications.ca 416-500-0699

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