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Poll finds British Columbians oppose restrictive labour agreements

77 per cent of decided respondents oppose restrictive labour agreements

Vancouver (April 4, 2018) – Upcoming critical public infrastructure projects such as the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project could cost B.C. taxpayers billions of dollars more than they need to and prove politically costly if they are not handled properly.

A poll out today finds British Columbians strongly favour an open and inclusive approach to bidding on big projects, so as to avoid increasing costs by granting select unions an effective monopoly on the work. The Mainstreet Research poll of British Columbians commissioned by the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) found 77 percent of decided respondents don’t support restricting who can work on projects through restrictive labour mechanisms such as the Project Labour Agreements (PLA) used by past governments. 92.4 percent of decided respondents say it is important the BC government gets good value for investment in public infrastructure.

“With tens of billions of dollars of important public infrastructure projects potentially getting underway in the coming years, it is imperative we get this right the first time,” said Rieghardt van Enter, BC Regional Director for the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA). “An impressive body of research shows that restricting the number of bidders can drive up the costs of a project by as much as 30 percent. Allowing all workers and companies – regardless of union affiliation or lack thereof – to bid on projects ensures the best value for taxpayers.”

Van Enter added that restrictive PLAs are also discriminatory.

“We applaud the government’s desire to increase the number of women, indigenous workers, and apprentices,” van Enter said. “And that can be accomplished within inclusive PLAs.  But restrictive PLAs cut out hundreds of BC companies and many thousands of BC tradespeople from being able to bid and work on public projects.”

“The provincial government has an opportunity to avoid the mistakes of the past that unnecessarily add billions of dollars in costs to projects and unnecessarily prevent many BC companies and workers from providing value to taxpayers on public projects.”

Mainstreet Research surveyed 1511 British Columbians between March 5th and March 6th. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.52% and is accurate 19 times out of 20.

For full report, please click this link: BC Research Poll.

About the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)

With offices in B.C., 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:

Shawn Hall, 604-619-7913, shawn@apogeepr.ca