Alberta Report – April, 2012

As usual, there is a lot going on for PCA in Alberta.

The change in political leadership and the reshuffling of cabinet positions meant significant work on the advocacy front. Our presence at the farewell dinner for Premier Stelmach and the inaugural event for Premier Redford has enabled us to connect positively with the re-fashioned government. Meetings with the Minister of Employment and Immigration, Dave Hancock are planned for the near future.

The impending election in Alberta (scheduled for April 23) will, of course, be of great interest for PCA contractors. PCA was able to speak directly with Wildrose leader Danielle Smith recently to ensure that our association is on the radar screen of both parties. Nonetheless PCA has enjoyed good relations with the PCs in Alberta under Premiers Stelmach and Redford and we continue to expect good relations with the premier’s office in the future.  

In addition, PCA’s work with the Alberta Construction Competitiveness Coalition—a consortium of construction industry stakeholders focused on issues of competition—continues to bear fruit. The Minister of Human Services recently commissioned an independent legal review on the various legislative and regulatory changes that the Coalition wishes to see implemented, including continuing the work on MERFs which was highlighted in our last newsletter. We hope that the independent review will serve as an important confirmation of our ongoing work: to equip the government to make the bold decisions necessary for our industries and our economy .

On the labour board front, the long-awaited ARLB application relating to “all-employee” bargaining units has been filed between CLAC and JV Driver.  As this case will be long-winded and complex, and as legal costs will likely be substantial, PCA brought together interested companies to discuss process management perspectives. This group is now developing a thorough “project management” framework, to provide strategic oversight of this matter. Stay tuned for updates.

Member services remain an important part of PCA’s role. Recently, PCA held a “Labour Supply Forum”, in response to growing concerns over rising demand and lagging supply of construction labour. As noted in our previous newsletter, it is estimated that Alberta will need over 114,000 workers in the next number of years. To proactively and constructively address this problem as a contractor community, PCA’s first Labour Supply Forum event focused on international solutions to worker shortages. This will be followed by a second event exploring regulatory issues and impediments, and investigating domestic responses including aboriginal peoples, women in construction, apprenticeship development, and increased productivity.  Stay tuned as this process develops.