Prairies Report – August, 2012

The Alberta election ended with the re-election of the governing PC’s. In their election platform, the PC’s included many a commitment to creating all-employee bargaining units in construction and to safeguard employees against union fines, both encouraging promises. PCA maintains a very strong relationship with premier Redford and the government of Alberta, and we look forward to working with her and the Minister of Employment, Dave Hancock, to ensure continued progress in these areas for our contractors.

In addition to government advocacy, PCA continues to be involved with the Drug and Alcohol Risk Reduction Pilot Project. This project is designed to be an industry-wide program for advanced drug and alcohol testing and treatment approaches. The two-year pilot project is set to launch with implementation on various Alberta sites starting in September.  PCA ‘s two key responsibilities for the project are a) provision of funding of the administration of the pilot project and b) possible linkage of third party provider services for member contractors (testing and case management). 

Alberta continues to be the major driver of economic action in this country, and with it comes the usual challenges of ensuring a strong and competent labour force to meet its needs. PCA continues to work with industry stakeholders, including those who are traditionally under-engaged by the industry.

In Saskatchewan, all the hard work and effort put into ensuring a positive outcome for Bill 80 has paid off. The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board awarded CLAC all-employee bargaining units with five construction companies (Pyramid, Westwood, Willbros, Canonbie and Dowland [formerly Tercon]) – all members of PCA – leading the charge for progressive unionized construction in Saskatchewan. Continued hurdles still face our mandate within the province and PCA will continue to work on the challenges that face us. These challenges include work done by traditional craft unions to maintain their monopoly on the province, ensuring that major construction owners are aware of, and engaged with, our contractor community, the continued need to expand membership within the province and the fight against the labour law that allows a yearly one-month long open season in construction.

Paul de Jong and Paul Hoag of the Robar Training Centre met with Saskatchewan’s Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, Don Morgan, to ensure that PCA members were represented in the upcoming review of employment and safety laws in Saskatchewan.  In addition, PCA hosted a full table at the Saskatchewan premier’s dinner, where Paul de Jong and a host of PCA members were able to speak directly to the premiers of both Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as cabinet members in attendance.

Relationships between PCA and key industry and government stakeholders are very healthy, and speak to a bright future for PCA contractors in this hot-spot of construction activity.