Proposed Labour Code Changes Could Wreak Havoc on B.C.’s Construction Industry

(Victoria, April 7, 2022) – The Horgan government’s proposed labour code amendments are a giant step backwards for workers and employers, according to the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) whose member companies build major infrastructure and capital projects, employing thousands of construction workers.

Currently, collective agreements appropriately have open periods every three years in construction. Reverting back to annual open periods will be a disruptive and expensive complication for PCA members and their workforce.

“While open periods are a legitimate component of collective bargaining, annual open periods could lead to construction industry chaos,” said PCA president Paul de Jong. “Companies will be forced every summer to deal with the turmoil of aggressive and unsettling union drives, rather than focusing on the tremendous amount of work that needs to get done. It’s an unnecessary and disruptive distraction, one which has the potential of weakening investment in the sector.”

The Horgan government is ignoring its own recommendations in order to help out its favoured group of union buddies. In 2019, the B.C. government’s Expert Advisory Panel recommended both three-year open periods and secret ballots. In its submission to the panel, PCA recommended that open periods be held every three years to strike a more reasonable balance, allowing for adequate representation for workers and a stable, productive workforce for employers.

The Horgan government is also reverting back to one-step union certification.

“Construction workers across the province will be denied their fundamental and democratic right to hold a secret ballot vote,” added de Jong. “Just like that, the Horgan government has turned back the clock on worker rights in what appears to be another blatant move to support its favoured union friends.”

It’s worth noting that the government proposed these labour code changes without any consultation from industry.

About the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)

PCA has been a leading voice in construction for more than two decades. 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, 416-500-0699

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