Apprentices required for public construction

Schools, roads and other taxpayer funded projects worth more than $15M will require apprentices starting July 1

Jobs Minister Shirley Bond and Tom Sigurdson of the B.C. Building Trades announce deal on public construction at the B.C. legislature Tuesday.

It’s not a firm quota, but construction unions have won a commitment from the B.C. government to require apprentices to be hired for public projects worth more than $15 million.

Jobs Minister Shirley Bond announced the new requirement Tuesday, and it takes effect July 1. Construction firms bidding on major projects such as schools, hospitals, roads or bridges will have to include their plans to hire apprentices.

Construction unions have pushed for the change, arguing that a lack of apprentices on public jobs is an obvious gap in the government’s skills training plan. B.C. Building Trades executive director Tom Sigurdson said he is pleased with the agreement, and will give it a year to work before deciding if it goes far enough.

Bond said the coming year could see as many as 15 major projects that would qualify. She agreed with Sigurdson that many apprentices don’t complete their training because they can’t find a job placement between stints in trade school.

Bond said subcontracts worth $500,000 or more, with a focus on one of the 57 Red Seal trades, will also require an apprenticeship component. In her discussions with employers, she said they are looking to increase apprenticeships as baby boom trades people begin to retire in large numbers.

Houle Electric president Robert Lashin said the government has struck the right balance. “By having a policy like this, government is setting a standard but is not being prescriptive,” he said.

NDP jobs critic Shane Simpson said his party has called for apprentice opportunities on publicly funded projects for years, but the government needs to go further.

“In the public service, including municipalities, schools, universities, health care, there are only 300 apprentices in the whole province, and about half of them are with BC Hydro,” Simpson said.

B.C. Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger said “aspirational goals are not enough,” and the province should require one of four employees on major projects be apprentices.

Just Posted

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

Cullen remains uncertain about political future

Says he’ll make decision in early March

Terrace resident’s bill banning single-use plastics introduced in Ottawa

MP Nathan Cullen’s presented Ben Korving’s private member’s bill Wednesday

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Australian woman killed in avalanche at Whistler

The woman and her partner were reportedly rescued by ski patrol, but she did not survive

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

Most Read