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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Cobra Stairs in Castlegar reopen to public

A tree fell on the roof of the stairs earlier this month

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

Castlegar food bank sees increased demand for housing supports

Community Harvest Food Bank also seeing more requests from seniors

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read