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

UPDATE: One dead, two in hospital after Highway 1 crash near Bridal Falls

Closure expected to last hours, while drivers are told to take detours

Pawnshops support curbing crime with digital database

At least two pawnshops in Penticton are in support of upgrading to a digital list of items purchased

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

Walk to end abuse for those who can’t

SOWINS’s Debbie Scarborough points to the lethal potential in intimate partner abuse

Evacuation orders lifted around Osoyoos Lake

An evacuation order lifted for 15 properties around lake

Buy a lotto ticket and be a hero to B.C. burn victims

The Hometown Heroes Lottery is offering up seven grand prizes including a home in Lake Country

UPDATE: Grass fire burns near Mission Hill winery

Smoke can be seen around West Kelowna as a fire gets underway near Mission Hill

Vernon SAR manager wins national volunteer award

A Vernon Search and Rescue manager was one of those honoured for her dedication and innovation.

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Suits and Boots lobby group

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Most Read