360x365 - BCCA Speaking Out for Industry
The construction industry contributes 8.6% of provincial GDP and is the biggest employer in BC’s goods sector with 225,000 employees. It’s a vital industry and, due to its scale, is impacted by activities in many areas of our economy and society. Every day, in the midst of much opportunity, contractors are facing challenges to their ongoing and future success.
The BCCA serves more than 10,000 union and open shop companies through the membership of the four Regional Construction Associations, our skilled workforce programs and procurement services.
One of the most important things we do is advocate at the provincial level on behalf of the industry we serve, collaborating with the Regional Associations to support their local issues and the Canadian Construction Association on issues that impact our industry nationwide.
These are the issues that matter most today:
Community Benefit Agreements
At the federal, local, and provincial levels, Community Benefit Agreements are gaining traction in government as a way to solve social issues.
Provincially, the government announced on July 16th, a new Community Benefits Agreement that is a loosely disguised Union Labour Agreement. The first projects to be delivered under the framework are the new Pattullo Bridge and the four-laning projects on the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Alberta. Read our Horgan CBA 101.
BCCA’s position on community benefit requirements is clear: we strongly oppose any procurement practice or program that seeks to confer exclusive bidding rights to companies based upon any system of quotas or legislated wages within the province. We advocate for a transparent procurement strategy in the public tendering process that allows for fair competition. Read our policies.
Read BCCA's responses to the Community Benefits Agreement and Pattullo Bridge announcements:
- Pattullo Procurement Strategy Takes BC Construction a Bridge Too Far
- Response to the Province’s Community Benefits Agreement Announcement
- BCCA does not support Premier Horgan’s new Community Benefits Agreement
Federally, Bill C-344 (An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (Community Benefits)) will go before the Senate in Fall 2018. Bill C-344 is very concerning from multiple perspectives:
- It supposes that BC’s construction employers do not already contribute in our communities;
- It assumes that we do not willingly support apprenticeship, training, and equity seeking groups;
- It presumes that contracts are so lucrative that contractors have “plenty more to give away”;
- It expects that the imposition of subjective “benefit” criteria will not have unintended negative consequences for taxpayers;
- It assumes the addition of subjective criteria to the public tendering process does not undermine its integrity or compromise the obligation
BCCA is working with our counterparts at the national and local levels to educate MPs on the risks of this approach.
Lack of prompt payment is one of the most significant issues in the construction sector. When contractors don’t get paid on time, it places a financial burden on small businesses and blocks cash flow in the economy. The estimated cost in BC’s construction sector is $4BN.
Solving the prompt payment challenge in BC will release millions into the economy and improve cash flow for everyday British Columbians across our province. In particular, it will help small contractors (the backbone of our industry) to pay their staff and their bills and manage their business without taking on extra debt and financial expenses.
At BCCA, we’re working with industry stakeholders to get a legislative solution for BC on the table for the Spring 2019 legislative session.
We’re also working on a technology solution that will create transparency and accountability within a project’s payment ecosystem.
Tariffs on U.S. Steel and Aluminium
Trade wars are a losing proposition. We encourage a focus on more productive trade measures, such as the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnerships, which emerged from tabling in the House of Commons on June 20. The CPTPP will strongly position Canada to take market share from the US in countries such as Japan and Malaysia: as Canada’s western gateway BC will play a key role in “export diversification” to Pacific partners.
We urged the federal government not to impose tariffs on construction materials. The costs of construction are already high, and have been rising for some time. Margins are low for developers and contractors, and housing is already unaffordable for many British Columbians: tariffs on steel, iron and aluminum, which are crucial materials for construction, will just make these situations worse.
BC has big energy projects on the horizon. Steel is important in every part of the oil and gas industry, from drilling, production, processing, to storage and transportation utilizing pipelines. Tariffs on products which are of particular relevance to the oil and gas sector will add increased risk to final investment decisions on major projects that are enormously important to BC’s economy.
Skilled Workforce Shortages
BCCA has been a leader in developing our provincial skilled workforce for decades. According to BuildForce Canada’s latest report, BC can expect a shortage of 14,000 skilled tradespeople over the next few years. Competition for skilled tradespeople and labourers is fierce and wages and benefits reflect the tight supply. This translates to increased costs on most projects.
BCCA manages several programs and services to alleviate the pressure by helping employers find the high quality employees they need and support them in training and career development:
Tax Increases on Small Business
We believe the changes to small business federal tax are counter-productive to our economic priorities. BCCA is a member of the Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness and works to highlight the immense impact such changes would have in our sector and, as a result, in homes and communities across our province.
Construction Procurement Process
BCCA is focused on developing public sector procurement capacity and improving access to high quality project information through our BidCentral platform.
In the public sector, we believe that adherence to the Capital Asset Management Framework (CAMF) is essential to the fair, open, and transparent procurement process that is an obligation and responsibility of government to taxpayers.
Success rests on a contractor’s ability to access high quality project information from any region in BC, and on an owner’s ability to receive multiple compliant and professional bids from quality local contractors.
BCCA will continue to support BC’s public sector be offering the highest level of industry knowledge and expertise available. Recent advocacy efforts include:
We continue to work with the Ministry of Citizen’s Services to support their procurement innovation strategy and the re-visioning of BC Bid to ensure that the unique needs of construction are met.