B.C. announces landmark agreement for key public-sector infrastructure projects

B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
July 16, 2018
By B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
B.C. announces landmark agreement for key public-sector infrastructure projects
Image: B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
A new, landmark agreement for key public-sector infrastructure projects in B.C. will deliver good-paying jobs, better training and apprenticeships, and more trades opportunities for Indigenous peoples, women and youth around the province.

“British Columbians rightfully expect B.C. projects to benefit B.C. workers, families and communities. Our new Community Benefits Agreement will help deliver those benefits,” said Premier John Horgan. “With this agreement, we’re not just investing in roads, bridges and other infrastructure, we’re investing in good jobs and new opportunities for people who live in B.C.  And with our focus on expanding apprenticeships for young British Columbians, we’re helping build B.C.’s next generation of construction workers.”

Highlights of the agreement include:
• A targeted approach to maximizing apprenticeship opportunities on major public-infrastructure projects.
• Focus on priority hiring and training of Indigenous peoples, and women.
• Co-ordinated access to existing training programs, while identifying and addressing skills gaps.
• Priority hiring for qualified individuals who live within close proximity of the projects.
• Hiring flexibility for contractors, who can request named hires.
• Wage alignment to prevailing industry rates to promote good wages for all employees.

The first projects to be delivered under the new community benefits framework are the new Pattullo Bridge, and the four-laning projects on the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Alberta. The request for qualifications (RFQ) for the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project has been released.

“British Columbians deserve the opportunity to work on major government projects being built in and near their communities,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This Community Benefits Agreement will put local people first in line for good jobs building the roads, bridges and other infrastructure we need.”

Under government’s new Community Benefits Agreement, a diverse and qualified workforce will be supplied for select major public infrastructure projects through a newly created Crown corporation, BC Infrastructure Benefits Inc. (BCIB). BCIB will hire the project’s construction workers, and will work with unions and contractors to dispatch labour, as well as manage payroll and benefits.

"We continue to work with Indigenous groups and women in trades to expand apprenticeship and employment opportunities,” said Tom Sigurdson, executive director, BC Building Trades. “Under a Community Benefits Agreement, these initiatives will translate directly into apprenticeship completions, which, in turn, will allow B.C. residents to support their families, to invest in their communities, and to build the B.C. economy.”

Signatories to the Community Benefits Agreement are BCIB, and the Allied Infrastructure and Related Construction Council (AIRCC), which represents many of B.C.’s building trades. Contractors representing B.C.’s construction industry played an important advisory role as the agreement was developed.

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