The Building Trades Is Less Talk & More Action

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lee Loftus, President  |  BC Building Trades

Members of the BC Building Trades are actively giving back to communities across British Columbia. Our relationship with our communities is such a part of what we do, that we don’t often take time to reflect on how much we have accomplished.

Whether it’s participating in annual food drives or raising funds for charities like the UBC Diabetes Research Department, Variety: The Children’s Charity or United Way, members of the BC Building Trades have used our networks to raise money for many worthwhile causes.

We are often called upon to give our time and talent to assist  with charity construction projects. During the construction of Canuck Place, which provides specialized pediatric respite and palliative care for children living with lifethreatening illnesses, BC Building Trades members donated their time and construction materials.

We have been a significant partner in the fight against diabetes, a disease that affects more than three million Canadians.

We launched the Dollars for Diabetes (DADs) Day fundraising campaign in 1998 in an effort to help children suffering from the disease. Over the past 14 years, we have raised thousands of dollars for diabetes research through bucket collections and golf tournaments. This steady support for a cure has helped fund groundbreaking research at the University of British Columbia and is giving hope to many people suffering from this disease.

We also blazed the trail for awareness of occupational diseases like Asbestosis and Mesothelioma. Fundraising and investment in a cure has gone hand and hand with our political organizing on these issues. It’s not enough to prevent occupational exposure in the workplace, we have made a serious investment in our members’ health by fundraising and directing hundreds of thousands of dollars to research and treatment for those suffering from these insidious diseases.

When there was an explosion at the Burns Lake sawmill and hundreds of workers were put out of work, BC Building Trades unions acted quickly to raise funding to assist the families.

We have done all of these things without seeking recognition. We have done them because it is the right thing to do for our communities. As tradespeople, we recognize that building a better world doesn’t stop on the shop floor or construction site. We support our neighbours in any way we can, whenever we can.

I know that when I visit a skating rink in Prince George, a ballpark in Grand Forks or a lacrosse arena in Nanaimo, I will open the sports program and see one of our affiliated unions is a sponsor.

We don’t talk about our charitable work often. I suppose that’s just the way tradespeople are—less talk and more action. But I think it’s important to take a moment every once in a while to stop and reflect on the contributions that we’re making across British Columbia. It gives the phrase “We Build BC” a whole new meaning.

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