The BC Building Trades applauds Budget 2019’s commitment of $20.1 billion in public infrastructure investment ̶ the highest level ever for a three-year fiscal plan.
The capital spending will be used to build hospitals, schools, post-secondary facilities, transit and roads.
“In addition to British Columbians benefiting from these public services, they will benefit from the jobs, local investment, income tax revenue and training opportunities that these projects will provide,” said Tom Sigurdson, executive director of the BC Building Trades.
Sigurdson notes that capital expenditures overall in the NDP’s second full provincial budget have increased by over $1 billion.
The BC Building Trades is also cautiously optimistic about a $3 million investment in the Industry Training Authority over three years to increase hands-on support for apprentices, employers and Indigenous communities to “engage with and navigate through the trades training system.”
The fund will also support development of a performance management framework toward inclusion of Indigenous people, women and other equity-seeking groups.
“We obviously need more details, but I hope we’re seeing the beginning of a restoration of support services for apprentices,” said Sigurdson. “Prior to the Liberal government’s dismantling of the apprenticeship system, apprentices were guided by trained counselors, from apprentice-level to journey-level qualification.”
Budget 2019 provides $14 million over three years to transform the Employment Standards Branch to ensure standards are applied fairly and consistently.
That funding will also be used to implement the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act and create a registry of licensed foreign workers, with the aim to help protect vulnerable workers form exploitation.
“We hope this signals the end of the controversial self-help kit, which required complainants to essentially beg their employer to pay them their basic entitlements under the act,” said Sigurdson. “Ultimately, we’d like to see restoration of the Joint Compliance Teams to fight the underground economy that’s already costing B.C. taxpayers over $100 million a year in unpaid taxes and premiums primarily in residential construction.”
For More Information:
Contact the BC Building Trades office