October 14, 2021

Brynn BourkeBY THE TIME TRADETALK hits your doorstep, the results of the federal election should be known. Elections are probably the most important form of consultation a government can have. The stakes couldn’t be higher. But it’s not just your opinion on who should form government that you’ll be asked about this fall. Both the federal and provincial governments have significant consultations running on core issues for tradespeople.

Provincially, the NDP government is running consultations on the Skilled Trades Certification initiative. In essence, the province is restoring compulsory certification for 10 trades. Readers can read more on the initiative in this issue of Tradetalk. You can share your opinion with government by filling out a survey at engage.gov.bc.ca or by completing an online workbook the Industry Training Authority has put together.

Also on the provincial front, workers are being asked about their opinion on a permanent paid sick leave program. Earlier this spring, the government introduced three paid days of sick leave for workers effected by COVID-19. This temporary measure is set to expire at the end of this year. What will replace it? The labour movement is calling for 10 days of permanent, employer-paid sick leave. GovTogetherBC has an online survey you can fill out to let government know your opinion. After the survey closes, you’ll still have an opportunity to review the options government puts forwards and weigh in on the model you feel would work best.

The federal government is also running a consultation on Employment Insurance. This is a rare opportunity for tradespeople to address the major gaps in the current program. Building Trades unions are calling on the government to eliminate the delay for apprentices trying to access EI and to ensure newly unemployed workers can receive EI benefits while attending skills training or an educational program. We also want to extend the EI Training Support Benefit from four weeks to 16 weeks and create a dedicated Skilled Trades representative inside EI that understands the unique issues tradespeople face. You can read the submission from Canada’s Building Trades on their website at buildingtrades.ca and participate in the federal consultation before it closes on Oct. 8. So, as the headline says, get ready to give the government your opinion – on everything.

By Brynn Bourke
Interim Executive Director