February 15, 2023

TO ENSURE WORKERS’ voices are heard, Canada’s Building Trades Unions has made pre-budget submissions to the federal government, outlining the priorities of the building trades for the year ahead.

“It was through early and consistent advocacy that the Building Trades were able to secure the labour mobility deduction for tradespeople and other items in Budget 2022,” said Sean Strickland, executive director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions.

“The same approach is needed for the upcoming federal budget to ensure skilled trades workers are well-supported and positioned for success within the industry.”

Construction has, time and again, proven itself a vital and stable force in Canada’s economy, but skilled trades workers and the construction industry need government support as the economy transitions to net-zero and pandemic recovery continues.

“Labour availability is a top priority for the Building Trades and a multi-pronged approach that includes workforce development initiatives, investments in training and apprenticeship and immigration are needed to meet an increase in construction activity and industry demand,” said Strickland. “According to BuildForce Canada, the country needs, over and above our ability to recruit and train new workers, 30,000 workers by 2027.”

When it comes to immigration, CBTU recommends developing a construction immigration stream to bring in skilled trades immigrants; prioritizing skilled trades workers through the Express Entry System and improving and strengthening the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

In October 2022, CBTU formalized many of these recommendations through a submission to 2023 pre-budget consultations. Recommendations included:

  • That the government prioritize the immigration of more skilled trades workers into Canada to meet labour supply needs by creating a construction immigration stream and making changes to the Express Entry System.
  • That the government support energy workers in the skilled trades impacted by the transition to a greener economy by making investments that support new large-scale green infrastructure projects and transitioning workers, including financial support for journey workers.
  • That the government implement community benefits agreements or workforce development agreements on large, federally funded projects to provide economic support for local communities and set hiring goals for Indigenous Canadians and other under-represented groups.
  • That the government make improvements to the Union Training and Innovation Program by expanding funding for brick-and-mortar projects that would see the expansion of training centres to increase capacity for apprentices.

Canada’s Building Trades Unions will continue to advocate for these issues in the coming months as consultations for the 2023 federal budget continue.

For updates on national issues, visit www.buildingtrades.ca, sign up for the CBTU biweekly newsletter, and follow on social media @cdntrades.