November 2017 - ICBA


How are your writing skills? Could they be better? Is your writing effective and focused on what you need to get across to the reader?

Our Writing Effective Letters, Scope Documents and Reports course will teach you to write more effectively. The skills you’ll learn will stick with you throughout your career.

Some of the topics the course covers are:

  • Planning your scope documents;
  • Writing effective letters;
  • Responding to bids and proposals;
  • Structuring your reports and project documentation.

Our training department is offering the course this month in Victoria and Prince George, and in Burnaby in December. Visit for more information on this and any of our other courses. Have you subscribed to our training newsletter? You should; subscribe now at

You don’t have to be a member to register for our training workshops, but it will save you money on your fees! Check out for more information.


NEWS RELEASE: ICBA flag pole project commemorates fallen Canadian soldiers

More than 160 flag poles commemorating Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been refurbished thanks to a community partnership between the Royal Canadian Legion, the College of New Caledonia (CNC) and the Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA).

The flags were first created by the family of Cpl. Darren Fitzpatrick a few years back, but were in need of a refreshment due to the area they were stored in, according to the Royal Canadian Legion Operational Stress Injury Special Section representative for British Columbia and Yukon Joe Elliott.

“It’s a fantastic job they’ve done,” he said. “The poles have been replaced with aluminum.

“These are going to last for a lifetime.”

Trade students and instructors at CNC have been busy applying their skills to the refurbishment of these poles.

CNC is made stronger through robust partnerships community partnership, according to CNC Vice President Finance and Corporate Services, Tara Szerencsi.

Learning experiences such as these go well beyond the text books, she said.

“Every time these flags fly, students can take pride knowing they lent a hand crafting this legacy project,” Szerencsi said.

These projects also don’t get off the ground without financial support, she added.

With the encouragement of Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond, ICBA rallied funds to be a part of this significant project, according to ICBA Regional Vice President Mike Davis.

In just two short years, ICBA has developed great relationships with CNC that he said he hopes continue on.

“This is one of the most unique projects we have been a part of in the region and we are extremely proud of our partnership with CNC,” Davis said.

Attached to each pole is a wooden plaque commemorating the name and rank of a soldier. Flags flying for British Columbia’s fallen soldiers, including Cpl. Fitzpatrick, will feature a special red base. All 160 flags will line the parade route on Remembrance Day.

“This will be a beautiful tribute to our fallen,” Elliott said.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Managing Employee Terminations (Breakfast)

One of the hardest parts of a supervisor’s job is terminating an employee, and it’s essential that you know to manage this task properly. Human Resources professionals are often the ones dealing with the situation, both with the legal aspects and with the employee him or herself. Our training department wants to give you all the information you need to deal with this challenge at our November 29 breakfast session in Burnaby.

It will explore the following topics:

  • Employee misconduct and “just cause”;
  • The investigation;
  • Without cause: what do I owe?;
  • Employment Standards Act versus Common Law in the construction industry;
  • Human rights and termination decisions;
  • The termination offer/termination meeting.

The Managing Employee Terminations session is presented by a partner at Fasken Martineau’s Labour, Employment and Human Rights Group. Register now at; you’ll also earn 2.5 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing!

Have questions about this or any of our other upcoming courses? Email the training team at; they would be pleased to assist. We’re already booking new courses for 2018!

ICBA CAST: Watts on the Roller Coaster

The BC Liberal leadership candidates went to Prince George and it was a real roller coaster for Dianne Watts: she picked up the endorsement of Lucy Sager as Lucy left the race, and then she got whacked by the Prince George Citizen’s Neil Godbout for her performance in Saturday’s debate.
Chris Gardner and Jordan Bateman break down the week that was for Watts, the leadership race, Darryl Plecas, Site C, Kinder Morgan and more on a Friday morning edition of the ICBA Cast:

OP/ED: Horgan Needs to Rethink Project Labour Agreement Intentions

This op-ed by ICBA President Chris Gardner first appeared in the Vancouver Province on Nov. 12, 2017.

It’s like a bad episode of Let’s Make a Deal. An everyday B.C. taxpayer holds their winnings so far: a red-hot construction job market, fair deals for both workers and owners, a stable labour environment, and billions of dollars in savings.

But Premier John Horgan doesn’t want that deal. He is poking and prodding the poor taxpayer to throw it all away and choose whatever is hidden behind door “number two”.

And if Horgan gets his way, the taxpayer will see the door open, hear that terrible “ZONK!”, and find their tax dollars going up in flames.

In an effort to please his union donors, Horgan recently signaled his government’s intention to return to Project Labour Agreements (PLAs) for public infrastructure construction. This antiquated business model inflates project costs, removes flexibility, causes needless delays, and wastes tax dollars.

It is astonishing that the NDP consider the 1990s Island Highway construction project a model for anything. Yet Horgan wears it as a badge of honour, openly pushing for a return to a time where only companies affiliated with certain unions could win government contracts and where PLAs were used to force workers to join unions.

This kind of overt favoritism costs taxpayers big dollars and limits opportunities for workers. The Island Highway was over budget because it caused costs to escalate and imposed complicated, bureaucratic rules on project managers. A BDO Dunwoody study commissioned by the Vancouver Board of Trade in 1994 estimated the PLA increased highway costs by 38 percent. That’s a lot of tax dollars down the drain for no good reason.

Horgan’s PLA pitch also ignores the fact that the construction industry has changed and improved significantly over the past two decades. The new economy isn’t just found in tech or green industries – it’s arrived in construction too. The construction sector accounts for about 10 percent of B.C.’s economy and is more dynamic, vibrant and flexible than it’s ever been.

Nearly a quarter million men and women work in construction today. Horgan’s friends in the B.C. building trades unions lay claim to about 20 percent of that workforce, down from about a third in the 1990s. Their model has been in decline for the past 30 years for a reason – they have failed to address the needs of construction workers and have refused to respond to changes in the new economy.

The hard, cold truth is that the vast majority of construction workers under age 50 simply do not see value in belonging to building trades affiliated unions. Most of them just want to go to work and earn a living to support their families. They aren’t interested in being pigeon-holed into rigid, restrictive union-defined roles. They want the best people to get the work, not the longest tenured.

Horgan’s vision is to use sweetheart deals to tilt the playing field in favour of 20 per cent of the construction workforce. He has trotted out arguments about PLAs fostering labour relations stability and boosting apprenticeship training. But history shows PLAs do nothing to enhance the quality of work on the job site, do not make the workplace safer, and do not result in better training outcomes. They cost more and deliver less.

No one can remember the last significant construction labour dispute in B.C. for a good reason; we have enjoyed a prolonged period of labour peace. For nearly two decades, construction workers have worked together – more often than not side-by-side regardless of whether they were members of a union, employee association, or non-union – to build our great province.

And contrary to building trade union assertions, more apprenticeship training occurs in an open market construction market than within the closed, constrained confines of PLAs.

With the provincial government planning to spend $50 billion on construction over the next five years, there’s a lot at stake. Employees and companies not affiliated with traditional unions should not be excluded from government construction contracts – it’s simply not fair. Such an approach denies opportunities to hard-working British Columbians based not on their skills, work ethic, or ingenuity, but whether or not they are affiliated with a union bureaucracy.

In the interests of fairness, transparency and value for taxpayers, Horgan and his new government should abandon the return to the antiquated PLA approach to procurement and labour relations. Instead, the government should embrace open and competitive procurement and workplace arrangements for public infrastructure projects that deliver fairness and opportunity for everyone in the construction sector.

British Columbians don’t need what Horgan is hiding behind door “number two” – favoritism and higher costs for taxpayers.

FACT CHECK: Busting the Myths Around Site C

Tough times for the anti-Site C crowd. Ten days ago, they jumped out in front of the BC Utilities Commission’s report (without even taking the time to read and digest its 300 pages) and claimed victory.

But the Site C Dam must be built. And over the past ten days, we have seen the negative nellies’ arguments all fall by the wayside:

Every argument these professional protestors have lobbed against Site C has been debunked. Hopefully the NDP cabinet is smart enough to see through the anti-Site C lies.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Time Management Workshop

How’s your time management? Are you a procrastinator? Don’t put it off for another day; register now for our Time Management Workshop on December 13 in Burnaby!

You will gain a new mindset, skillset and toolset that will optimize your personal productivity, and learn how to produce greater results in less time. Improved time management skills mean increased productivity, met deadlines, and a positive impact on all aspects of your business. You’ll also earn 7 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing and 1 Gold Seal Credit!

Here are some of the benefits of attending:

  • Participants learn how to gain and keep control of competing priorities, concurrent projects and critical deadlines.
  • Participants will learn powerful lessons about themselves, enhancing self-understanding so they can leverage their personal strengths and develop strategies to minimize the impact of their weakness.
  • The focus on practicality means that people walk out with ideas and techniques they can apply the next day.

Register now at You don’t have to be a member to register for our courses, but members do save on registration fees. Learn more about becoming a member at

TRAINING THURSDAY: Occupational First Aid Level 1

Every workplace needs someone trained in First Aid. In fact, there are WorkSafeBC regulations mandating the number of First Aid attendants necessary depending on the size of the workplace. Do you have enough?

If not, our training department is here to help! We regularly offer Occupational First Aid Level 1 courses in the Lower Mainland, and can even provide a private course for your staff!

Our eight-hour course is designed to cover all medical techniques considered to be within the responsibility of the Occupational First Aid Level 1 Attendant as required by WorkSafeBC. The next session takes place December 1, followed by multiple courses already scheduled for 2018. Visit for more information or to register.

Interested in training multiple people on your job site? Email our training team at and they will be pleased to assist you.

You don’t have to be a member of ICBA to take our courses, but now is the perfect time to become a member as we head into 2018! Check out for more information.

ICBA CAST: Peyton, Dianne, Site C & the BTU

In this week’s ICBA Cast, Chris and Jordan bask in the success of our AGM dinner featuring Peyton Manning, recap our new life members, ponder the titanic trajectory of the Dianne Watts leadership campaign, read some Site C tea leaves, rant about the latest nonsense from the Building Trades Unions, and more:

POLICY: ICBA Makes Formal Submission to B.C. Minimum Wage Review

Last week, ICBA made a submission to the Fair Wage Commission. The Commission was established by the B.C. NDP Government to move the minimum wage from its current rate of $11.35 to $15.00 per hour in 2019. ICBA recommended that:

  1. The Commission be mindful of the inevitable unintended consequences of any precipitous increases to the minimum wage;
  2. The John Horgan government adopt an orderly, predictable, incremental, and certain process which will take B.C.’s minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2022; and,
  3. Increases thereafter be indexed annually to the prevailing B.C. CPI rate.

 To read our full submission, click HERE.