June 2019 - ICBA

The following op-ed, co-authored by ICBA President Chris Gardner, first appeared in The Financial Post on June 6, 2019.

This week, the Senate of Canada began third reading of Bill C-69. When the government commenced the regulatory review process in 2016, Canadians were promised legislation that would restore public trust, introduce new, fair processes, and get our resources to market. The Bill C-69 that the House of Commons sent to the Senate fell far short of that promise. If passed, it would only cause increased uncertainty for major infrastructure projects — projects that are essential to delivering economic growth and a high quality of life for all Canadians.

Let us be clear and unequivocal. We believe in the value and importance of proper environmental-impact assessment processes that are robust and science-based, and in the value of sustainability in our operations. These things are fundamental to us.

Bill C-69 caused us, and Canadians across the country, great concern when it was introduced in February 2018. It fuelled greater uncertainty in project assessment and review processes. It introduced longer timelines for some projects, and vague criteria that would increase the risk of legal challenges. It substantially increased ministerial discretionary powers.

When the House of Commons standing committee on environment and sustainable development studied Bill C-69 last spring, it did not address the fundamental issues that many had identified with the bill. In fact, the committee amendments made it even less likely that major infrastructure projects would be built, and put at risk the investment needed for Canada to create the jobs and government revenues that support our quality of life.

Fortunately, the Senate, and specifically, the standing Senate committee on energy, the environment and natural resources (ENEV), composed of senators from across the country, with different political perspectives, decided to take a comprehensive look at the Bill C-69 sent to them by the House of Commons.

ENEV members consulted extensively with a broad cross-section of Canadians across the country. Members of this committee travelled to locations from British Columbia to Newfoundland. They heard from individuals, associations, companies and non-governmental organizations. They heard from premiers and cabinet ministers, lawyers and academics. And what they heard convinced them to undertake a multi-partisan effort to improve the deeply flawed Bill C-69.

Working together, members of the ENEV committee examined hundreds of proposed changes and recommended nearly 200 amendments to Bill C-69. These amendments were proposed by members of the Independent Senators Group, Liberal, Conservative and non-aligned senators. By diligently applying sober second thought to Bill C-69, these thoughtful public servants have produced a bill that truly reflects the values of Canadians and deserves to be approved substantially as-is by the Senate, and then by the House of Commons.

Is the new Bill C-69 perfect? By no means. For industry, there will remain increased risk when proposing major infrastructure projects. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about how the new agencies and processes created by Bill C-69 will work and how proponents will be able to navigate the new impact-assessment processes. However, what the Senate has done is make it much more likely that new projects will be proposed and built, creating jobs and government revenues while protecting our environment.

Communities, businesses and families all over the country are feeling the strain of Canada’s failure to provide a clear path to approval for major infrastructure projects. Investment and jobs are being re-directed to other countries where there is greater predictability in the regulatory process and where there are greater opportunities for investors — investors who would otherwise be coming to Canada.

We can revitalize our reputation as a great place to do business. It is essential that we do so for the long-term livelihood and prosperity of all Canadians.

The ENEV committee has done Canada a great service and positioned the federal government for success by shaping a Bill C-69 that comes closer to achieving the original objectives. We urge the full Senate, and the House of Commons, to accept this improved version of Bill C-69 to ensure a better future for Canadians.

  • Wendy Zatylny, president, Association of Canadian Port Authorities
  • Sandip Lalli, president and CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce
  • Tim McMillan, president and CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
  • Chris Bloomer, president and CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association
  • Timothy M. Egan, president and CEO, Canadian Gas Association
  • Bob Masterson, president and CEO, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada
  • Tristan Goodman, president, The Explorers and Producers Association of Canada
  • Chris Gardner, president, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
  • Gary Mar, president and CEO, Petroleum Services Association of Canada

TRAINING THURSDAY: Mental Wellness in the Workplace

(Plus Jordan & Kerry talk Hot Zone, Julianna Margulies, NHL Draft plans, GoT, and a chance for you to win a free hat)
Mental wellness is a big topic these days, and we want to help you tackle these important issues. We’re offering a variety of half-day mental wellness related courses this year in cities all across BC.
We’re starting with Intervening in Workplace Conflict for Supervisors, which will help you understand conflict and anger, and barriers to conflict resolution and strategies for addressing conflict. We are bringing this course to Burnaby June 14 and Victoria on June 19.
In the afternoon of June 19 in Victoria, we have scheduled our Ensuring an Inclusive Workplace course. Among the topics covered are the importance of inclusive workplaces, understanding harassment, and identifying respectful behaviour.
We’re heading to Kelowna on July 5 for our morning half-day Understanding Trauma workshop, where you will acquire a basic understanding of trauma and critical incident stress, signs and symptoms of trauma, and how to support workers, among other topics. Our afternoon session in Kelowna is Mental Health in the Workplace – How Much Is It Costing You?. If your goal is increased productivity, retention of talent, less sick time/injuries then this is a must. This workshop helps employers and supervisors identify the cost savings when providing a workplace that is healthy.
We are also offering our Assertiveness – How To Set Boundaries and Avoid Conflict workshop in Burnaby on July 16, and in Prince George on August 16. This half-day session will allow workers and supervisors alike to understand the importance of being assertive and establishing workplace boundaries.
You can register for these or any of our other upcoming courses at www.icba.ca/courses. We are always here to answer questions; you can email the training department at training@icba.ca.

TRAINING THURSDAY – New breakfast and lunch sessions

We have a bunch of new workshops coming to a city near you!
We’re starting with Meaningful Performance and Development Conversations in Burnaby on July 12. Managing the performance of others is more than just an annual review. Meaningful performance management is an ongoing process that results in continuous improvement, enhanced performance, clear expectations and objective measurement. In this session you’ll learn how to prepare for the conversation, how to monitor performance, and much. We’re also offering this session in Prince George on August 14.
On July 23 in Prince George, we’re offering a new breakfast session, Reasonable Suspicion for Supervisors. This session is designed to provide supervisors in safety-sensitive environment in making objective decisions about reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing. This session will also discuss the potential consequences for positive tests and look at some suggestions for updating your company policies. We are also offering this session in Burnaby on September 13.
In the afternoon, our instructor will be teaching Progressive Discipline at Work, which will discuss helpful guidelines for those needing to implement a policy, how to strengthen existing policies, and the escalating levels of discipline, among other topics. This course will also take place in Burnaby on October 18.
Another brand-new course, Navigating a Multi-Generational Workplace, will also be in Prince George on August 14. This workshop will explore some of the challenges and opportunities businesses face as the generational balance tips as the Boomers continue to retire and the Millennials and Gen Z take their place. What will this mean for your managers and supervisors? What will be the impact on your organizational culture, trends, social norms and recruitment and retention strategies? This course will also be in Burnaby on November 22.
In addition to our breakfast and lunch sessions, we have a half-day Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace course June 21 in Prince George and August 30 in Burnaby. You’ll learn how to deal with an employee in a safety-sensitive role who has a marijuana license, accommodation requirements for workers with drug and/or alcohol addiction, and how to handle impaired at work situations, among other important topics.
Register for any (or all!) of these workshops at www.icba.ca/courses.

ICBA Applauds Trans Mountain Green Light; Calls for More Fed Support for Oil & Gas

BURNABY – The federal government’s announcement today that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project (TMX) has been greenlit is excellent news for the thousands of construction workers waiting to get to work on it, says the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).

“TMX has seen many twists and turns along the way, but we are happy and relieved that construction has been given the green light,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA president. “This much-needed expansion should have started years ago, but was stalled by an obstructionist court action by B.C. NDP Government, the purchase of the pipeline by the federal government, and U.S.-funded professional protesters fighting it, even as polls showed the majority of Canadians supported the pipeline. It’s time to build this pipeline and secure the investment, jobs and opportunities that will be an important part of Canada’s long-term prosperity.”

ICBA led the fight for the Trans Mountain pipeline project for several years, using its #Get2Yes platform to generate thousands of messages from British Columbians supporting the expansion; created an award-winning Get Canada’s Big Gas Moving video viewed 800,000+ times on Facebook; encouraged BC construction companies to participate in the planning, bidding and eventual construction of the project; intervened in various hearings and court challenges; provided public policy and advocacy support; and was a founding member of Confidence in Canada.

“We have been proud to champion this nation-building project from the very beginning and will keep on working to ensure Canada’s energy industry has the workers, infrastructure, support and approvals needed to be successful,” said Gardner. “It is impossible to overestimate how important responsible resource development is to our economy and to Canada’s ability to attract investment and create opportunities for hundreds of thousands of families across our country.”

Despite today’s welcome news, there remain dark clouds on the horizon for Canada’s energy industry and threats to Canada’s ability to compete globally.

“Bill C-48, the Trudeau government’s north coast tanker ban, combined with Bill C-69, which will make it virtually impossible to get another major energy infrastructure project approved in Canada, are a one-two punch that will put Canada’s energy sector on its knees,” said Gardner.  “Through regulation and red tape, the Trudeau government’s aggressive attacks on the oil and gas sector are doing significant damage to Canada’s reputation as a place to invest and do business with confidence and certainty.”

“We cannot allow Trans Mountain to be the last energy project built in this country. Holding one of the most important drivers of our prosperity hostage makes no sense – through confusion and complexity, we are scaring away investment and opportunity not attracting it,” said Gardner.

“Over the past few years, Canada has lost billions of dollars in jobs and opportunity as our energy sector has been hollowed out. We have put at risk an entire industry and the family supporting jobs it provides in thousands of communities across Canada.”

NEWS RELEASE: Confidence In Canada Coalition ‘Pleased’ With #TMX Decision; Wants More Certainty for Energy Projects

ICBA is a founding member of Confidence in Canada, a coalition of more than 130 business, labour, municipal and other groups supporting investment in Canada.

Vancouver, B.C. – We are pleased to see the federal government’s final decision today granting approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) Project. After more than seven years of review, it’s time to get shovels in the ground. The government of B.C. must now respect the federal government’s decision that this project is in the national interest and must proceed without further delay.

The ongoing and unprecedented uncertainty around the TMX project led a group of over 113 business organizations, communities and leaders from across Canada to form the Confidence in Canada movement last spring. The group remains concerned as there is more than just a pipeline at stake. Uncertainty continues, fueled by the mounting regulatory burden and new legislation, including Bills C- 69 and C-48. Canada is mired in process paralysis and political division, self inflicted measures that are undermining our ability to get projects built by adding cost and complexity at the expense of our country’s future prosperity and impacting families and our reputation.

Investment in Canadian natural resource projects has been the lifeblood of our economy for decades, paying high wages and generating government revenues for health, education and social services across the nation. Even as this project is granted approval, Canada is increasingly being passed over for global investments in our natural resource, energy and related technology sectors. This is a lost opportunity for all Canadians.

Canada ranks 13th in the IMD World Competitiveness ranking in 2019, down three places from 2018 with an increasing risk premium. In the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Competitiveness Report, Canada ranked 53rd for its burden of government regulation.

We are at a crucial juncture where Canada needs to take an honest assessment to support our future growth through a comprehensive review of our regulatory and tax competitiveness. Our standard of living and ability to make continued progress on issues such as Indigenous reconciliation and climate action depends on it. Failure to get this right will hold back future generations from achieving their goals and realizing the quality of life that Canadians have enjoyed for decades.

The founding organizations of the Confidence in Canada movement will continue to advocate for citizens, communities and businesses to ensure Canada is an attractive place to invest, work and raise our families for generations to come.


“Canadians know that our country is stronger and better when we lever our strengths and act as a federation. British Columbia came into Canada through the promise of being connected by federal infrastructure. It is now up to B.C. to play a leadership role by respecting today’s decision in the interest of getting Canadian resources to diversified markets where they will receive fair market value.”

– Greg D’Avignon, President & CEO, Business Council of British Columbia

“Bill C-48, the Trudeau government’s north coast tanker ban, combined with Bill C-69, which will make it virtually impossible to get another major energy infrastructure project approved in Canada, are a one-two punch that will put Canada’s energy sector on its knees.”

– Chris Gardner, President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association

“It is high time that we move forward, collectively as Canadians, to build this infrastructure and get our natural resources to international markets.”

– Iain Black, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

“Today’s news that the TMX pipeline has been approved is welcome news – but it’s long overdue. We call on the federal government to move quickly from approval to construction, so we can the unlock benefits of this project for all Canadians.”

– Val Litwin, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce

“Today’s decision is important in that it doesn’t further exacerbate the challenges we face with investor confidence and alienating Albertans. But we still have a huge challenge ahead of us to create the certainty that we are a country where decisions can be made in a reasonable timeframe and big projects can be built. “

– Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President and Chief Strategic Officer for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

“Today’s decision by the federal cabinet on the TMX pipeline is a much needed confirmation of the critical role that responsible resource development—be it oil and gas, mining or forestry—plays in the Canadian economy and in the lives of countless workers, their families and communities right across our country.”

– Michael Goehring, President and CEO, Mining Association of British Columbia

ICBA CAST: TransMountain Gets to YES!

NEW ICBA CAST: The Trudeau Government #Got2Yes on the #TransMountain pipeline (again) – our Chris Gardner and Jordan Bateman discuss whether he will #Stick2Yes and what it means for Canada, the politicians and our construction members.


TRAINING THURSDAY: Rigging Fundamentals (Fulford Certification)

Do you rig loads for lifting by cranes or other hoisting equipment? Our Rigging Fundamentals (Fulford Certification) course will help you identify safe rigging practices, understand basic rigging principles, and more.

Here’s what’s covered in this one-day course:

  • Rigging terminology
  • Determining load weight
  • Locating the load’s centre of gravity (COG)
  • Communicating with hand signals
  • Knot tying
  • Inspecting slings and hardware
  • Using rigging working load limit charts
  • Application of common hitches
  • Basic lift planning
  • Rigging and signaling lifts

Our instructor is Fulford certified, so you will be trained to the highest standards, and you’ll receive 16 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing! You’ll take home a Rigging Fundamentals Manual, Lift Planning Guide, and a Rigging Fundamentals wallet card that is valid for three years.

Our next session is July 11 in Burnaby, and then July 25 in Kelowna and August 29 in Prince George. Register for this or any of our upcoming courses at www.icba.ca/courses.


ICBA PARTNER: LodgeLink Offers New Worker Housing Solution

ICBA is proud to partner with LodgeLink, the presenting sponsor of our Breakfast with Rex Murphy series and other events. Looking for accommodation for workers? Check them out at www.lodgelink.com.

Construction companies know that premier accommodations are key for recruiting and retaining top talent, as well as increasing morale and productivity. The B.C. construction marketplace is competitive, and retaining highly-skilled, dependable staff can be a challenge. Especially when you consider that once again in 2019, a little more than half of B.C. construction companies are experiencing more work this year than last, and 45% are hiring new staff. However, a tight labour market may mean that companies could have difficulty in finding the workers they need to scale up their business. Combine that with an added emphasis on work-life balance and the need to find the right accommodations that fit your workforce has become increasingly important. Employers must account for their crews needs as they manage their travel and provide the best experience for all parties involved.

Long gone are the days of spending hours searching various websites, calling different hotels and lodges, and referencing maps to determine what properties work best for your teams. With LodgeLink, you’ll benefit from enhanced search functionality, access to hundreds of hotels and camps on one platform, reduced room rates, mobile capability, and a booking process designed specifically for work crews. Our simplified payment methods and invoicing will reduce headaches at month end, and powerful reporting features will provide you the visibility to manage your entire project.

LodgeLink is an online marketplace that helps workforce travelers find accommodations in the places they operate. With LodgeLink you can get closer to your project worksite, helping keep you and your crew happy and safe. With more than 700 hotels and remote lodges listed throughout Canada and the United States, LodgeLink is the largest database of hotels and lodges under one roof.

LodgeLink is proud to partner with the ICBA to provide a one-stop shop for your crew accommodations needs. You’ll gain access to hundreds of properties online, receive discounted room rates, reduce administrative effort processing multiple vendor invoices, and consolidate all of your travel details in one interface, saving you time and money. We’re here to help, every step of the way.

Check them out at www.lodgelink.com.