December 2020 - ICBA

#BCPOLI HOTSTOVE: Critics, COVID, and Canadian Debt

Our Jordan Bateman and’s Maclean Kay talk some big, heavy issues today: the COVID-19 death toll, Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond’s investigation into racism against Indigenous people within the BC health care system, a trillion-dollar federal debt, and more. Plus a look at the BC Liberal critics.

Free BCIT Mass Timber Construction Online Course

For members looking to learn more about mass timber construction, BCIT has launched a FREE, online course called Introductory Studies in Mass Timber Construction. This all-online, short credential would be of interest to carpenters, ironworkers, quantity surveyors, construction managers, 3-D modellers, developers, manufacturers and designers – virtually anyone within the construction field with an interest in expanding their expertise to mass timber.

The pilot offering of this online program is free! It takes place January 28, 2021 to March 24, 2021, over an 8-week, flexible, part-time timeframe, and the registration fee of the successful applicants is fully funded through a grant from the provincial government.

For details, click HERE. For an application form, click HERE.

ICBA MEMBER EMAIL: Enter Your Workers to Win $1,500

The following email was sent to ICBA members on December 3, 2020.

Message from the President

It’s almost cliché to say that 2020 was a year like no other. “Unprecedented” was a part of nearly every sentence as we dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic shutdown.

This year, British Columbia’s open shop construction companies rose to every challenge. We continued to work safely in the spring, keeping the 250,000 men and women who work in construction on job sites so that they could support their families and their communities and keep building our great province.

Open shop contractors responded to the designation of construction as an essential service by protecting workers through new COVID-19 protocols – to date, WSBC has determined that there has been only one instance of COVID-19 being contracted on a job site.

As I write this, the UK has announced they will begin vaccinating frontline workers next week. The United States and Canada are set to do so over the coming months. It seems clear that we are finally at the beginning of the end of this long, dark, pandemic tunnel. The economic fallout, however, will be felt for some time – the long-tail of COVID-19 will be with us throughout much of 2021 and beyond.

2021 will present a new set of challenges for open shop contractors – uncertainty over the pipeline of new projects, an aging workforce, continued shortages of skilled and talented new workers, and profit margins under enormous pressure.

At ICBA, beginning in January, we will be launching a new set of programs and initiatives designed to help open shop contractors meet many of these new challenges.

As we begin to close the book on 2020 and start fresh in 2021, never hesitate to reach out to myself or other members of the ICBA team for help.

On behalf of the entire team at ICBA, please have a safe and happy Christmas and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2021.

Chris Gardner
President, ICBA

PS: During their fiscal update Monday, the Trudeau government announced a new Home Energy Retrofit program, to begin in 2021. Homeowners will be eligible for up to $5,000 for work to improve the energy efficiency of their home. We will share details as they are rolled-out.


Safety Merits Award

Workplace Safety is a team effort – and ICBA is again going to reward one of our members’ workers for their safe work practices! All ICBA members are invited to submit the names of their safest workers — as long as they meet the criteria below.

The winner, drawn at random from all the workers’ names submitted, will win $1,500 from ICBA!

The submission deadline for ICBA’s annual Safety Merits Contest is noon Pacific, Thursday, December 17, 2020. Don’t miss your chance to submit the names of your company’s safest workers.

Entrants must be employed below the superintendent level (office staff are not eligible) and must have worked a minimum of 2,500 hours without any time lost due to an accident. Check out all entry details and rules HERE.


Be Our Neighbour?

Next year, ICBA is excited to be moving to our permanent new home, and we’re looking for a neighbour!

In August 2021, ICBA will move its office to the 8th floor of the 10-storey Central City 3 (CC3) building, part of a rapidly growing, high profile community sprouting up between Surrey Memorial Hospital and the King George SkyTrain station. CC3 is a design-build project by Lark Group, founded and owned by ICBA life member Larry Fisher.

ICBA is looking to lease 2,886 sq. ft. on our floor, and we’d love to have a member right beside us! Please take a look at this marketing brochure and let us know if you’re interested.


Lincor Wins Gord Stewart Award

Congratulations to Lincor Enterprises Ltd., which has won the 2020 ICBA Gord Stewart Award for its outstanding Industrial Athletes Injury Prevention Program.

The Gord Stewart Award is presented annually by ICBA and WorkSafeBC to acknowledge individuals and companies for their efforts in the prevention of workplace incidents, injuries and illnesses. The award recognizes the employee or team of employees who come up with an innovative program, policy, tool or project that demonstrates a proven accomplishment in the area of health and safety for the construction industry sector. The Award comes with a $5,000 prize.

In 2020, Lincor Enterprises started a pilot program using technology and a team of contracted physiotherapists to provide a personalized, engaging and comprehensive physiotherapy program. This innovative new program initiative is designed to add value to their existing Health and Wellness program by connecting staff with a unique set of services not previously available to construction companies in British Columbia.

Congratulations to Jon Walker and the Lincor team!


Mass Timber Introduction

For members looking to learn more about mass timber construction, BCIT has launched a FREE, online course called Introductory Studies in Mass Timber Construction. This all-online, short credential would be of interest to carpenters, ironworkers, quantity surveyors, construction managers, 3-D modellers, developers, manufacturers and designers – virtually anyone within the construction field with an interest in expanding their expertise to mass timber.

The pilot offering of this online program is free! It takes place January 28, 2021 to March 24, 2021, over an 8-week, flexible, part-time timeframe, and the registration fee of the successful applicants is fully funded through a grant from the provincial government.

For more details, click HERE. For an application form, click HERE.


Upcoming Courses

Earned Value Management (EVM) for Construction (Live Online Training)
December 9, 2020 
Gold Seal: 1 Credit * BC Housing: 7 CPD Points

More information and registration


Overview of CCDC Contract Documents (Live Online Training)
December 10, 2020 

BC Housing: 1.5 CPD Points
More information and registration


FREE Virtual Townhall with Technical Safety BC – Meet your Northern Team
December 15, 2020
More information and registration


Time Management Workshop (Live Online Training)
December 15-16, 2020 (Mornings)
Gold Seal: 1 Credit
More information and registration


RTFC – Read the Full Contract – A Deep Dive into CCDC-2 (Live Online Training)
December 16, 2020
BC Housing: 4 CPD Points
More information and registration (Morning Session)
More information and registration (Afternoon Session)


Microsoft Project (Live Online Training)
December 16-17, 2020 (Mornings)
Gold Seal: 2 Credits
More information and registration


Managing Shop Drawings, Samples and Submitting (Live Online Training)
December 17, 2020
BC Housing: 4 CPD Points
More information and registration (Morning Session)
More information and registration (Afternoon Session)


The HR Series: Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace – Employer Rights and Obligations (Live Online Training)

December 18, 2020
More information and registration


Swing Stage Awareness Training (Richmond/Mitchell Island)
December 18, 2020
BC Housing: 7 CPD Points
More information and registration

IN THE NEWS: Lincor heals workers with Industrial Athlete program

The following story about Gord Stewart Safety Award winner Lincor first ran in the Journal of Commerce on December 7, 2020:

When Jon Walker was in a car accident that sent him to a physiotherapist for back and neck treatment he got an idea.

Walker is the president of commercial and industrial painting company Lincor in B.C. He would often see workers getting the same injuries from carrying buckets, spraying walls and constantly lifting things above their heads.

To treat existing injuries and prevent future ones, he teamed up with injury treatment experts Harry Hosker and Elliott Usher of Boot Room Consulting to create Lincor’s Industrial Athlete program.

“We brainstormed how to bring physiotherapy to the worksite on a daily basis instead of waiting for someone to get an injury and miss work,” said Walker, who noted in 2017 four of his workers had similar back injuries.

The program starts with getting every participating employee’s health baseline with a screening at the UBC Allan McGavin Sports Physiotherapy clinic.

“Then they see where you are at, set goals to improve mobility, reduce injuries and design an individual stretching regime,” said Walker.

Participants check in every six months and weekly surveys are done to track progress and effectiveness. Lincor also worked to make the program accessible through Zoom, phone or text during working hours to be as convenient as possible.

The program also extends to the jobsite where crews perform warm-up and cool-down routines together rather than jumping into and out of work.

“Guys come in the morning and they start moving 50-pound paint buckets,” said Walker. “You wouldn’t go play hockey like that, so we thought why are people going to work every day and not doing that? It is crazy.”

Walker said crews started out feeling self-conscious about doing stretches and exercises together to start the day on large jobsites with other trades watching. But he noted now it has turned into one of the company’s most important team building tools.

“We put so much time and effort into training our people,” said Walker. “It is hard to find qualified construction workers. Our biggest problem is finding guys. We realize how hard they are working and we want to do whatever we can to address their health problems.”

Their efforts have garnered them the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association’s 2020 Gord Stewart Safety award which acknowledges individuals and companies for their efforts to prevent workplace incidents, injuries and illnesses. The award comes with $5,000 prize.

“For us to be recognized, it just feels like a big relief – to be able to say that construction workers are people and we care about them and their families,” said Walker. “It’s not about just bringing in new guys when someone gets injured.”

#BCPOLI HOTSTOVE: The Speaker’s Big Week

Our Jordan Bateman and’s Maclean Kay discuss Raj Chouhan’s historic ascension to the Speaker’s chair, and then the bumpy first couple of days he faced (through NO fault of his own); Christmas COVID fallout; QP #1 of this mini-session; the high expectations for the NDP $1,000 COVID payment, and more.

IN THE NEWS: ICBA Launches Campaign to #Get2Yes on a New Taylor Bridge

The following ran in the Alaska Highway News on Dec. 8, 2020. To sign the petition for a new Taylor Bridge, visit

A new effort is underway to pressure the province to prioritize building a new Taylor Bridge.

Taylor Bridge

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association has launched a letter writing campaign calling on Premier John Horgan, as well as finance minister Selina Robinson and transportation minister Rob Fleming, to include the bridge’s replacement in the new government’s agenda. “Hopefully we get thousands of people signing on,” said ICBA President Chris Gardner.

Built in 1960, the Taylor Bridge is a critical link over the Peace River between Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, carrying “millions of dollars of merchandise, food, fuel and equipment” every hour throughout the Peace region and into the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alaska, the ICBA noted.

Though the transportation ministry has already prepared a business case and started early engineering works, the ICBA says a new bridge is still not included in the provincial government’s 10-year capital improvement plan.

The old bridge is quickly deteriorating, and replacing it is crucial for the regional economy, and the province’s broader recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gardner said.

“So much of the wealth created in B.C. is created outside the Lower Mainland. We often lose sight of that,” said Gardner. “People in other parts of the province don’t appreciate how important regional infrastructure is.”

Prioritizing the bridge’s replacement during the pandemic recovery could also help secure federal funding, Gardner said.

“As we look at a COVID recovery plan, there is potential for federal funding if the province designates it as an important regional project. That would require the province saying, this is important, we’re committed to replacing the bridge,” Gardner said.

Ministry officials have said it will cost at least $250 million to replace the bridge with a new, two-lane structure. They were investigating other options as well, including a more expensive four-lane bridge, or resurfacing the steel deck and eliminating the annual welding program.

Taylor councillors met Monday to discuss Fleming’s appointment as B.C.’s new transportation minister, and voted to write a letter inviting him to the region. The district remains focused on improving the entire Peace River crossing, Mayor Rob Fraser said.

“For us, we try not to focus on the bridge; we try to focus on the whole crossing,” said Fraser. “So the lanes on both sides on the hill, what the highway is going to look like going through Taylor, and then of course the bridge crossing itself.”

Work began this year to stabilize a section of the south Taylor hill, needed before the top of the hill can be expanded to four lanes.

Taylor has been the lead community on the bridge and crossing issues, Fraser said, and the council hopes for some face-to-face time with Fleming in his new role as transportation minister.

“This time around it’s a majority government, so the ministers will be able to get out of Victoria a little more,” Fraser said. “Last time it was a minority government, and they couldn’t afford to have one person leave the legislature.”

MLA Dan Davies says he is also sending an invitation for Fleming to visit the region, and to see the condition of the bridge and rural roads firsthand.

“This has been something that I have been working on with many other local elected officials over the past number of years. We have invited past ministers of transportation to look at the bridge and visit some of the roads in the North Peace, and I am hopeful that Minister Fleming will accept,” Davies said.

“The Taylor Bridge is a great infrastructure project that will get people working on a critical piece of road infrastructure that is needed to ensure we can keep our roads safe. Between the resource sector and the motoring public, this bridge must be replaced. This would be a great choice for recovery spending.”

Public consultations on the bridge were supposed to happen in the spring, but were cancelled after the pandemic was declared.

Earlier this year, MP Bob Zimmer said that replacing the bridge should be a top priority in the federal government’s pandemic recovery plan.

“This is an integral section of the Alaska Highway and millions of dollars of commercial goods and approximately 7,5000 vehicles normally cross this bridge every day,” Zimmer wrote in a May 14 op-ed. “Replacing this bridge now will no doubt have a long-term positive impact on our economy and our communities.”

Learn more about the campaign and send a letter by visiting

OP/ED: Chris Gardner Makes the Case to #Get2Yes on a new Taylor Bridge

The following op/ed by ICBA president Chris Gardner first appeared in the Alaska Highway News on De. 9, 2020. To show your support for a new Taylor Bridge, visit

British Columbia has a new Transportation Minister, Victoria’s Rob Fleming. Northeast B.C. has an old Taylor Bridge that desperately needs upgrading or replacement.

So how do we get this old bridge on to the new minister’s radar, when they are nearly 1,300 kilometres apart?

For more than 60 years, the Taylor Bridge has been the quiet glue that has kept the North and South Peace regions connected. Traffic volume on Highway 97 between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John is approximately 7,500 vehicles per day, with commercial vehicle traffic accounting for a third of that figure. Every day, millions of dollars of freight and cargo cross the Taylor Bridge, all of it vital to the local, regional and provincial economy.

But the Taylor Bridge is coming to the end of its life. Many of the bridge’s major problems have been outlined in numerous inspection reports: “Steel grid deck and catwalk deterioration. Localized corrosion issues. High/increasing maintenance costs and traffic delays for deck repairs. Major route. Long detours.”

On one inspection report, the Taylor Bridge produced a 4 out of 5 urgency measure given the far-reaching economic impacts that would be felt if the bridge had to be closed.

Over the past couple of years, the Ministry of Transportation has kicked the tires on replacing the span. In 2019, they said they were considering three options: replacement with a similar two-lane bridge (cost $250 million); replacing it with a four-lane bridge ($350 million); or simply resurfacing the existing metal deck ($100 million).

The plan was to consult with First Nations and the public in spring 2020, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So the Taylor Bridge remains in limbo. There are no dollars in any provincial spending plan for its upgrade or replacement.

We need to get to yes on a new Taylor Bridge, preferably a four-lane version that will last half a century or more. But again, how do we get the attention of a new minister, living a 16-hour drive away?

Even before COVID-19 arrived, our oil and gas industry – and the communities that rely on it – was reeling from a series of new policies (federal and provincial) that seemed designed to cripple the investment, jobs and opportunity that results from a vibrant energy sector. This has resulted in devastating impacts both short-term (companies closing, people out of work) and long-term (lack of research into cleaner technology and slowing investment in Canada’s energy sector). The pandemic has made matters worse.

Fighting to #Get2Yes on infrastructure, responsible resource development and energy projects has been a key part of ICBA’s advocacy work for several years. In 2017, ICBA merged with Energy Services BC, an association largely based in Fort St. John which represented the energy sector and the service companies that support families in every part of British Columbia.

Under our new ICBA Energy banner, ICBA is enhancing its federal and provincial government advocacy aimed at standing up for the Canadian energy sector and pushing to cut red tape to help our economy recover. Now is the time for government to be bold and act with purpose and speed to issue RFPs and tenders for important infrastructure and energy projects.

ICBA pushed governments at all levels to #Get2Yes on LNG Canada, the Coastal GasLink Pipeline, and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.  As we look to recover from the economic pain inflicted by COVID-19, we need governments and industry to work together to create an energy action plan that will capitalize on the potential of Canada’s vast energy resources.

The Taylor Bridge replacement is an important piece of the economic puzzle for northeastern B.C. and our next #Get2Yes project. ICBA Energy has launched, a website where British Columbians can send a message to the Premier, Transportation Minister, and Finance Minister about how important this major infrastructure project is to Taylor, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and so many other communities.

Over the next few months, ICBA will be advertising the site on social media and in local media, reaching out to tens of thousands of #Get2Yes supporters, and asking them to join us in making the case for a new Taylor Bridge.

It all starts with you. Please visit and add your support to the effort to #Get2Yes on this vital project.