November 2022 - ICBA

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY #73: Managing Financial Stress

Finances are a major cause of stress and anxiety for many people – especially in a day and age of high inflation and rising interest rates. Last month, MNP reported just how worried Canadians are:

Significantly more people say it is getting more difficult to pay for transportation (45%, +9pts), housing (37%, +2pts), clothing or other household necessities (45%, +5pts), save money (49%, +5pts), and feed themselves and their families (52%, +5pts) compared to December 2021.

And with experts predicting that Canada is heading into a recession, those numbers will climb.

That’s why any mental wellness program must deal with financial fitness. ICBA Wellness dedicates an entire month to the topic, including offering some fantastic links to free, online courses from the Canadian Credit Counselling Society on things like budgeting, scams, food, and credit.s

The food costs one is especially popular right now, given the rising cost at grocery stores. It offers constructive, helpful tips to try and manage a grocery budget. Meal planning is a big one – writing and sticking to a list, and buying to that list instead of impulse purchases. It takes a little more time upfront, but does save you both money and time thinking of what to cook and eat later on.


Each week, ICBA’s Jordan Bateman reflects on what we’ve learned as we participate in ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program. ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program is helping more than 80 companies and 8,000+ construction professionals better understand mental health. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out for details.

Jordan Bateman: The 4Cs of Being Mayor

The following op-ed by ICBA’s Jordan Bateman first appeared Nov. 1, 2022, in The Orca and Business in Vancouver:

First comes the swearing-in. Then, the swearing-at.

Over the next week or so, hundreds of new mayors, municipal councillors, regional directors, school trustees and (for some reason, in Vancouver and Cultus Lake) parks board commissioners will take their oaths of office and begin the work of governing.

As a retired Langley Township Councillor, I offer this non-partisan advice to incoming mayors.

You’re not there to rule the other elected officials, or to impose your will on them. You’re there to guide the group to make the best decisions possible—together.

Don’t set yourself up as a king or a queen. Instead, remember the four C’s: think of yourself as a catalyst, a co-creator, a communicator, and a curator.

Getting an entire community to take action on anything can be time-consuming and tiring. But a mayor must be a catalyst for change. You must be able to break through the malaise which can sometimes bog down good ideas. Put bluntly, a mayor needs to inspire action.

But here’s the trick: being a catalyst does not mean top-down leadership. In fact, it’s just the opposite. A catalyst engages with a community’s grassroots, stakeholders, staff, and outside expertise, to co-create the solutions and ideas that will shape our collective future. It’s about finding ways to do this together.

Being a catalyst and co-creator necessitates the third C: being a brilliant communicator… in the modern sense of the word.

Once, all a mayor needed was a good stump speech, and to hand the local paper a pithy quote. Now, it’s increasingly about one-on-one engagement, through social media, websites, podcasts, videos, events, and more.

Communicating means listening, getting to the crux of someone’s concern, and finding a way – if possible – to resolve it. It means visible openness and accountability that flows beyond an election campaign every four years.

A mayor needs to be able to listen, and to articulate their vision and values to individuals, to small groups, to council, to staff, and to the electorate at large. They also need to be able to write these things down, and assimilate large amounts of information from a variety of sources.

A mayor must also communicate externally. Mayors are the face of a city, and they must be able to communicate their community’s priorities, goals, history, and vision. They are a cheerleader, a booster for the great things their city has done, while still speaking out on challenges facing their community. This takes confidence and clarity.

Being a catalyst, co-creator, and communicator flows into the fourth C: be a curator.

This term is borrowed from museums, but I think it fits well. A curator doesn’t develop the artwork in a museum. Instead, their role is to create the environment needed to present beauty to the world.

A mayor needs to be able to discern community priorities, and articulate them to the rest of council and municipal staff. Just like not every painting can receive equal billing or even be displayed at once, not every issue can be tackled in a single budget cycle – or even a single elected term. Some things must wait.

Further, a curator does not pound every hook into the wall, answer every phone call, or clean the washrooms. They hire good people to help them, and weigh advice and feedback from their customers, artists, and other curators.

Likewise, it’s important that a mayor knows how to delegate and trust municipal staff to do their jobs. A mayor isn’t a planner, licence inspector, police chief, sewage engineer, or even a chief administrative officer. That’s why a mayor must be able to communicate with staff in a professional, clear manner, remembering that as chairman of the Board of Directors—which is what a municipal council is—they look to broader policy and priority issues.

They must curate an environment for success.

These four threads—catalyst, co-creator, communicator, and curator—must be deftly and strategically woven together by any leader, but especially elected ones.

Thanks to all who are serving their communities. We’re all invested in seeing you succeed.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Incident Investigations

Kerry and Jordan discuss this week’s featured ICBA Training course.

Incident Investigations
Nov. 16, 2022 | Langley | 830AM-430PM
7.5 BC Housing CPD points; 1 Gold Seal Credit
Missed this one? Check out

WorkSafeBC’s amendment to Bill 9 includes two major changes to the requirements for employer incident investigations. First, section 175 of the Act has been amended to require an employer to undertake a preliminary investigation within 48 hours of the incident. Second, section 176 of the Act is amended to require an employer to submit a full investigation report to WorkSafeBC within 30 days of an incident.

This course is designed to provide participants with the required knowledge to understand the principle of incident investigations and the methods used to ensure an adequate investigation is completed. At the end of the sessions, participants will have an understanding of the requirements for investigating incidents, the tools required to undertake an adequate investigation, methods involved in successful interviews, identifying incident causes, and completing incident reports.

Incident Investigations
Nov. 16, 2022 | Langley | 830AM-430PM
7.5 BC Housing CPD points; 1 Gold Seal Credit
Missed this one? Check out

ICBA LETTER TO GOVERNMENT: Don’t Pass Bill 41/WorkSafeBC Changes

The following letter was sent to BC Labour Minister Harry Bains and various government officials on Monday, Nov. 7:

Dear Minister Bains:

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) represents more than 4,000 construction and responsible resource development companies and their 150,000 employees. Moreover, ICBA is the single largest sponsor of trades apprentices in the province and, for nearly 50 years, has been the voice of B.C.’s construction industry.

We write disappointed that your government failed to meaningfully consult with stakeholders like ICBA on an important piece of legislation that affects every business and worker in the province. Bill 41 is a legislative change that will increase costs for B.C.’s construction contractors at a time when they are experiencing an historic shortage of people, supply chain challenges not seen in generations, and record inflationary pressures.

The cost increases resulting from Bill 41 will directly contribute to the rising cost of construction and will negatively affordability generally and housing affordability specifically. As noted by the Council of Construction Associations (COCA) in their November 3, 2022 letter:

In just four years, WorkSafeBC (WSBC) claims costs have skyrocketed by 90 per cent or $1.5 billion, and an additional $136 million in administrative costs have been added. This is despite overall injuries having declined by 2.5 per cent over the last decade. Bill 41 adds more costs to the system, though the government is not clear about the full cost impacts of the changes. We estimate the cost of Bill 41 is over $800 million.

We agree with COCA that these changes will put WSBC on a very concerning financial trajectory.

It is difficult to understand what precisely the Government is trying to fix at WorkSafeBC. In 2021, only six per cent of the workers who interacted with WorkSafeBC rated their experience as poor or very poor – and that number includes those workers whose compensation claims were denied. That’s a remarkably high client satisfaction rate for any government agency.

This new round of red tape, regulation and added cost will make it more expensive for the contractors who build our homes, roads, schools, hospitals, and other important community infrastructure. These new costs will be embedded into all these projects, making life even less affordable for families across B.C.

Respectfully, we request your government reconsider its effort to pass Bill 41, and engage stakeholders like ICBA in real, meaningful consultation about any changes to the current WSBC regulatory framework.

Good government requires and results from hearing from all sides on an issue. Bill 41 is an example of an incomplete engagement process – employers and employees would equally benefit from broader consultation.

Sincerely yours,
Chris Gardner
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY #74: The Affordability Crisis

(Cue movie announcer voice:) In a world where inflation runs high, interest rates are spiking and consumer cash is melting away, one man/woman/person must embark on a journey to change their financial situation. Things are about to get TRACKED… (okay, enough of that trope)

Seriously though, it’s financially tough out there. Our paycheques aren’t stretching as far as they used to, due to the rising costs of, well, everything. And the cost of borrowing is way up, too. It sucks – there’s no other way to say it.

And it’s a massive cause of anxiety and mental health issues for many people. Worry and fear corrodes our mental wellness.

There’s no easy way around these issues. But there are things we can do to try and alleviate the mental weight. Last weekend, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland made a political gaffe when she seemed flippant about cutting her Disney+ subscription as a way to save money. For those of us NOT making nearly $300,000 a year as she does, it seemed out-of-touch and trite.

But, politics and privilege aside, the concept of tracking our spending during tough financial times is vital to making our dollar stretch further. Are we maximizing our money? Are there things we could cut that maybe have slipped under our radar? Could we consolidate debt payments into a line of credit at a lower interest rate?

There are no easy fixes for a lot of financial situations. Tracking spending is a pain, but it can be helpful. And it has the mental health benefit of feeling like we’re taking action and control of our situations. 


Each week, ICBA’s Jordan Bateman reflects on what we’ve learned as we participate in ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program. ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program is helping more than 80 companies and 8,000+ construction professionals better understand mental health. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out for details.



WELLNESS WEDNESDAY #75: Building Your Budget

Budgeting sucks.

We’d all rather spend money as we want, splashing out and enjoying life. But unless we’re Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk or some other zillionaire, that’s just not the reality for us. We all have to learn to live within a budget.

Budgeting can be further complicated for people with irregular incomes. You pick up a contract, or you have a few weeks off between jobs. How do you budget when your income varies month-to-month? Or year-to-year?

Our Wellness program has some suggestions:

Budget using your average income. Look at the trend of what you make year-to-year (or month-to-month) and average it out. Then build your budget from there.

Budget using a holding account. Basically, you take every dollar that comes your way – salary, tax returns, bonuses, everything – and put it into a holding account. Then you pay yourself a base salary out of that account, based on what you can afford. This lets the balance of the holding account build during good months, so you can meet your bills in tough ones.

Use two budgets. One for good months, one for tough ones – but this can be tricky, so you need to be disciplined during the leaner times.

Done right, a personal budget can help us focus on what we can do, not what we can’t. And that alleviates a lot of potential stress and anxiety, which is helpful for our mental health.

Each week, ICBA’s Jordan Bateman reflects on what we’ve learned as we participate in ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program. ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program is helping more than 80 companies and 8,000+ construction professionals better understand mental health. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out for details.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Interpreting Blueprints and Specifications

Kerry and Jordan talk about a new, four-day, ICBA Training course.

Interpreting Blueprints and Specifications (Live,Online)
November 29 – December 2, 2022 | Mornings
Register at
Missed this one? Check out for more

Using an example three-story commercial project, this course will walk you through a complete set of architectural, mechanical, electrical, civil, and structural drawings. You will learn how to read and decipher a set of blueprints, including: plans, sections, elevations, plan details, and drawing conventions (standards, line weights, line types), and more!

In second half of the course, you will learn the components of the three-part National Master Specification (NMS). By the end of the course, you will learn how to create specification sections based on ARCAT website software.

By the end of this course, you will:

– Interpreting Drawings
– Understand what constitutes a “complete” set of drawings used in contract documents
– Be able to scan an entire set of drawings (A, C, S, M, E, L disciplines) and evaluate the degree of errors and omissions
– Learn how to cross reference plans, to building sections, to wall sections, to elevations, to details
– Be able to read and apply material schedules found in drawings
– Understand how tagging works to coordinate the information between material schedules and drawings
– Understand the components of a 3-part MASTERFORMAT specification, Division 1 General Conditions, and Division 2-49 of Technical Specifications
– Learn how to use the practical applications of ARCAT for specification editing
– Be able to develop specification sections and apply correct formatting

Interpreting Blueprints and Specifications (Live,Online)
November 29 – December 2, 2022 | Mornings
Register at
Missed this one? Check out for more

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY #76: Breaking Financial Stigma

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man’s world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man’s world

Half of Canadians recently reported that they are having trouble sleeping due to worries about finances. There’s no doubt a strong link between mental health and money – money is a tool that can help us get what we want, but it can also cause emotional pain and anxiety.

That’s why our month on financial fitness in the ICBA Wellness program is so important. Understanding how we feel about money is a major step toward empowerment. Hope, for example, is not a reliable investment strategy (sorry, Lotto 6/49 players). We need to make important financial decisions based on facts, not emotion.

Easier said than done, of course. But don’t let fear, shame or guilt get in the way of speaking with someone trusted and qualified about your financial situation. In many cases, one of the smartest things we can do is find the courage to trust a professional and ask for help.

We talk a lot about the stigma around asking for help with mental health. We shouldn’t forget to break the stigma around asking for help with finances too.

Each week, ICBA’s Jordan Bateman reflects on what we’ve learned as we participate in ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program. ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program is helping more than 80 companies and 8,000+ construction professionals better understand mental health. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out for details.

ICBA NEWS: 2022 Safety Merits Contest Now Open!

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 15, 2022. 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.

The construction industry recognizes that a safe workplace is the responsibility of management and of the workers on site. The industry realizes that those individuals who have taken great care to avoid injury to themselves and others are invaluable to their firm and an example for all workers. The purpose of the Safety Merits Contest is for the industry to recognize these individuals, draw attention to their achievement, and encourage others to follow their example.


1) All entrants must be employed by an ICBA member company.

2) Entrants must be employed below the superintendent level. Office staff are NOT eligible.

3) Entrants must have worked a minimum of 2,500 hours for one employer without any time lost due to an accident as of November 15, 2022. Proof of hours may have to be submitted and verified. Note: The required hours need not have been worked consecutively with that one firm.

4) Names of those who meet the above criteria are to be submitted to the ICBA office by the employer to (Excel spreadsheet preferred) no later than noon Pacific time, Thursday, December 15, 2022.

5) Names of employees submitted in previous Safety Merits Contests may be submitted again.

6) One name will be drawn at random.

PRIZE: $1,500