March 2023 - Page 2 of 2 - ICBA

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY #94: Helping the Next Generation

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[et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]If anyone thinks the mental health crisis is going to go away soon, they’re wrong. It’s just beginning.

Study after study shows Canadian teenagers are still struggling with the mental health effects of the pandemic, lockdowns and other stress from the past three years. About 20% of people aged 12-25 in one study reported poor or bad mental health. While that’s less than in the peak of the pandemic, it’s still double what was recorded pre-COVID-19.

Many of these young people are joining the workforce, and it will be up to employers and co-workers to keep an eye out for the younger hires.

Making sure they have access to benefits like Employee Assistance Programs, are part of ICBA Wellness and other programs that break down mental health stigma, and creating a culture that prioritizes mental health and well-being for employees are important steps – and likely to be highly sought after by workers with the ability to choose from a number of employers.

These services will also be important for parents in the workforce – after all, it’s very hard to concentrate at work if your child is having troubles at home.

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 90 companies and nearly 10,000 construction professionals better understand mental health. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out for details.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column]

NEWS: ICBA Wins Its 13th Reed Award

This is one thing that happened in Vegas that won’t stay in Vegas: ICBA won its 13th Reed Award at a Campaigns & Elections gala in Las Vegas last night. A card produced by ICBA on affordability issues in B.C. took home the award for Best Canadian Direct Mail Piece.

This is ICBA’s 13th Reed Award since 2018.

  • 1 in 2023
  • 1 in 2021
  • 2 in 2020
  • 6 in 2019
  • 3 in 2018

With 13 wins since 2018, ICBA is not just the most successful Canadian advocacy group in that time, but one of the most successful in the world for our creativity and execution of advocacy ideas.

Named after Campaigns & Elections founder and campaign marketing pioneer Stanley Foster Reed, the Washington, DC-based Reed Awards embody excellence in political campaigning, campaign management, political consulting and political design, grassroots & advocacy. Reed Award winners represent the very best the political campaign industry has to offer.

“Getting designated as a Reed Award Finalist is extraordinarily difficult,” said Shane D’Aprile, Co-Publisher, Campaigns & Elections. “Thousands of entries compete, but very few make the cut. That’s how it should be in the most exacting award the campaign industry has. So when you encounter a Reed Award Finalist you know one thing for certain, they produce work that’s head and shoulders above the competition.”

OP/ED: Dix justified in banning Ozempic exports

The following piece by ICBA’s Jordan Bateman first appeared in The Orca on March 28, 2023.

Health Minister Adrian Dix’s announcement Tuesday that he was cracking down on the export of diabetes drug/social media celebrity sensation Ozempic came as no surprise to the group health benefits industry. It has been a concerning trend throughout the benefit world for months, the subject of various papers, webinars, and other discussions.

Ozempic usage has grown rapidly as more “celebrities” – mainly various Real Housewives and social media influencers – tout its weight loss effects. There have also been aggressive ad campaigns for the drug, further increasing demand.

The drug wasn’t designed for weight loss; it was created to treat Type 2 diabetes by helping manage blood sugar levels. If you do lose weight, you would have to stay on Ozempic for the rest of your life to keep it off.

Yet social media is full of suggestions on how to get your hands on Ozempic for weight loss. One suggestion: get it from Canada, which is why Dix acted.

Diabetes drugs are expensive, even with Pharmacare help. ICBA Benefits has more than 150,000 Canadians who rely on our benefit plans, and diabetes medication is the single most expensive prescribed drug category on every single one of our plan options. (Drugs treating mental health, anxiety, depression and sleeplessness are almost universally number two.)

So much B.C. Ozempic has flooded south—Dix says 15 per cent of all dispenses of Ozempic in B.C. in January and February went to Americans—that there is a national shortage for those who actually need the drug to treat diabetes.

Nineteen per cent of people prescribed B.C. Ozempic were American; a pretty obvious red flag when the average for every other drug was 0.4 per cent.

Watching Dix’s news conference, I couldn’t help but sense a bit of his annoyance in having to address this. In a health care system under all sorts of strain – rural ERs shutting down regularly, practitioners under unbelievable stress, one million British Columbians without a family doctor, shortages of cold and flu medication, and the ever-present danger of COVID-19 – American prescriptions for Ozempic must feel like a distraction from the real issues he would prefer to put his attention to.

No one becomes Minister of Health dreaming of dealing with the fallout from celebrity drug fads.

Nonetheless, Dix has done the correct thing by acting quickly and cracking down on Americans buying up Ozempic. It will be interesting to see how those regulations work, and if social media figures out another workaround.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Contractor’s Practical Guide To Change Order Pricing and Management

Kerry and Jordan talk about ICBA’s latest Featured Course.

Contractor’s Practical Guide To Change Order Pricing and Management
Gold Seal: 1 Credit; BC Housing: 7 CPD Points
April 11-12, 2023 | Live Online
Details and registration:
Missed this one? Check out

“Change is inevitable,” as the old saying goes. On construction projects, a more appropriate statement might be that “change orders are inevitable.” Change orders in construction projects are the most significant source of financial increases, disputes, and schedule delays for general contractors, subcontractors, owners, and consultants!

Are you losing money on changes, your schedule getting out of control, subcontractors not providing pricing on time, and owners not issuing change orders when they should? Are you leaving money on the table and overlooking recoverable change order cost items? The “Contractor’s Practical Guide to Change Order Pricing and Management” workshop will provide the contractor with valuable guidance and working tools for effective change order management to increase the effectiveness in preparing for change orders, simplify the process and boost change order approval rates. This workshop is a comprehensive and practical guide for managing one of the most critical areas of construction contracting: preparing, pricing, gathering, submitting, negotiating, and getting paid for all changes to construction projects.

Working with the manual, which has over 25 example checklists, forms, and letters, this workshop will guide the contractor through step-by-step procedures, checklists, forms, and letters that combine to create the blueprint for the successful submittal of proposed change order pricing and issuance of change orders.

ICBA OP/ED: Budget Fails to Understand Our Real Challenges

The following op-ed by ICBA President Chris Gardner first ran in Business in Vancouver on March 31, 2023.

The Prime Minister and Minister of Finance work in a building 4,427 kilometres from my office in Surrey. Judging by the federal budget they released Tuesday, they’re even further away than that from understanding the challenges facing construction contractors, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and everyday Canadians.

The realities facing working Canadians are equal parts simple and troubling. First, in every province, our health care system is collapsing. Delays in treatment, lack of access to care and the shortage of doctors and nurses is crippling the system.

Second, our rail, port and road infrastructure has failed to keep pace with growth in our communities and in our economy, so much so that the Federal Government’s own task force reported last fall that our supply chain is so bad that Canada’s reputation as a reliable and trusted trading partner is at risk, costing us investment and jobs.

Third, we are in the middle of an unprecedented housing affordability challenge. Last summer, the CMHC reported that the last time housing was affordable in Canada was two decades ago. That’s a full generation missing out on buying a home.

Finally, there is the decline in public order and safety, and the increasing incidents of random violent attacks that we are witnessing in communities across Canada. People feel less safe because, frankly, the streets in so many of our communities are less safe.

Reading through the 270-page federal budget A Made-in-Canada Plan: Strong Middle Class, Affordable Economy, Healthy Future is a little like going on a treasure hunt and ending up not finding any treasure. It’s not just the middle class left wanting, it’s all Canadians, and there is nothing affordable about the path Canada’s economy is on.

Bad ideas have currency and in today’s political climate there is one bad idea that effectively goes unchallenged in the corridors of power in Ottawa – that we can tax and spend our way to affordability and a stronger economy.

Canadians were told by the Finance Minister that our national debt will soon reach $1.3 trillion dollars – a number so large that it’s hard to grasp. An easier way to put this in perspective is that just the interest on the debt is $44 billion annually and is projected to increase to $50 billion annually in a few years. That’s nearly twice what the BC Government spends on running our health care system every year.

While the government claims to be concerned about the affordability pressures working Canadians and small businesses are feeling, there was no tax relief for individuals or small businesses.

The new incentives being rolled-out are effectively focused on a tiny sliver of Canadian businesses – clean tech, which according to the Business Council of BC, accounts for about 3 per cent of our economy. Too bad for the other 97 per cent of businesses that we rely on for jobs.

We’re left with an economy that is growing so slowly that the OECD recently reported that from 2020 – 2030, Canada’s will rank dead last among 38 advanced economies. At a projected 0.7 percent annual rate of growth in income per capita, it will take four generations, a full century, for incomes to double in size. The sad reality facing Canadians is that we can no longer make the promise that the next generation will be better off than this one.

Red tape continues to choke-off investment in Canada – outbound investment has exceeded inbound investment in Canada every year since 2014. The federal government is blind to the fact that they are a major contributor to this sorry state of affairs. It was this government that passed the Impact Assessment Act in 2019 despite clear evidence that it would do nothing more than add complexity, confusion, and cost to the approval of major projects.

The solution offered up in the budget: create a plan to increase efficiency and permitting of major projects. All this while the federal government’s lawyers were standing in front of the Supreme Court of Canada just weeks ago, defending the Act.

For those looking to see an improvement in the World Bank’s assessment in 2020, ranking Canada #64 in the length of time it takes to approve and permit construction projects, the wait continues. Construction, which drives about 10 percent of our economy, gets hardly a mention.

We all recall how weather events demonstrated so clearly the fragility of our supply chain – historic floods in BC cut off Canada’s largest port (Vancouver) from the rest of the country by road and rail for a full week in 2021.

The federal government’s solution: $27 million to establish an office to coordinate supply chain and $25 million for government to gather supply chain data. For those hoping that the failing grade received by the Port of Vancouver from the World Bank – 368 out of 370 ports around the world in terms of performance – will improve, there’s not much there.

For Canadians looking to Ottawa to unleash the potential of entrepreneurs, investors, businesspeople, and young workers dreaming about the opportunities the future holds, it’s difficult not to put down the budget document concluding that Ottawa is fighting against them.