FILE – Contract employees build soil conveyor for Site C dam in northeast B.C., spring 2019. (B.C. Hydro)

B.C. government policies ‘threaten’ construction industry, contractor survey suggests

ICBA survey found 53 per cent of contractors think government is on wrong track

Less than half of B.C.’s construction contractors are expecting more work in 2020, according to a survey released by the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association Wednesday.

The survey found that 40 per cent of the companies in the survey are expecting more work this year, compared to 51 per cent last year. This year represents a five-year low, according to the ICBA, which surveyed 1,000 construction companies.

When broken down by region, the ICBA survey found that 42 per cent of contractors in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Whistler expected an increase in work, 40 per cent in the province’s Interior, 38 per cent in northern B.C. and 24 per cent on Vancouver Island.

In the report, ICBA president Chris Gardner said the dip represented a “notable drop in confidence.”

Gardner said the reasoning behind that could be because 53 per cent of contractors think government “is on the wrong track when dealing with their businesses.” Just eight per cent said government was on the right track while 39 per cent said they didn’t know.

“This reflects government policy that has been hostile to job creators on many fronts ranging from its stances on major project development, to freezing out 85 per cent of construction workers from the tendering of public construction projects, to adding more red tape and regulation,” Gardner said. The 85 per cent figure is the ICBA’s shot at the NDP’s building trades union-only hiring model for taxpayer-funded construction projects.That 2018 agreement allowed only only 19 unions to bid on provincial megaprojects.

However, the survey did report some good news. The shortage of skilled trade workers in the industry dropped compared to the previous year. In 2020, 35 per cent of companies said they are looking to hire more people this year, compared to 45 per cent the year prior. The most sought-after skilled trades workers were masons, with all companies surveyed saying they needed more.

Black Press Media has requested comment from the province.

READ MORE: B.C. building groups ask court to axe public construction deal

READ MORE: B.C. union construction dispute directed to Labour Relations Board

READ MORE: Skilled worker shortage hangs over B.C. industrial growth


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Construction

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Fearing an Aryan invasion

In 1995, Chilliwack Mayor John Les was concerned about the idea of an ‘Aryan Fest’ coming to town.

Big Bar Landslide saw long awaited blasting this week

Pressure has been on senior governments working with First Nations to remove blockage for months

COLUMN: Trying to look forward while looking back

Reader suggests re-running a 2015 Times column after recent racism towards Indigenous people

Two prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase across Fraser Valley

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Chilliwack physiotherapist charged with sexual assault

Mounties urging other potential victims to make contact

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read