Business, labour respond to B.C. budget

A new art school in Vancouver is not the right priority for a province losing skilled industrial workers, says building trade union rep

Phil Venoit

Business, labour and other organizations gathered in Victoria for the budget presentation Tuesday. A sampling of their responses:

• Phil Venoit of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers said building trades unions are looking for more emphasis on trades training. A new art school in Vancouver is not the right priority for a province that is trying to ramp up major industrial development, he said.

B.C. has lost many industrial workers to Alberta, and they are generally paid substantially more there so it is difficult to lure them back home, Venoit said.

• Phil Hochstein, president of the Independent Contractors and Business Association, said the “boring” budget is a sign of stability.

“When they’re investing in significantly in infrastructure to create skills training, that’s what government needs to do,” Hochstein said. “The private sector will create the jobs.”

• Bonnie Pearson of the Hospital Employees’ Union said the government’s emphasis on keeping health care spending growth down to little more than two per cent a year is being felt at the service level.

“As it stands, there is a workload crisis in long-term care that has produced some of the most dangerous working conditions in the province in terms of injuries,” Pearson said.

• Mike Klassen, B.C. director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, gave the 2014 budget a letter grade of B-minus for its lack of measures for small business, but an A for not adding any new taxes and balancing the books.


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