Tom Sigurdon is the executive director of BC Building Trades. (Joshua Berson Photo)

LETTER: B.C.’s future is built on the trades

Over the next three years, the province will invest $15.8 billion in taxpayer-funded infrastructure.

Dear Editor,

Wanted: Skilled tradespeople. Must enjoy great wages, rewarding work, and a bright future.

As employment ads go, does this sound too good to be true? It’s actually not.

April is Construction and Skilled Trades Month in B.C., which is a perfect time to raise awareness about the opportunities in the skilled trades.

In 2017, the B.C. construction industry had 8,395 job vacancies, representing a 20 per cent increase over the previous year, and 25 per cent of Canada’s overall construction industry job vacancies. In fact, trades jobs are expected to comprise 11 per cent of all job openings in B.C. in the next decade. That’s more than 100,000 jobs.

The skilled trades are well paid, in demand and portable, with significant opportunities for advancement.

And it gets even better because over the next three years, this province will invest $15.8 billion in taxpayer-funded infrastructure throughout B.C., supporting thousands of jobs during construction. These projects have the potential to set the bar high in terms of benefits to the communities they serve.

This isn’t a new concept. Community Benefits Agreements — formal agreements between governments and contractors — have been used with success throughout North America for more than two decades. Both union and non-union contractors can — and do — build public projects with community benefits. These agreements can ensure that workers are paid fairly, and that opportunities exist for qualified local workers, apprentices, women in trades and Indigenous workers.

Community Benefits Agreements can literally change the economic landscape for the better by gifting communities with a legacy of skills, training, employability and local investment.

So Construction and Skilled Trades Month isn’t just about the 200,000 workers employed in the construction sector. It’s about all of us who use and pay for the bridges, roads, dams, and structures that these workers have built.

Public infrastructure projects should provide community benefits that are wide and deep. It’s as simple and as necessary as that.

Tom Sigurdson, executive director, BC Building Trades

Just Posted

Langley cheerleaders climb their way to the Summit

A team from Langley Cheer & Athletics is on their way to Florida to compete in early May.

UPDATE: IHIT investigating suspicious death in South Surrey

Roads closed at 12 Avenue and 28 Avenue

Sound wall under construction at 216th Interchange

Work is picking up steam at the new interchange crossing site.

Throwback Thursday: April 26, 2018

Help us caption a photo from Langley’s past!

Cloverdale fourth grader wants to take learning to the next dimension

Riley Markowsky-Qadir wants his classmates to be able to learn in 3D

WATCH: Small fire at Langley spa manufacturer creates big plume

Black smoke from a Thursday evening fire at a spa maker could be seen for miles.

NAFTA talks hold Foreign Affairs Minister in Washington, substitute heads to NATO summit

NAFTA talks keeping Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, sends substitute to NATO summit

Britain gives long-lost Franklin expedition ships to Canada, Inuit

Deeds to HMS Erebus and HMS Terror signed over to Canada and Inuit Heritage Trust

Grief over deadly Toronto van attack sinks in

Three days after rampage, people still gathering at memorial to lay flowers and honour victims

Liberals urged to tax e-commerce services like Netflix

Trudeau has been adamant that his government wouldn’t increase taxes on online subscriptions

Why some B.C. daycares didn’t opt in to subsidy program

Deadline passes for program aimed at laying foundation for universal child care

WATCH: Moms Stop The Harm respond to opioid crisis

Someone asked her if she does the work for her son. McBain said: “No, actually. I do it for your son.”

Been a long day? Here’s cute puppies in training

Group is training next batch of assistance dogs at Vancouver International Airport

B.C. skydiver lands safely after cutting away main chute

Greater Victoria emergency services called after witnesses saw spiralling chute

Most Read