BCIB Report

The Inaugural Edition

Growing and diversifying BC’s skilled trades workforce

BCIB is the progressive employer on some of British Columbia’s largest infrastructure projects.

We work with contractors, unions, and project owners to recruit and retain a diverse skilled construction trades workforce. Together, we are paving the way to good-paying, career-building jobs, and a stronger economy for all British Columbians.

Through the Province’s Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), BCIB hires underrepresented workers, including Indigenous people, women, 2SLGBTQ+ people and locals. We also connect workers with training and apprenticeships to open doors to careers in the trades.

BCIB and its industry partners are building up a respectful and qualified workforce that will benefit BC’s construction sector for years to come.

BUILDING A HUMAN LEGACY ON PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

BC needs a robust skilled workforce now and in the future. Growing our workforce is critical to shoring up the vital construction industry, as thousands of workers are set to retire in the next decade.

Filling those roles means recruiting workers who have been traditionally underrepresented in the construction trades. Creating career opportunities for women, Indigenous people, locals, and 2SLGBTQ+ workers will help meet the province and industry’s skilled trades needs, today and into the future.

It’s just as important to retain this new talent. That’s why we’re working to make jobsites respectful and safe places. To that end, BCIB has developed the Respectful Onsite Initiative (ROI), a program that helps our employees better understand and support one another.

In Fiscal 2020/21, BCIB worked with its partners in industry to employ nearly 300 British Columbians on Community Benefits Agreement projects.

  • 66% of those workers were local to the project, living within 100 km.
  • 79% of those workers self-identified as members of a group that is underrepresented in the industry.
  • 17% of those workers were Indigenous, compared to the construction industry average of 6%.
  • 13% were women, double the industry average.

These skilled tradespeople represent the next generation of skilled construction tradespeople in our province. They have been deployed to eight sites throughout the province, helping ensure CBA projects progress smoothly so British Columbians benefit from the completed infrastructure.

BCIB hasn’t accomplished this alone. BCIB has worked with government project owners, contractors, unions, and our workers to meet our shared goals. Together, we’re helping the Province’s infrastructure investment create roads and bridges, as well as a long-lasting human legacy. This report tells the stories of some of the people who are building that legacy.

DAVID MILLER
Board Chair

IRENE KERR
CEO

PATTULLO BRIDGE REPLACEMENT PROJECT

“I am pleased to report on the positive relationship we have formed with BCIB on the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project and the Broadway Subway Project. BCIB has focused on union assignments, personnel staffing and development, and inclusion of underrepresented groups on the projects. This will help us as we focus on planning and delivering the works.

BCIB has also been supportive on safety implementation and HR-related items, making the system work for the benefit of all.”

JEFF SPRUSTON
Project Representative, Fraser Crossing Partners &
Broadway Subway Project Corporation

“The City of Surrey is excited to work with BC Infrastructure Benefits on Community Benefits Agreement projects such as the Pattullo Bridge Replacement. Together, we aim to increase inclusive employment opportunities for Surrey residents, and we thank BCIB for their continued collaboration in helping our residents build their careers close to home.”

MAYOR DOUG McCALLUM
City of Surrey

The biggest challenge that women face getting into the trades is that they’re not looked at as if they can do the job the same as a male. I think that goes back to the old days… but us women are starting to rock it, and we’re going to rock it… and we’re coming!”

KRISTINA
Traffic Control Supervisor
Highway 1 Illecillewaet Project

I really like the attitude and procedures with BCIB. I’ve worked with quite a few companies before, and this one I’m comfortable with. The Respectful Onsite Initiative training was really interesting. We usually don’t have courses like this… I’ve never really taken a course like this in the trades.”

BRUCE 
Teamster on the Highway 1 Chase West Project. He’s been working in the trades for more than 45 years.

KEY STATS AND FACTS*

BC’s construction industry has more than doubled since 2001. It now accounts for 9% of BC’s GDP and employs nearly a quarter of a million workers.

BCIB APPLICANTS BY THE NUMBERS

APPROXIMATELY

1%

of applicants to BCIB have self-identified as a member of an underrepresented group.

APPROXIMATELY

1%

of applicants have existing skills in the trades.

BCIB ONSITE NUMBERS

1%

of BCIB employees on CBA projects live in BC.

of workers are local hires (living within 100 km of the jobsite).

1%

That’s the average percentage of workers on BCIB sites who are women: double the industry average.**

1%

of tradespeople on BCIB sites are Indigenous.**

1%

Women in the trades earn just less than half of what men earn. The CBA provides equal pay for equal work across all trades.

1%

of skilled tradespeople on CBA projects are from one or more underrepresented groups (Indigenous Peoples, locals, women, 2SLGBTQ+ people, and others.)

Unionized construction sites have a proven safety track record. For example, a recent study comparing unionized and non-union construction sites in Ontario found the following:

1%

fewer lost-time injury claims.

1%

fewer severe injury claims.

* Stats are from Fiscal 2020/2021
** The BC construction industry average for both women and Indigenous people on job sites is 6%

BCIB employees take part in BCIB’s Respectful Onsite Initiative (ROI). Contractors are also invited to participate—to help achieve the shared goal of creating safe and respectful jobsites. The ROI covers programs such as Be More Than a Bystander and History Matters!, our course about Indigenous history in BC. ROI brings discussions about gender, race, sexism, and reconciliation to the forefront and onto the jobsite. It makes for more inclusive and safer working environments for all.

“BCIB’s authentic commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion—both through priority hire of equity-seeking individuals and the education of staff and onsite workers—is essential to shifting the culture on their jobsites, and in the skilled trades industry as a whole. BCIB’s development of Indigenous Cultural Competency Training, adoption of the Be More Than a Bystander program, and their alignment with the community partners that have expertise in these areas, are making a difference.”

NINA HANSEN
Former Executive Director,
BC Centre For Women In The Trades

The [Respectful Onsite Initiative] was informative for everyone in our group. It opens your eyes to a different perspective that you may have not seen on a day-to-day basis but other people are dealing with all the time.”

BRAD
was a Project Superintendent with Emil Anderson Construction, a contractor on the first Highway 1 four-laning project outside Revelstoke.

The non-Natives that work here, they had no clue what was going on… our culture and history. For them to actually find a place in their heart for us, that has a lot of meaning for us. We are one unit and that is how we should always be.”

JOEY
Lives near the Illecillewaet Highway 1 Project. Because of the CBA, locals like Joey get hired and rehired first on major projects.

BC Infrastructure Benefits Inc. is the employer for infrastructure projects under the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)

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