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

Campbell River Isolationpalooza II

Featuring all local musicians! The Mirror’s virtual concert, of sorts!

WATCH: Emergency services joins nightly salute to Campbell River frontline workers

Parade with lights and sirens stopped in front of Campbell River Hospital

Campbell River Storm says make some noise for healthcare workers

Car horns, pots and pans, applause and yelling all encouraged

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

Campbell River grocers working to provide essential service

Ongoing list of hours and details about local grocery stores

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Most Read