It’s A New Day – Building Canadian Opportunities

May 5, 2014

The 2014 Legislative Conference of “Canada’s Building Trades Unions” was held at the Hilton Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec from May 5-7, 2014 and was attended by over 400 delegates from across Canada.

Most delegates represented the home local of the affiliated international union to which they belonged. In addition to those local business representatives and training coordinators of these locals, we also had delegates from contractors and contractor associations, industry and industry stakeholder groups, as well as attendees representing Local and Provincial Building Trades Councils. As we have seen in past years, attendance at the Conference has increased year over year.

This year’s Conference was themed “It’s a New Day – Building Canadian Opportunities” and placed a particular emphasis on issues that Canada’s Building Trades Unions should be mindful of in the coming year so as to create opportunities for our members and to encourage growth in the Canadian Construction Economy.

To this end, a major rebranding initiative was unveiled, which culminated a year’s worth of marketing research and development. Delegates heard that our newly unveiled brand positions us as the ‘Voice of Organized Construction in Canada’ while creating awareness of exactly who we are and eliminating confusion about any association with a Government Department. Considerable effort and expense was expended over the past year to create this strategy and delegates received it warmly.

Several keynote speakers addressed the Conference on the opening morning. Chairman of the Canadian Executive Board Robert Kucheran shared his vision for the coming year and highlighted areas he sees for improvement. BCTD President Sean McGarvey brought greetings from Washington and shared with the delegates his passion for our members, and our industry, not just in the United States but in Canada as well. Newly minted United States Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman brought greetings form his Government and charted a course for his upcoming work in his new role. New Brunswick Premier David Alward shared his vision for energy projects in that Province and enunciated his unequivocal support for the Energy East Pipeline Project. The morning concluded with Canadian icon Rex Murphy expanding on his recent oil sands commentary and challenging us to stand up with pride and in support of the major projects we build which drive the Canadian Economy.

As this was our largest annual event, delegates were informed of the state of affairs of the Canadian Office and received updates about pressing issues facing the Building Trades in the United States and Canada, as well as at various Provincial and Local levels. A detailed financial summary of our operations was also presented with an opportunity to pose questions and raise concerns. 

Politicians from all major national parties addressed the Conference – Minister of Employment and Social Development, Jason Kenney spoke on a variety of initiatives his Government is working on that affect us. Labour Minister Kellie Leitch welcomed delegates to our reception at the Museum of Civilization and shared her enthusiasm and support for our initiatives respecting women in the trades, specifically J♀urneyman. Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair, as well as NDP Members of Parliament Alexandre Boulerice and Pat Martin, spoke of the community of interest our members share with their Party. Lastly, but certainly not least, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau used the opportunity to address the Conference as an opportunity to expand his grasp on the issues that are important to us from his inaugural address last year.

A wide variety of speakers from industry addressed the Conference on issues of shared importance – highlighting concerns like a streamlined regulatory process for environmental approvals, support for pipelines, workforce productivity, and continued partnership on project labour agreements (PLA’s) to name a few.

Canada’s Building Trades Unions are enthusiastic about our new brand and feel that it captures exactly whom we know ourselves to be – the real voice for construction labour in Canada. Our various initiatives and partnerships highlighted at the Conference – which truly span the spectrum of labour relations as well as the geography of the Country – demonstrate our commitment to the betterment of our industry, as well to the Canadian Economy as a whole. We will work throughout the year to advance these causes and to better the lives of our members and to make our contractor and owner partners more competitive.

Planning has already begun on next year’s Conference – and we invite you to bookmark our homepage so that you may keep informed of our progress and receive up to the minute updates about developing news as well as information about next year’s Conference as it becomes available!