Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) are pleased with the focus on jobs in today’s Throne Speech, paving the way for a fair recovery for all Canadians.

“Canada’s Building Trades Unions applaud the government for a balanced approach to address the immediate issues around the COVID-19 pandemic, while planning for an economic recovery that levels the playing field for all Canadians. Investing in infrastructure and shovel-ready projects will create immediate job opportunities and address Canada’s infrastructure needs. The Government’s commitment to universal pharmacare, a national childcare program, overhauling the Employment Insurance system and committing to increasing diversity through procurement will position Canada to come back, stronger than ever,” said Sean Strickland, Executive Director, Canada’s Building Trades Unions. “Moving beyond a prime-the-pump approach to stimulus spending will position Canada to move towards a green economy while creating opportunities for underrepresented groups that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”

Canada’s Building Trades Unions have long advocated for Community Benefit Agreements, which are, essentially, a framework that can secure work, skills training and fair wages to qualified local residents and groups who are traditionally underrepresented in the skilled trades sector, such as apprentices, Indigenous workers and women. They provide funding and economic support for impacted communities, and set forth goals for minority, women, and local job hiring; leaving a legacy of experience, skills training and employability.

Public opinion on CBAs is high across the country. According to a survey conducted by Earnscliffe, 60 per cent of Canadians are supportive of infrastructure projects undertaken in Canada to include CBAs.[1]

“Canada’s Building Trades Unions is a leader in diversity and inclusion. Through our workforce development programs including Build Together, and the Offices to Advance Women Apprentices, the CBTU has identified barriers and created wraparound support services to address barriers for women, Indigenous Peoples, New Canadians, and young people. Increasing diversity through federal procurement will mean provisions that create job opportunities for underrepresented groups to start an apprenticeship, obtain experience and continue working in the skilled trades,” said Lindsay Amundsen, Director of Workforce Development, CBTU. “The skilled trades offer a lifelong career with benefits, a pension and opportunities; opportunities that are open to everyone, and there is an opportunity to open the doors to more Canadians, through a community benefits framework, to do that through procurement.”

[1] Earnscliffe Study on Community Benefit Agreements, July 2020

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