Statement by Canada’s Building Trades Unions on the 2021 Speech from the Throne

November 24, 2021

“Yesterday, Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General, Mary Simon delivered the Speech from the Throne in English, French and Inuktitut. Canada’s Building Trades Unions appreciate the Government’s commitment to continue to support those still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re closer to the end of this; encouraging everyone to get vaccinated is one way we can all do our part. The Speech also recognized the profound impact the discovery of thousands of unmarked graves of children who died in the residential schools has and continues to have, and the need to ensure that reconciliation is reflected in the work we do, something Canada’s Building Trades Unions are strongly committed to.

The Speech outlined the Government’s plan to build a more resilient economy as we move forward, including transitioning to Net-Zero. CBTU fully supports the necessary steps we need to take to address climate change, and stand ready to continue to work with the Government to ensure workers have a seat at the decision-making table. We need apprenticeship and training supports, we need representation on a Just Transition Task Force and we need the implementation of a Skilled Trades Workforce Mobility Tax Deduction – a promise outlined in the Liberal party’s most recent election platform. We need support from all parties to get this important piece of legislation introduced and passed in the House to support our skilled trades workers, address labour shortages and rebuild our economy.

But growing our economy means growing it, for everyone. Every public infrastructure dollar spent should be tied to building a diverse workforce. Skilled trades offer a lifelong career path with family-sustaining wages. Tying in Community Benefits Agreements to federally procured projects will ensure that all Canadians – Indigenous Peoples, women, new Canadians and young people – have a clear path to joining the skilled trades workforce, a true way to invest in and empower underrepresented groups.

Yesterday’s Speech also strongly signalled the Government’s progress and ongoing support for affordable childcare, an issue important to skilled tradespeople. CBTU has conducted focus groups with tradespeople on the issue of childcare across the country, and while affordability is key, accessibility must not be forgotten. We need qualified, childcare professionals that offer flexible operating hours to accommodate those, like skilled trades workers, who don’t work 9-5, Monday to Friday to make childcare truly accessible, for all working families.

We stand ready to build the infrastructure necessary to support the economy – from public transit, to hospitals, to greening the energy and natural resource sector. We are the skilled tradespeople that have always built Canada and look forward to continuing to work with the Government and new Parliament to do so.

-Sean Strickland, Executive Director, Canada’s Building Trades Unions

For the full text of the Throne Speech, visit here.

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Media Contact

Kate Walsh  kwalsh@buildingtrades.ca 613.298.0652

About CBTU

Canada’s Building Trades Unions are an alliance of 14 international unions in the construction, maintenance and fabrication industries that collectively represent over 600,000 skilled trades workers in Canada. Each year, our unions and our signatory contractor partners invest over $300 million in private sector money to fund and operate over 195 apprenticeship training and education facilities across Canada that produce the safest, most highly trained and productive skilled craft workers found anywhere in the world. Canada’s Building Trades Unions represent members who work in more than 60 different trades and occupations, and generate six per cent of Canada’s GDP. For more information, go to www.buildingtrades.ca

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