2015 was a year of change for our province. Politically and economically we have seen upheaval at all levels. Gone was a 44 year old government dynasty, with it an agenda change as big as any we have had in the province for a number of years.
Federal politics also changed as the Liberal party won the federal election. Also, the economic prosperity of Alberta took a massive hit as the oil boom slowed and a new reality of sub $50 a barrel for oil took its toll on all of Alberta’s industries.
With all of those changes the ACA continues to work with our partners and the government to stabilize investment in infrastructure, improve contracts, worker safety, and education. This year we were able to make immediate inroads with the government on funding infrastructure. ACA Chair Dave Kinley and Senior Vice Chair Paul Verhesen met new Minister Mason and Deputy Minister Barry Day July 2nd, apparently one of the earliest stakeholder meetings for the Minister. With the release of the fall budget it was apparent that the government took ACA’s advice to stabilize the industry.
On safety the ACA worked hard to get the government to understand the concerns of the industry on Silica and work continues for a compromise that balances feasibility and affordability on this contentious issue. ACA held workshops in each of Calgary and Edmonton to develop silica exposure control plans that involved demolition, drywall, excavation, masonry, and tile sectors. The revised draft document will be reviewed with industry in early 2016.
During times of economic slowdown it becomes important to be long term in our thinking. The ACA recognised the need to push for government run education for apprentices and increased funding for education in construction.
Recognizing a need to connect the construction industry to earlier levels of learning, the ACA supported efforts to build bridges with students, principals, and teachers. Working with the College of School Superintendents, local construction associations and school districts we have made strides to increase their awareness on this issue.
2015 was a busy year in which the ACA achieved a number of very important things. We look forward to 2016 with the continued effort to make Governments preferred clients, increase the safety of our workers, and continue to educate the next generation on the reasons to choose careers in our industry.