Sunday, June 23, 2024

Alberta Construction Groups Raise Policy Concerns

On April 26 ACA along with Progressive Contractors Association and ICBA Alberta sent a letter of concern to Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley in regards to some of the promises being made by the opposition party ahead of the provincial election.

On September 20, 2022 at a convention of the Building Trades of Alberta (BTA), and at an April 21, 2023 Alberta Federation of Labour convention, your party signaled its intention to implement a “Community Benefits Agreement” regime in Alberta to maximize the participation of underemployed worker groups.  We believe CBAs, when designed to be fair, open and transparent, can achieve meaningful social procurement objectives.

However, these reports note that a new NDP government may look to B.C. as a template for a broader CBA program. We sincerely hope this is a misprint. The B.C. program, designed by former Premier John Horgan’s NDP government, is in reality a grossly coercive program aimed at giving select B.C. Building Trades Unions a monopoly over large parts of the province’s multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects. Companies wishing to do work on these projects must do so using exclusively Building Trades Union (BTU) labour and terms, regardless of which labour model they are affiliated with. Given that B.C.’s BTU workers constitute no more than 15% of the province’s skilled construction workforce, this means that the other 85% are excluded from public work that is paid for by their own tax dollars. We trust you will agree that this arrangement is grossly unfair, anti-competitive and punishes companies and their workers for choices they have freely made. 

If this is a misunderstanding, it can easily be cleared up. Alberta’s construction community would be greatly reassured if the former Premier affirmed that all public infrastructure programs, including any conducted under a future CBA regime, will be open to all Alberta construction companies and their workers regardless of the labour model they have freely chosen to employ. It’s that simple. Our industry associations are ready and willing to constructively work with parties across the political spectrum, to pursue social procurement objectives that are fair, meaningful, and productive.

Read the letter in full


Alberta Federation of Labour Convention address

Speech to Building Trades of Alberta

ACA letter to the editor