A new poll released by Merit Canada and the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association shows that the majority of British Columbians support fair bidding at 83 per cent. Those surveyed support giving all construction companies a fair chance to land taxpayer-funded work, regardless of how their workforce is organized. Canada-wide, support for fair bidding hits 88 per cent.
“The building trades unions represent fewer than 15 per cent of B.C. construction workers, yet they are given preferential treatment by the NDP Government,” said ICBA president Chris Gardner. “While British Columbians overwhelmingly support giving all construction companies in B.C. a fair chance at taxpayer-funded work, the province has effectively cut a special deal with their long-term supporters at the expense of B.C.’s construction workers and taxpayers.”
In the poll, not a single age group, gender, education level, or income bracket supported directing work to unions and cutting out open shop contractors.
ICBA and several other business associations, progressive unions, construction contractors and workers will be in front of the B.C. Court of Appeal July 16-17 challenging this policy.
“British Columbians understand that fair, open bidding – a level playing field for government work – is the best way to keep costs down and deliver the infrastructure we need in B.C. to keep our economy strong and improve our quality of life,” said Gardner.
The basis of the legal challenge is the significant consequence and inherent unfairness of the NDP Government’s decision to exclude the 85 per cent of the 250,000 men and women in construction who do not belong to a building trades union from working on government projects.
“Through the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve heard repeatedly – and we agree – that we are all in this together,” said Gardner. “So, it follows that we all need to be together in the recovery too – no one should be left behind in the middle of a global pandemic. Every construction worker in B.C. deserves a fair shot at taxpayer-funded work. No one is asking for a special favour, just a fair shot and a level playing field.”