OPINION: Putting workers and communities first 



John Horgan and Danielle Shaw, a young mother and ironworker apprentice with Local 97, at BCIT.

A new bridge gets people home faster. New hospitals give patients faster, better health care. And when government spends public money on major projects like bridges, roads and hospitals, I believe communities, families and workers should all benefit.

This week our government announced a new Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) for public projects that put B.C. people first in line for good jobs building the roads, bridges and other infrastructure we need.

The agreements include priority hiring for qualified people who live close to public projects, and will help deliver good-paying jobs, better training, and more trades and apprenticeship opportunities for Indigenous peoples, women and young people around the province.

By expanding apprenticeships for young British Columbians, these agreements will help build B.C.’s next generation of construction workers. Community Benefit Agreements are the best way to deliver projects on time, on budget, with fair wages.

And we’re getting started right away. The first projects to be delivered under the new Community Benefits Framework include building a new replacement for the Pattullo Bridge and four-laning projects on the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Alberta.

If you’re a BC contractor, you can bid to be a part these projects. Our approach to community benefits is flexible, to maximize the number of qualified bidders on public projects. It’s part of keeping costs low for government while delivering long-lasting benefits for the people of B.C.

For British Columbians like Danielle Shaw, a young mother and ironworking apprentice with Local 97, the CBA means more than new infrastructure. She knows that the opportunity to have good-paying jobs in your province, and work close to home, is huge.  It means not having to go out of province, or travel to get these good-paying jobs, and start your career in the place where you live.

This is just the beginning. Over the next ten years, more projects will benefit more people in more communities.

For too long, decisions were made to benefit the few at the top, instead of all British Columbians. Our government is making different choices. Our government is making sure public projects deliver lasting benefits for people and communities.

We’re working hard to make life better for you and your family. Community Benefit Agreements are part of that.

As we build up our province, let’s build up our people too.