BC Government’s Re-Engineering of Education and Training Includes Improvements, Falls Short on Compulsory Trades and Apprenticeship Quotas on Public Projects

Vancouver, BC – Upon initial review, the labour movement gives mixed review to the BC Government’s “re-engineered education and training” program.

The Federation is pleased to see the BC Government’s new plan has committed to hiring 15 apprenticeship counselors with a priority on Aboriginal people and those with a disability. However, the new plan doesn’t address the most significant barrier to apprenticeship and training: the lack of apprentice-level jobs.

The BC Government has not yet restored compulsory trades , failed to establish a training grant/levy program, and has left vague its commitment to ensuring apprenticeship positions are included in all publicly-funded projects and major works.

“This plan does not do enough to encourage employers to invest in training,” said Sinclair. “The BC Government should be leading by example and setting a clear target of 25 percent apprenticeship positions on all publicly-funded work and major projects.”

The labour movement expects to be a full partner in the re-invigorated ITA Board of Directors and the new Sector Advisory Councils.

“The BC Government has yet to fully address our most pressing concern – employers simply aren’t hiring apprentices in BC,” said Jim Sinclair. “The BC Government must ensure there are jobs for apprentices by restoring compulsory trades and setting up strong programs to reward those employers who invest in training.”

The B.C. Federation of Labour’s Apprenticeship Committee will meet on April 30 to review the plan in detail.

Backgrounder: B.C. Federation of Labour Submission to ITA Review, attached