Skilled Trades Workers Repeat Call for Government to Implement Local Benefits Policy

News Release

Skilled Trades Workers Repeat Call for Government to
Implement Local Benefits Policy

June 16, 2020 – Representing over 18,000 skilled trade workers from across the province, Trades NL is looking to the provincial government to implement a Local Benefits Policy to support construction workers and the provincial economy. Today, Trades NL is repeating the call for the provincial government to adopt a Newfoundland and Labrador Benefits Agreement (NLBA) policy, to ensure opportunities are maximized for the local workforce.

“While we acknowledge the merit of governments announcement on June 1st to support local businesses by permitting a 10% variance in their favour, we were disappointed to find out that the local bid preference will not be tied to hiring locally. The value of the announcement will only be successful if they source the local labour pool, which can be achieved by implementing a local benefits agreement policy. Otherwise, it is an opportunity lost to support and develop the local workforce for tomorrow.”
– Darin King, Executive Director, Trades NL

The request is to have NL Benefit Agreements (NLBA’s) applied to public infrastructure projects, resource development projects, and other projects funded, in whole or part, with public funds. The provisions of a NLBA would include:
• Requirements to hire qualified NL residents first;
• Requirements to pay local prevailing wage and benefits;
• Requirements that a percentage of the workforce be apprentices;
• Requirements to employ a percentage of under-represented groups, including females and indigenous workers;
• Contractors will submit a workforce development plan which meets governments minimum targets and submit regular monthly reports; and
• Government will monitor for compliance, publicly publish reports and apply non-compliance penalties.

“More than ever, with so many unemployed skilled trade workers, the time is now to act and put measures in place ensuring projects from our resources and paid for by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are constructed by Newfoundland and Labrador residents. Construction workers play an important role in contributing to our economy, and by implementing a NL Benefits Agreement policy it ensures the money stays in the local economy and ultimately contributes back to the provincial treasury, paying for vital health, education and social services. This policy should be adopted immediately as a major part of a provincial economic recovery plan.
– Darin King, Executive Director, Trades NL

Benefit Agreements are not unique or a new approach as they are used in provinces and cities all across Canada. Nor is it new to Newfoundland and Labrador, as project labour agreements (PLA’s) have been used on major resource development projects going back to the Upper Churchill Hydro project, and right up to the recently-successful Hebron Oil and Gas project.

Trades NL is an umbrella labour organization which promotes and coordinates the interests of 16 building and construction trades unions. Building Trade members are highly qualified, very productive and extremely safe.

– 30 –

Follow us:
Twitter: @nlbctc

Media Contact:
Corey Parsons
Manager of Communications & External Affairs