PCA Welcomes Key Initiatives on Infrastructure and Skills Training in Budget 2016

EDMONTON, March 22, 2016 /CNW/ - The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) today welcomed the federal government's substantial investment in infrastructure spending in the 2016 federal budget.

"The federal government clearly recognizes that there is an urgent need in Canada to make key infrastructure investments across the country," said PCA President Paul de Jong. "PCA members stand ready to make this government's vision for infrastructure a reality.  We urge the government to ensure that there is fair access for contractors to bid on infrastructure projects in all jurisdictions, regardless of union affiliation."

The federal government announced a $120 billion investment in infrastructure over the next 10 years.  $60 billion of this is new, previously unannounced spending. The bulk of this infrastructure spending ($108 billion) will fall under a "long-term infrastructure plan," and details on how this money will be spent were not provided in this year's budget.  However, the government provided a framework for how the first $12 billion would be spent in Phase 1:

  • $3.4 billion over 3 years to upgrade and improve public transit systems across Canada;
  • $5 billion over 5 years for investments in water, wastewater and green infrastructure projects across Canada; and
  • $3.4 billion over 5 years for social infrastructure spending on social housing, early learning and child care, cultural and recreational infrastructure, and community care facilities.

The federal government also announced key investments for Training and Skills Development.  Budget 2016 promises an additional $125 million in 2016-17 for Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDA) and an additional $50 million in 2016-17 for Canada Job Fund Agreements. 

$85.4 million over 5 years was earmarked to develop a new framework to support union-based apprenticeship training and support innovative approaches and partnerships with other stakeholders.

"PCA members, and their main labour partner CLAC, are already leaders in union-based training and apprenticeship," continued de Jong. "We are excited to work with the government to strengthen our efforts in this area and train Canada's workforce of tomorrow."

Budget 2016 also included new measures relating to Employment Insurance (EI).  These include: expanding access to EI for new entrants, reducing wait times for receiving EI, simplifying job search requirements, and extending EI regular benefits in certain areas.

"PCA member contractors have experienced the uncertainty of the economic downturn and so have their workers.   So additional measures to assist workers who have been affected and continue to look for work are welcome," concluded de Jong. 

About the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)

PCA is the voice of progressive unionized employers in Canada's construction industry. PCA member companies employ more than 25,000 skilled construction workers across Canada, represented primarily by CLAC. PCA member companies are responsible for over 40 percent of energy and natural resource construction projects in British Columbia and Alberta and are leaders in infrastructure construction across Canada.

PCA's goal is to ensure that Canada has a fair and open construction industry, cooperative labour relations, and a robust, inclusive and highly-capable workforce. PCA believes in open competition in which no sector is given artificial and unfair advantage over another on the basis of union affiliation or lack thereof.

SOURCE Progressive Contractors Association of Canada

For further information: Media inquiries: Darrel Reid, dreid@pcac.ca (403) 978-3171

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