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Unifor welcomes B.C. compulsory trades certification

Worker in coveralls in a truck shop
June 11, 2021 - 3:00 AM

VANCOUVER—Skilled trades workers received a boost from the Horgan government today with the announcement that the province will re-introduce compulsory certification for ten trades, says Unifor.

“The compulsory certification of skilled trades will help keep job sites safer and make the trades more attractive to young people,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “We look forward to working with the government to see more trades added to this initial list of ten.”

The BCNDP government said today that it will be joining other provinces in formally recognizing the credentials of ten areas of trades to help workers receive compensation that matches their skills and raise the overall skill level of B.C.’s trades workforce.

“A transparent system of trades certification will put a stop to the degradation of trades work done in B.C.,” said Leanne Marsh, Unifor B.C. Council Chairperson and skilled trades member of Unifor Local 2200 at Coast Mountain Bus Company. “Compulsory trade certification will raise wages and make job sites safer.”

Unifor members have been lobbying for compulsory trade certification for years, most recently holding meetings with the government caucus in March 2021.

“This change has been the result of a lot of hard work from tradespeople,” said Danny Casquilho, an industrial instrument mechanic at the Rio Tinto smelter in Kitimat and Local 2301 member. “B.C. was an outlier for many years, so it’s great news that Gordon Campbell’s dangerous trades legacy is finally over. Working people can regain their rightful spot at the decision-making table.”

The B.C. Liberal government’s 2003 overhaul of the trades training and regulation system hurt workers, says Unifor. The so-called “B.C. Model” was characterized by greater employer control and a reduction in the scope of training for workers. The “sub-trades” created in this system reduced both mobility and average remuneration for most new skilled trades workers. Red seal certifications in British Columbia have plummeted 20% since 2001.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews via Facetime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).