B.C. Building Trades Council executive director Tom Sigurdson is welcoming provincial government plans to establish regional workforce tables to identify local labour needs, but not without some reservations.
The tables, as described in the premiers jobs plan, unveiled late last month, would be made up of educators, industry, employers, local chambers of commerce, First Nations and labour.
If this is a real genuine attempt to bring all the stakeholders together, yes we support it and wed love to participate, said Sigurdson, whose organization represents B.C.s construction unions.
But he has some doubts given that labour has been given less than equal billing on the Industrial Training Authority (ITA) board of directors which has a seat for just one such representative while the rest are predominantly from business management ranks.
Formed in 2004, the ITA is the Crown agency mandated to oversee apprenticeship and trades training in the province.
There was a time, Sigurdson said, when labour, industry and government had an equal partnership on its predecessor, the Industry Training and Apprenticeship Commission (ITAC) and there should be a return to that arrangement.
And it should be all of labour, not just the building trades, Sigurdson said. It should be the forestry industry, it should be the transportation industry, theyre also big players in trades training.
Jobs, tourism and innovation minister Pat Bell said hes not adverse to seeing more union representation on the ITA but added the employers ultimately know what their needs are.
Its important that the people you have on there are the ones who understand where we need to be in terms of what the jobs might look like in the future, Bell said.