ICBA establishes Prince George office

The "oldest open shop organization in Canada" is making inroads into the Central Interior.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. recently opened an office in Prince George.

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About a third of the ICBA's 1,200 members are based in northern B.C., said the organization's regional initiatives vice president Mike Davis, who works out of the office at 203-2666 Queensway.

"We're here to connect better with our northern members and build the business," Davis said.

"It's getting our services closer to our companies and our members."

Those services include health plans, retirement programs, training and apprenticeship development.

But it's also about helping to promote economic development in the region.

"We see lots of opportunity up in the north," said ICBA president Philip Hochstein who was in the city on Friday.

"It fits into the campaign to grow the economy, which is designed to get projects to yes.

"Shovels in the ground are what our industry wants and projects get bogged down in the regulatory system so we're doing what we can to help create some social licence and pressure on the other side to say yes to those projects."

Pipelines, mines, liquified natural gas plants, hydro-electric facilities, run-of-river projects are examples of the projects the ICBA is pushing to see realized.

"Frankly, any sort of responsible development," Hochstein said.

"If you're building a new office building in downtown Prince George and there are people opposed, then we'd like to come in and explain why we think it's not a bad idea and help the developer get it across the finish line."

Hochstein also asserted the battle between union and non-union is "really over."

"Almost all the jobs you see is a mixture of both," Hochstein said.

"We haven't had labour unrest in 25 or 30 years.

"The grow the economy campaign, trying to get shovels in the ground, is something we all have in common regardless of whether you're in the union or not."

More information can be found at www.icba.ca.

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