The BC Government announced a new policy today requiring prime contractors for construction projects funded by the BC Government to employ apprentices. This policy, while not a law, applies to new infrastructure projects where $15 Million of public money is invested. The new policy aligns with a federal procurement initiative promoting the use of apprentices announced in June 2014.
The new BC policy is in effect for when the primary scope of work is in one of the 57 Red Seal Trades and will require that the prime contractor demonstrate and report on the use of registered apprentices.
Subcontractors are also required to utilize apprentices if the value of their contracts are $500,000 or over. The requirements are to have at least one apprentice throughout the term of the project and report on it.
There are no real teeth to this policy but if implemented through the procurement and bid process, and potential bidders are required to demonstrate this performance, then apprenticeship usage should increase for some employers. This is good news for apprentices in the Carpentry, Electrical and related construction trades.
BC’s Apprentices on Public Projects Policy
All prime contractors on construction infrastructure projects procured after July 1, 2015 with a provincial investment of $15 million or more will be required to:
1. Demonstrate an Engagement in Apprenticeship Training
- Each prime contractor must use, and ensure that its subcontractors use, registered apprentice(s) in contracts valued at more than $500,000, where the primary scope of work is in one of the 57 Red Seal trades. For a list of the Red Seal trades please visit: www.itabc.ca/red-seal- program
- Registered apprentices must be used directly on the project throughout the term of the contracts.
2. Report on the Use of Registered Apprentices
- Complete and submit Confirmation of Intent to Use Registered Apprentices. The Province uses the submitted information to confirm that prime contractors and their subcontractors are planning to use registered apprentices on the project.
Prime contractors are to provide apprenticeship data for all contracts where the primary scope of work is in a Red Seal trade by completing and submitting an Apprentice Utilization Report, quarterly and at the end of the project. The Province uses the information to monitor compliance with this policy and to track whether registered Red Seal apprentices are being used on the project. For those projects with a total provincial investment less than $15 million, prime contractors are encouraged to adopt best practices, including engaging in apprenticeship training and reporting on the use of registered apprentices and trainees.
Federal Government Promoting Use of Apprentices Through Procurement Initiative
Public Works and Government Services Canada and Defence Construction Canada announced a joint initiative on June 30, 2014. Its purpose is to promote the use of apprentices in federal construction and maintenance contracts. This will be driven through the procurement process by including a voluntary certification in which bidders and their subcontractors agree to hire and train registered apprentices.
Bidders will agree to strive to fully utilize allowable apprenticeship ratios and to respect any hiring requirements prescribed by provincial or territorial statutes. Bidders will also be asked to voluntarily provide the planned number of apprentices and the trades of those apprentices required for a contract.