VRCA Hosts Constructive Conversation with BC United Leader Kevin Falcon on Key Construction Industry Issues

The Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) hosted its second Constructive Conversations event on Thursday, June 13, featuring BC United leader Kevin Falcon. This engaging event brings together VRCA members, industry leaders and stakeholders to address critical issues impacting the construction sector in British Columbia.
VRCA President Jeannine Martin opened the conversation by highlighting the construction industry’s significant contribution to BC’s economy, accounting for 10% of the GDP. Falcon echoed this sentiment, stating, “The construction industry is such an important part of the economy.” This led to a follow-up question about whether the industry merits a dedicated Minister of Construction.
“I don’t know that we need a Minister of Construction. We just need a minister responsible that understands the importance of the sector,” said Falcon.
The 90-minute conversation with Mr. Falcon covered various crucial topics related to the growth and sustainability of the construction industry.
These included elevating the brand of construction to attract more individuals to skilled trades, addressing the housing crisis and its impact on drawing people to BC, the necessity for targeted immigration, short- and long-term infrastructure funding, and the importance of affordable childcare for working families.
Here’s what Mr. Falcon had to say about Prompt Payment legislation in BC and the Skilled Labour shortage.

Prompt Payment Legislation

“I 100% agree we need some form of Prompt Payment legislation because I know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. I know what it’s like when you’ve got outstanding receivables, and you’re still having to feed the monster while waiting for some big payments that are due,” said Falcon.
Falcon stated that he would seek guidance from industry stakeholders such as VRCA President Jeannine Martin and BCCA President Chris Atchison to help structure the legislation by reviewing legislation from other provinces to identify best practices. Chris Atchison highlighted that a Cross-Jurisdictional analysis, which serves this purpose, already exists and is currently with the government.
“Before we can even consider supporting innovative ideas and initiatives like Mr. Falcon’s plans to end the housing crisis, BC needs prompt payment legislation and more skilled workers. We need to alleviate the financial and operational stresses that are undermining our industry. If we continue as we are, contractors will be forced to make hard choices to preserve their business, their health, and quite frankly, their sanity.” said Chris Atchison, BCCA President.

Skilled Labour Shortage

Falcon expressed frustration, stating that he believes that “government doesn’t understand that every crisis is actually an opportunity.” He emphasized that crisis presents an opportunity to do things totally differently.
“We have to think totally differently about how we deal with this crisis. We have to act like it’s a crisis otherwise we will just keep doing more of the same, kind of getting these lackluster results, and ten years from now, we’ll still be complaining about the shortage of workers,” said Falcon.
Falcon emphasized the need to celebrate the trades more effectively, starting with parents introducing their children to trade careers as a viable alternative to university. He also highlighted the importance of providing better resources to address language barriers, such as English training courses, for newcomers interested in entering the trades.
“We would like to thank Kevin Falcon for engaging with VRCA members in such a meaningful, informative dialogue,” said VRCA President Jeannine Martin. “This discussion highlighted the importance of collaboration between government, political leaders and industry stakeholders to address the challenges and opportunities facing the construction sector.”
The VRCA is committed to advocating for the construction industry and its 850+ members by fostering discussions that are essential in shaping the industry’s future.
The Constructive Conversations series provides VRCA members, industry leaders, and stakeholders a platform to engage with and hear directly from BC’s decision-makers. The first event, held on April 11, welcomed Premier Eby as the inaugural guest. The third edition of the series is scheduled for August 28, with BC Conservative Leader John Rustad as the guest speaker.
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