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May 24, 2024

The WCA Newsletter for May 24

Catch up on the latest industry news and notes with the May 24 edition of The WCA Newsletter, available here.

May 16, 2024

Spring Golf Recap

Fore! WCA Members were shaking off the winter rust and getting back on the golf course on May 15 for our annual Spring Golf Tournament at Pine Ridge and Elmhurst Golf Courses. The weather didn’t look friendly in the morning but ended up co-operating, and more than 250 golfers enjoyed a great day of golf, food and fun with industry colleagues.

If you’d like to see photos from the day, you can find the album here.

Congratulations to our winners, a threesome from FlexNetworks made up of Scott Weibe, Miran Saradzic and Shayne Gingrad, who fired an incredible 54 at Pine Ridge – four strokes better than the second place team. Well done! They will each be taking home a Yeti 30oz Rambler and a $100 gift card to Golf Town.

Of course, the day wouldn’t have been possible without all our sponsors. Thank you for all your support:

Our other prize winners are:

Elmhurst       

Men’s and Women’s Longest Drive: Hole #9

Men’s – Greg Lorenc – Brandt Tractor Ltd. – (Garmin Approach S12 Golf Watch)

Women’s – Laura Lomow – Ellement (Wine package)

Men’s and Women’s Closest to the Pin:

Men’s – Hole # 8 – Ryan Trubyk – Dave’s Quick Print (Garmin Approach S12 Golf Watch)

Women’s – Hole # 14 – Dorothy Kleiber – Champion Ironworks Ltd. (Wingman 2 Bushnell Golf Speaker)

Men’s and Women’s Longest Drive: Hole #17

Men’s – Sam Werbowski – Inland Audio Visual (Yeti 30oz Rambler and $100 Golf Town gift card)

Women’s – Laura Lomow – Ellement (Wingman 2 Bushnell Golf Speaker)

Pine Ridge    

Men’s and Women’s Longest Drive: Hole #2

Men’s – Scott Weibe, FlexNetworks (Garmin Approach S12 Golf Watch)

Women’s (blank sheet) Random Draw Winner – Terri Randall – Ambassador Sales (1986) Inc. (Wine package)

Hole # 16, Men’s and Women’s Closest to the Pin:

Men’s – Stephen George – AMC Foam Technologies Inc. (Garmin Approach S12 Golf Watch)

Women’s (blank sheet) Random Draw Winner: Soo Lee – Bockstael. (Wine package)

Sunbelt Rentals random draw winners of $250.00 Golf Town Gift Card

  • Alain MacNair – Bockstael
  • Dave Ungrin – Concord Projects Ltd.

Door Prize (blue ticket) winning numbers:

9176450 – WCA Cooler and LC Gift Card *Claimed*

9176378 – Wine Package *Claimed*

9176530 – Yeti Lunch Box and Ladies Golf Towel *Claimed*

9176566 – $100 WOW Entertainment Gift Card *Claimed*

If you’re a prize winner, please reach out to wca@winnipegconstruction.ca and we’ll organize the delivery or pickup of your prize.

Our next golf tournament is June 19 at Grand Pines.

May 10, 2024

The WCA Newsletter for May 10

Catch up on the latest industry news and notes with the May 10 edition of The WCA Newsletter, available here.

April 12, 2024

The WCA Newsletter for April 12

Catch up on the latest industry news and notes with The WCA Newsletter for April 12, available here.

March 27, 2024

NEWS RELEASE: Winnipeg Construction Association Disappointed in Provincial Government’s Apprenticeship Ratio Regression

Winnipeg Construction Association Disappointed in Provincial Government’s Apprenticeship Ratio Regression

WINNIPEG , March 27, 2024 – On Wednesday, the provincial government announced a regression of the Apprenticeship Ratio from two apprentices for each journeyperson to one apprentice per journeyperson. The Winnipeg Construction Association (WCA) has been strongly advocating against this change.

“It’s extremely disappointing to see Manitoba move backwards on this,” said Ron Hambley, WCA President. “Anyone can tell you that we’re currently in the middle of a skilled labour shortage that’s going to get worse before it gets better. This certainly won’t help the industry train more skilled workers.”

WCA has identified a litany of reasons not to regress back to a 1:1 apprenticeship ratio. This change may force apprentices to train under journeypersons who are unwilling to provide their expertise, make it more difficult for rural and northern apprentices to find journeyperson to train under, cost current apprentices jobs and make it more difficult for apprentices to graduate.

“The government has tried to frame the ratio change as a safety issue, but there’s nothing to suggest that a change back to a 1:1 ratio will make workers safer on the job,” said Hambley. “All construction worker injuries have steadily declined over the past five years, and we’ve had a 2:1 ratio since 2021.”

In a 2024 survey of WCA Member companies, 80% responded they would reduce the number of apprentices they are able to hire should the ratio change back to 1:1. 63% of respondents said they would be forced to lay off apprentices.

“We encourage the government and the Apprenticeship Board to consider construction workforce needs and the aspirations of young women and men looking to enter the construction workforce when they’re implementing these changes,” said Hambley. “Fewer apprentices today means fewer journeypersons tomorrow.”

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Media Contact: Darryl Harrison, Director, Stakeholder Engagement and Advocacy

darryl@winnipegconstruction.ca, 204-775-8664 ext: 2249

The Winnipeg Construction Association is an incorporated, not-for-profit trade association representing commercial contractors and suppliers throughout Manitoba. We currently have over 700 member firms, including manufacturers, suppliers, financial institutions, lawyers, insurance and bonding companies and brokers.

March 15, 2024

The WCA Newsletter for March 15

The latest issue of The WCA Newsletter is now available online here.

February 29, 2024

Ratio Realities: The Impact of Ratio Changes on Manitoba and its Apprentices

By Darryl Harrison, WCA Director, Stakeholder Engagement and Advocacy

The Manitoba Apprenticeship Board has undergone some recent changes, including the removal of several Board members (myself included), replaced with five new appointees, four of which are from organizations that are vocal critics of the current 2:1 apprenticeship ratio. On Friday (Feb. 23) the Winnipeg Free Press published an op-ed from the new Chair of the Apprenticeship Manitoba Board. She raised some important points regarding training and education in the construction industry that are worth discussing.

The op-ed pointed out something that everyone in the industry can get behind – the low completion rates of apprenticeships in Manitoba. The completion rate for apprenticeships across Canada is only about 50%, and Manitoba is no different. Apprenticeship Manitoba and the construction industry will be well-served if they can improve that rate. The reasons nearly half of all apprentices do not complete their 4-year apprenticeships are as varied as the reasons to choose apprenticeship. There is no easy solution, but efforts in this area are worthwhile.

It is disappointing the author considers the changes over the past four years to be ‘the deliberate dismantling of the apprenticeship program’, referring specifically to a change in ratio requirements and a focus on micro-credentials. Both topics are worthy of discussion, but for now let’s take a look at the ratio requirement. The current supervision ratio is 2:1, meaning that on any given construction project a single journeyperson can supervise up to two apprentices. This change has been very well received by the vast majority of the industry and is good for Manitoba’s apprenticeship system. 

Prior to the change in 2021, the supervision requirement was 1:1. I’m not sure how many other training systems have a 1:1 ratio, but it’s not many. Especially considering apprentices just left school where there are 15-25 people in class!

A 2:1 ratio is not out of line with other jurisdictions. For example, Alberta has a 2:1 ratio and B.C. doesn’t have a limit at all, except for Electrical and Mechanical trades which are 2:1. Journeypersons are trained and experienced while apprentices are learning and do not offer the same level of productivity. Balancing the appropriate mix of journeypersons and apprentices is an important part of project management. Recently we have seen the higher ratio has led to some projects having more apprentices, but not a dramatic shift where there is twice as many apprentices on every job as journeypersons. It merely nudges up the apprenticeship numbers to allow for more opportunities for young people.

An extremely important part of the apprenticeship system is clearly the on-the-job training. And the way apprentices will get the most out of that experience is by having willing, helpful and attentive journeypersons to provide that training. While there are many journeypersons that are excellent at what they do, some really don’t want to or are not suited to mentor an apprentice.

It is much better to have an enthusiastic journeyperson oversee two apprentices than an unwilling journeyperson oversee one apprentice. Think about your own career. Have you had better experiences working with a manager who was happy to be there, or one who acted like you were a burden or inconvenience?

We also can’t ignore the power dynamic that exists between an apprentice and their journeyperson. This relationship is extremely important and can be the deciding factor in the success of an apprenticeship. If there is a case where an unwilling journeyperson is forced to oversee an apprentice, the apprentice will not be in the position to question the direction or approach. If there are two apprentices, the power dynamic changes and there will be more influence placed on the apprentices’ point of view in a given situation. Arguably, two apprentices per journeyperson creates a safer and more inclusive environment.

A regression in ratios will have a particularly negative impact on rural and northern parts of the province. There are fewer journeypersons in these parts of the province, making it difficult for prospective apprentices to find the opportunity to work under a journeyperson. Further constricting this with a ratio change hurts those that live outside Winnipeg even more.

I’ve outlined some reasons why the proposed ratio change will negatively harm apprentices, but I haven’t even begun to raise the issue of construction cost competitiveness. Compulsory trades require either a journeyperson or apprentice do all the work that is part of the trade (‘helpers’ are not allowed). Reducing the ratio will mean that more journeypersons will have to be hired in situations where an apprentice could have competently completed the task and be offered a training opportunity. This will mean more compulsory trade journeypersons on site which will increase labour costs on all construction projects in Manitoba.

Considering the pre-election commitment by Premier Kinew to restrict the number of new apprentices by reducing the ratio to 1:1 and removing moderate Apprenticeship Board members and replacing them with advocates of a ratio reduction, it seems clear there will be an effort to force this change onto the industry.

The result of these changes will be immediate – current apprentices will lose their jobs, there will be fewer apprentices that enter the system, less mutual support for apprentices on job sites and more expensive construction projects for Manitoba – including the Provincial government’s own healthcare projects.

Of course, fewer apprentices today will mean fewer journeypersons tomorrow. I can’t think of a single good reason why reducing the flow of apprentices into the skilled trade system is good for the industry or for our province.

I strongly urge the Apprenticeship Board to reject a reduction in apprenticeship ratios.

If you have any questions about WCA’s advocacy efforts, or want to bring an industry issue to our attention, please reach out to wca@winnipegconstruction.ca.

February 22, 2024

Introducing our 2024 Board of Directors

At yesterday’s Annual General Meeting we welcomed our 2024 Board of Directors, led by new Chair Roger Tuk.

Congratulations to all our new and returning Board Members – we’re excited to get to work to continue building the ICI industry across Manitoba.

(Front Row, L-R): Peter Bernatsky, Vice-Chair; Ellowyn Nadeau, Immediate Past Chair; Roger Tuk, Chair; Ron Hambley, President, John Enns, Past Chair

(Middle Row, L-R): Jennifer Lowe, Director-at-Large; Stacey Gagné, Manufacturers and Suppliers Division Chair; Xuan Nguyen, MWC Representative; Christa Lee, YCLM Representative, Terri Randall, Director-at-Large; Soo Lee, General Contractors Division Chair; Dom Costantini, Director-at-Large

(Back Row, L-R): Alain MacNair, Director-at-Large; Craig Hildebrandt, Director-at-Large; Rich Marchetti, CSAM Advisory Chair; Shawn Henry, Mechanical Contractors Division Chair; Laura Lomow, Director-at-Large; Daniel Hartley, Director-at-Large; Chris Precourt, Trade Contractors Division Chair; David Van Hooren, Director-at-Large.

Not Pictured: Teri Urban, Treasurer; Bryan Trottier, Electrical Division Chair; Shane Storie, Director-at-Large, John Schubert, Past Chairs Committee Representative

February 16, 2024

The WCA Newsletter for February 16

Catch up on the latest industry news and notes with the February 16 edition of The WCA Newsletter, now available here.

February 2, 2024

The WCA Newsletter for February 2

The latest edition of The WCA Newsletter is now available here.