Sector Council Ousts Building Trades, 10,000 Workers Lose Representation.

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Sector Council Ousts Building Trades, 10,000 Workers Lose Representation.

June 2, 2021

Sector Council Ousts Building Trades, 10,000 Workers Lose Representation.


WINNIPEG (June 2, 2021) – The Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC) made the unprecedented action to remove all labour representation from the council, despite a mandate from the Government of Manitoba to represent and advise on the construction industry as a whole. MCSC receives operational funding from the Government of Manitoba, and last week voted to revoke the membership of Manitoba Building Trades, a founding member of the council. MBT had raised concerns about MCSC’s strategic plans, specifically in regard to further segmenting trades training or ‘micro-credentials’, which was outlined as a government priority in the department of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration’s Skills Strategy released in February 2021.

“We find it ridiculous that we would be removed for speaking out against an issue that directly affects our members and has the potential to jeopardize the future of quality trades training in Manitoba,” said Sudhir Sandhu, CEO of Manitoba Building Trades, regarding the motion put forward to remove MBT from the sector council. “These councils exist to bring together perspectives from across the industry and it would be unrealistic to expect consensus on all policy issues. Furthermore, membership on a council does not and should not preclude the ability for an organization to speak on issues.”

MCSC was formed in 2009. MBT was one of four independent construction associations has remained in good standing ever since. As a result of the ousting, MCSC will no longer have any representation from unionized labour in Manitoba – including 13 building trade unions with over 10,000 skilled trade professionals working in Manitoba. This lack of representation will be unique amongst provincial construction sector councils across Canada.

“MCSC has silenced a significant workforce segment that invests heavily in construction workforce development,” says Peter Wightman, Executive Director of the Construction Labour Relations Association of Manitoba – the employer association that establishes collective agreements between employers and building trade unions. “CLRAM as a key funder of workforce training, finds this action appalling and harmful to the industry as a whole in Manitoba.”

MBT has recently opened the largest private trades training facility in Western Canada, and collectively with 5 additional union training facilities, represents over $35 million in training assets and over $8 million in annual training expenditures. The opening of the new training institute was made possible by a private $12 million dollar investment from MBT and $1.4 million in support from the Government of Canada.

“With the opening of our centre and our investments in workforce development in the construction sector, we believe that the removal of MBT from the MCSC is a step backwards for skilled trades in Manitoba.” Said Sandhu. “We will continue to advocate for quality training that creates well-paying careers, not just entry level jobs, for Manitobans.”

The mission of the MCSC, formed in collaboration with all association members, is ‘to strengthen Manitoba’s construction sector workforce by promoting the construction industry as a career of choice and through high value training programs to address current and future skills and training gaps.’ With the removal of MBT and affiliated training institutes, MCSC has alienated an asset that would have helped addressed the skills gap in the construction industry.

MCSC is funded by the Province of Manitoba’s Sector Council Program. The program supports organizations in key Manitoba sectors to develop and deliver workforce training for new and existing employees to support business growth and prosperity.  The Program mandates collaborate with employers, industry associations, labour groups, educational institutions, and other stakeholders to identify needs and deliver effective programming.


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