Announced by Premier John Horgan today, a new Crown corporation called B.C Infrastructure Benefits has been created to hire workers for select public-sector infrastructure projects, starting with the new Pattullo Bridge, and four-laning projects on the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Alberta
As the province hails what it calls a new landmark labour agreement for big capital infrastructure projects, at least one think tank is warning it could cost taxpayers big time.
Cardus Economics Director Brian Dijkema says, while there is lots to love in the agreement like increasing the number of women and First Nations in the workforce many companies are already doing that.
However Dijkema says restricting bidding on capital projects to one labour model can increase costs.
“We have done lots of work on this for quite a while. We have been noting it as a national problem. Manitoba had an almost identical policy that B.C is just instituting now. They have changed that because they have realized that those costs have been high. What is interesting is in Ontario where it is also a problem the building trades themselves estimate that it adds 2% on to costs.”
He says, the model could add six-point-four-billion-dollars in costs on the 25.6 billion in projects on the provincial books.