CALGARY, ALBERTA May 24, 2017 – As Canada prepares to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure construction, craft unions can add value by helping to build the next generation of skilled tradespeople necessary for the job, a new Canada West Foundation report finds.

The report, The Skill Advantage: The 21st century challenge for Canada’s unions, recommends that the country’s craft unions increase their value to contractors to meet the heavy construction sector demand. A competency approach will help get the job done.

“At least $186 billion of new infrastructure is set to be built in Canada in the next 12 years. Canada can benefit if unions ensure the people they dispatch to these heavy construction sites are fully competent to get the job done,” said report author Janet Lane, Director of the Human Capital Centre.

The report follows Beyond the Rules: Moving safety from compliance to competence, released earlier in May, which showed how employers can focus on competency to improve safety. The Skill Advantage shows how unions and workers can create value through this approach as well.

By dispatching members who are competent, not merely certified, unions can:

• Increase their value to existing and potential new contractors
• Increase their value to union members by managing their training needs, their competencies and their careers.

“Unions will also be training thousands of apprentices over the next decade. They could make sure their next generation of skilled tradespeople are ‘job ready’ every day,” said co-author Jeff Griffiths.