Construction workers are a very important part of Canada’s economy. As a result, it is important that our construction workers are properly compensated and are able to work in a safe environment. Unions are an important organization for workers who may otherwise be taken advantage of by employers.
Continue reading to learn more about unions in Canada and why they are important.
Related blog: Why Pursue a Career in Construction
Construction in Canada
The impact of the construction industry on Canada’s economy is immense. This industry accounts for 14 per cent of the country’s GDP. More than one million Canadians work in construction. In addition, one construction job has the potential to create seven spin-off jobs in other sectors. Altogether, construction workers install, repair and renovate more than $150 billion of infrastructure every year. In other words, construction is one of Canada’s largest private-sector industry.
What are Unions?
It is clear that construction workers are a vital part of the Canadian economy. With more than a million construction workers in Canada, it may be difficult to ensure that everyone is treated fairly. This is why unions are crucial for construction workers (and any other large group of employees).
Unions are an organization of employees that represent the workers before management for negotiating purposes. These organizations work to promote a safe industry by influencing legislation, regulation, and government sentiments towards unionized workers.
In fact, unions have done plenty of great work to improve the working conditions of workers and ensure they are receiving a fair wage. Prior to unions, it was common for people to work 12 hours a day, for six to seven days a week! Today, many workers receive benefits such as vacation time and pay, maternity leave, and protection from discrimination. On the other hand, workers who are not in a union can potentially face longer working hours, earn no overtime pay, and may not receive benefits and pensions.
Unions in Canada
Canada’s Building Trades Union (CBTU) is perhaps the best source for identifying specific unions for individual trades. Their website provides detailed information helpful to any tradesperson. With over half a million members, CBTU is one of the best places to start when inquiring about trades and unions.
Construction workers in Alberta will find Building Trades of Alberta (BTA) useful. BTA coordinates 18 Alberta local skilled trade unions. In total, there are more than 60,000 members with the BTA who work in residential, commercial and industrial construction, maintenance, and fabrication industries.
In Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Provincial BCTC (Building Construction Trades Council) will be a helpful resource. Comprised of affiliated construction unions across the province, BCTC works to develop and maintain partnerships comprising of clients and contractors to create mutually beneficial business and employment opportunities.
Career Loans Can Help
Many internationally trained newcomers want to continue their career in Canada. Career Loans helps skilled newcomers in Alberta and Saskatchewan by providing free online career counselling services and assistance for a micro loan application of up to $15,000. Construction workers with international training may benefit from the micro loan as it can help cover the costs of union and association fees, tools and equipment, books, or other training fees which may arise in the foreign credential recognition process. To learn more and register, please visit us at www.careerloans.ca