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CLRA President Discusses Industry Challenges and Opportunities at Building Trades of Alberta Conference

The Building Trades of Alberta Conference held an engaging panel discussion to delve into the challenges, strategies and the future landscape of Alberta’s construction industry. Mark Wahl from Nova effectively steered the conversation as the moderator, with participants Terry Parker from BTA, Brett McKenzie from GPMC/NMC, Shandra Linder from AMCC and Joe McFadyen from CLRA.

CLRA President, Joe McFadyen, provided insightful answers, emphasizing the steps CLRA is taking to improve the sector and the challenges and opportunities ahead:

Enhancing Workplace Safety: The construction sectors commitment to ensure the safety of its workforce was discussed. CLRA has implemented three specific programs addressing workplace safety, mental health and other supports, including the CMAC program, which aids workers grappling with drug and alcohol addiction, the CEFAP program, which extends family supports, and the RSAP program, focusing on safely reinstating individuals back into their jobs. Additionally, the Better Supervision program was discussed, a CLRA and BTA initiative, which aims to help develop managerial and leadership skills. The Canadian Model’s online program further bolsters these initiatives.

Promoting Trades & Attracting Talent: The critical role of the skilled trades in the industry’s future was explored. CLRA has taken an approach to actively influence provincial policy that touches on workforce development through education, training and job creation. This advocacy involves close collaboration with multiple ministries and the Government of Alberta’s Careers Education Task Force. Furthermore, CLRA’s national recruitment campaign, “Build your Future in Alberta,” aligns with efforts of the provincial government, BTA and other industry counterparts.

Anticipating Opportunities & Challenges: Workforce supply has emerged as the predominant challenge in the construction sector. CLRA is in a competition, not just within Canada but globally. CLRA’s approach, the ‘sod’ and ‘seed’ strategy were discussed. While the sod approach stresses immediate solutions like attracting skilled trades people from out of province and bringing in Temporary Foreign Workers, the seed perspective focuses on growing our workforce through apprenticeships. The importance of attracting individuals from fields like manufacturing into the construction domain was emphasized. It was noted that on the horizon lies a substantial opportunity in the residential building market, considering Canada’s housing shortage.

CLRA is excited about the collaborative efforts and strategies being put in place to bolster Alberta’s construction sector. This panel discussion was a testament to the sectors collective commitment and the innovative paths we’re carving for a prosperous future. We thank the Building Trades of Alberta conference for organizing such a constructive dialogue.

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