The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) supports the Province of British Columbia in its goals to protect the environment, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and create economic opportunity. We would like to commend the B.C. government for its leadership in moving toward a low-carbon economy and its work to develop an innovative and ambitious long-term strategy for transitioning its labour force to the jobs of the future. Today’s complex and changing labour market requires workers to adapt, retrain, or upskill to be successful in an ever-changing economy.
Recently, the CaGBC provided a submission to the government of B.C. encouraging them to take on a national and international leadership role by supporting the British Columbia construction workforce to up- or reskill in order to acquire the skills and capabilities needed to plan, construct and maintain holistic low-carbon green buildings. A starting point is directing more attention to updating the knowledge of skilled trades, architects and engineers, however, ultimately the whole construction ecosystem workforce needs support in transitioning their skills to the jobs of the future.
CaGBC’s recommendations offer several opportunities to drive low-carbon skills development for the green construction workforce working on new low-carbon buildings and retrofitting the existing building stock. These recommendations include:
- Prioritize the construction sector for green jobs: Green buildings represent significant potential for economic growth through innovation, investments and job creation. Buildings can effectively reduce GHG emissions by up to 91 per cent when properly designed, built, and commissioned. High-performance buildings can provide excellent employment opportunities in an innovative area with growing demand.
- Up-skill and re-skill the trades, architects and engineers: A skilled workforce will help with the adoption of the Step Code and CleanBC activities. Training and education courses and curricula that address the technical skills as well as soft skill gaps for the construction workforce need to be developed to decrease GHGs from the built environment.
- Amend the modes of training and create new training opportunities: Developing a low-carbon certification or specialization would help project developers identify and secure the right design team and skilled trades for their projects. Continuing education should be required for professional development and credential maintenance throughout the green construction industry.
- Identify and introduce incentives: Learning new skills and developing more advanced knowledge needs to be incentivized. Currently, there is no incentive for many professions in the construction workforce to upgrade or adapt their skills through further education because they are only paid when they are working and they do not need to take courses to maintain their license.
- Use government leadership to create market signals: To improve the process of constructing and the quality of public sector buildings, the content of the bid or offer should also include ‘green’ requirements for the design team and contractors, such as a requirement for low-carbon skills, a certain certification or for taking low-carbon training before or during a project.
Read the full submission here: