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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Thursday, June 12, 2008 ::

    B.C. building boom far from over - By Tom Fletcher, BC Local News
    Large industrial and engineering projects are still a long way from slowing down, and expect the most acute skilled shortages in coming years. From an Olympic village to ethanol plants, pipelines, mines, a power line to Vancouver Island, up to a dozen hydroelectric projects and an aluminum smelter expansion about to begin at Kitimat, the expansion continues.

    The building boom combined with a wave of retirements that hits in earnest in 2010 will translate into a shortfall of 47,000 skilled workers, according to the Construction Sector Council's fourth annual "Construction Looking Forward" report.

    "Convincing those on the verge of retirement to stay on longer will help," said Manley McLachlan, president of B.C. Construction Association. "We also need to increase the number of immigrants, temporary foreign workers and more aggressively recruit youth, women and aboriginals to keep projects on schedule.

    B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair said the construction industry and the B.C. government are suffering from their own policies as well as a demographic change.

    "The last resort is temporary foreign workers," Sinclair said. "We know they're being brought in, we know they're being exploited. And frankly we shouldn't be running around the world stealing skilled trades from other countries, we should be training our own."
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