Construction industry forms new organization after federal funding ends

Petroleum, electricity HR associations also changing
||Last Updated: 04/03/2013

Construction industry leaders from across the country have formed a new national organization to help keep a steady flow of highly skilled workers available to the growing industry.

Located in Ottawa, BuildForce Canada is an industry-led organization committed to working directly with the construction industry to provide information and resources to assist with the management of its workforce requirements.

It replaces the Construction Sector Council (CSC) after 10 years of operations working with industry to provide labour market forecasting and other resources and services.

With the end of the federal government's Sector Council Program, which included the CSC, industry leaders have stepped up to the plate, said executive director Rosemary Sparks.

"We have a new brand, a new board of directors, a new funding model and a new governance structure," she said. "But our mandate will continue to address the need for a skilled workforce in the construction industry."

Construction Looking Forward reports, which look ahead nine years, have been key in helping businesses across the country plan for and manage workforce requirements, said board member Mark Arnone, vice-president of refurbishment execution at Ontario Power Generation.

"The products and services that have helped the industry thrive over the past decade, such as the annual labour market forecasts, will continue to be a priority.”

Priorities will still be decided based on research, said board member John Schubert, president of McCaine Electric.

"We will continue to determine what is needed by looking at human resource issues in a thoughtful, planned and scientific way,” he said. "Experience with the CSC has also shown that the consensus approach to solutions works best. By working together we can and have accomplished more than any one organization ever could.”

Enform acquires Petroleum HR Council of Canada

The Petroleum HR Council of Canada has also announced it has been acquired by Enform Canada. The move consolidates the safety and training services of Enform and the human resources services of the council into one integrated national entity serving Canada's oil and gas industry from coast to coast, it said.

"This is a positive initiative for Canada's oil and gas industry", said Cheryl Knight, executive director and CEO of the council. "It will re-organize important industry services within one organization, and provide new opportunities to meet industry needs.”

The council has a long-standing relationship with Enform, which supports and promotes safety standards in Canada's upstream oil and gas industry through training, certifications, services and resources. The two organizations have worked side-by-side for many years out of the same office facilities.

"This move just makes sense and the time is right," said Knight.

The main programs and services of the council will continue, primarily focusing on two key areas of priority: labour market information and careers in oil and gas programs.

"The acquisition gives us access to valuable information and expertise to better align our training and safety services to industry workforce issues,” said Cameron MacGillivray, president and CEO of Enform.

Electricity Human Resources Canada

Formerly the Electricity Sector Council, the Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) has a new name, website and refocused direction.

Since its inception in 2005, EHRC (then ESC) has relied on operational funding from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada through the federal Sector Council Program. But recent budget cuts mean the end of government funding to all sector councils.

"Our new strategic direction reflects EHRC's desire to become an even more important resource to the electricity industry," said CEO Michelle Branigan. "Industry expressed overwhelming support for our work, for our ability to connect stakeholders. And now they want more."

"We'll continue to provide invaluable labour market intelligence and practical workplace support. And the industry will look to us as a hub for research, learning and networking."

EHRC connects all the players in the industry-business, labour, government, and academia, said Norm Fraser, chief operating officer of Hydro Ottawa and chair of the EHRC board of directors.

"By refocusing, the organization will become an even more effective partner to industry, helping address the human resource challenges it faces. The industry has two key drivers that will impact on its ability to provide reliable service — massive impending retirements and the need to maintain and build infrastructure. We need to collaborate at all levels to proactively address these issues and EHRC provides the forum for that collaboration to take place."

EHRC’s mandate:

•Conduct and disseminate research about HR in Canada's electricity industry.

•Help the industry create and sustain a skilled and diverse labour force.

•Promote awareness of career and employment opportunities in the industry.

•Develop partnerships that better enable the industry to meet its HR needs.

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