Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Yo! BC welders and pipe fitters!

A video follow-up to my Sunday post, Prepping TFWs for the Northern Gateway Pipeline 
Two Philippine press agencies reported on the Canadian Welding Bureau pre-accrediting welders in three schools in the Philippines and quoted a now-retired Canadian Welding Bureau Certification Services Representative as touting welding and pipe fitting jobs for temporary workers from the Philippines 
"when construction for the pipeline from Alberta to BC begins."

In light of the Canadian Welding Bureau's disclaimer in April 2014 denying their involvement :
"For the record, the CWB is not in the business of recruiting welders, either from the Philippines or elsewhere, or involved in any job placement schemes, contracts or agreements to enter Canada." 
... I'm posting the above video - presumed origin of the Philippine news reports. 
Transcript :
"Thousands of jobs for welders are expected to open up in the country within the next two years" 
"Thousands of jobs in the skilled trades were created in BC when the federal government gave the Vancouver Shipyards the $3.3billion contract to build ten new non-combat ships for the Canadian Coast Guard last year. This includes jobs in welding and pipe-fitting. Anticipating a possible shortage of qualified tradesmen, the Canadian Welding Bureau accredited test centres in the Philippines to screen well-trained welders. 
Bob Montes, Certification Services Representative, Canadian Welding Bureau, from Vancouver :
"The welders that we are training in Canada right now are not sufficient to fill that vacuum. That's why the Canadian government is looking, looking at hiring temporary workers from outside, and right now, the Philippines is very favorable place to hire welders. "
Montes adds that welders will also be in big demand when construction for the pipeline from Alberta to BC begins.  
He says Filipinos have a natural skill for welding and they have a huge plus over others.
"The advantage of the Filipinos is because they can understand and they can read and comprehend the standards. And when they come here, it's easy for the Canadians to give them instructions because instructions is a safety issue. If they cannot follow instructions, it will become a safety issue here. "
Montes says a skilled welder can earn from $50 plus per hour. 
Currently there are only three centres that are accredited by the Canadian Welding Bureau : Brilliant Metal Works, ZOIE Training Centre, and Primary Structures Educational Foundation - all in Cebu. 
Those who pass the test here can get a welding card that is valid anywhere in Canada. 
With this development, the Philippine Labour Office is confident that Canada will continue to hire more temporary foreign workers despite charges that the program is stealing jobs away from Canadians."
And voilà, Jason Kenney's new 10-day fast track stream for skilled temporary foreign workers is there to receive them.
Update : Financial Post, June 25 : "B.C. is counting on temporary foreign workers to help fill as many as 100,000 jobs if LNG projects materialize as planned."
Rich Coleman, Minister of LNG, in February 2014 :
"It's only foreign workers who possess the skills for some specialized work, he argued. "For instance, we don't have the skill sets in certain types of welding in Canada for these projects," Coleman said. "The best welders for these are actually from the Philippines."


kootcoot said...

""Thousands of jobs in the skilled trades were created in BC when the federal government gave the Vancouver Shipyards the $3.3billion contract to build ten new non-combat ships for the Canadian Coast Guard"

Very poor usage of verb tense here as there have been absolutely NO jobs created from the imaginary Reformatory Shipbuilding contracts. There hasn't been a hull laid or a piece of steel cut yet, as far as I know.

And now according to Montreal Simon the Harper Government is hiring foreign pilots to fly Canadian military aircraft and to train Canadian military pilots.....really pathetic!

Cocoabean said...

A great big pig-out for the unionized welding cartels. With - in the absence of competition - salaries of $50/hour, it's no wonder cheaper alternatives are needed.

Some competition in terms of cost and relaxation of the "qualifications/certificates/tickets/licenses/diplomas" mania might just bring those salaries down AND allow unskilled but trainable and intelligent B.C. workers a shot at the jobs...

Alison said...

Koot: I thought it was interesting that National Defence uses only 75% of its annual budget every year yet they hired a dozen pilots from overseas because it's cheaper than training them.

Cocoabean: According to Services Canada, for the year 2013 the average income for a full-time full-year welder [NOC classification #6265] was $38,600, which translates to about $18.50 per hour. This is about $10,000 less than the average annual wage in Canada.
A quick look at online job sites shows $19 to $25 currently being offered for welding jobs.
Besides which, your "unskilled but trainable and intelligent B.C. workers" will not be getting a shot at those jobs if they are going to TFWs, will they?

Anonymous said...

I have tried to post the information you provide here several times in the comments section of the Financial Post article "Temporary Foreign Worker restrictions will hurt BC's LNG development" you link to, both with and without links to your post.

Each time after a few moments my comment was erased.

Alison said...

Anon@11:22 : Thanks! Took me a couple of tries too. Responded to your comment in previous post.

Boris said...

Who knew that being exploitable was a "specialized skill"? Kinda redefines what they mean by skilled worker, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I'd definitely agree that there will be no incentive to train any of the lesser-skilled people here in BC if they can just bring in TFW. I feel that this is already happening to some extent, as despite all the talk of a desperate labour shortage there don't seem to be many programs to provide subsidised training for these jobs. I remember reading earlier about a program one First Nations community (Squamish?) had that provided free training for young people in jobs like welding. Only problem was that a lot of the graduates couldn't find jobs or apprenticeships.
I almost think a lot of these companies would rather hire some 35-year old man from overseas, than a young, inexperienced Canadian, a First Nations person, or god forbid even a woman (seriously I know of one construction site where there were maybe 10 Spanish-speaking TFW, but not one single female tradesperson).

Anonymous said...

Great video showing flagrant safety violation at the apparent Phillipino school. No shade 5 safety glasses while oxy-acetylene cutting. Nice.

Blog Archive