For years, the Building Trades of Alberta has been advocating to all levels of government to adopt social procurement strategies to help keep more money in our local economy and create more good jobs and career paths for Albertans.
Over the past several years, BTA has been strengthening our relationship with municipalities, First Nations communities, poverty reduction organizations and industry stakeholders to form partnerships that are helping to create social procurement policies and practices to get more Albertans back to work and bring more benefits to our local communities.
With ongoing support of Edmonton City Councillor Aaron Paquette, BTA’s Strategic Engagement and Development Director, Rob Calver has been able to build bridges between construction unions and both government and non-government organizations to collaborate on projects and support shared training, employment and poverty reduction goals, particularly for those from under-represented groups.
First introduced to End Poverty Edmonton and the Edmonton Development Corporation by Councillor Paquette, the Building Trades has been able to strengthen our relationships with a wide range of stakeholders. As a result of a Motion in Council from Councillor Paquette directing the Edmonton City Administration to work directly with stakeholders, including End Poverty Edmonton, on advancing social procurement, the BTA has had a place at the table to provide input and collaborate as a valued partner.
By being engaged, supportive proponents of social procurement, we are seeing benefits for our members and workers in Alberta through improved procurement criteria and contract management. However, there is a great deal more to be done when it comes to seeing social procurement integrated into the majority of city contracts.
While both Edmonton and Calgary, as well as some smaller municipalities, have created social procurement frameworks and applied some criteria to several projects, more political will is needed for city councils to ensure robust agreements are part of every project to ensure our contractors are competitive in the bidding process by making good wages, benefits, safety, training, and quality workmanship part of the basic criteria.
BTA will continue to advocate for, and actively support, procurement practices that increase good jobs and economic stimulus in Alberta. We encourage members to participate in the upcoming municipal election and vote for candidates committed to increasing social procurement, investing in municipal infrastructure, and building stronger partnerships with Alberta’s trade unions.
Please get out and vote on Election Day, October 18.
Guest post by: Jocelyn Johnson