Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA): the voice of BC’s open shop construction industry.

Construction company owners, by nature, are problem-solvers. They see a challenge, and they work to overcome it. It’s in their DNA and they bring it to every aspect of their business – including recruiting, retaining, and training their workers.

With Canada going over the demographic cliff of an aging workforce and industries from restaurants to healthcare to construction all feeling the pinch of a lack of young workers, our builders are desperately looking for innovative ways to draw in new apprentices—and looking specifically at how to attract and train more Indigenous people in construction.

This is an incredible opportunity for young people, wherever they live. And the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) – representing 3,300 construction companies – is leading the way in training.

Last year, ICBA directly trained more than 3,500 people, and its network of members trained tens of thousands more. ICBA itself is the single largest sponsor of trades apprentices in B.C., with nearly 1,500.

And ICBA and its network are offering training in new, innovative, intelligent ways. ICBA teamed up with six BC painting companies and developed a 14-week distance learning program for working painters looking to challenge for their Red Seals. Close to 50 painters have been able to get the Red Seal while still working and living in their communities.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, ICBA’s colleagues at the Pacific Vocational College – which specializes in training plumbers – accelerated its interactive “distance live” model of training. Among its most recent innovations is the use of scale models of plumbing equipment that it produces on its 3D printers and sends out to apprentices – enabling them to do a code-compliant set up of an apartment’s bathroom plumbing on their kitchen tables. Hundreds of plumbers can now be trained while still living in their communities.

ICBA member LMS Reinforcing Steel Group has launched its own LMS Academy to support the training of their workers toward Red Seal accreditation.

LMS alone sponsors more apprentices (216) than the entire Ironworkers Local 97 (206) union. That includes nine young women and 29 Indigenous apprentices – two underrepresented groups that virtually every company is trying to attract to the trades.

And that’s just apprentices. Fully 25% of LMS’s general forepeople are Indigenous. There are more than 40 Indigenous workers at LMS, and more than 20 women.

There are incredible opportunities in construction, and ICBA Training is at the centre of many of them.

ICBA’s training calendar offers everything from entry-level construction courses such as Building Construction – Putting It All Together to supervisory and management courses such as Effective Management Skills and Site Leadership.

Other popular courses include computer training sessions such as Microsoft Excel Basics for Business, Microsoft Project, and Microsoft Outlook.

ICBA also offers a series of courses on Human Resources, from The Basics to more in-depth sessions such as Meaningful Performance & Development Conversations, Workplace Bullying, Harassment, and Effective Interviewing.

Personal development programs such as Time Management and Communications Skills are also found on ICBA’s course calendar.

Not able to make it to the classroom? No problem! Many of ICBA’s courses are available via webinar or in an online self-paced format.

For a full list of ICBA’s upcoming courses, visit or email for more information.

Article supplied by ICBA in 2022


Leading the Way in Construction Training

ICBA ​Represents
entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and skilled construction professionals building British Columbia

ICBA trains thousands of people every year in everything from blueprint reading to supervisory and management skills to fall protection and Occupational First Aid.

ICBA is the largest sponsor of Indigenous apprentices and adds new apprentices to their ranks nearly every day in British Columbia