CISC Advocacy Snapshot – COVID-19
March 23, 2020
Letter to The Honourable John Horgan
Dear Premier John Horgan,
The steel construction industry represents a large portion of the construction activity in Canada, both on and off the job site. We employ up to 130,000 jobs directly and indirectly. As an industry, there is nothing of greater important than the safety of our workers, our employees and our businesses.
The steel construction industry provides construction materials and structures which includes essential and critical infrastructure within British Columbia such as water treatment, transportation, hospitals, emergency building structures and frames. As many of these are not only new structures, but repairs to or additions to existing, we can be considered as an essential industry sector. Recognition of the steel industry as an essential sector has been declared by several jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. already.
As we saw in China, the construction of urgent and immediate temporary health care shelters assisted in their fight against COVID-19. Should the need arise, the steel construction industry is ready to do the same here in British Columbia.
The steel construction industry is both, in-plant manufacturing and on-site construction. Most of a project is fabricated in a plant where it is shipped to the job site and quickly erected. The nature of the manufacturing process inherently has employees working 2 meters apart. In the field, ironworkers most often work well beyond the 2 metre prescribed distance. We have the capability of maintaining social distance while manufacturing and erecting steel structures in a timely fashion.
We ask the Government of British Columbia to:
- Keep construction projects open
- Declare the steel manufacturing and construction industry an essential sector
- Provide emergency zero interest loans to the steel construction manufacturers impacted by COVID-19 such as things beyond their control such as delays, site closures, inventory financing, liquidated damaged and non-payment.
The Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) is Canada’s voice for the steel construction industry, providing leadership in sustainable design, advocacy, construction, efficiency, quality and innovation. The Canadian steel construction sector is a vibrant $5 billion industry, which employs over 130,000 people in its supply chain.
Our industry is ready to assist where we can, to keep the people of British Columbia safe and provide the structures needed during these unsettling times. You can contact me directly if you are considering any policy related to construction and the steel construction industry.
Ed Whalen, P.Eng.
President & CEO