John Horgan’s union benefits agreements increasing project costs as bids drop

VANCOUVER (July 26, 2019) – MLA Jordan Sturdy, BC Liberal Transportation Critic, is calling on John Horgan and the NDP to scrap their Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) framework after project costs have skyrocketed and Canadian company SNC-Lavalin withdrew bids for both the $2.8-billion SkyTrain Broadway Extension project and the $1.4-billion Pattullo Bridge replacement project.

“The procurement process is broken from the start once you apply the CBA framework,” said Sturdy. “With only two companies now bidding on the SkyTrain extension project, the lack of competition means taxpayers will be forking out more on top of added costs from John Horgan’s union benefits agreement.”

An analysis by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that CBAs could add as much as $4.8 billion more to the cost of public projects, nearly $4000 per family in the province. The Highway One expansion at Illecillewaet has already seen costs skyrocket 47 per cent since becoming a CBA project. The $22.3 million cost overrun could have funded over 200 units of affordable housing.

“Despite their name, Community Benefits Agreements are only benefitting a small group of John Horgan’s hand-picked unions,” added Sturdy. “This is nothing more than a payback with taxpayer dollars to the building trades unions who donated millions to the NDP since 2005. Instead of getting the best deal for taxpayers, John Horgan is spending your money to pay back his friends.”

With SNC-Lavalin’s withdrawal, the remaining proponents for the SkyTrain extension are Broadway Connect and a team led by Acciona Infrastructure and Ghella Canada.

“Add the increased costs from minimal competition to the $4.8 billion price tag for John Horgan’s CBA union-pay off and the 19 new or increased taxes since the NDP took power and you have a government making life far less affordable for British Columbians,” concluded Sturdy. “People deserve better.”

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