CHBA - Lethbridge Region
Richard Goatcher, Economic Analyst, CHBA – Alberta
For the sixth consecutive quarter, Alberta posted the largest population growth rate of all Canadian provinces. According to Statistics Canada’s quarterly population estimates released June 19, Alberta’s population grew by 0.9% or 34,000 in the first quarter of 2013 to a total of 3,965,300 as of April 1. This level of first-quarter population increase in Alberta was the largest since 1972. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/91-002-x/2013001/part-partie1-eng.htm
This growth was the result of a conjunction of record level of many demographic components. Indeed, Alberta recorded the highest numbers in immigration (+8,100), net non-permanent residents (+6,900) and net interprovincial migration (+13,400) in a first quarter since 1972. Most of the province’s net inflows in interprovincial migration came from Ontario (+6,000) and British Columbia (+2,500). The total number of newcomers for the quarter was 27,112 - up 33% over the same quarter in 2012. The balance of the population increase came from natural growth.
We look for rental markets to remain tight across Alberta this year -- forcing rents upward. Higher rental rates will encourage both newcomers and existing Albertans to consider home ownership. Affordable mortgage rates and a strong economy will also support demand for both new and existing homes across the province.
June 13, 2013 held the first every Girls With Tools Bathroom Renovation Event put on in conjunction with the YWCA and Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA). This event drew over 50 women and girls aging from 5-95 years old including Councilor Bridget Mearns and MLA East Bridget Pastoor who were actively participating alongside the other women and girls.
The CHBA has been working with the YWCA Girl Space Program in an effort to challenge and empower women and girls to realize their potential. This program demonstrated and had the women learning hands on toilet, sink, sump pump, grout and silicone repair taught by local journeyman plumbers. “The knowledge these women gained by learning how to do their own home repairs is vital to self confidence and independence.” Remarked Anita Hartman, President of the CHBA and Profit Center Manager of EMCO Corporation where the event was held. “It was thrilling to see the engagement of these women and know that they left here feeling better about their ability to tackle anything.”
Executive Officer of the CHBA, Angie Zuba along with board members Jessica Joss, Jennifer McCarthy and Scott Murakami of KB Heating, the company which volunteered to instruct the sessions were in attendance to help out. “It is very encouraging to see the members of our Association really step up and get involved. Not only have these women and girls learned a skill, some of them are now looking at pursuing plumbing as a career.” Remarked Zuba “Everything we are doing here is about growing our community and getting others excited about the industry we are a part of.”
This program is also extremely vital to the YWCA in getting women and girls who rely on the services of the YWCA ready for independent living. Lindsay Brown, Girl Space Program Facilitator of the YWCA remarked, “Girls with Tools last night was a huge success, with over 50 women and girls attending our first official session open to women over 18. The training was facilitated by professionals, and this interactive evening could not have been possible without the support of our community partners. We look forward to our next session in hopes that it will be even bigger!”
The Free Girls with Tools Program runs quarterly and offers hands on experience in a variety of different topics and trades relevant to home repair. Also in attendance was Duane Pike from the Apprenticeship board. Duane was there to offer information on the trades programs and financial incentives available for entering into a trade program.
For information on how to register for the next session contact the YWCA.
CHBA was proud to be involved in the recent Team Lethbridge Trip to Edmonton where a group of community professionals were able to offer support and discuss Lethbridge issues with our members of the Legislature. One of the main areas of support lent by the CHBA to Minister of Municipal Affairs, Doug Griffiths was the proposed mandatory new home warranty and one day after visiting the Provinces Capital, the CHBA is extremely pleased to hear that Bill 5, the New Home Buyer Protection Act was passed.
*Alberta has introduced new legislation making it mandatory for builders to provide warranties for new homes.
Under Bill 5, warranties on new homes would be one year for labour and materials; two years for defective labor or materials; five years for the exterior and 10 years for major structural components. The law will cover all new homes built in the province starting in the fall of 2013.
"It does it in a way that makes sure that builders are more accountable but that homes are still affordable," said Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths.
The government believes the warranty will raise the price of an average home by less than one per cent or about $1,700 to $2,000. Deron Bilous, the NDP critic for Municipal Affairs, welcomed the new bill. However, he believes the province should also strengthen home inspections. "This act isn't going to at least at the moment doesn't look like its dealing with home inspections," he said. "Certification of inspectors and then ensuring that province-wide that there are standards." The government plans to soon introduce legislation which would increase fines for contractors who don't meet standards.*
Minister Griffiths was also quoted to say “Albertan’s should be reassured that the single largest purchase their family makes will be protected by one of the strongest warranty programs in the country”. Purchasing a new home can be a stressful time and this will hopefully take some of the worry out of the experience.
“The passing of this bill will help make the home building industry stronger”, said Angie Zuba, Executive Officer of the CHBA Lethbridge Region. “It raises the bar and makes all home builders use the finest craftsmanship to build the most reliable homes. Our members have been in support of this bill the entire time as it reduces the likely hood of substandard building which can tarnish the reputation of the industry.” Zuba also commented.
The CHBA – LR partners with Victoria Park High School to deliver the first of 3 sessions of an intense hand on work experience program.
On May 7th, the CHBA-LR launched the first of 3 sessions in a pilot work experience program with Victoria Park High School CTS Students. This program is designed to give CTS students aged 15-19 a taste of the many possibilities available when choosing a career in residential construction with real hands-on experience at a job site. The first step of this program was to orient the students in safety on the job site. Workplace Safety (Safe Worker) hosted a session to give the students an understanding of the importance of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), how to behave on a job site and the importance of respecting the equipment they are working with. For each jobsite the students will be on during this pilot program, PPE has been donated by KB Heating and the CHBA.
The first session took place at Zero Gravity Cranes & Rigging Inc., located at 332 36 Street North, Lethbridge, AB T1H3Z7 on May 7th from 8:30am to 11:30am. At this session, some of the information students will learned was centered on proper techniques for cranes, hoisting and lift calculations. Students were able to operate the equipment during this session and were thrilled to in control of equipment worth millions of dollars. After completion, students earned a certificate of work experience to use in their pursuit of career after high school. The CTS instructor for Victoria Park School, Tom Kocken said, “Zero Gravity Cranes provided a positive learning experience with a true hands on experience that allowed the students the opportunity to see this work as a viable career choice.”
“The whole purpose of this program to give high school students real exposure to career possibilities right here in the City that offer tremendous possibility for growth and success and a sense of ownership in the decisions they make for their future. “ says Angie Zuba, Executive Officer of the Canadian Home Builders Association – LR.
The second session will be later in May at Kodiak Mountain Stone and the 3rd will take place in early June at KB Heating & Air Conditioning.
On April 30, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenny took the stage in a Calgary conference room to speak to the residential construction industry and petroleum industry to provide an update on the growing labour shortage concerns. The problems he speaks of is how the province is going to replace an expected 34,000 retirees while accommodating a rise in demand of 37,500, for construction alone (Constructions Sector Council 2012-2020 Report).
Minister Kenney spoke of a broken immigration system, one that takes seven years to process an application. The government is revamping the process with the goal of dropping the time frame to a few months. The federal government is also looking to improve the Temporary Foreign Worker program by providing an accelerated labour market opinion in ten days or less. Appealing to the construction industry is the exempt trades list, whereby an immigrant can provide certification or licensing in an approved trade and be granted a work visa with proof of employment. Canadian Home Builders’ Association Lethbridge Region welcomes the changes to the Temporary Foreign worker program. “While our local labour pool still has the employees we need, we are seeing in northern markets, Calgary and Edmonton, that the labour pool is shrinking quickly” states Stephen Amonson, Board President. Further, “having a system that allows for reaching skilled labour pools in other countries is advantageous to both the employer and consumer.” The Minister concluded his remarks by describing the new system is designed to be user friendly to small to medium size business as well, allowing those companies without dedicated Human Resource departments and immigration lawyers on retainer to access foreign workers when needed.
Construction Sector Council of Canada predicts that by 2014 new construction and renovations employment demands will be above that of the 2006 peak. CHBA-LR is focused on working with all level of governments to insure that labour pools will be accessible to members of all sizes.