ACEC-BC COVID-19 Advisory Team: Meeting #9

Monday, June 1, 2020

Meeting 9: Level setting on the phased restart

We took a break from weekly communications over the last few weeks in order to assess how we can continue to support the industry as the province restarts. As we make progress on the shift from crisis to recovery, ACEC-BC is making some adjustments to our engagement with stakeholders. Our weekly member and client advisory group have shifted to biweekly meetings, there is significantly more focus on how and when to return to the office and we are refocussing on our longer-term advocacy campaigns including qualification based selection.

Last week we supported our partners in infrastructure across the country by posting two opportunities to shape how we develop infrastructure in the future:

  • Survey: Promoting efficiency in project delivery: The Ryerson Institute for Infrastructure Innovation is seeking input from project delivery teams and owners on pre-planning and upfront investment. For more information or to participate in the survey please see the article here.
  • Reimagining infrastructure – Indigenous equity ownership: ACEC Canada’s partner, the First Nations Major Projects Coalition released a new paper promoting Indigenous equity partnerships for infrastructure in BC.

Returning to the office

While BC’s Restart Plan provides guidance for everyone, much of the focus has understandably been on those disproportionately affected by stay at home orders. So, while the media are focused on changes that impact both service industry workers and customers, businesses fortunate enough to remain largely productive during the past 11-weeks are instead focussing on how, when and if they will return to the office.

  • ACEC-BC Member Survey: A return-to-office (RTO) working group of members have developed a survey to support consistency in planning within the industry and between the industry and our clients. The survey will be issued directly to voting members on Tuesday; a general link will be added to the website to capture non-members and other partners interested in participating.
  • Regulatory Compliance: The Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC released RTO guidance including a requirement to make public COVID-19 safety plans.

Support for businesses

As a result of both on-going opportunities to remain productive and the normal industry billing cycle, most consulting engineering companies have not qualified for emergency support offered by the Federal government. Instead, where needed companies have employed temporary lay-offs, reduced hours and other furlough strategies. Additional funding announced in the last two weeks includes:

  • WorkSafeBC Premiums: Last week, WorkSafeBC announced that in addition to the premium deferral program announced in March they would waive premiums for businesses that furloughed employees. This benefit is available only for firms that qualified for the Federal CEWS program.
  • NEW Funding for employers who hire summer students: The Association for Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning have provided an update on new funding programs available to all businesses who hire post-secondary students this summer.

We are working together

We continue to work with member firms, clients, contractors and the government to identify opportunities to support each other and advance the business of consulting engineering in BC. In the coming weeks we are hosting several events and will continue to post information to support the industry and our partners through our newsfeed and COVID-19 resource centre.

Our team continues to work hard to support members through our advocacy and offering opportunities for members to engage virtually through our Wednesday Lunch & Learn webinar series:

Questions? Concerns? We want to hear from you. Submit your comments and issues through the ACEC-BC online feedback portal available on the ACEC-BC Resource Centre. Issues submitted will be forwarded to the Advisory Group for review and comment.

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