CALGARY - Unreasonably low royalty rates and years of under-investment in trades training have combined to create the tight labour market that so many Alberta business leaders and politicians are now complaining about, says Gil McGowan, the president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
"The government's famous one-percent royalty rate for the oil sands has set off a gold-rush of development because they're essentially giving away ours resources. None of the big oil companies want to miss out on the party," says McGowan.
"Unfortunately, all this development comes after years in which government failed to invest in trades training and employers failed to hold up their end by taking on adequate numbers of apprentices. The result is as frustrating as it was predictable. They are reaping what they have sown."
That's part of the message that McGowan delivered to a conference of resource sector human resource executives in Calgary. (Read the speech)
"The solution to the problem offered by government and business is an increased use of temporary foreign workers," says McGowan. "We think a better approach would be to get business and government to make commitments to ensure our apprenticeship system actually works. It's probably also time to revisit the one-percent royalty. These kind of fire-sale incentives were never prudent - and they are certainly not justifiable when oil is at $70 a barrel."
For more information call:
Gil McGowan, AFL President @ (780) 915-4599 (cell)