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Letter: Unskilled workers compete for same jobs as Red Seal certified carpenters
To the editor:
I have been a ticketed Red Seal carpenter since March 26, 1994. In my career I have apprenticed several carpenters and have enjoyed teaching the trade to young aspiring trades people.
I have always believed schooling and getting a Red Seal ticket was the way to ensure a good career with good pay. I did my apprenticeship at Okanagan College with great instructors and enjoyed the process.
During my apprenticeship I voiced my concerns about the value of having a ticket as a carpenter with my instructors. My main concern was (and still is) you do not need a carpentry ticket to pull a [building] permit to construct a home, renovate, or do any type of construction—residential or commercial, the argument being that you cannot take away the right of a home owner to build their own home.
I agree, but with the guidance of a certified carpenter who would be responsible for the quality of the home and to ensure the home was built to code with good building practices.
Other trades (electrical, plumbing, gas) require a ticket to pull a permit. I believe in the value of trade school and the value of committing to a four-year apprentice program.
Myself and other ticketed carpenters feel our ticket is overlooked and has limited value. We are constantly underbid by unskilled, and non-ticketed carpenters.
I find it more and more difficult to support my family and survive financially when competing against workers that are not ticketed.
In my trade I have ex-police officers (with great pension plans), firemen, farmers, truck drivers, etc., picking up tools and competing for new housing (anyone can be a registered builder, it’s only a matter of purchasing insurance—no trade required), renovations, additions etc.
I believe in the trades and the excellent programs to train our young people. When asked by younger workers what trade to go into, I often tell them to choose a trade other than carpentry, as there is no value to our ticket.
Wages are much lower due to unfair competition from unskilled and non-ticketed workers. Carpentry is an interesting, challenging and satisfying career. Until our Red Seal ticket is necessary to pull permits it has no value, unless on a union job.
In conclusion, I am requesting a simple change in the permit process province-wide to require a Red Sealed certified carpenter to pull a building permit for new home construction, or renovations. This would follow the standards set by the electrical trade requiring a ticketed journeyman to pull the permit therefore ensuring the project is done by a professional who is accountable for their workmanship.
This process would help standardize wages in the carpentry trade, improve construction practices, and bring B.C. to the forefront as a leader in quality home construction.