Building Trades Of Alberta Asks For Member Input For New Mentorship Initiative

One of the best ways to learn a skill is to be able to take a 'hands on' approach – this is why apprenticeship programs are so important. Part of the importance of apprenticeship training is being able to be properly mentored during the experience.

The Building Trades of Alberta (BTA) have launched the Building Trades Apprentice Mentoring Project to ‘investigate and develop a mentoring program specific to Building Trades apprentices.’

After the last BTA Conference a group was formed to explore what they could do to create a mentorship initiative that could be used across projects, employers and unions.

It is a large initiative and the BTA says that a critical part of the whole process is getting valuable input from their members.

In order to do this, they are asking people to take a quick survey that can be found on their website.

“We need to understand what our apprentices want and require, and we need to draw on the invaluable experience and expertise of our journeypersons and supervisors,” said the BTA in a statement on their website.

They said that the input they get will play a ‘significant role in the development of a successful program.’

Responses on the survey are confidential and will be kept with the BTA and your union.

For more information visit http://bta.ca/index.php.


Alberta Election 2015: Voting 101

With a week to go before the provincial election, it is important to make sure you are prepared to go out and vote on May 5. If you still have a few questions about how to vote in this election, we have you covered with all you need to know to cast your ballot. Every single vote is important, so don't miss the opportunity to have your voice heard.

How do I know if I am eligible to vote in the provincial election?

You are eligible to vote if you are over 18, a Canadian citizen and have been an Alberta resident for at least six months.

You can also check on the Elections Alberta website. Enter your full name, date of birth and postal code and it will tell you not only if you are officially registered, but also where you can vote.

I checked online and I am not registered – what can I do?

Unfortunately, online voter registration is now closed and you have also missed the chance to register by calling your returning officer.

But not to worry – you can still register in person! During the advanced polls, or on the official polling day, you can register at the polling station by bringing identification that proves your identity and address.

I am registered to vote, but I am unable to make it out on May 5. How can I still vote?

Away on Election Day? You can definitely still vote. Advanced polls are held from Wednesday April 29 until Saturday May 2. Both election day polls and advance polls are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Do I get time off from work to go and vote?

Section 132 of the Alberta Election Act allows for three consecutive hours for the purpose of voting, ensuring that people are able to vote even if they are working. But according to elections Alberta, if your work day starts at noon, or ends by 5 p.m., you have the three hours required by legislation and are not entitled to additional time off.

I am registered to vote, but I have no idea where to go to cast my ballot. Where can I find out where I vote?

According to Elections Alberta, you are designated to a voting area where you are an ‘ordinarily resident’ – defined as ‘where the person lives and sleeps.’ Basically, where you legally call home.

There are 87 ridings in Alberta and you can find yours, and the location of your polling station, by entering your postal code on the Elections Alberta website.

When will the official results be announced?

Although results are reported throughout election night, and just after the polls close, the official results will be announced on May 15.

What have the voter turnouts been like in the past few elections?

Not what they should be – so let’s make this year different. These are the turnout results according to Elections Alberta.

 2001 – 52.8%

2004 – 44.7%

2008 – 40.6%

2012 – 54.4%

For further information visit http://www.elections.ab.ca and make sure you get out and vote.


Albertans Encouraged To Abandon Apathy This Election

It is no secret that voter participation in Alberta is not what it should be. With a turnout for the provincial election of 54% in 2012 and just 40% in 2008 – we have some of the lowest rates in the country.

While turnout is low overall, it is especially low when it comes to young people in both federal and provincial elections.

According to Statistics Canada in 2011 the turnout rate for the federal election among people age 18 to 24 was about 50%, and this was only a few percentage points higher among 25 to 34-year-olds. Voting rates for those aged 35 to 44 were also below the national average.

One organization has decided to do something about the lack of enthusiasm for elections.apathyis boring

In 2004 a group of young people came together who wanted to see youth voting rates increase while combating the issue of youth apathy. They are called Apathy is Boring and they are a non-partisan charitable organization. During the federal election in 2004 they started the ‘Get out the Youth Vote’ campaign, reaching over half a million young people in Canada.

They aim not only to increase voter turnout, but also ‘build a sustainable dialogue between youth and elected officials.’

The organization made their way to Alberta to gear up for the May 5 provincial election.

“Apathy is Boring works nationally, to educate youth about democracy through art and technology,” said Ashley Tardif-Bennett, communications coordinator with Apathy is Boring. “For the Alberta provincial election, we are conducting a youth mobilization campaign to get youth the information and inspiration they need to vote.”

She said this includes a ‘How to Vote’ guide, peer to peer outreach with volunteers at various events in Calgary and Edmonton and also developing partnerships with other organizations to help spread the word.

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“Voting – or not voting – is a habit. If a young person doesn’t vote in the first two elections when they are eligible, they are less likely to vote throughout the rest of their lives,” she explained.

According to Tardif-Bennet, ‘it’s not an attitude problem, it’s an action problem.’

She pointed out that a survey released in 2011 shows that 68% of 18 – 25 year olds think that their vote matters and only 30 % think voting is boring.

“If we don’t address this issue, overall turnout rates will continue to dip and we will be are setting ourselves up forthe dangerous reality of a fragile democracy and a disengaged generation,” she said.

For more information on how you can get involved email info@apathyisboring.com or tweet @apathyisboring.


New Ruling Says Alberta Strike Legislation Violates The Charter

Strike legislation has definitely been in the spotlight this year and now Alberta is the latest province to see a major court decision handed down.

On April 2 it was announced that the Alberta Court of Queens Bench had struck down provincial labour laws that took away the right to strike for public workers.

DSC_2158 (2)Justice Dennis Thomas ruled that Section 96 of the Labour Relations Code and Section 70 of the Public Service Employee Relations Act violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Section 96 of the Labour Relations Code deals with the ‘application and prohibition against strike and lockout’ and Section 70 of the Public Service Employee Relations Act states that ‘no person or trade union shall cause or attempt to cause a strike by the persons to whom this Act applies.’

Both sections have serious implications for workers rights in Alberta, and this decision was regarded as a move in the right direction by both unions and workers around the province.

Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, was one of those who were pleased with the ruling.

In a statement after the ruling McGowan said that Albertans ‘have the right to work together, to look after each other and to stand up for themselves when needed.’

“Attacking those rights doesn’t lead to labour peace – it leads to long-term problems. I am very pleased that Justice Thomas in his wisdom has reaffirmed those rights,” said McGowan.

DSC_2168Thomas gave the government until April 1, 2016 to amend the legislation and cited the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour vs. Saskatchewan.

On Jan. 30 it was ruled that the Saskatchewan law that prevented public sector employees from striking was unconstitutional and the government was also given one year to amend the law.

In an interview with Global News Lori Johb of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour said that although workers aren’t generally ‘keen to strike’ this ruling ‘leveled the playing field.’

“Without that right, we really had no power, we had no ability to achieve fair, collective bargaining for all the members,” she said.

If the recent rulings are any indication, unions and workers across the country will be paying close attention to strike legislation in all provinces.


Mandatory Episode 7: The Call To Action

When tragedy strikes, it doesn’t just last for a moment. The impact stays and sends shockwaves throughout the entire community including friends, family and coworkers.

Those shockwaves were felt on June 15, 2012 when Travis Baumgartner shot four of his coworkers at G4S. Eddie Rejano, Brian Ilesic and Michelle Shegelski lost their lives and Matthew Schuman was injured.

Take Action Now!

“We realized people are suffering in the workplace due to this. The families are suffering, the employer, everybody is touched by it in some way. That is where our Local's initiative for mental health awareness came from,” explained Wayne Garner, Vice-President of Teamsters Local 362.

This initiative aims to bring together public figures, policy makers and politicians to tackle mental health awareness in the workplace and create a solution.

“People have to get behind it and say 'this is important.' Lets just have a requirement that no matter where you work, every employer in this country is required to have a mental health awareness program,” said Garner.

Another Teamster who has dealt first hand with this issue is Stéphane Lacroix, director of communications with Teamsters Canada. Lacroix said he has dealt with anxiety in the past and that Teamsters were completely supportive of him in his treatment.

“They helped me and supported me. If it is working here at Teamsters Canada, I am sure it could work at all different kinds of workplaces across the country – but we have to start talking about it,” he said.

Take Action Now!

And talking about it is what will make it a requirement according to Phil Benson, lobbyist with Teamsters Canada. He said the process starts with interactions between members and parliament.

Benson said whether it is an email, a phone call or sharing the message on social media – the more people involved, the better the chance of politician’s realizing the issue requires a solution.

Together we can help raise awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental health. You can take action today to make mental health support in the workplace a mandatory requirement. #Makeitmandatory


March Mullet Raising Funds & Awareness For Mental Health

There is no arguing that the mullet is a hairstyle that grabs your attention and that is exactly what people who participated in March Mullet were hoping for when they ‘rocked their mullets for mental health.’

According to the official website the purpose of the fundraising campaign is to ‘generate awareness on the topic of mental health and to ‘raise funds to help support those currently suffering from mental illnesses.’

In an interview with CTV News in Barrie, Ont., founder Dan Michalsky said so far this year they have raised $9,000 and since they started three years ago they have raised over $33,000.

Mullet March

All of the funds raised in Canada go towards the Canadian Mental Health Association, while funds raised in the U.S. they go towards the San Diego Centre for Children.

“Nothing gets the conversation going quite like a mullet does and it is our goal to make that conversation about mental health,” said Michalsky in the interview. “The mullet is a fun and unique way to talk about something serious”

Participants in the fundraiser grow their hair out during the months leading up to March and then cut it into the infamous ‘business in the front, party in the back’ hairstyle on March 1.

Each participant creates a personalized fundraising page and selects an individual fundraising goal.

In a ‘vision’ statement on the March Mullet website, they explain that they want to ‘provide people suffering from any form of mental illness the opportunity to have the confidence and dignity, to lead a full life,’ and are ‘hopeful and passionate about providing this support through our March Mullet program.’

One Calgary high school student has taken part in Mullet March and was featured in a story done by Global News Calgary. Fifteen-year-old Cory Crawford has a personal goal to raise $2,000 for the cause.

For more information visit marchmullet.org.