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British Columbia Experiences Shortage of Skilled Workers

October 2017, 14
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The extreme scarcity of mechanics in the province is the primary cause of canceled runs of the Blue Bus of West Vancouver. There is a great difficulty to keep the aging buses in good shape and condition.

Cordell Draayers, Secretary-Treasurer, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said that there is a scarcity of qualified workers in the province. There are several unfilled postings in the companies, and there are not enough people to carry out vital work.

Qualified people are needed in Prince George and the mines in Sparwood need people. Cranbrook the Lower Mainland both need truck mechanics and heavy-duty mechanics he added.

West Vancouver did not come forward to inform about the developments, but Ray Fung, Director of Transportation and Engineering, of the District highlighted that mechanical issues created a challenge leading to several canceled runs because of the scarcity of mechanics. At present, eight Blue Buses are nearly eighteen years old, and one is 20 years old.

The deterrent for attracting qualified mechanics is the huge cost of living on the Northern Shore. When there is a breakdown of buses, they are removed the service, and the run is canceled. Such employees do not reside on the Northern Shore and they are not keen to commute.

An advertisement for a position for a mechanic was issued by West Vancouver Blue, with a pay of $36 per hour, but it has remained unfilled for the past four months.

Heavy mechanics are paid $40 an hour in Metro Vancouver and they receive $40 an hour in other places, making them affordable, and workers buy a house there. Better wages and affordable accommodation cost, are the factors, which have made skilled workers like mechanics, technicians, and electricians, to settle in the northern areas of British Columbia.

The major problem is that many wages are sluggish in Vancouver and also on the Island of Vancouver.  Heavy mechanics, who work in the Peace region, earn $45 an hour, and enjoy all benefits, and also receive retention bonuses. It will be good if such companies’ give an overtime offer, of four hours, for better results and get their work done.

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