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Western Canada construction groups rally to help Ukraine

Fundraising and job offers aimed at helping refugees fighting and fleeing the Russian attack
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Rescue service workers near homes and properties destroyed by Russian rockets in Kyiv, Ukraine. — Photo by palinchak

The 3,500-member Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) of Vancouver is spearheading a fundraising effort in B.C.’s construction industry to help the people of Ukraine, while the Edmonton-based Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) is pledging construction employment to those who make it to Canada.

“For two weeks, we have all watched in horror as the Russian army attempts to conquer the independent, democratic nation of Ukraine. The largest military attack Europe has seen since the end of World War II is laying waste to vibrant cities and communities and indiscriminately killing innocent civilians,” said ICBA president Chris Gardner. “Our members have been asking us how they can help – so we are working to raise money for the Red Cross’ relief efforts.”

On March 8 the ICBA kicked off a campaign challenging all construction contractors to raise money for Ukraine relief efforts.

To get it started, ICBA made a $25,000 donation to the Red Cross. ICBA’s board of directors committed to matching that donation with another $25,000 in contributions of their own—for a total of $50,000.

ICBA is encouraging the entire construction community to step forward and donate, as well.

Donations from individuals will be further matched by a federal government program.

ICBA’s members have also committed to helping any Ukrainian refugee who needs a job to find work in the B.C. construction industry. 

Canada has a special relationship with Ukraine. More than 1.4 million Canadians have Ukrainian heritage, and many of those people have family members in Ukraine who are fighting back against a Russian onslaught to keep their homeland free.

“The images and stories coming out of Ukraine are absolutely heartbreaking,” said Gardner. “Our hope is that with millions of lives at stake, this campaign to help aid efforts will inspire others to act and help people in desperate need.”

ICBA has partnered with the Canadian Red Cross.

Visit www.redcross.ca/UkraineCrisis/ICBA to make a donation.

The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, whose member companies build major infrastructure and capital projects across Canada, is offering to work with federal and provincial governments to help Ukrainian refugees make Canada their home. PCA member companies employ many workers of Ukrainian heritage.

“We are painfully aware that Ukrainians are being displaced by the current conflict, and pledge to make jobs available for those who would like to join PCA members in building Canada and rebuilding their lives,” said PCA president Paul de Jong.

PCA has applauded the federal government’s move to fast-track Ukrainian refugees and calls on the provinces to take all available measures to facilitate their entry, settlement and employment as quickly as possible, he added,

“A meaningful, productive and well-paying career is essential to making a successful transition to a new country,” added de Jong. “We want Ukrainians to know that we support them; we admire their courage and resilience and welcome their skills.”

PCA member companies employ more than 25,000 skilled construction workers in Canada, represented primarily by the Christian Labour Association of Canada.

 

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