Qualified trades people are needed at the work site of the new $1.45-billion Cowichan District Hospital.
During an update on the project that was held on Oct. 18, Greg Johnson, head of stakeholder relations, communications and contract management at B.C. Infrastructure Benefits, the provincial Crown corporation that provides the qualified skilled trades workforce for the construction of public infrastructure projects, said there are 274 BCIB employees currently on site, and that number is expected to grow to 300 over the next few months.
He said BCIB is prioritizing local and Indigenous workers, and others who are under-represented in the construction industry to hire to work on the new hospital, located on Bell McKinnon Road.
“We’re ramping up work at the site and hiring more people every day,” Johnson said.
“The people we hire get good wages, good union benefits and plenty of opportunities for training and career growth. As well, the people we hire also get access to career opportunities on eight of our other projects that are currently under construction across the province.”
The new 608,000 sq. ft. facility, which will replace the aging Cowichan District Hospital on Gibbins Road, is scheduled to be completed and open to the public in May, 2027.
The new CDH will be three times the size of the current facility to keep up with the growing population in the Cowichan Valley.
Johnson said that of the 274 BCIB employees at the site, 91 per cent are local workers that live within 100 kilometres of the project, 20 per cent are Indigenous, while the average percentage of Indigenous workers at other construction sites in the province is approximately five per cent, and 23 per cent are trainees and apprentices.
He said BCIB helps skilled trades workers build their careers close to home where they live with good family supporting wages and benefits.
“We have really great community involvement and involvement from Indigenous workers on this project, and we’re also proud of the fact that 23 per cent of the workers are apprentices and trainees,” he said.
“This is important because these are the next generation of skilled trades workers and they are being trained every day on this construction site and that’s helping grow the future of the skilled trades for the province. B.C. needs more construction workers as there’s a skilled trades shortage here.”
Anyone qualified in the trades who is interested in working on the new CDH is encouraged to check out the website BCIB.ca.