Trades Expo 2019

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Last week we attended the 2-day Trades Expo held at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, in Surrey BC. Several hundred high school students from around Surrey attended our display as we introduced them to the Finishing Trades.

Our booth was always busy with students wanting to try out our Virtual Reality Spray Painter, Virtual Reality Boom and Scissor Lift, and Glazing Crane.

The organizers of the Trades Expo expressed their thanks for our participation in this years event. We were proud to show students the Finishing Trades using our innovative and engaging training tools, as well as the expertise of our trainers and reps.

FTI’s Newest Baby Has Just Arrived

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This week, the FTI welcomed our newest member to our specialized equipment family. A Jekko 312, which is essentially a baby crane. These incredibly versatile machines are quickly becoming the standard in the glazing trade and depending on the configuration selected, are used in a wide variety of glazing applications.

Currently ours is set up to suspend either a spreader bar or our vacuum lifting equipment. However, we are looking to outfit our Jekko with a glazing manipulator sometime down the road so as to take advantage of all the features this piece of equipment has to offer.

We also intend to use the Jekko 312 to help deliver rigging, signalling and hoisting training to all of our craft members who are seeking this type of training.

Check out the photos below as well as the link to a video that will give you a better idea of what the Jekko 312 can do.


SkillSource and FTI of BC Partner on a New Recruitment Program

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The FTI of BC and SkillSource BC are looking for individuals who may be interested in a career in the Finishing Trades. Thanks to Funding from the Canadian Federal Government, we are looking at an 8 week training program that will allow participants to receive all of their necessary safety certifications, an opportunity to try out the four crafts we represent, get placement with one of our Union Contractors and be registered in Level 1 apprenticeship training for the craft they choose. This program is open to all Members of DC 38 including family and friends of DC 38 members.

Government funding is being made available to help those individuals who are chosen to participate in this pilot program. There will also be an opportunity to receive Union wages and benefits while working for one of our signatory contractors. Click on the link below if you or someone you know may be interested in this program.

This could lead to an exciting well paid career in one of our Finishing Trades.

Skill Link Brochure_2019APR26

FTI Director of Training Speaks to Jon McComb on CKNW

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On Thursday April 18th. Director of Training, Paddy Byrne, had an opportunity to sit down with CKNW’s Jon McComb and discuss his perspective on the future of the trades. It was all part of a series that CKNW has been running with regard to “The Future of Work”. The interview is about 10 minutes in length an covers a wide array of topics on everything from the changing faces of construction workers, with more women, aboriginal people and new immigrants to Canada entering the trades, to the advent of robotic technology.

We hope you will enjoy what turned out to be a fairly interesting interview by clicking on the attached link below.

FTI Apprentice Shows Initiative

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I often post stories and pictures about our apprentices here at the Finishing Trades institute of BC, extolling the good work they do as they learn a trade. However, I was particularly struck by the initiative shown recently by one of our painting apprentices and DC 38 member, Steve McBride.

Steve, having seen the work performed by our apprentices from all four of the crafts we teach here, had an idea about taking the of skills his fellow apprentices, combined with the tools, materials and instruction supplied by the FTI, and turning all of that toward a project with a higher purpose. Steve thought why not take some of the structures that our apprentices construct and turn them into portable, temporary housing units for the homeless.

This is not as far fetched an idea as you might think. There was a story a couple of years ago where individuals in the state of Oregon had come up with a similar idea building small structures which had proved effective in providing shelter to homeless people in that community. When you take a look at the picture at the top of this story you can see that with a little imagination and some additional work and design change, our mock-ups do look like small homes.

Steve thought, wouldn’t it make sense to build these projects with a positive purpose in mind rather than building practice projects that would eventually be sent out to be recycled or worse, scrapped. Rather than keep this idea to himself, Steve decided to share those thoughts in an email he sent to the Premier of the province of British Columbia. To Steve’s surprise not only did he receive a response from the Premier’s office but from several high ranking bureaucrats including the Executive Director of Governance, Engagement and Corporate Services Branch of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

Where Steve’s idea will go has yet to be seen but you have to admire his initiative and his obvious love and respect for the work all of us do here at the FTI of BC.

There is one little caveat I must add to this story however. While we appreciate Steve’s enthusiasm and initiative, we really would appreciate it if our students would share those thoughts with us prior to contacting persons in government or other outside agencies. Steve has a great idea but we’d like the chance to discuss the cost and time commitments involved in a special project or idea such as this. That way we at least we will know how to respond.

Keep up the the good work Steve and please………. keep us in the loop.

DC 38, FTI of BC and the Building Trades Lobby the Provincial Government for Changes

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At the recently concluded BC Building Trades Conference held in Victoria, representatives of District Council 38 and the Finishing Trades Institute of BC had the opportunity to speak with the three main Provincial parties about changes needed in the BC construction industry. The four main topics of discussion revolved around, Community Benefit Agreements, changes to the Labour Code and Employment Standards, Apprenticeship Training and Compulsory Trades and finally, the Underground Economy.

BC Building Trades Unions support Community Benefit Agreements (CBA’s) on several fronts. First of all, they ensure a fair bidding process where contractors, both union and non-union, have an equal ability to bid on publicly funded projects, knowing in advance what the bidding conditions are. CBA’s also have quotas for apprentices set at 25%, as well as provisions for women and First Nations people to participate on these projects, ensuring that a made in BC workforce is given first crack at these jobs.

Building Trades Unions are also looking for changes to the Labour Code recognizing construction as a unique industry requiring language that specifically addresses those differences. Every other province in Canada has special construction industry language in their code, so why not BC? There is also a major issue with funding for the Labour Relations Board (LRB) as well as the Employment Standards Branch (ESB). In 2004 the LRB had their budget slashed by the provincial Liberal government by 46%, affecting staffing levels, thus allowing unfair labour practices by employers to grow exponentially. The LRB and the ESB received 0% in funding increases over the term of the Liberals time in office, allowing workers to be exploited by unscrupulous employers.

We also spoke to the MLA’s about reintroduction of Compulsory Certification of construction trades. BC is the only province in Canada without such a requirement. Many people in this province are unaware that when Gordon Campbell and the Liberals eliminated Compulsory Certification, as a favour to some of their main financial contributors, they eliminated any form of consumer protection with regard to who is qualified to call themselves a tradesperson. Would you trust a doctor who didn’t attend university or a lawyer without a law degree? Anyone in this province with a pick up truck and a tool belt can call themselves a tradesperson in any trade they wish. Why would anyone attend trade school for four years when there is no longer the need? It all boils down to consumer protection and without Compulsory Certification, consumers have little to no recourse with shoddy and in some cases dangerous workmanship.

Finally, we spoke to the politicians about the need to address the underground or “Cash” economy in the construction industry. As taxpayers, we should all be outraged by the fact that millions upon millions of dollars in taxes, EI and CPP contributions, WorkSafe BC premiums and wages go unreported in the construction industry, while the rest of us pay our fair share of taxes. Thanks again to Gordon Campbell and the Liberals bowing to the wishes of their “Big Money Contributors”, a highly efficient team of investigators, charged with uncovering these violations, was disbanded allowing a free-for-all for cheating contractors. We’re not talking about the friend who paints your kitchen or patches a hole in your drywall. We’re speaking about major residential and commercial projects where the entire job was being constructed with cash payments “under the table”, in many cases to illegal immigrants.

Each one of the issues we have identified above have a profound effect on our economy, our members, our contractors our District Council and to our training facility. When we get opportunities such as these to speak with politicians of every political stripe we will always strive to educate those in power to look for better ways to address our collective concerns as well as the interests of all British Columbians.


Aboriginal Women in Trades at the FTI of BC

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The Squamish Nation Trades Training Centre, in partnership with The Finishing Trades Institute of BC, recently completed a two week introduction to construction program at our facility. Normally this would be just another story on trades training however, this program had a bit of a different twist. This class was made up entirely of First Nations women who had all expressed an interest in trying their hand at the construction trades. According to our Instructors, these were some of the most enthusiastic hands they had ever had the pleasure to teach.

The women were part of a cohort of individuals who had enrolled in a program that would allow them to try a trade for a week at a time at various union training facilities around the Lower Mainland. Two of these weeks were spent at the FTI, where they were exposed to the Wall & Ceiling trades of Drywall Finishing and Wall & Ceiling Installation as well as the Glazing trade. All three of our Instructors involved in the program remarked on the positive attitudes and willingness to work as a team displayed by the entire group.

Although one week may seem like a short amount of time to gain an appreciation for a particular trade, our Instructors managed to come up with some dynamic projects that grabbed the attention of these students while giving them a basic understanding of the craft.

We are hoping that this will be the first of many such programs we run in concert with the Squamish Nation Trades Training Centre and are hopeful that some of the women in this class choose one of our Finishing Trades as a possible career.

We’d like to extend our thanks to Peter Baker and his staff from the Squamish Nation Trades Training Centre, for allowing our facility to participate in this ground breaking project.


FTI Industrial Painting Students Benefit from Generous Support from Sherwin Williams

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In our final painting class of 2018, our new industrial facility and equipment was put to good use by several of our students who were preparing to write their  final exams in preparation for their ascension to Red Seal journey person status . Early in 2018 we were granted final approval by the City of Surrey to operate our facility at full capacity and since that time, we have taken every opportunity to run as many apprenticeship training courses, journey person upgrading sessions and certification programs  as possible.

However, one item that is often overlooked is the cost of the specialized coatings involved in running these programs. We have literally saved thousands of dollars this year, thanks to the generous support of our paint sponsor, Sherwin Williams. Because of the foresight of this company and their management group, we were able to reinvest those savings into additional equipment and other disposables allowing us to expose a greater number of individuals to a rewarding career in the painting industry.

We would like to take this opportunity to gratefully acknowledge Sherwin Williams and to thank them for their generous support with regard to all of the painting programs we operate at our facility. Their investment in our students allows us to create a pathway toward developing many rewarding careers as we train tomorrows workforce today.


The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women is now launched

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Government of Canada launches new Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women to help them get certified in Red Seal trades

News release

December 11, 2018 | Gatineau, Quebec | Employment and Social Development Canada

Canada’s prosperity depends on Canadians having the skills, training and experience they need to get good quality jobs and succeed in a changing economy. To help meet the increasing need for more workers in the trades, the Government of Canada is taking a leadership role by introducing new initiatives to encourage women to enter and succeed in Red Seal trades where they are under-represented.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced that the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women is now available to eligible apprentices

The new Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women provides $3,000 per year or level, up to a maximum amount of $6,000, to registered apprentices who have successfully completed their first or second year/level of an apprenticeship program in eligible Red Seal trades. This, in combination with the existing Apprenticeship Completion Grant valued at $2,000, could result in combined grant support of up to $8,000 over the course of their training. Women apprentices who progress in their training on or after April 1, 2018, may be eligible for the new grant.

Applications are available online by visiting or call toll-free 1-866-742-3644 (TTY: 1-866-909-9757) to request an application form.

The new Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women supports gender equality and better economic outcomes for women by giving them more opportunities to access typically higher-paying Red Seal trades where they are under-represented.


“When people are given opportunities to succeed and reach their full potential, we all benefit. The new Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women is one way our government is including under-represented groups to help fill the high demand for workers in the Red Seal trades. When people start their Red Seal training, they are not only starting down a well-paying, fulfilling career path, they are driving our country forward.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Quick facts

  • Approximately one in five employed Canadians are represented in the skilled trades professions. At the end of 2017, there were 309,441 registered apprentices across Canada (2017 Registered Apprenticeship Information System).
  • Women account for nine percent of apprentices in Red Seal trades, and only five percent when “traditional” trades (hairstylist, cook and baker) are removed (2017 Registered Apprenticeship Information System).
  • The Government of Canada is investing almost $20 million over five years to pilot the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women.
  • The AIG-W is one of several Government of Canada initiatives to support women and other groups who face barriers to entering and succeeding in the skilled trades, including the Women in Construction Fund and the pre-apprenticeship program.

Link to the news release:  Government of Canada launches new Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women to help them get certified in Red Seal trades

                                                                                                         For More Information

Are you an apprentice or a tradesperson? If so, find out how financial incentives could help you.

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If you need more information pertaining to the Red Seal Program, please visit the Red Seal website, call 1-877-599-6933 or email us.

IFTI Partners with MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach

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Do you have troubles reading? You are not alone. Millions of people also struggle mostly because their brains need to be taught differently.

The iFTI have partnered with MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach® (MVRC) to assist you in overcoming reading struggles in the privacy of your own home. MindPlay is a web-based reading program using artificial intelligence to deliver one-to-one, personalized, systematic, reading instruction. MindPlay features virtual reading teachers who will help you or your child fill in the skill gaps that prevent from reading accurately and fluently. The adaptive program modifies instruction to suit the needs of each user.

The iFTI has purchased a limit number of licenses available at no cost for the District Councils. It’s offered to IUPAT members and family members. If you want to register or enroll a family member, have your DOT send the following information to


Full Name –

Member ID –

Email –


For family members, add the following information

Relationship to member –

Grade Level –


Reminder: Only request for users who will complete this course as there are limited licenses. First come, first served.

If you already have your login details, go to the LMS homepage and find the MindPlay link.


Thank you!