The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario (PBCTCO) was established in 1957 to be the collective voice of construction workers at the provincial level. The Council is chartered under the American Federation of Labour – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), bringing together 12 affiliated construction craft unions with a total province-wide membership of 150,000 workers. The Council’s mission is to give construction workers a voice in the workplace, to help ensure that workers are well-trained to meet industry needs, and to promote healthy and safe working conditions with fair wages, pensions, and benefits.
One of the Council’s primary aims is to harmonize the activities, functions and interests of the affiliated Local Unions, Local Building Trades Councils and Provincial Craft Councils or Conferences in the building and construction trades industry by convening various working groups that provide subject matter expertise on issues such as occupational health and safety, workplace disease prevention, training and apprenticeship programs, infrastructure investments, and community outreach.
A major strength of the Council stems from its long-standing partnerships with signatory construction contractors and owner-clients who work with the affiliates to achieve public and private infrastructure needs in a variety of workplace settings, including those in the seven recognized bargaining sectors pursuant to the Ontario Labour Relations Act:
Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) sector
Sewers and Watermains sector
Road Infrastructure sector
Heavy Engineering sector
Electrical Power Systems sector.
The Council works with provincial government ministries and authorities to ensure that the construction industry is well-regulated, competitive, well-resourced, and safe. Additionally, the Council is active in promoting workforce development initiatives that are designed to diversify Ontario’s skilled trades workforce by improving access to rewarding careers in the construction industry. These initiatives specifically target equity seeking groups such as women, young people, Indigenous persons, returning veterans, reservists and cadets, immigrants, and underemployed Canadians. To help achieve improved workforce development goals, the Council has established programs that are dedicated to equity empowerment including the Ontario Building and Construction Tradeswomen (OBCT), the Tomorrow’s Trades (TT) program, and Construction Training and Apprenticeship Ontario (CTAO).
The construction industry accounts for 7% of Ontario’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) providing countless opportunities for interested applicants to join the construction trades in a variety of workplace settings. The Building Trades model is based on an “earn while you learn” approach centered around registered apprenticeship programs that have a proven track record of graduating apprentices to meet Ontario’s current and future construction labour market needs. With the right training and mentorship along the way, the Building Trades provide a fantastic entry-point to a long, safe, and rewarding career for individual entrants to the construction industry.