Canada launches Helmets to Hardhats

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (center with glasses and red tie), joins with Canadian military veterans and Boilermakers for a group photo at the Local 146 Training Centre in Edmonton after announcing Canada’s participation in the Helmets to Hardhats program. Two places to Harper’s right is Joe Maloney, IVP-Western Canada. Behind Maloney’s left shoulder is Robert Blakely, Director of the Canadian Building Trades.

Program places military veterans in construction jobs

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER Stephen Harper, along with provincial and local politicians, joined with Boilermakers and military veterans at the Local 146 Training Center in Edmonton, Alberta, January 6 to kick off Canada’s new Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) program. The program is a government, labor, and business partnership designed to recruit transitioning military veterans into construction jobs through the Canadian Building Trades.

Harper said, “The government of Canada is committed to supporting our veterans. In terms of transitions, Helmets to Hardhats will be a natural fit for many military veterans, allowing them to take advantage of a new set of civilian opportunities that build on the set of skills they acquired while in uniform.”

IVP Joe Maloney spearheaded Canada’s H2H program. He was also the chief architect of the groundbreaking U.S. H2H program, which began in 2003 during his service as Secretary-Treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades, AFL-CIO. He currently serves as Chairman of the Canadian Executive Board of the Canadian Building Trades Department.

“This venture is good for the military and good for our trades,” Maloney said. “We look forward to continuing our working relationship with the government of Canada. The government . . . has really stepped up to the plate for Canada’s construction industry.”

Robert Blakely, Director of Canadian Affairs for the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, stated, “The Canadian Building Trades are pro oil sands, ship building and pipeline; these will be projects that will create work for the returning veterans.”

In addition to IVP Maloney, Boilermaker leaders attending the event included L-146 BM-ST Arnie Stadnick; L-146 ABM Len Jacobs; AIP-CSO Cory Channon; IR Norm Ross; IR Richard MacIntosh; DNT (Canada) Grant Jacobs; and Jason McInnis, National Director of Health & Safety (Canada).

Stadnick praised Maloney for his role in bringing the event to a Boilermaker site and added, “We at Local 146 were proud to facilitate the launch of the H2H program and to welcome the Prime Minister to our Learning Centre. All in all, it was a great day for the Boilermakers, the Building Trades, and the union movement as a whole.”

Others attending the event were Russ Girling, President and CEO of Trans Canada; Lance Yearley, Director of the Canadian Quality Control Council; and Greg Weadick, Canadian Minister of Advanced Education & Technology.

The Canadian H2H program will receive $1 million in financial support from TransCanada as well as matching donations from the federal government and the Province of Alberta in the amount of $150,000. The Building Trades and their contractors are collaborating to provide high-quality equipment, state-of-the- art training, and upgraded facilities throughout Canada. The program is set to begin in the spring of 2012.