Applying for work in Alberta gets easier for U.S. members

Provincial regulators approve BNAP certification for welders

U.S. BOILERMAKERS SEEKING work in the Alberta construction industry will find the process much simpler, thanks to a change in the province’s credentialing process. On March 25, Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) board announced it would begin accepting the Boilermaker National Apprenticeship Program (BNAP) certificate of accomplishment to perform work as welders in the province.

In Alberta, boilermaker and welder are considered separate compulsory trades. A compulsory trade is one in which a person must be certified as a journeyman or indentured apprentice in order to perform trade work. AIT approved the BNAP certification for boilermaker in 2011.

Grant Jacobs, Canadian Director of Boilermakers National Training, has led the effort to simplify the boilermaker and welder qualification process for U.S. members. He obtained letters of support from owners and contractors to show the need for supplemental U.S. Boilermakers during peak construction activity. He also worked closely with Marty Spencer, BNAP National Coordinator, to demonstrate that BNAP training met AIT requirements.

“This is a tremendous benefit to the Boilermaker industry in Alberta,” Jacobs said, “not to mention to the U.S. members who have previously had the onerous task of applying to AIT and gathering all of their required information before heading north.

“We were able to remove the requirements, costs, and time associated with providing verification of 6,750 hours and 54 months of work in the trade before authorization would be granted.

“Based on Alberta’s decision, the credentials will also be recognized by all other provinces that are signatory to the Agreement on Trades Recognition,” Jacobs noted.

“I would like to thank the folks at AIT, including the board of directors, the PAC members, and the boilermakers and staff in Canada and the U.S. who helped in obtaining these certification recognitions,” he said.

Jim Beauchamp, Boilermakers Assistant National Program Coordinator for Canada, said the AIT announcement is wonderful news. Beauchamp coordinates recruitment efforts to bring U.S. members in to help fill job orders.

“Our intent from the beginning was to streamline the process,” he said. “Now our U.S. members only need to provide a valid passport, an offer of employment letter from the contractor, and their Certificate of Accomplishment from the Boilermakers National Apprenticeship Program.”

In addition to helping American Boilermakers find work in Alberta, AIT’s approval will also help Canadian contractors and owners gear up for future demands, said Joe Maloney, International Vice President for Western Canada.

“This recognition is a tremendous help in assisting us to meet the demands for qualified Boilermakers for shutdowns, in particular those in the Oil Sands,” he said. “To date in 2013, we expect to utilize 300 to 400 Boilermakers in Alberta for the spring shutdown season. We anticipate that this will continue for the next several years. The AIT recognition will also assist with the demands that are forecast for new plant construction to begin in 2013 and grow through 2016 and beyond.”

Maloney added, “We knew that if we were successful [in obtaining AIT approval] we would finally establish a seamless process of bringing boilermakers and welders into Canada to help the industry during peak times, in a matter of several days instead of several weeks.”

Jacobs stressed that U.S. construction Boilermakers who do not hold the BNAP Certificate of Accomplishment but wish to apply for work in Canada based on other types of certificates may still apply but will be required to go through the normal application process.

See related story: Canadian, U.S. members complete Oil Sands outage