Personal Data

Niagara Centre (Ontario)
Birth Date
October 5, 1964
Email Address
business owner

Parliamentary Career

October 19, 2015 -
  Niagara Centre (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 22)

June 12, 2019

Mr. Vance Badawey (Niagara Centre, Lib.)


That the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development, and the Status of Persons with Disabilities be instructed to undertake a study of the creation of a federal trades strategy, to consider, amongst other things, (i) regional labour shortages in the skilled trades, (ii) the impact that labour shortages could have on major projects across Canada, (iii) how skills shortages are exacerbating these labour shortages by preventing workers from being able to find employment.

Madam Speaker, I stand in the House today to call attention to the enigma of our time. Too many Canadians are seeking good, quality, secure jobs with too little help. At the same time, too many industries are in desperate need of skilled workers. Therein lies the opportunity. As such, I am tabling this motion to establish a federal trade strategy to consider, among other things, regional labour shortages in the skilled trades, the impact labour shortages could have on major projects across this great nation, and how skill shortages are exacerbating these labour shortages by preventing workers from being able to find employment.

We have made remarkable strides since being elected almost four years ago. One of our greatest achievements, on which we have all worked so diligently together, is that by working together, we have established an environment in which to create one million new jobs since November 2015. However, as we celebrate this achievement, we know that there is much more work to do to further progress.

Some provinces and regions across this great country are struggling to find enough workers to fill open positions. Niagara is no exception. This is what I will speak to today: the severe shortage of skilled trades workers and how important it is that we take action now.

Niagara, not unlike other jurisdictions, is beginning to experience a skilled trades shortage. There is a need for welders, pipefitters, boilermakers, seafarers, tile setters, plumbers, technicians, cooks, chefs, and other hands-on, hard-working skilled tradespeople. I have heard from our business community, our overall community, residents and others, as well as union partners across Niagara, as have my colleagues here in the House, that there is an immediate and severe lack of skilled tradespeople.

The Ontario Construction Secretariat conducted a survey in the first few months of this year to understand key issues affecting the industrial, commercial and institutional construction sector in the province of Ontario. Of the 500 contractors surveyed, 72% identified a skilled labour shortage and the recruitment of skilled workers as the main challenge facing the industry. Not surprisingly, this problem has had wide-ranging impacts, including increased project delays and costs, the need to turn down work and overall slowed growth.

Our government can help. Our government will help.

Thanks to the efforts of the hon. Patti Hajdu, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour—

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Federal Trades Strategy
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June 12, 2019

Mr. Vance Badawey

Madam Speaker, thanks to the efforts of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, our government has significantly boosted federal support to provinces and territories, by $2.7 billion over six years. This is to help more unemployed and under-employed Canadians access the training and employment supports they need to find and keep good jobs. We have also invested $225 million over four years to identify and fill skills gaps in the economy to help Canadians be best prepared for the new economy.

However, we cannot do it alone. We have worked with our partners to bring forward federal support. It is critical that our working relationship continues well into the future.

Although we have momentum to build on, we, as a government and as a country, must continue to listen. We must be engaged with our partners, employees and employers to best understand their unique needs. By engaging with and encouraging people to tell their stories, we promote understanding and create the framework we can use to work toward our common goals.

As one of our partners put it, “Nothing about us without us”. Thankfully, employers and employees alike see the value in working together.

Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress and one of our many partners, said, “ Workers need to retool and upgrade their skills in order to be successful and to succeed in Canada's rapidly changing labour market, but far too often, they're not getting the support they need. Today Canada's public spending on training is about half the OECD average, and in real terms, employers invest less in per-employee training and adult learning than they did 25 years ago. Too many employers simply do not invest in on-the-job training and vocational education for workers, and it is holding us back.

“Employers need a new generation of skilled workers to replace retiring baby boomers, and workers need access to skills training as well as upgrading to cope with the technological change and the impact of climate change policies. We can overcome the skills shortages, but we need to listen to stakeholders and learn what works in other jurisdictions.”

Support for this motion and the creation of a federal trade strategy is wide-ranging and spans industries.

Arlene Dunn, of Canada's Building Trades Unions, said, “It is absolutely crucial that the Government of Canada instruct the appropriate body and include the appropriate stakeholders to undertake a study of the creation of a federal trades strategy to ensure Canada remains both nationally and globally competitive and well prepared for the future while utilizing all resources available.”

However, a federal trades strategy does not help where demand outpaces the supply of workers. For example, Canada's marine industry is thriving, and in Niagara, home of the Welland Canal within the St. Lawrence Seaway system on the Great Lakes, there are more applicants than jobs, yet there are struggles with access to the necessary training to open opportunities to new workers.

Jim Given, president of the Seafarers' International Union of Canada, said, “Though we have seen a surplus of applications for Canadians and permanent residents interested in joining the industry, continued access to proper training, funding for education and providing upgrading opportunities for current seafarers is essential.

“In having government work with labour organizations to identify current labour and skills gaps, we can together ensure that the future needs of our country's marine transportation industry are met and that these good-paying middle-class jobs are made available to Canadians both entering the labour market as well as those looking to transfer current skills to this growing industry.

“We are encouraged to see this government take the necessary steps to undertake a study to identify labour shortages in the industry with a view to developing and creating a federal trades strategy that will, among other things, assist our industry to ensure our mariners have access to the resources necessary to retain and improve the skill sets needed for the industry as well as to recruit and train the next generation of seafarers.”

There is, however, one aspect of partnerships that we have yet to discuss, and that is the how. While it is certainly critical to identify skills gaps and the need to train new workers, we also need to consider how we will accomplish this. In one sense, the answer is deceptively simple: Invite our partners, our high schools, our post-secondary institutions, the private sector, the unions and all levels of government to the table.

During my former life as a mayor, we worked with our partners as just described, and we were successful in putting in place a program that brought students together, beginning at the secondary school level, into the skilled trades.

Today, we continue to work with our partners to further the interests of employers as well as employees. Dialogue has begun to contribute to the context of what a federal skilled trades strategy will look like and what we would like to work toward. For example, through consistent dialogue with our partners, we have heard, loud and clear, and recognize that balancing parental roles and work life in the construction industry is critical, as is balancing multiple priorities, making trade-off decisions and placing high value on tradespeople who are in fact raising families.

Retirements and an aging population are beginning to have an impact on the future of our industries. Knowledge and technical transfer to strategically support the processes to innovate and adapt to changing environmental, safety, production and market conditions are factors that must be a priority.

Unions have taken leadership roles in the work of skilled trades promotion and advocacy. Many of them have hired in-house rank and file member expertise whose jobs it is to focus entirely on the promotion of their trade and raising its public profile.

We need to work with them to do more education, educating young people about the opportunity to access well-paid, in-demand, highly valuable training, and teaching them about the economics associated with belonging to the skilled, organized trades, such as the exemplary pensions included, as well as health and welfare benefits and the ability to obtain a rewarding career.

If we are going to succeed in making a real tangible difference for under-represented groups, we must in fact advocate for the implementation of strategic tools that build community wealth and human capacity, which is beneficial for under-represented groups, veterans and persons with disabilities, offering them tremendous opportunities that unfortunately might not exist otherwise. In doing so, we create the opportunity to learn from experts in education, as well as training, and identify existing programs that can be adapted or changed to meet local and national industry needs, as well as attaching safety training at a younger age to ensure safer working environments.

In Niagara, we are extremely fortunate and proud to have Niagara College and Brock University working to this end. As good corporate citizens, responsible neighbours and community leaders, these institutions do an amazing job of not only providing education but also understanding the unique needs of the community they serve.

A common thread for Niagara College and Brock University are well-developed, tried-and-true, co-operative education programs through which students learn in a hands-on environment taught by industry experts. Applying classroom knowledge to real world, on-the-job experiences better prepares students to be successful in the workforce. Consequently, employers are more confident that their needs can be met and spend less money retraining or compensating for a lack of skilled workers.

Secondary schools can also be a big part of this equation. Through programs such as the specialist high skills major program, which is part of the Ministry of Education's student success initiative in the province of Ontario, dual credit and co-op program students are better prepared to transition successfully into the workforce, whereby co-op programs at the secondary school level can begin.

Mark Cherney, business manager of the IBEW Local 303 and president of the Niagara and Haldimand Building Trades Council, tells us, “Shortages in the skilled trades are a genuine concern. With a national strategic skilled trades plan, we could better predict where and when these shortfalls will occur and how labour mobility from across the country can serve to mitigate shortages. A study on how labour mobility strategies can be explored, as well as attracting and retaining more women, indigenous people, youth and new Canadians to a career path in the skilled trades, is needed. The current government has done a great job investing in the skilled trades. Now is the time for the next step, and that is for a national strategy.”

In summary, Mark Cherney says, “A unified national Red Seal standard for compulsory skilled trades will go a long way to tackle the concerns of skills shortages."

It has been a great pleasure this evening to present this motion to my colleagues in the House. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish by working together to find solutions to such challenges.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Federal Trades Strategy
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June 5, 2019

Mr. Vance Badawey (Niagara Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in Niagara Centre you would be hard-pressed to find many people who do not know Jim or Mary Dolan.

Married for 46 years, Jim and Mary not only raised a loving family but were the very definition of community service. Always willing to volunteer, in 1994, they saw a need and stepped up to champion the Kacey-Lynn Fund. Under their stewardship, the program is thriving and has grown to offer assistance to many families throughout the Niagara region with sick or disabled children.

Their generosity and caring spirits have been felt throughout our community. It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that Jim Dolan passed away on May 28. Jim will be greatly missed by his wife Mary, their children James, Kim, Scott and Tammy, as well as his many grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Despite our loss, I am certain that Jim's legacy will live on through the many people whose lives he touched.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Jim Dolan
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May 13, 2019

Mr. Vance Badawey

Mr. Speaker, that is a great point. Not only are we leaders internationally with respect to our responsibilities when it comes to the environment, our oceans and our great lakes, but we cannot do it alone. We have to be in this together. Our marine industry, being the obvious front-of-mind participant in action like this, has been very responsible. The Chamber of Marine Commerce and the companies it represents are equally important. Initiatives such as Green Marine and other initiatives have contributed to our overall ability to have these policies and bills, like Bill C-55, put in place here in the House and put into practice.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Oceans Act
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May 13, 2019

Mr. Vance Badawey (Niagara Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to be here today to speak to Bill C-55, an act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, and the amendments sent to us by the other place.

Our government is in fact committed to increasing the proportion of marine and coastal areas that are protected to 10% by the year 2020. Over the past four years, we have worked with a great deal of people to increase our protected areas from just 1% under the former Conservative government to over 8% under the Liberal government.

Indeed, it is under the government and the Prime Minister that this great nation is showing leadership on the issue of marine protection. We are well on our way to achieving our target with sound science and transparent decision-making, once again, working with those within these communities.

We are actively engaging with our partners in both provinces and territories and with indigenous groups, marine industries and all Canadians to increase protections and meet our targets while supporting a health oceans economy. An important part of meeting those targets is Bill C-55.

As many members already know, the bill seeks to provide a new authority for the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to designate an area for interim protection. A decision to either permanently designate the interim area or to repeal the interim order must be made within five years. This mechanism allows for interim protection to areas that are currently under consideration for permanent designation, as the current process takes an average of between seven and 10 years and, currently, in the lead-up to a final designation, there is no mechanism to allow us to protect this area.

While we support the reasons behind the amendments made by the other place, we cannot support the message received as the amendment would add changes that are already required under the existing legislation and would make the interim process longer and more complex than the process for permanent designation.

That is why we have proposed an alternate amendment that captures the intent of the Senate's concerns, while also ensuring that the objective of Bill C-55, which is to provide faster protection, is in fact upheld.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Senate for its work, especially the sponsor, Senator Bovey. While she represents the beautiful province of Manitoba, I know she spent some years on the west coast and has continued to be a strong advocate for the protection and conservation of all of our oceans.

I also want to thank the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard for his leadership on this file. I know he was in Montreal just last month to announce new standards for marine protected areas that would prohibit oil and gas exploration. This announcement was indeed supported not just by Canadians across Canada but around the world.

Canada is taking real action when it comes to protecting our marine environment, but more must and will be done by those not only within government, but our partners throughout our great nation.

That is why we are here today, debating the merits of Bill C-55, a bill that has been received and has been given countless hours of robust debate. Five amendments to the bill, proposed by Conservative, Green and independent members, were adopted by the House on April 25, 2018. The bill has received support in one form or another by all parties in this chamber.

An important principle that acts as the basis of the bill that I would like to speak to and about is the precautionary principle.

Bill C-55 would require the ministries of Fisheries and Oceans, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Governor in Council to apply the precautionary principle when deciding whether to designate new marine protected areas. This would facilitate the decisions to designate a marine protected area. The principle recognizes that the absence of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing decisions where there is a risk of serious or irreversible harm.

Indeed, if information such as the recent report by the United Nations on the collapse of biodiversity has told us anything, it is that we cannot wait to take action to protect our environment. While many of the members opposite want to sit in their seats and wait for more species to go extinct and for weather conditions to worsen because they have no plan for the environment or our marine areas, Canadians can be absolutely certain that the members sitting on this side are listening and responding accordingly.

We are listening and we are taking action because we know we cannot simply wait for our fish stocks to collapse before that is enough evidence to do something about it. We know there are options now, right at this moment, options that we can move forward with and therefore do the right thing to support a healthy marine environment and the communities that depend on those environments.

A good example of this, which has already been raised a few times but cannot be repeated enough, is the good work this government is doing with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the Government of Nunavut to explore the designation of a high Arctic basin for marine protection.

Last month, we announced the memorandum of understanding that outlines the commitment to co-operation that all three parties have signed onto in moving forward with this protection. Furthermore, budget 2019 outlines funds that will be available to support the development of a conservation economy in the High Arctic Basin, with support for critical marine infrastructure.

We know that Bill C-55 will facilitate this process by providing a mechanism that can be used to apply interim protection to the area until a final designation is in fact made. This is not only a good example of how government is taking action now, but is doing so the right way by engaging with the territorial government and respecting the Nunavut land claim agreement and working with rights holders, the QIA.

The members opposite want to say that this government is trying to take shortcuts with the bill, but I put the question for Canadians: Is a process that still takes an average of seven years, with the passage of this bill, to designate a permanent MPA taking a shortcut? Is debating the bill for almost two years in both chambers taking a shortcut? Is listening to the message received by the Senate and proposing an amendment that seeks to capture the intent of this change, while still respecting the objective of the bill, taking a shortcut?

I think that Canadians believe that the answer is no, no and no. I do not expect members opposite to agree with the government on this issue or with Canadians, because we know that those members have no plan for the environment. However, I want all Canadians to know that this Liberal government has taken leadership on this issue, and overall on the issue of the environment, and we will do whatever we can to get this bill passed and our marine areas protected.

As Canadians, we are all connected to our oceans, which are significant to our heritage, culture and economy, and are essential to all life on this great planet. In 2015, our government promised that 5% of Canada's marine and coastal areas would be protected by 2017, and we delivered. Over 8% of our oceans are now protected, which is up from less than 1% when we took office in 2015. Now our government is committed to reaching our international target of 10% by 2020, as I mentioned earlier. We will do this with sound science and transparent decision-making, working with our provinces and territories and communities that have a direct interest in the decision-making process.

One of the forms of protection is a marine protected area, MPA, under the Oceans Act, where unique species and their habitats are conserved and protected. We have examined how the Oceans Act could be updated to facilitate the designation process for MPAs without sacrificing science or the public's ability to provide their input, their thoughts and, most importantly, their interests in a process that considers the consequences of the decisions being made. The current process for a designated marine protected area is lengthy. These proposed amendments to the Oceans Act would shorten the time required to put protection in place, while ensuring that shortcuts are not taken when it comes to these consultations.

This legislation would, among other things, ensure that marine protection can in fact be done and completed in a timely manner by allowing the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to designate provisional protections to an interim MPA while the steps for a permanent MPA are in fact followed. The interim MPA would freeze the footprint of current activities in sensitive areas that are being considered for Oceans Act MPA designation. It would also allow for ongoing activities, those that have taken place in the last year, to continue.

We will continue engaging with our partners in the provinces and territories and with indigenous groups, marine industries and all Canadians. I cannot emphasize enough how inclusive this process is and will continue to be, to ensure the protection and meet the targets we proposed back in 2015, which we are now continuing to work toward.

Our government made a commitment to increase the proportion of Canada's marine and coastal areas to 10% by 2020, and we are going to meet that commitment, which we started in 2015. This proposed legislation is part of our plan to reach these targets. The proposed amendments would shorten the time required to put protection in place and allow interim protection for sensitive marine areas. Currently, there is no protection until there is full protection.

The Senate amendment is duplicative and requires an additional consultation period beyond what is already required in legislation. If accepted, the Senate amendment would make the order process for interim protection more complex and lengthy than the process for designating an amendment or permanent MPA. This would go against the objective of this bill, which is underpinned by the precautionary approach and seeks to create a mechanism that will allow for faster interim protection to marine and coastal areas.

However, we understand the concerns. We understand the concerns made by some members of the Senate, and that is why we have proposed an amendment that captures the intent of the message received by the Senate. Our proposal will ensure that the geographical location and all other relevant information, as well as information on all consultations undertaken, are published when an order for interim protection is made.

I come from a Great Lakes region, Niagara, and of course, with that we have just recently announced plans to look at protection of the Great Lakes, and there are reasons for that. I look at it under a triple-bottom-line lens. That triple bottom line lens consists of, in order of priority, economy, environment and social issues—the effects and consequences of decisions made on our waterways, whether they be the Great Lakes or our oceans.

Some of the things I have learned throughout the past years in my former life as a mayor and now as an MP are the critical responsibilities that we have, how critical it is to work with our communities, how critical it is to work with our businesses and our residents in those areas, ensuring that economic, social and environmental considerations are taken before those decisions are made, and how important it is that their interests are placed at the forefront of those decisions.

This bill, Bill C-55, is no different with respect to the oceans and, of course, the areas that we have to preserve to ensure that future generations—not just five, 10 or 15 years down the road but 20, 30, 40 or 50 years down the road—are looked after when it comes to our environment and what is attached to our environment.

In closing, I would like to say this. Although we here in Parliament sit in four-year terms, it is important that the vision goes beyond those four years and looks at 20- to 50-year thoughts, priorities, responsibilities and, therefore, strategies. Bill C-55 does that. I look forward to Bill C-55 passing in this House. Therefore, the thoughts and, of course, responsibilities that we have for future generations will be taken as forthright, in front of mind, and the strategies attached to same will include the involvement and priorities of the people whom we are going to actually affect by this legislation, the communities and those along our waterfronts.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Oceans Act
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