For immediate release
23 September, 2021
Victoria, BC – In an effort to jumpstart the British Columbia shipbuilding industry, the government has named a special committee to help develop a long-term shipbuilding strategy to make sure the venerable industry continues to grow. Towards that end, 250 Directing Business Representative (DBR), Walter Gerlach will play an important role in the growth of that industry.
Gerlach will represent the views of labour, as shipbuilding is a labour-intensive process and integral to the success of creating positive outcomes.
“The shipbuilding industry has been a key contributor to B.C.’s economy for more than 130 years,” said Premier John Horgan. “There is an opportunity to leverage the recent revival in B.C.’s marine sector to set up the entire industry for consistent growth, which means more families will be able to find good jobs in their own communities.”
The BC Shipbuilding Advisory Committee is composed of two separate bodies: the BC Shipbuilding Industry Working Group and the BC Shipbuilding Innovation Advisory Council. Gerlach was appointed to the Advisory Council and is the sole labour representative on the larger Advisory Committee. He has a great deal of experience in representing members in shipbuilding and ship repair.
“I’m honoured to be appointed to the Advisory Council,” said Gerlach. “We have members in the Vancouver shipyards and we have represented shipyard for more than 100 years. District 250 has developed an expertise that will be incredible useful when it comes to participating and helping to energise the growth of the industry from this point onwards.”
As per the BC government website:
The BC Shipbuilding Innovation Advisory Council will provide high-level guidance and objective feedback to the Industry Working Group. The council will also advise on engagement and consultation with stakeholders. It includes senior representation from the B.C. and federal governments, labour and academia.
Indigenous partners will be engaged throughout the strategy development process to ensure their perspectives are heard and the positive impacts of strategy activities are inclusive of Indigenous communities.
B.C. is home to more than 1,000 companies that make up the industrial marine sector that includes shipbuilding, refit, repair, maintenance and supply-chain activities. This growing sector, driven by shipbuilding contracts such as Seaspan Shipyards’ federal polar icebreaker project, contributes $3.7 billion to GDP and directly supports more than 33,000 jobs.
“It’s about the future,” continued Gerlach. “The work of the Committee is to make sure the shipbuilding and repair industry is secure and provides well-paying jobs to British Columbians, and I’m glad the IAM will play an important role in this important job.”
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For more information on the BC government’s announcement, please visit their website
Or IAM District 250 at www.iam250.ca