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  • November 2022 Session - Racism, respect and retention on the job-site: Construction HR solutions for boots on the ground

November 2022 Session - Racism, respect and retention on the job-site: Construction HR solutions for boots on the ground

  • Wednesday, November 02, 2022
  • 7:45 AM - 9:00 AM
  • Zoom - Link to be shared closer to event date


Registration is closed

The construction sector has a problem. While younger people might train for a skilled trade, many leave the industry within a couple of years. Recruiting more young people can be difficult in the face of our industry’s rough reputation. As more skilled tradespeople retire in the coming years, if we can’t recruit and retain new talent, BC’s construction sector will struggle under the weight of an acute labour shortage. In this session, BC Infrastructure Benefits (BCIB) will present a range of perspectives about respect and retention in the construction sector, including how racism and harassment is impacting our sector’s future – and what we can do about it.


Sheryl Rivers, Squamish Nation Knowledge Sharer, BC Infrastructure Benefits (Moderator). 

Sheryl Rivers, ancestral names, Siamtnaat (see-um-ten-not) & Milnitdi (mull-nay-dee) is from the Squamish Nation, residing on the Eslha7an (aww-slaw-hawn) village in North Vancouver. She comes from the Rivers, Paull & Lackett Joe family lineage. Sheryl graduated in 2015 from the 1st Aboriginal Executive Masters in Business Administration Program in North America through Simon Fraser University-Beedie School of Business. She is also Sole Proprietor for Rivers Consulting and has run her own business for over 20 years. Sheryl currently works as an Instructor/Knowledge Sharer for BC Infrastructure Benefits (BCIB), delivering History Matters workshops.

She served two full terms as a City of North Vancouver appointed Commissioner for the North Vancouver Museum & Archives, with a new one being launched on November 2021 at the Shipyards area of Lower Lonsdale and was recently reappointed another term. She was on the Board of Directors for the United Way Lower Mainland. As well as, BC President for the Indigenous Peoples Commission for the Federal Liberal Party of Canada. Founding Lead Board member for Siyamin Artist Cooperative, BOD Alternative for Squamish Nation with the Fraser Basin Council, BOD for Legacy North Shore.

Sheryl learned Squamish language from her late mother Audrey and also practices her culture through songs, dances and ceremonies in her life. She has been educated in the areas of Administrative, Life Skills Coach, Facilitator, First Nations Political & Leadership, Community Economic Development, Voiceover Acting, Marketing Management/Communications & Aboriginal Business Management. For more information please visit Sheryl's LinkedIn profile.

Crystal Alseth, Director of Employee Engagement, Emil Anderson Group.

Crystal originally began her career as an AR Clerk, putting herself through night school to obtain her Payroll Supervisor Certificate. Following the completion of her education, Crystal was fortunate to be invited to join the Emil Anderson team in 2007 as an entry level Accounts Payable Clerk for the housing division, eventually working up to the Supervisor level. At that time, given her age and experience, she was considered a bit of a wild card, but the CFO saw potential in her and gave Crystal a chance to prove herself.

Over the years, Crystal continuously took on any challenge that was presented to her, adapting to new situations, and assisting with managing the extensive growth that Emil Anderson saw between 2007-2014. After seven years of working in accounting with EAG, she was then asked to take on a new role of Human Resources Coordinator due to her strong relationships within the organization and her commitment to fostering the company values.

The HR department quickly grew from one to three under Crystal's guidance and her role as HR Manager took form. After seven years running the show in HR, she recently advanced once again into her new role as Director of Employee Engagement. This new change allows Crystal to focus solely on the people and culture of EAG, and she couldn’t be more excited to see how this new role evolves and how she can make an impact within the organization. For more information, please visit Crystal's LinkedIn profile.

Buddy Cardinal, Director, ACCESS Trades.

Buddy Cardinal is Indigenous from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation. His journey with Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) began in the late 90’s as a client of ACCESS BladeRunners (formerly BladeRunners), who bridged the gap for him into the construction industry. Buddy later connected with ACCESS Trades to complete his Red Seal in Carpentry. After 17 years of industry experience, Buddy pivoted his career joining ACCESS providing training and employment opportunities for the urban Indigenous population. Furthering his education, Buddy completed a Construction Operations Associate Certificate at BCIT and is currently working towards a Bachelor of Business Administration at BCIT. Now the Director for the ACCESS Trades department, Buddy shares his experience as a client going through the training process with the trainees as having firsthand experience of why certified training is so important to their success in the industry. It is through many partnerships that these urban Indigenous people are gaining the skills to provide for themselves, their family, their community, and inspire others to do the same. For more information, please visit Buddy's LinkedIn profile.

“I used to build structures, I am now contributing to building community” – Buddy Cardinal

Lee Loftus, Former President, BC Building Trades Council.

Lee has 45 years of experience in the B.C. Construction sector. He has extensive governance experience as a labour leader with the BC Federation of Labour, BC Building Trades, and BC Insulators Union. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety; Director of the Canadian Standards Association, and Canadian Society of Safety Engineering; and administrator of the Insulation Industry Apprenticeship Board. He is active on not-for-profit boards with a focus on mental health, medical research, essential skills, climate research, and literacy. He also maintains his involvement in pension trust funds, B.C. credit unions, and local municipal commissions.

Wil Rivera, Labourer, Broadway Subway Project.

Wil is a labourer on the Broadway Subway Project and a CBA employee. He first moved to Canada from Colombia when he was a young boy. Wil comes from a longline of tradespeople including his father, a carpenter and his brother a foreman. Wil cut his teeth as a labourer on the oil rigs in Alberta before moving to Vancouver last year. He is an active member of Liuna1611.

Notice: this event will be recorded and content from the event may be shared on BC Infrastructure Benefits (BCIB)’s website and social media channels.

Thank you to our sponsor!

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