President Biden commonly name-checks the IBEW in speeches, often going off his prepared remarks to call out one of his favorite labor unions.
On March 24, during an address to the Canadian Parliament and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, Ontario, he mentioned the IBEW again.
“For example, I met with the IBEW and pointed out we will build 500,000 electric charging stations. Guess who builds them? Union workers,” Biden said in his speech on Parliament Hill.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Local 213 Business Manager Jim Lofty was in the House of Commons during the Biden speech. Canada’s political leadership immediately noted the IBEW reference from the U.S. president, said IBEW First District International Representative Matt Wayland.
“For the president to say our name in the House was huge,” Wayland said, noting that Biden called out the IBEW again that night at dinner, tying the IBEW to future electricity in North America.
The IBEW has approximately 65,000 members in Canada.
Wayland said Biden’s statements moved the needle in favor of adopting federal regulations in Canada mandating that the charging network be installed only by highly skilled electricians certified by the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP). Canada currently has 2,000 EVITP-certified members, and that number is growing.
“We’re using Biden’s address to argue in favor of EVITP,” Wayland said. “I think it will push it over the finish line.”
In his speech, Biden also spoke of the close relationship between the United States and Canada, noting the cultural, familial, democratic and commercial ties that bind the two countries. In addition, the countries committed to increased cooperation on the North American manufacturing supply chain.