Bird is committed to contributing to the communities in which we live, work, and build in a manner that is socially responsible, and respectful of local residents and human rights. Through donations, scholarships, fundraising activities, and volunteer work, Bird employees consistently demonstrate a passion for giving back. Bird supports national charities, health care foundation initiatives, food and clothing banks, community festivals and events, youth and community sports, and much more.
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Bird has a number of active projects in the Kitimat region, and the project teams went above and beyond in 2020 raising over $50,000 for communities in the area. Donations were made to the Ksan Society, a non-profit organization that supports people in crisis; the Kitimat Community Development Centre, which supports families and children; the Tamitik Status Of Women, which concentrates on intervention and prevention of violence against women, youth, and children; and a family that had suffered a tragic loss.
Meaningful community relationships are important to Bird. In March 2020, Bird entered a joint venture agreement with the Gitxaala Nation, the oldest Indigenous community on the unceded territory on the Pacific Northwest coast of BC. Employing local Indigenous talent where we work is a pillar of the Bird Indigenous Engagement Policy. In collaboration with the community, the Industry Training Authority (ITA), and the British Columbia Regional Carpenters Council (BRCC), an eight-week Introduction to Carpentry program was designed for Gitxaala Nation members to start a career as a carpenter on the LNG Canada Concrete and Paving project. The course included a practical training component and learning about safety, and concluded in October. Successful graduates were offered carpenter apprenticeship positions with Bird. A second cohort will be starting in March 2021.
The Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre in Iqaluit improves access to good food by supporting local harvesting, preparation, education, training, and advocacy. The centre serves 56,000 meals every year. The centre needed better functionality in their kitchen area and, while the Bird team was in Iqaluit, it was an opportune time to lend a hand to a community in which we work.
By changing some of the spaces in the kitchen, the sink was rotated to create a less cramped workspace and a new hand wash sink was installed, together with stainless steel wall panels in the dish area to protect the drywall. The janitor closet was relocated outside the kitchen and the office space was enlarged. A new entrance was created, and some washroom renovations were done. The project was completed over the course of five days, with the plumbing, electrical, and drywall taping work involved donated by the trades (Narwhal, KRT, and NCC respectively).
Participants in this initiative started with a week of offsite training to receive all the mandatory Safety tickets, followed by a week of onsite Safety Watch training that included theoretical and practical elements. The onsite training was developed internally and was delivered by Stuart Olson trainers. We worked directly with local First Nations in Alberta, including the Cold Lake, Goodfish/Whitefish Lake, and Kehewin Cree communities to attract, identify and recruit 100% local community members. Upon completion of the training, they were all offered employment on a 7-week shutdown project. Once the project was completed, the remaining workers were offered full-time employment on the maintenance contract and signed up for
During the first wave of lockdowns, when vulnerable members of our communities were not allowed to have visitors, the Covid-19 Response Team created and distributed a custom Community Activity Book to residents of seniors and long-term care facilities across the country. Today, and looking beyond COVID-19, we plan to share these activity books with our clients at the handover of future care facilities to give their residents a warm welcome home. A small display of
our commitment to clients long after we hand over a building - we remain neighbours, friends, and community members.
As part of our commitment to working with our clients toward innovative solutions for the social housing demand in our community, a unique labour engagement initiative was implemented on the Londonderry project. As builder of the Londonderry Affordable Housing Project, which will add 240 much needed units to the Capital Region Housing (CRH) program in Edmonton, a partnership between Stuart Olson, CRH and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) was forged. CRH has a waiting list of over 6,000 people and that number grows by the hundreds every month.
As part of this initiative, we have committed to hiring 5% of the workforce from within the CRH affordable housing programs for employment on the project for the duration of construction. In order to enhance the value, impact and success of the program, Stuart Olson and CRH teamed up with NAIT to inspire, engage, and educate potential candidates as they explore opportunities for potential trade employment required on the Londonderry project. As a result, the program has inspired local vendors to donate required PPE to the new recruits, helping to support them in the launch of their career in construction.
Food banks across the country are struggling with a shortage of food donations and financial support to keep afloat during the steep increase in demand for their services during the pandemic. We put out a call for donations from our team members across the country, and raised over $2,500 in one week in support of Food Banks Canada.
Our British Columbia Buildings Group has supported this worthy cause for the last six years. This two-day ride from Vancouver to Seattle raises money for Canadians affected by cancer. In 2019, our team of riders raised an impressive $44,000 and our all-time total donations toward this initiative amounts to over $400,000.
Over the last five years, we have partnered with the Calgary Drop-In Centre for an annual Socks Drive. We challenged our employees to help reach our goal of donating 1,000 pairs of socks, which they continued to meet each year. Stuart Olson also sponsored a luncheon during which employees and their families served a Thanksgiving meal and participated in a tour of the Drop-In Centre.
Since 2016, our Southern Alberta branch has hosted a golf tournament in support of the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation. It is a fun-filled fundraising day with an extraordinary group of our employees, industry partners, and long-time friends. Since the inaugural event, we have donated over $325,000 in support of the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation.
Charity Classics have since been held by other branches across the country in support of local charities. These include community organizations such as KidSport, Dog Guides of Canada, Santa's Anonymous, Canucks for Autism, Macdonald Youth Services, and the Children's Rehabilitation Foundation.