Building Trades worked for five years to get the news they wanted

Date: 
Friday, January 18, 2019

The recently announced $40-billion LNG Canada project is the largest single development in Canada and the largest in B.C. history. 

By M. Malatesta

The recently announced $40-billion LNG Canada project is the largest single development in Canada and the largest in B.C. history. It it predicted to directly contribute $22 billion to British Columbia’s economy over 40 years. Although jobs numbers have yet to be finalized, the prediction is that they will run into the thousands in construction and related work.

“We’re certainly excited about the prospect of work, but there are still lots of avenues to be covered before any actual work begins,” said Neil Munro, business manager for the BC Insulators Union Local 118. “There’s a lot of potential for electrical and general insulation work. But there are a number of hurdles to be crossed. Much of the brown (field survey) work has been done. But modules are still being set up.

”He added, that despite general agreement, the feeling among many Building Trades reps is hopeful but cautious.

The project is still subject to environmental screening and legal assessments that could affect the scope and size of the job. In addition, there’s still no assurance that all the work will go to union-signatory contractors.

The federal government gave approval to the project provided it meets the 190 conditions ordered by the federal environmental review commission. So far, industry, labour and First Nations’ response has generally been one of acceptance of the conditions. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna insisted that despite criticisms from various public interest and environmental groups, the approval decision was made following extensive studies on the project’s environmental impact and after consultations with First Nations. 

Tom Sigurdson, executive director of the BC Building Trades, reported that the council has been active for the past five years preparing for the project.

“The BC Building Trades was appointed to the Premier’s LNG Working Group in 2013 and has been doubling down on our efforts to ensure our province has the skilled workers the industry requires, and that British Columbians have the skills to be first in line for the jobs on LNG projects. This investment signals a commitment to local workers and apprentices,” he said. "We recognize that the LNG industry will require workers who are uniquely skilled. First to be hired will be local qualified workers,followed by those from British Columbia, and then those from other provinces. There is also a commitment to have up to 25 per cent apprentices on site," Sigurdson said. "If there is a shortage of skilled workers at this point, then, and only then, will there bean application for temporary foreign workers."

The project, LNG Canada Development Inc., is a consortium of the Shell, Petronas, PetroChina, Mitsubishi and KOGAS corporations, as well as participating interests from various First Nations.

“The final investment decision taken by our joint venture participants shows that British Columbia and Canada,working with First Nations and localcommunities, can deliver competitive energy projects,” said Andy Calitz, CEO of LNG Canada. “We look forward to helping Canada take its place on the global map of LNG exporting countries and want to recognize the important role played by all levels of government,First Nations and the many people thatsupported LNG Canada.

”He said the new standards for theconstruction of the LNG processing plant and export terminal, along with the proximity of the port of Kitimat to Asian markets, will create a far smaller ecological footprint and get fuel to markets faster than going through the U.S.

For More Information: 

Contact the BC Building Trades office
(778) 397-2220

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