B.C. natural gas pipeline project helps build a better future

By Brian Cochrane, business manager of Local 115 of the International Union of Operating Engineers. First published in the Vancouver Sun.

British Columbians have an unprecedented opportunity to help build B.C.’s future and strengthen our economy through the construction of TransCanada’s (now TC Energy) Coastal GasLink pipeline project and the associated $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas project it will serve in Kitimat.

This investment focuses on the three core principles of the community building standard around the world: A commitment to safety and quality, investing in trades and apprenticeships and leaving a positive community legacy. It is a key opportunity to develop a skilled workforce to support the development of this project as well as for infrastructure projects in our province for decades to come.

Important safety and environmental work has already been completed in the form of extensive field studies, regulatory approvals and engagement programs with local communities and others impacted by the project.

Among the key highlights are the awarding of $620 million to Indigenous business organizations along the route and the signing of 20 project and community agreements with Indigenous bands affected by the project. All the necessary field work to begin construction has now been completed, with more than one-third of that work conducted specifically by Indigenous people in the region already.

Thousands of well-paying jobs will be created when construction gets underway. It will be a boon to the sector and local economies, including regional Indigenous communities in the near future as well for many years ahead. The Coastal Gaslink pipeline project alone will employ up to 2,500 people during construction and generate approximately $20 million a year in property tax benefits for B.C. communities on an ongoing basis, creating additional funds to address community plans and infrastructure needs both locally and provincially.

Brian Cochrane, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115.
Brian Cochrane, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115.

Already, labour groups have been an important and substantial part of developing this project as they were able to share their expertise and help shape policies around local and Indigenous worker hiring, along with apprenticeships and skills training to ensure that B.C. workers are first in line for jobs. Labour groups, particularly, pushed for workforce provisions that will help to maximize the value of this major investment for B.C. communities and build a workforce for the future as other infrastructure projects will also need these skilled workers in the province.

This joint-venture project has been a long time coming and has been carefully considered by a wide range of stakeholders. So when the partners lead by LNG Canada and TC Energy recently announced their final investment decision, it marked a monumental day for our province as well as the country, and we need to keep that momentum going for the future.

We, the International Union of Operating Engineers, are proud to represent 48,000 highly skilled unionized workers who will help build this infrastructure safely and responsibly. We are committed, prepared and eager to get to work on this project.

TransCanada and its partners have proven that investment can be done in a sustainable and proper manner that puts safety first and encourages a diverse and inclusive workforce while also developing a workforce for the future through training and apprenticeship development.

A new Community Building Standard means ensuring infrastructure projects in Canada are built the right way, starting with the TC Energy Coastal Gaslink Pipeline in B.C. Let’s not waste this opportunity to build long-term prosperity that will benefit B.C. workers, and in turn their families and communities, for decades to come.

Check out the full article here.


Show your support for the Community Benefits Agreement

Today the Community Building Standard (www.buildingitright.ca) is launching a public campaign to raise awareness about the importance of the new provincial Community Benefits Agreement (CBA).

Why is a CBA good for British Columbians?
More job and training opportunities for women, youth, and Indigenous communities

  • New investments in apprenticeships
  • An overall target increase of 25% in apprenticeships
  • Priority hiring for qualified workers who live within 100 km of projects
  • An increase in skilled workers
  • Higher graduate rates amongst youth
  • Projects built the right way with the environment and safety put first
  • An open bidding process that ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate

How can you help out?

Thank you for standing up for hard-working British Columbians and the communities they represent. We are building our future the right way because of B.C.’s commitment to the Community Benefits Agreement.


A New Community Building Standard for Canada!

We’re proud to announce the launch of a new Community Building Standard for Canada!

A new Community Building Standard means ensuring infrastructure projects in Canada are built the right way. This means ensuring major projects that are delivered across Canada are focused on three core principles – A commitment to safety and quality, investing in trades and apprenticeships, and leaving a positive community legacy.

Safety and Quality are in everything we build. Projects need to be built to the highest environmental standards so that future generations feel a sense of pride knowing that they are protected from any risk. If we build it right, we can ensure that Indigenous people, women, and youth get the opportunities they deserve to develop valuable skills and create an impactful legacy in their communities.

When we’re investing in trades and apprenticeships, and when we make local hiring and apprentice training a priority, communities are stronger.

Community legacy means ensuring our work delivers a legacy that makes a long-term difference to each community where we have a presence.

The Community Building Standard has been initiated across Canada by our founding partners: Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), Canadian Piping Trades, Teamsters Canada and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE).

Learn more and join the discussion at buildingitright.ca.


Bringing the Community Building Standard to Life

A Community Building Standard is only meaningful when it has become the foundation for every project built in Canada. It only works with a Canada-wide commitment to building it right.

Our founding partners have been committed to building it right for decades. To learn more about our proud history, one needs to look no farther than projects like the BC Hydro John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project in Campbell River, B.C. and Rio Tinto’s modernized aluminum smelter in Kitimat, B.C. These projects were essential replacements of aging infrastructure, which has been a challenge plaguing projects in all sectors across the Canadian landscape. By following the principles of a commitment to safety and quality, a focus on training and apprenticeships, and a commitment to leaving a positive community legacy – every project in Canada’s future can be built right and meet the new Community Building Standard.

Learn more and join the discussion at buildingitright.ca.


Delivering on Our Commitment to a Community Building Standard for Canada

Our founding partners have spent decades focusing on building it right – for all shapes and sizes of projects across Canada. We decided it was time to bring Canadians into the discussion and we asked communities across Canada if they agreed about the core principles should be for a Community Building Standard for Canada.

What we heard and what we’re committed to is based on the three core principles below.

A Commitment to Safety and Quality

The new Community Building Standard means ensuring that all infrastructure projects are built the right way. Projects need to be built to the highest environmental standards so that future generations feel a sense of pride knowing that they are protected from any risk. Our workers are the only people who have the expertise and training to meet this standard. We do not want to put our natural environment at risk by employing unqualified, poorly trained workers to build critical infrastructure for our future generations.

Investing in Trades and Apprenticeships

The new Community Building Standard ensures that infrastructure projects put the public first and serve the needs of our communities with jobs and local benefits. This means public construction projects that use certified tradespeople, pay fair wages, train apprentices, hire locally and bring indigenous people, youth and women into the construction workforce.

When local hiring and apprentice training is a priority, communities are stronger. Stable, family-supporting jobs and a diverse population of skilled workers trained in safe and environmentally responsible construction practices are always the best solutions to meet the needs of industry and communities.

Leaving a Positive Community Legacy

The new Community Building Standard delivers ongoing benefits to each community where we live and work. Communities are stronger when they are able to participate directly in the economy and contribute to the well-being of their local suppliers and services. We will work with community service groups, teams, associations and individuals to ensure our work delivers a legacy that makes a long-term difference to each community where we have a presence.

Learn more and join the discussion at buildingitright.ca.