Pipeline project prioritizes local workers, TC says

The Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline project might offer numerous jobs to locals and contractors are looking to hire them, as shown at CGL’s job fair in Burns Lake on Nov. 5.

More than 130 people visited the CGL Open House and Job Fair in the gymnasium of Island Gospel Fellowship Church.

Representatives from nine companies, four labour unions and the main organizer TC Energy set up information displays and accepted resumes from job seekers.

The event comes just a few months before preparatory work on the 7-Mile Road Multi-use site north of Tchesinkut Lake is expected to begin, and as other preparations for the natural gas pipeline accelerate across the region.

READ MORE: Prep work starts on Burns Lake pipeline camp

The companies at the fair included Civeo, a work camp accommodation services firm contracted by TC for the 7-Mile Road site; Summit Camps, another workforce accommodation company; Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction (PAPC) which will build the sections of pipeline that will run south of Burns Lake and Houston; and Burns Lake Native Development Corporation and Burns Lake Native Logging.

After construction starts in the winter of 2020-2021 on the section of pipeline near Burns Lake, the 7-Mile Road camp will house close to 700 people at its peak, as Kiel Giddens, Public Affairs Manager with TC Energy told Lakes District News. That includes 600 pipeline workers, PAPC management and administrative staff, security contractors, medical personnel and camp staff.

The companies and unions at the event are operating in line with the pipeline project’s hiring strategy, which prioritizes local and Indigenous workers.

“We aim to maximize local employment opportunities as much as possible,” said Giddens. “There’s no minimum and no ceiling to it. We think there’ll be a skills shortage and a labour shortage. That’s why we’re here trying to recruit as much as possible. That’s why contractors working from outside this region are in fact competing for workers at an event like this.”

For the Indigenous component of local hiring, Giddens said that security services contractor Domcor will partner with local First Nations to hire staff Indigenous staff for the pipeline project. CGL will contract Burns Lake Native Logging for forestry activities related to the pipeline.

“I think [it’s] a good legacy for the region for the long term because we’re building capacity for local Indigenous businesses,” he said.

Although many of the jobs on the pipeline require specific skills, especially for the pipeline areas at high elevations near Kitimat, Giddens said people will be hired who can be trained as well.

“With welding for example, they would start out as a welder’s helper. If they have previous welding experience they might need to upgrade their tickets and the union would help with that. And they would get on the job experience which would include hours in their apprenticeship program.”

In terms of equipment for the project, the aim is to procure locally as much as possible but some gear and technology will be brought in from outside and that can range from the simple to the specialized.

“We do have above standard safety equipment and I’ll use the example of gloves. They’re not typical safety gloves. These prevent cuts to a greater extent. They’re of a higher quality and are paid for by the company.”

On the more complex end, “PAPC has their own very own specialized side boom cranes that have never actually been used in the Canadian context. They’re training with the operating engineers union on this equipment. It’s all brand new equipment, it’s not something that can be procured locally because it’s so specialized,” Giddens explained.

Local services and equipment that will be contracted include road maintenance, snow removal and vehicle rentals.

“In Smithers there’s a business supplying rental trucks but they equip them for us with all of the safety gear already. We provide the specifications and they meet them. We would have the flags on the trucks, we equip them with in-vehicle monitoring systems so we actually monitor speed and traffic behaviour so that we know if there’s potential fatigue and to avoid any safety incidents.”

The CGL pipeline project comprises eight sections starting in the Groundbirch area just west of Dawson Creek and running west to Kitimat.

The pipe will carry natural gas to the processing facility in Kitimat where it will be turned into liquefied natural gas and then exported by ship.


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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