September 11, 2013
B.C. premier meets with labour leaders about LNG initiatives
B.C. Premier Christy Clark has invited building trades unions to join a committee which will facilitate the supply of skilled labour for the construction of a new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry in the province.
“We just concluded a meeting led by these two gentlemen, private sector leaders,” said Premier Christy Clark.
“I regard this as a special day because we have agreed to work together to better our province. We have agreed to work together to improve apprenticeship training. Together we can make sure British Columbians have the skills to get the jobs that are coming.”
Clark made this statement at a press conference held today in Vancouver, while standing at a podium with B.C. Building Trades executive director Tom Sigurdson and Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour.
According to Clark, she invited the labour leaders to a meeting this morning to discuss the formation of a committee to ensure British Columbians are first in line for the 100,000 jobs that will be created through the development of an LNG Industry.
“I would like to thank the premier for initiating dialogue because we are at a place where we need to start training young British Columbians for the jobs that are coming,” said Sigurdson.
“This is about doing what we can to ensure skill sets are in place when the LNG plants go ahead. We talked about wide parameters, but there is still a long way to go to get where we need to be. However, the process started today and we will see where it ends.”
The B.C. Liberal Party's campaign strategy for the last election in May was based on promoting the benefits of building a new LNG industry by 2020.
“Let’s end the politics and start to think about getting people to work,” said Clark. A B.C. government study on the potential employment impacts created by LNG development in B.C. assumed two larger and three smaller-sized LNG plants, along with supporting pipelines, were being proposed.
It was anticipated that on average more than 39,000 annual jobs will be created over a nine-year construction period.
In addition, the study predicts 75,000 jobs will be created once these plants are fully operational.
There are currently more than 10 proposed LNG projects in B.C., three of which already have approved export licences from the National Energy Board.
“The new committee will be looking at labour and the premier is looking at equal participation between business, labour and government,” said Sigurdson.
“We had this type of arrangement under ITAC (Industry Training and Apprenticeship Commission), but this was changed under the ITA (Industry Training Authority). We need to move back to equal participation under ITA.”
The Liberals enacted legislation in 2003 that dissolved the ITAC and the ITA was established in 2004.
The new approach to apprenticeship training began by closing regional offices, eliminating trades counselors, cutting funding to programs and removing labour representatives from the ITA board.
Last month, Kevin Evans, the chief executive officer of the ITA was released by the board of directors, after six years in the position.
The ITA’s mandate is currently being reviewed by the provincial government and the board decided a different leadership skill set is required to move the organization forward and to address training and apprenticeship opportunities in B.C.
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