Canadian Building Trades' response to TransCanada 'Open Season' Announcement on the Energy East Pipeline Project

Apr 02, 2013, 09:45 ET from Building & Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO

OTTAWA, April 2, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Building Trades and its nearly 500,000 members represent the most skilled trades' workforce worldwide.  The skills our members obtain come from superb in-school instruction and from first class on the job mentoring; they deliver, from coast to coast to coast, on time and on budget construction of the highest integrity and quality. The TransCanada announcement to solicit long term commitments to transport Western Canadian oil to Eastern markets is a very welcome step in an important process to secure for Canadians in Central and Atlantic Canada the benefits of Western oil production.

The announcement speaks to a long held Building Trades' goal, energy self-sufficiency based on our own energy sources. Speaking on behalf of the Building Trades, Canadian Operating Officer Robert Blakely said "We are very much heartened by this announcement, it is nation building and in the best possible way.  Beyond the large number of jobs involved in the construction and maintenance of the pipeline itself; the pipeline is more than just a utility.  It connects thousands of high skilled, well-paid jobs in Alberta that will extend for the life of the Energy East project to thousands of high skilled, well-paid jobs in Central and Atlantic Canada.  The successful completion of the 'Open Season' will be a win for all Canadians."

Blakely also indicated "The project is timely; it dovetails with the recent Budget, presented by the Government of Canada, which supports the growth of the skilled trades careers in Canada. Energy jobs are the future and those careers will be in demand."

"We recognize the authoritative studies that indicate that the demographic shift from the Baby Boom Generation to the Workforce of Tomorrow that is not yet in the trades!!"  Phil Flemming, the International Vice-President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) also said  "Canada will need to train and attract 300,000 new skilled trades workers in the near term; in the IBEW we have a dedicated program to attract bright and motivated young people into our highly skilled ranks.  We can deliver the training with our employer partners and with the support of Canada's apprenticeship system, but you need a job to be an apprentice - this project will provide thousands of those jobs, and thousands of apprentice opportunities that lead to the best careers that our industry has to offer!!"

Mary Dougherty, the Canadian Director of the Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons International Association of the United States and Canada (OPCMIA) indicated "Energy East will allow very significant amounts of Alberta's Oilsands crude oil to be processed in Eastern Canada; the volume of much higher priced foreign crude to be displaced is inspiring. Tie-in the jobs, both in the direct construction and maintenance trades and the indirect and induced support jobs - you get the sort of 'think big' things that Canadians are noted for worldwide as well as unprecedented long term economic prosperity. We see this project as a conduit to a better future for all Canadians."

About the BCTD

The North America-wide BCTD AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labour - Congress of Industrial Organizations) coordinates activities and provides resources to 15 affiliated trade unions in the construction, maintenance and fabrication industries. In Canada, the BCTD represents 500,000 skilled trades workers.

SOURCE Building & Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO