PEACE RIVER, B.C. - BC Hydro recently released employment statistics for the Site C project for November 2016.
The report reveals 18 per cent of workers, which equals 246, on the project were from outside B.C., drawing criticism from the BC Building Trades.
The November statistics show that of 1,382 construction and non-construction contractor workers, 1,136 were B.C. residents (82 per cent) and 648 of those were local Peace River Regional District residents. Of the entire workforce, the rate stayed the same, with 82 per cent of 1,796 workers coming from B.C.
"This is simply unacceptable," said Tom Sigurdson, executive director for the BC Building Trades. "There are thousands of skilled and qualified British Columbians available and ready to work on this project. Instead, BC Hydro has allowed contractors to bring in hundreds of out of province workers each month to work on the project."
Sigurdson said that Building Trades members have negotiated agreements with BC Hydro to build every dam in BC for the past 60 years. The Allied Hydro agreement was put in place in 1963 by the late Premier W.A.C. Bennett. BC Hydro recently broke with that labour supply model for the Site C project. Consequently, thousands of unionized construction workers have not secured employment on the project.
"We are proud of our historic role as dam builders in this province. We have a model that puts British Columbians to work," said Sigurdson. "Employment Statistics from recent projects we've worked on demonstrate the vast majority of workers are sourced from local communities and only 1-5 per cent come from out of province."
Sigurdson said that in contrast, BC Hydro is only employing 47 per cent of workers from the Peace River region and only 82 per cent from BC.
"There is no excuse for leaving certified British Columbians on the side lines on this project," said Sigurdson. "Month after month, BC Hydro proudly releases employment statistics that they should be ashamed of."