Year in review: B.C.’s skilled labour pains about to become acute

posted on December 23, 2019

By Business in Vancouver |

Starting this year, thousands of skilled labourers and tradespeople will be needed in B.C. for a handful of multibillion-dollar construction projects that will be underway – provided they don’t get halted by the courts.

Over the next two years, depending on when the various construction schedules peak, an estimated 10,000 to 11,000 workers will be needed in B.C. for three major projects: Site C dam, LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink pipeline. If the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion ever restarts, the number would rise to around 15,000.

That’s not including all the other projects that could also be underway, including Woodfibre LNG, construction of the new Pattullo Bridge, the Millennium Line Broadway Extension and expansions to ports and the Vancouver International Airport.

Construction industry organization BuildForce Canada has estimated 17,000 non-residential construction jobs could be needed in B.C. between 2019 and 2021, if all the major projects proposed – including Trans Mountain – were to move ahead on schedule.

The $10.7 billion Site C dam project employed 3,746 people at peak construction in September 2018 – a number that is expected to increase to more than 4,000 in 2019 and 2020.

In 2021, at peak construction, the $40 billion LNG Canada project and associated Coastal GasLink pipeline will directly employ 7,000 labourers and skilled tradespeople, according to Tracey MacKinnon, workforce development manager for LNG Canada.

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