Libs looking at foreign workers for liquefied gas projects

Federal labour minister advised to allow temporary foreign workers as a backup to Canadians as B.C. aims to build LNG plants

OTTAWA – The federal labour minister was told earlier this year to give a positive signal to liquefied natural gas companies on the use of temporary foreign workers, but only if Canadians were considered first for jobs.

Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk’s officials told her in February that it was inevitable that companies would need temporary foreign workers to proceed with energy projects in Western Canada.

In a Feb. 1 briefing note, Mihychuk’s officials write that the federal government can speed up how quickly it processes applications for temporary foreign workers, but couldn’t waive requirements for liquefied natural gas projects.

The briefing note, prepared ahead of Mihychuk’s meeting with David Keane, president of the BC LNG Alliance, recommends “signal support” for temporary foreign workers “on the condition that Canadians are considered first for available jobs … and only used as a measure of last resort.”

The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the briefing note under the Access to Information Act.

In an interview, Keane said Mihychuk didn’t give any indication of how the government would decide on the issue of foreign workers involved in projects. He said the message Mihychuk provided was that the government wanted to review the temporary foreign worker program.

He didn’t want to speculate about what the message from department officials may mean for the fate of projects that require federal approval.

Thousands of temporary foreign workers are expected to be needed to work on any of the 20 separate liquefied natural gas projects being reviewed in British Columbia, including the Pacific Northwest LNG project that the federal cabinet has to decide on this fall.

The briefing note says unions are unlikely to speak out publicly about the use of temporary foreign workers because they know the majority of jobs will go to union members and that Canadians will be first in line for jobs.

Keane said the plan is to hire a workforce derived from local aboriginal communities and provincial residents before looking across Canada.

“There will be probably a requirement, and I think everybody recognizes this, for temporary foreign workers to be able to build this industry, but we have a plan in place and are developing the plan and refining the plan to make sure that we look at Canadians first before we bring in temporary foreign workers,” Keane said.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

(file)
Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read