Site C sees local hiring boom in August while total job numbers fall

An aerial view of the excavation of the north bank of the Peace River at Site C in July, 2017. Photo by BC Hydro.

UPDATE – B.C. Hydro has informed Energeticcity.ca there could be an error in the employment data released for August. Hydro believes the number of residents employed by the project from the Peace River Region is incorrect and is working to verify the number. Once the number has been verified we will post a new story with that information.

 

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro has released employment statistics for the Site C dam during the month of August, which show a big increase in the number of locals employed on the project, while the project’s workforce has dropped for the second straight month.

In August, there were 2,357 people employed in building the 1,100 megawatt dam on the Peace River. Of those, 1,937 were employed as contractors, with an additional 420 engineers and project team members. The number of contractors on Site C decreased by 208 compared to July, when there were 2,145 workers in that same category.

The job losses at Site C are in stark contrast to BC Hydro’s statement in reaction to the announcement in August that Petrowest Corporation, one of the three members of the consortium contracted to build the dam’s main civil works, had filed for receivership. On August 11th, Acciona Infrastructure sent a notice to Petrowest that its membership in Peace River Hydro Partners had been terminated for alleged events of insolvency and default. Two days later, the company filed for receivership.

Photo by BC Hydro

Despite the loss of over 200 contractors, the job losses appear largely to be of personnel from outside the province. Though the number of B.C. residents employed in building the dam fell in August from 1,678 in July to 1,619, the percentage of B.C. contractors actually increased from 78 percent to 84 percent.

The number of Peace River Regional District residents working as contractors on Site C actually increased by 133 workers, to 836 in total. While that change in the number of local workers is not large, the change in percentage of PRRD contractors is. The percentage of resident contractors employed onsite in August was ten percent higher than in July, and comprised 43 percent of the contractor workforce.

The number of women working as contractors on Site C also increased once again in August. A total of 389 women were employed that month, meaning that approximately one in five workers were female. The number of indigenous people employed on site dropped by 12, to 181, while the number of apprentices employed dropped that same month from 62 to 53. The number of temporary foreign workers on site stayed steady compared to July, with a total of nine.

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