FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro has released employment statistics for the Site C dam construction project in February and March of this year.
According to BC Hydro, there were a total of 2,211 people working on the $8.9 billion dam in some capacity in February, an increase of 87 from January. In March, that number jumped once again to 2,252.
There was a large increase in the number of Construction and Non-Construction Contractors employed at Site C, from 1,671 in the first month of the year, to 1,786 in February. In March, that number shrank by only seven contractors.
When it comes to residents of the Peace River Regional District, and B.C. in general, those numbers saw a large amount of fluctuation. February saw a large spike in local hires, with 42 percent of the dam’s workforce hailing from the PRRD, for a total of 749 contractors. That number was an increase of 72 local workers over January, when 677 PRRD residents were employed at Site C as contractors. February also saw a bump in the number of B.C. residents working as contractors, from 1,348 in January to 1,444.
Those numbers then saw a decrease in March. The number of B.C. residents working as contractors fell by 27 to 1,417. In that same month, the number of PRRD resident contractors fell by 40 to a total of 709, or 40 percent of contractors. The percentage of B.C. residents employed as Construction and Non-Construction contractors remained at 81 percent in both January and February, then fell to 80 percent in March.
While the number of PRRD and B.C. residents rose and then fell in the last two months at Site C, the number of temporary foreign workers has gone up in three straight months. After the project’s first temporary foreign worker started working on the dam in January, there were an additional two temporary foreign workers at Site C in February. One more started working in March, bringing the total of temporary foreign workers to 4.
Overall, the project has also seen fluctuations in diversity hiring since January. The number of Aboriginal people working on the dam has gone from 195 in January, to 216 in February, and most recently to 220 in March. Over that same time frame, the number of female workers at the dam site increased by 86 from January to February, then fell by 26 in March for a total of 317.
Heavy equipment operators continued to make up a large proportion of the workforce in March, with just over 600 in total.