FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — 114 citizens from across the province, including residents of Fort St. John, have sent an open letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan raising their concerns with BC Hydro’s employment statistics for the Site C dam project.
In the letter, the group asks Premier Horgan to get Hydro to provide more detailed human resources data from Site C than is currently being offered by the Crown Corporation, with the reasoning that those statistics lack public verification. BC Hydro is required to publish monthly jobs numbers for the project, including the percentage of workers that are primary residents of B.C.
However Hydro has said that the monthly jobs numbers are cumulative. That means that even if a worker is laid off during a given month, they will still be indicated as an employee in that month’s employment statistics.
“We think a better energy plan would produce good paying jobs close to home in communities throughout BC,” the letter reads. “Keeping life affordable under the circumstances means limiting rate increases to only those made necessary by cancellation of the project.
We also recognize and applaud your government’s commitment to improving public infrastructure and creating tens of thousands of construction jobs around BC.
It is against this backdrop that we have become increasingly alarmed about the position of some members of the Legislative Assembly, the ICBA (Independent Contractors Business Association), CLAC (the Christian Labour Association of Canada) and some in the media who persist in making Site C about jobs.”
In their letter, the group of 114 make 10 recommendations to Premier Horgan when it comes to getting more detailed employment statistics from Hydro on the Site C project. Those 10 recommendations are:
- Ask BC Hydro to release pertinent sections of Contractors’ contracts regarding criteria for job data collection especially with regard to how the data is collected and the definition of what time equivalent constitutes a ‘job’.
- Ask BC Hydro to determine the time equivalency of various professional and semi-professional jobs, and whether the Site C work is part of a larger portfolio.
- Ask BC Hydro to provide full-time employees on the “non-construction” numbers or verify that they are indeed occasional employees to the project and whether they would retain full-time employment in their companies if Site C was terminated.
- Ask BC Hydro to identify how many jobs in doing public infrastructure work are reported as Site C jobs.
- Ask BC Hydro to clarify the actual job functions and FTE details of the “worker accommodation and services…office staff…and supplies” categories.
- Ask BC Hydro to explain the employee days they are documenting with this number.
- Ask BC Hydro to verify the number of actual “construction” workforce in August 2017, in all job classifications so that the public can get a clearer picture of worker numbers. And further, would BC Hydro explain the discrepancies in numbers.
- Ask BC Hydro for its health and safety emergency plan given that it is not up-to-date on employment figures.
- Ask BC Hydro to explain the criteria that reporting contractors use to provide the ‘primary residence’ estimate.
- Ask if BC Hydro or the government has undertaken a study or estimate of how many workers who were previously employed at Site C have left the area, compared to those who remained and transitioned to another industry.
The full letter can be found below.