FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — B.C. Premier John Horgan said that a better job needs to be done ensuring that local workers, contractors, and apprentices have a shot at working on the Site C dam after announcing Monday that the dam will be completed.
In a phone interview late Tuesday, Horgan explained that as part of the project labour agreement components that will be implemented on the project, he wants to make sure that more local companies have the ability to be hired as subcontractors on the project.
“We want to make sure that local companies have an opportunity to participate. When it’s a billion-plus dollar contract, you’d like to think that you’re distributing that public money as well as you can to help the region and the businesses in that region. We need to increase the number of apprentices on site, there’s a small, small number now. We need to do better than that. We want to see a good distribution of equity within those apprentices as well, that the diversity of the community is represented. I’m confident that Hydro understands where we want to get to and they’ll be working hard to realize those objectives.”
When asked about questions and concerns that have been raised by some in the Fort St. John area about the accuracy and detail of Hydro’s Site C employment statistics thus far, Horgan said that his government expects that Hydro will be requiring more details from contractors going forward.
“I’m a Southerner, but I’ve increasingly heard from people in the region and from across B.C. that the local hire provisions that Hydro has been talking about to date haven’t been realized. We want to make sure that this is about putting British Columbians to work building B.C. for the next generation. There’s a whole bunch of opportunity in a $10.7 billion project to make sure those objectives are realized. I have every expectation that Hydro is going to be more transparent than they been have in the past, and that the public will be able to access that information in an easy and adjustable way. Not through mountains of paper but broken out in a way that can be demonstrated to people that we’re meeting our objectives.”
Horgan also said that a new oversight committee will be created including officials from both government and the private sector to ensure that the proper due diligence in upheld in meeting the NDP government’s expectations for local and apprentice hires.