IBEW Says Eastern Pipeline Means Good Jobs, Energy Independence for Canada

April 8, 2013


IBEW members in Canada are cheering TransCanada Corp’s. proposal to build a pipeline to transport crude oil from Western Canada to refineries in the east.

TransCanada is one of North America’s largest energy companies and is the leading developer of Alberta’s oil and natural gas fields. Transporting tar-sands crude to eastern Canada would make the country nearly fully energy independent, cutting oil imports by more than 600,000 barrels a day,says the company.

The proposed 2,700 mile Eastern Oil Pipeline would supply refineries in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. The line could be operational as early as 2017.

For the Canadian Building Trades, the new line helps meet the organization’s top policy goals: energy independence and good jobs.

Says Robert Blakely, director of Canadian Affairs for the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

We are very much heartened by this announcement, it is nation-building and in the best possible way. Beyond the large number of jobs involved in the construction and maintenance of the pipeline itself; the pipeline is more than just a utility. It connects thousands of high skilled, well-paid jobs in Alberta that will extend for the life of the Energy East project to thousands of high skilled, well-paid jobs in Central and Atlantic Canada.

The announcement underscores the important role the building trades play in preparing the next generation of skilled energy workers.

Says First District International Vice President Phil Flemming:

Canada will need to train and attract 300,000 new skilled trades workers in the near term; in the IBEW we have a dedicated program to attract bright and motivated young people into our highly skilled ranks. We can deliver the training with our employer partners and with the support of Canada's apprenticeship system, but you need a job to be an apprentice. This project will provide thousands of those jobs, and thousands of apprentice opportunities that lead to the best careers that our industry has to offer.

TransCanada is also behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which currently awaits approval from U.S. authorities.


Photo used under a Creative Commons License from Flickr user Travis S.