BC, China sign deal for foreign temporary workers to build LNG facilities
Read this July 25 story from the Vancouver Sun, which undermines the BC Liberal government’s promises of jobs for British Columbians from their proposed LNG industry. The federal government’s foreign temporary worker program – which the BC Liberal government has actively encouraged – has become an increasing source of controversy over the past year.
VICTORIA — B.C. and China have inked a new agreement that will see the two governments work to allow foreign workers into the province if needed to help build a liquefied natural gas industry.
The provincial government and the People’s Republic of China signed the non-binding memorandum of understanding this week, which pledges co-operation and information sharing to help develop B.C.’s LNG industry.
The two sides will “work together with the appropriate authorities to secure and facilitate the entry of foreign workers” in B.C., while “respecting the priority of hiring domestic labour wherever possible,” according to the agreement.
Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman has said B.C. could need temporary foreign workers to fill some of the 100,000 jobs that would be created if several B.C. LNG facilities materialize.
None of the multinational corporations considering LNG plants in B.C. has yet made final investment decisions.
China “respects” B.C.’s jobs strategy to create more apprenticeship and skilled trades training opportunities for the LNG sector, Coleman said in a statement Friday.
“Some jobs will not be filled by British Columbians, either because they require highly specialized experience in the LNG industry or because we do not have enough workers in the province to meet the level of demand,” he said.
“Our priority in filling those jobs includes making sure British Columbians are first in line for job opportunities, then Canadian workers followed by U.S. and international workers.
“The MOU signals an understanding there could be a need for foreign workers to support LNG construction in B.C. and that the applicable agencies will work closely together moving forward to facilitate this if needed.”
Coleman has pressured Ottawa to continue to allow temporary foreign workers for major industrial projects, after the federal government recently cracked down on the program after abuses within the restaurant industry.
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