Without any exaggeration, the pandemic has been terrible for everyone. Canadians and small businesses are struggling everywhere and with the pandemic drawing out over a year, we’ve continued to experience those impacts for much longer than we ever thought was possible.
A bright spot, has been the major projects being built across British Columbia. For nearly a decade, Canadians have talked about twinning the existing Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby. We saw it drawn out in political battles and court cases. Now, when we need economic opportunities most, the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX) is creating jobs across the province and leading the way to recovery.
Canada’s economy has been hit hard. In fact, the most recent B.C. budget showed an estimated real GDP contraction of -5.3% in 2020. However, according to a piece by the Business Council of B.C., major projects have reduced the economic impact substantially. In fact, because of ongoing construction, B.C. is in a better position to restore jobs and bounce back post pandemic. We’ve already seen a 4.4% rebound in GDP for 2021 and stable job recovery in the 2021 BC budget.
While some like to pretend the natural gas and oil industry is dying, it remains one of Canada’s largest and most important sectors. For example, the industry supports over 500,000 Canadian jobs and contributes over $10 billion in average annual revenue to governments. While that is a huge amount, sometimes the reality of what that means gets lost.
When you hear the words ‘direct and indirect jobs’, what do you think of? A welder, an engineer, maybe someone operating heavy machinery? While all good examples, it also includes accountants, lab techs and entrepreneurs – it’s the indirect benefits that go unseen and often make the biggest difference in communities.
In September we interviewed a few small business owners. From Bryan Pilbeam, General Manager of the Delta Hotel in Kamloops to Ray Dhaliwal, owner of Ray’s Lock & Key, we heard one message loud and clear: TMX is creating opportunities that simply wouldn’t have existed during the pandemic.
In Ray’s case, he was able to hire on and train extra long-term staff to re-key contractor facilities in Clearwater. For Bryan, it was the fact that Kamloops missed a tourist season in the summer of 2020 and having a few rooms booked out consistently through the year to TMX workers gave him the ability to keep staff employed.
The Trans Mountain Expansion Project recently announced that the horizontal directional drill crossing of the Thompson River was completed in December 2020, with clean up in the area now complete. Moving forward, crews will now be focusing their efforts on pipeline construction along Tranquille Road adjacent to the airport property.
This is exciting news! As TMX and other major projects such as LNG Canada and the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline are built, British Columbians will be working and seeing the benefits for years to come.
Advisor, Citizen Engagement and Outreach, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)
About CAPP: The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) advocates for the responsible growth of the oil and natural gas industry and support for economic competitiveness and safe, environmentally and socially responsible performance. CAPP’s Canadian Energy Citizens empowers people from across the country to show their support for responsibly-produced Canadian oil and natural gas. Become an Energy Citizen at www.energycitizens.ca
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