Recent Developments regarding BC Hydro Site C Clean Energy Project

PCA members who have been following the Government of BC’s handling of the labour and commercial terms related to its Site C project will know that the Government has repeatedly affirmed its intention to use the Open Managed Site concept for this project.  We have advocated this approach repeatedly, at the highest levels of government, and voiced our support of the Government’s stance.

Over the past months, Tom Sigurdsen of the British Columbia Building Trades (BCBT) has attacked the Government’s position, going so far as to challenge BC Hydro’s position in court.  In response, PCA has been active in supporting our members and the rights of ALL British Columbians to access work on Site C.  Actions we have taken include:

– Discussions with senior government officials, including Premier Christy Clark, Ministers Coleman, Bennett, Bond, Virk and Wilkinson

– Lobby Day in Victoria, where we met with over 30 BC Liberal caucus members, chiefs of staff and Deputy Ministers

– Communicated our position widely through the Lower Mainland media

– Met directly with Senior BC Hydro leadership several times, where we communicated our support of their stance

In all of our meetings and outreach the Government’s and BC Hydro’s positions have been clear: Site C will operate as an Open Managed Site.

Recently you may have heard media reports of a “deal” between BC Hydro and BCBT, most notably in the Globe and Mail and CBC:

“BC Hydro has agreed to give union labour an edge when it chooses the contractors who will build the $8.8-billion Site C dam – a partial retreat from its “open shop” approach for the project.” – Globe and Mail, May 27

“… this new deal, which will give a higher priority to contractors who intend to recruit some of their workers from the building trade unions …” – G&M May 27

“Under the agreement, BC Hydro will place greater weight on project bids that include union members …” – CBC, May 27

What this means, apart from media spin, is unclear.  Subsequent to the agreement being reached between BC Hydro and the BCBT, we sought further clarification, speaking directly with Susan Yurkovich, Executive Vice-President, Site C Clean Energy Project, incoming Site C head Diane McSherry and with labour officials for BC Hydro.

PCA is assessing the details of this new arrangement, and whether they indicate any deviation from the Government’s stance related to our member’s interests.  We will communicate this information to you  as soon as possible after our analysis is complete.

In the mean-time, please be assured that PCA will continue vigorously to champion the interests of our members in BC and across the country, for a fair and open construction industry and Site C project.

Paul de Jong
Progressive Contractors Association