Trade unions, oilsands industry launch agreement to advance workforce development

Promoting careers in skilled trades, improving workforce availability among initiatives
||Last Updated: 06/04/2012

Canada's Building Trade Unions and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) announced a joint agreement to advance long-term competitiveness of the oilsands industry, with particular focus on developing a stronger skilled trades workforce.

"The oilsands industry is the largest employer of skilled trades workers in Canada," said Dave Collyer, CAPP President. "The oilsands industry is working closely with the Building Trades on initiatives to improve labour availability, including workforce mobility, skilled trades training, apprenticeship opportunities and immigration.”

Under the CAPP-Building Trades agreement, the two organizations will promote careers in skilled trades and work with governments on initiatives to improve workforce availability.

"We need to work jointly to attract more Canadians into the skilled trades, provide more classroom and employment-based training opportunities, improve incentives to move within Canada for work, and as needed, increase both permanent and temporary immigration. More skilled people who are mobile, certified and ready to work is a win-win," said Collyer.

By 2018, construction employment will rise by 180,000 jobs and about 200,000 skilled trades workers will retire, according to the federal government's Construction Sector Council latest forecast. While about 170,000 new entrants are expected, a 200,000-worker gap is forecast. Worker shortages have inflationary implications, including cost increases for construction projects and increased project execution risk, and could impact the industry's ability to attract investment.

"Canada's oilsands industry provides more than 200 million work hours annually for 14 unions with locals from coast-to-coast,” said Robert Blakely, director of Canadian affairs for the Building and Construction Trades Department. “Ongoing responsible oilsands development is our goal, working with the industry to ensure Canada has the skilled people needed to grow our economy over the next several decades."

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