Skilled-labour, oil sands industry working together to advance competitiveness, workforce development

OTTAWA AND CALGARY, June 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's Building Trade Unions and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) today announced a joint agreement to advance long-term competitiveness of the oil sands industry, with particular focus on developing a stronger skilled trades workforce.

"The oil sands industry is the largest employer of skilled trades workers in Canada," said Dave Collyer, CAPP President. "The oil sands industry is working closely with the Building Trades on initiatives to improve labour availability, including workforce mobility skilled trades training and apprenticeship opportunities, and immigration. Ensuring Canada has a strong skilled trades workforce benefits all Canadians."

Robert Blakely, Director of Canadian Affairs for the Building and Construction Trades Department said, "Canada's oil sands industry provides more than 200 million work hours annually for 14 unions with locals from coast-to-coast. Ongoing responsible oil sands 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."

According to the federal government's Construction Sector Council latest forecast, by 2018 construction employment will rise by 180,000 jobs and about 200,000 skilled trades workers will retire. 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 skilled trades labour unions train 80 per cent of construction apprentices, including 40,000 trained annually in concert with the oil sands industry and our employer partners," said Blakely. "With cooperation between oil sands companies and unions, oil sands will be Canada's skilled trades training super-highway, deliver good paying jobs, the next generation of skilled trades people, and grow our economy."

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 CAPP's Dave Collyer.

CAPP and Canada's Building Trades Unions recently launched an advertisement featuring Larry Matychuk from the United Association of Pipefitters and Martyn A. Piper from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. The ad, found at and is one of several initiatives to build awareness of employment opportunities and the important role skilled trades people play in Canada's economy.

The North America-wide Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) coordinates activities and provides resources to 15 affiliated trade unions in the construction, maintenance and fabrication industries. In Canada, the BCTD represents 500,000 skilled trades workers.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. CAPP's member companies produce more than 90 per cent of Canada's natural gas and crude oil. CAPP's associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream crude oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP's members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues of about $100 billion-a-year. CAPP's mission is to enhance the economic sustainability of the Canadian upstream petroleum industry in a safe and environmentally and socially responsible manner, through constructive engagement and communication with governments, the public and stakeholders in the communities in which we operate.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

For further information:

Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, Canadian Office
Christopher Smillie
(613) 236-0653

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Travis Davies
(403) 267-1151

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