A new program aims to train indigenous women from Alberta to equip them for work on the $6.8-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
The joint program between Women Building Futures and the Trans Mountain expansion project is currently slated to train 12 women in an eight-week course. The course will cover carpentry and welding foundations. They will also receive 15 safety certifications, making them eligible to be labourers on the project.
"The project heard about some of the positive outcomes we have had and they were impressed with what we do with Alberta," said Valerie Moses, co-ordinator of the program. "The will get great exposure to pipeline construction."
The dozen women from the Samson Cree Nation, Paul First Nation and Edmonton were shortlisted from a group of 43 applicants. They also come from a wide range of backgrounds, some mothers and others looking for another career.
The programs will wrap up in August and participants will then be added to a database of workers that pipeline contractors will use to find labourers.
According to Women Building Futures, those who don’t get to work on the Trans Mountain project will be assisted in finding other work.
"Right now about half the local workforce is underutilized," said Moses. "I think the business case for hiring women is strong."
Moses added that Trans Mountain approached Women Building Futures to try and engage indigenous women. She said having an employer take the initiative is encouraging.
"I think it’s critical to a change happening, to have that responsibility shared, and to have employers supporting the employment opportunism," she said. "We are very excited about it and are very honoured to be involved in training indigenous women."
On Nov. 29, 2016, the federal government granted approval for the Trans Mountain expansion project.
Earlier, on May 19, 2016, following a 29-month review, the National Energy Board concluded the project was in the Canadian public interest and recommended the Federal Governor in Council approve the expansion. These approvals allowed the project to proceed with 157 conditions.
Last month, Kinder Morgan Canada Limited announced that, indirectly through its affiliates, it has entered into definitive agreements establishing a $4 billion revolving construction credit facility for the purposes of funding the development, construction and completion of the Trans Mountain expansion project; a $1 billion revolving contingent credit facility for the purposes of funding, if necessary, additional Trans Mountain expansion project costs; and a $500 million revolving working capital facility, which is available for general corporate purposes, including working capital, explains a release.
The project will triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day, moving a mix of oil products from Edmonton to a terminal in Burnaby, B.C., near Vancouver.