Coastal GasLink, along with many other industrial projects have been imposed with updated workforce limits by the public health order on Jan. 12, as a result of which the 670-kilometre project corridor has been allowed a total of 623 people on its workforce for the month of January, as per an update released by the company on Jan. 17.
The public health order came after two lodges on the Coastal GasLink route became the locations of COVID outbreaks along with several similar outbreaks for other industrial projects. The order resulted in several jobs being cut down abruptly or halted until the order is revised and the full workforce is utilized.
“As a result of the order, we’re not able to mobilize the full workforce needed to progress construction as planned. This has knock-on effects to our prime contractors who directly employ the workforce,” said Suzanne Wilton, the media representative for Coastal GasLink.
Wilton did clarify that the pipeline’s construction workforce is primarily employed by five prime contractors and the company is working closely with them to understand how their workforce mobilization planning is being affected and assessing the long-term impacts to scheduling.
“This is a dynamic and evolving situation and a challenging situation for everyone. We appreciate the understanding and patience as we work to overcome these challenges, and encourage members of the workforce to reach out to their respective employers if they have questions or concerns,” she wrote in an email to Lakes District News.
Just like the workforce numbers have faced cutbacks, the lodge occupancy has also seen a decline, with just 261 workers occupying the lodges as of Jan. 17.
Prior to the holiday break, there were 565 workers at the 7 Mile Lodge near Burns Lake, however with the new order, the lodge occupancy has been at 49 workers. Almost 100 more workers were expected to come back to the camp this past Monday. When asked about the possible increase in numbers, a representative from CGL said, “We are in compliance with the provincial health officer order regarding industrial project restart. There are a small number of workers at 7 Mile Lodge, within the overall limits set for the project at this time.”
Similarly, the Little Rock Lake Lodge near Fraser Lake had an occupancy of 224 workers just before holidays and there were 208 workers at the Huckleberry Lodge near Houston, however, with the provincial order, the occupancy at the two lodges has been at four and 24 respectively.
According to the January update released by the company, “In tandem with our prime contractors, the project anticipates an incremental increase to our workforce for February, subject to approval by the Public Health Officer and relevant health authorities.”