British Columbia

At least 18 workers laid off from Kinder Morgan worksite after pipeline spending cuts

Contractors who had been working in Burnaby, B.C., have been assigned to other projects after Kinder Morgan stopped non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in April.

Contractors received 'reassignment' notices Monday, Kiewit-Ledcor says

A worker installs new fence posts near the path of the Trans Mountain pipeline. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

At least 18 people have lost their jobs at the Trans Mountain pipeline work sites in B.C., three weeks after Kinder Morgan stopped non-essential spending on the expansion project.

Ledcor said affected staff were informed of their "reassignment" on Monday.

"KLTP [Kiewit-Ledcor Trans Mountain Partnership] has been looking at all activities and our staffing to determine what is essential at this time and looking at opportunities to reassign non-essential staff and resources to other Kiewit and Ledcor projects," read an emailed statement from the construction group.

Workers at the site of an underground stretch of pipeline in Burnaby, B.C. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Ledcor said it made the personnel decision late last week.

It did not specify how many people lost their jobs, but a representative from the union of some of the workers confirmed at least 18 of its members were affected.

"The uncertainty that, quite frankly, the government has created on the project has trickled down into people's lives," said Ryan Bruce with the Christian Labour Association of Canada.

"A project like Trans Mountain is a long-term project ... it has a lot of appeal to workers," he continued. "So [layoffs are] unsettling and creates a lot of disruption."

The final length of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, which ends at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C. (Paul Haavardsrud/CBC)

Bruce said the workers may be rehired by the company to work on another project.

Kinder Morgan announced Kiewit-Ledcor as a "major" contractor for the Lower Mainland portion of the project last June.

Contractors were brought in to build the section of the pipeline between Langley, B.C., and Burnaby, B.C. — the last 35 kilometres of the expansion.

Workers were also assigned to the areas running through Burnaby Mountain, as well as to the Burnaby, Sumas and Westridge Marine terminals.

A worker installs new fence posts near the path of the Trans Mountain pipeline. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Kinder Morgan said it would be stopping all non-essential spending for the Trans Mountain pipeline project on April 8. The company said the decision was due to ongoing opposition from the B.C. government and its need to protect its own shareholders.

West Coast opponents said the move threw the future of the project into doubt. Others said it was a blow for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government granted the project federal approval in 2016.

Kinder Morgan has given Ottawa until May 31 to provide assurance that the expansion will be finished.

The company has to date spent about $1.1 billion on the $7.4-billion project, which will twin the existing pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby.

With files from Eric Rankin

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