Feb 24, 2020

Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) are disappointed with the announcement that Teck Resources Ltd. has decided to withdraw its application to build the Frontier Project in Alberta. Despite the company’s significant investment in this project, the combination of changing market conditions, uncertainty in Canada’s investment environment, and public safety concerns have unfortunately impacted the viability of the project.

Teck’s Frontier Project would have created thousands of good, high-paying construction jobs for Canadians. Upwards of 7,000 full-time jobs would have been open to Canadian workers over the course of its construction, with 2,500 jobs retained during ongoing operations. For young people starting a career in the trades, the Frontier Project would have represented a fantastic opportunity for developing their much-needed skills in the industry. This would have provided a boost to Canada’s construction sector and the men and women that work in it.

“Local communities across Alberta, including First Nations and Métis communities, would have seen significant new economic opportunities become available with the employment of local people from their communities,” said Lionel Railton, Executive Board Member, Canada’s Building Trades Unions. “This would have had a huge, positive impact on Alberta at a time when the province has been struggling to find employment for its people and struggling to return to the economic prosperity it had prior to the start of its economic recession six years ago.”

The Frontier Project had undergone extensive review by federal and provincial regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous communities. The company had reached agreements with all 14 Indigenous communities in the project area, which set out a framework for cooperation in areas such as environmental stewardship and economic opportunities. Moreover, the company had reiterated its commitment towards environmental responsibility, with the aim to make the Frontier Project the nation’s lowest greenhouse gas intense oil sands operation by utilizing industry-leading technologies and best practices.

Nevertheless, despite all the good will and effort by Teck Resources Ltd. in putting forward the Frontier Project, the project has ultimately faced too many hurdles for the company to consider it viable. While it may not be possible to control all economic variables involved, the Government of Canada can control and has a duty to ensure that the investment environment for major projects is positive.

The Federal Government must show its support for our natural resources sector clearly and decisively. We believe the Federal Government should and must continue to have a role in approving major projects, such as this one, and must show companies and workers in the natural resources sector that it supports them.

The Frontier Project would have supported tradespeople and communities not only across Alberta but all of Canada. Highly-trained and skilled men and women are committed to building these major nation-building projects. The decision to shelve the Frontier Project is a huge setback for them, and for all Canadians, particularly those in the province of Alberta who will be devastated and frustrated by this announcement. This is a very sad day for Canada.