In British Columbia, women comprise under 5% of the construction workforce on the average construction site — despite representing 50% of the population. LNG Canada, a company that is constructing the first Canadian large-scale LNG export facility, and a company committed to inclusion and diversity, didn’t think that was good enough.
“We see this as a workplace issue, not a women’s issue,” says Susannah Pierce, LNG Canada’s Director of Corporate Affairs and executive sponsor of YOUR PLACE. “LNG Canada and JGC Fluor, our prime contractor, have set a goal to double the average percentage of women in the construction trades on our Project.”
We see this as a workplace issue, not a women’s issue.Susannah Pierce, LNG Canada’s Director of Corporate Affairs
The LNG Canada Project will take surplus natural gas from northeastern British Columbia, transport it via a third-party pipeline, and cool the natural gas to −162 degrees C, at which temperature it turns into a liquid to make it easy to transport via specially designed LNG vessels. Markets such as China need LNG to displace the use of coal, which emits much higher amounts of CO2 and also pollutes the air.
LNG Canada represents the largest private sector investment in Canadian history. At peak of construction, the Project in B.C. will require 7,000 workers. JGC Fluor is currently constructing Cedar Valley Lodge, a workplace accommodation village that is located adjacent to the facility site. The first 1500 beds will open in spring 2020, and care and attention has been paid to ensuring Cedar Valley Lodge is welcoming to women and all workers.
YOUR PLACE is a joint LNG Canada, JGC Fluor program to attract, recruit, train, and employ women in the skilled trades to work on the LNG Canada Project. YOUR PLACE includes a 4-week workplace readiness training program and employment supports designed to help women start — and succeed — in the skilled trades. Graduates are offered a direct line to employment in an entry level position as an apprentice with JGC Fluor or one of its subcontractors on the LNG Canada project site in Kitimat, BC.
Launched in June 2019, response has far exceeded LNG Canada and JGC Fluor’s expectations. Within 6 months of launch, YOUR PLACE received applications from more than 1100 BC women.
For women from outside the local area, LNG Canada and JGC Fluor have removed barriers to participation by covering the cost of return air fare to the training that takes place at Kitimat Valley Institute (KVI) and providing complimentary accommodation and meals. The training is free and all participants receive personal protective equipment at no cost. Holding all training sessions in Kitimat gives women from outside the local area the opportunity to experience a fly in/fly out worksite.
“The response to YOUR PLACE has completely surpassed LNG Canada’s expectations,” says Tracey MacKinnon, LNG Canada’s workforce development lead, and the brains behind the YOUR PLACE program. “Our message to women that we are saving a place for them on our project has really resonated with women of all ages and in all stages of their career.”
While not all applicants will make it through the recruitment process to training, by the end of November, many women had submitted all documents required to participate. Following submission of their documents, a representative from Women Building Futures, the non-profit organization that provides the customized training, conducts a phone interview with each applicant.
Attracting more women to the construction trades in BC. is an important part of LNG Canada and JGC Fluor’s comprehensive workforce development strategy and commitment to hiring locally and within the province as YOUR PLACE is only available to women residing in British Columbia.