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Teck quitting Frontier oilsands mine a failure of federal leadership: ex-B.C. premier Christy Clark – CBC.ca

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Former B.C. Premier Christy Clark says that a failure of federal leadership led to Teck Resource Ltd.’s decision to walk away from building the $20-billion Tech Frontier oilsands mine in Alberta.

“They can’t seem to figure out if they’re on the side of of growing the economy and middle class jobs, or if they’re on the side of trying to stop all emissions from Canada,” said Clark, who was Liberal premier of the western province from 2011 to 2017. She is now a senior advisor at the law firm Bennett Jones.

“It really just means that there’s a lot of instability, and nobody wants to invest when they don’t know what the risk is going to be,” she told The Current’s Matt Galloway.

The federal government was due to decide this week whether the $20.6-billion, 260,000-barrel-per-day (39.7 million litres) mine could go ahead, but the Vancouver-based company withdrew its application in a surprise move Sunday. The company had estimated the mine would have created 7,000 construction jobs, and 2,500 operating jobs.

In an open letter about the decision, Teck CEO Don Lindsay cited the ongoing debate over climate policy in Canada.

A mining shovel fills a haul vehicle at the Shell Albian Sands oilsands mine near Fort McMurray, Alta. The Frontier oilsands mine would have been located between Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan (The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh)

“Unfortunately, the growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved. In that context, it is now evident that there is no constructive path forward for the project,” he wrote.

Clark said it was the “wrong debate” to try to choose between protecting the environment and promoting jobs and growth at home. She argued that resource development in Canada could also help the environment on a global scale — because it would be produced alongside efforts to minimise emissions. 

“What Teck would be offering the world with the Frontier project would be a whole heck of a lot better for the world, in displacing coal and dirty forms of energy in Asia,” she said. 

“Yes, it would raise emissions profiles in Canada, but overall, around the world, around the globe — which is what we really should be thinking about — it would really have a big impact in lowering that.” 

Teck’s Frontier oilsands project was planned for northern Alberta. The company pulled its application for the project on Sunday. (CBC News)

Decision to withdraw was ‘market-based’

Julia Levin, the climate and energy program manager for Environmental Defence, agreed that there is a lack of cohesion in the approach to fighting climate change at the provincial and federal level.

“It’s bad for Canadians, it’s bad for the environment, and it’s bad for the economy,” she told Galloway.

Chris Hall says the bigger question now is about Canada’s investment climate after a  major resource project is called off.    6:06

But she said Teck’s decision was primarily a market-based one, because “investors are just no longer willing to place their money into these expensive and high-carbon projects that are incompatible with climate action.”

She disagreed with Christy’s assertion, arguing that Canada has “spent years trying to both grow our fossil fuel sector, and also lead on climate, and those things are incompatible.” 

“But it’s not incompatible to have a thriving economy and a healthy climate,” she said.

“We just need to manage a transition into a low carbon economy.” 

She said Canadian businesses, and the public, needed a “climate test” to bring clarity to how decisions about resource extractions are made.

The projected emissions of a project could be judged against Canada’s climate targets, in the wider context of other projects, she explained.

“We map out that pathway, and then when we have project decisions, we know from the onset whether these are compatible with our climate goals,” she said. 

“And whether they’re economically viable in the world that actually does limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees.”


Written by Padraig Moran, with files from CBC News. Produced by Idella Sturino, Matt Meuse and Ines Colabrese.

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Canadian employers, facing labor shortage, accommodate the unvaccinated

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Canada’s tight labor market is forcing many companies to offer regular COVID-19 testing over vaccine mandates, while others are reversing previously announced inoculation requirements even as Omicron variant cases rise.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government adopted one of the strictest inoculation policies in the world for civil servants and has already put more than 1,000 workers on unpaid leave, with thousands more at risk.

Airlines, police forces, school boards and even Canada’s Big Five banks https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-major-banks-require-employees-entering-premises-be-vaccinated-2021-08-20 have also pledged strict mandatory vaccine policies. But following through has proven less straightforward, especially as employers grapple with staffing shortages and workers demand exemptions.

Job vacancies in Canada have doubled so far this year, official data shows, and vaccine mandates can make filling those jobs harder, potentially putting upward pressure on wages. That could fuel inflation https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-annual-inflation-rate-hits-47-oct-highest-since-feb-2003-2021-11-17, already running at a near two-decade high.

“It’s already difficult to find staff, let alone putting in a vaccine mandate. You’d cut out potentially another 20%” of potential workers, said Dan Kelly, chief executive of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

There are pitfalls to employing the unvaccinated. Companies run a higher risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and many vaccinated employees are uncomfortable working with those who have not had the jab, said industry groups and marketing experts.

At Luda Foods, a Montreal-based soup and sauce maker, president Robert Eiser said he has 14 open jobs, no vaccine mandate and no plans to restrict new hires to the vaccinated.

“I don’t know that I want to reduce the (labor) pool, which is already quite low,” said Eiser. “We need to attract people to meet the demand. If we don’t, our competitors will.”

Data released on Friday underpinned Canada’s tight labor market, with a hefty 153,700 jobs https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/canada-posts-hefty-job-gains-outlook-clouded-by-omicron-variant-2021-12-03 added in November. It also showed a growing mismatch between available workers and unfilled jobs. And job postings are far above pre-pandemic levels. (Graphic: Canada job postings surge above pre-pandemic level Canada job postings surge above pre-pandemic level, https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/CANADA2/klvyknzklvg/chart.png)

WALKING BACK

The province of Quebec backtracked on a vaccine mandates for healthcare workers last month, saying they could not afford to lose thousands of unvaccinated staff. Ontario, which was also eyeing a mandate, said it would not go ahead.

Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal have both softened their vaccine policy to allow regular testing for workers who missed their Oct. 31 inoculation deadline.

In Canada, 86% of adults are fully inoculated, though that drops under 80% among 18-40 year olds. At least 15 cases of the new Omicron https://www.reuters.com/markets/rates-bonds/canada-has-reported-total-11-cases-omicron-variant-health-official-2021-12-03 variant in Canada have been reported in the past week.

John Cappelli, vice president of onsite managed services in Canada for global recruitment firm Adecco, said half of his clients are mandating vaccines with the other half allowing regular testing for the unvaccinated.

But he expects the Omicron variant will prompt more workplaces to get strict on vaccination, even as they grapple with the tightest job market he’s seen in his 25-year career.

“We are now starting to see our first workplace (COVID-19) cases in five months,” he said.

The number of Canadian job postings on search website Indeed mentioning vaccine requirements has quadrupled since August. (Graphic: Canada job postings and vaccine mandates, https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/CANADA3/byvrjqrlmve/chart.png)

In the hard-hit manufacturing sector, where 77% of firms say their top concern is attracting and retaining workers, vaccine mandates are more rare.

Dennis Darby, CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, said most of Canada’s factories have operated safely throughout the pandemic. While CME encourages vaccination, “some companies are still using rapid testing if somebody doesn’t want to get vaccinated,” he added.

But companies risk a hit to their reputation if they are overt in efforts to tap into the unvaccinated as a labor pool, said Wojtek Dabrowski, managing partner at Provident Communications.

“If you go out and say, ‘We are intentionally seeking to hire unvaccinated people,’ many customers are equating that with you being anti-science and anti-safety,” said Dabrowski.

 

(Reporting by Julie Gordon and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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OLG confirms where in Ontario winning $8.8-million Lotto 6/49 ticket was sold – CTV News Toronto

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The OLG has revealed where in Ontario the winning ticket for Saturday’s $8.8 million Lotto 6/49 jackpot was purchased.

According to the OLG, the winning ticket was sold somewhere in Mississauga, but the exact location within the city can’t be publicly announced for security reasons. 

The second price in Saturday’s draw of $207,248.90 was sold in Lambton County.

A $1-million ticket was also sold in Niagara Region.

“It was a clean sweep for Ontario for this Lotto 6/49 draw in terms of the big prices,” OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti told CTV News Toronto on Sunday.

Another three tickets purchased in Ontario won a $100,000 Encore prize. 

Those tickets were sold in Ottawa, Simcoe County, and Grey County, the OLG said.

The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Dec. 8 will be an estimated $5 million.

According to the OLG, Lotto 6/49 players in Ontario have won more than $13.5 billion in prices since 1982.

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High River Cargill beef processing plant workers vote 71 per cent in favour of new deal – CTV Edmonton

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Cargill workers approved a new contract with 71 per cent support, avoiding a strike or lockout.

After two days of voting, employees at the beef-processing plant in High River, Alta., embraced the new labour contract.

In a statement, the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Local 401, representing workers at the plant, said on Saturday that it was a “bittersweet victory.”

The site, employing about 2,000 people, experienced a COVID-19 outbreak last year that affected more than 900 people and forced Cargill to close the plant temporarily. Three deaths have been linked to the outbreak, including two workers and one family member.

Workers will receive $4,200 in retroactive pay, a $1,000 signing bonus, a 21 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract, and improved health benefits. The company also agreed to provisions to facilitate a new culture of health, safety, dignity, and respect in the workplace.

“Our employees in High River are important to Cargill’s work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way,” said Jarrod Gillig, Cargill North America’s business operations and supply chain president, in a statement to CTV News.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that is comprehensive, fair, and reflective of their commitment to excellence at Cargill and the critical role they play in feeding families across Canada.”

STRIKE AVERTED

According to UFCW Local 401, the union and workers were ready for a potential strike, erecting tents in front of the plant, installing floodlights and propane heaters, levelling nearby fields to act as parking lots, and finalizing a picketing payroll system.

UFCW Local 401 president Thomas Hesse previously told CTV News that the deal was “fair” but would support workers on the picket line if they decided to reject the offer.

“Tomorrow, work will begin to enforce and apply the new provisions of the Cargill union contract,” Hesse said in a statement Saturday. “Local 401 congratulates and thanks Cargill union members and our Cargill Bargaining Committee.”

Hesse added that the past few months were trying for many employees at the plant.

MORE WORK TO DO

While the decision was not an easy one and a cause for celebration, UFCW Local 401 says there is further work.

The union says workers at the JBS Plant in Brooks, Alta., observed the Cargill proceedings as they head into bargaining for a new contract next year. Additionally, the UFCW Local 401 says it plans to continue pushing for meatpacking industry reforms and restructuring.

As prices for meat continue to soar at the grocery store, Hesse said more needs to be done to better support workers and ranchers.

“Workers have been ripped off. Ranchers have been ripped off. And we’ve all been ripped off at the supermarket counter,” he said. “Government failed to protect these workers, as well as failing to protect Alberta ranchers and consumers. Change must occur.”

With files from CTV News Calgary’s Michael Franklin

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