TORONTO—A skilled trades employers group is lobbying in favour of Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Line 9 pipeline reversal, claiming the project is good for Canada’s construction industry.
In a written argument to the National Energy Board (NEB), which is holding hearings in Toronto this week into the application to reverse the pipeline between southern Ontario and Montreal, the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) said the failure to approve projects like Calgary-based Enbridge’s Line 9 could have impacts well beyond the oil and gas industry.
“Growth in Canada’s oil sector has a direct impact on the development of Canada’s construction industry, which has demonstrated itself to be among the most resilient sectors during economic slowdowns and to rebound faster during periods of economic recovery,” PCA director Sean Reid said in a release.
“As a country, we need to ensure we can bring our oil to market quickly and safely to stay ahead of our global competitors who are investing in pipeline and distribution capacity.”
Enbridge has applied to reverse the flow of the more than 800-kilometre pipeline and boost its capacity 60,000 barrels per day to more than 300,000 barrels to move more Alberta crude oil to Atlantic Canada.
Line 9 originally flowed from Sarnia, Ont., to Montreal, but was reversed in the 1990s to move imported crude westward.
Some opponents of the project claim the reversal of Line 9 reversal is part of a plan for Enbridge to transport oil to the Atlantic coast for export—something the company denies.
According to the pro-reversal PCA, failure to approve pipeline infrastructure projects like Line 9 could ultimately reduce future investment in innovative technologies and new equipment, which can result in lower productivity for the construction sector as a whole.
The association also said large-scale construction projects like those in Canada’s oil and gas industry provide high quality, high value jobs for skilled tradespeople, professionals and other supporting staff in local communities across the country.
“Canada needs a strong construction sector to continue to power its economic growth and development, particularly through future challenging economic periods,” Reid said.
“Ensuring that oil producers can get their product to market through safe, secure and efficient pipelines will support construction sector jobs across Canada and build a strong foundation to buffer against future economic slowdowns.”
A portion of Line 9 has already received approval for reversal and has been sending oil from Sarnia to just northwest of Hamilton, Ont., since August.
—With files from The Canadian Press