Building Trades of Alberta participates in the following national initiatives through its alliance with Canada's Building Trades Unions. Each campaign is vital to Alberta's economic well-being.
CBTU believes in energy independence for North America and supports oil sands and other hydrocarbon developments in Canada.
We also believe that Canada needs a national energy policy based on a serious debate over the mix of energy resources that best serves our needs. As Canadians we need to decide how to balance hydrocarbon production with hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar and thermal energy from sources across the country.
As energy users, we need to strive to reduce greenhouse gases and come to terms with sustainability issues. We also need to be mindful of the fact that this is a cold country with a small population spread over a vast area, and that we are therefore energy dependent.
- Canada is the fifth largest energy producer and has the third largest crude oil reserves, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.
- The oil and gas sector is the largest private investor in the country.
- The sector supports 550,000 jobs (direct and indirect) across the country.
- Worldwide demand for energy is expected to increase by 35% between 2011 and 2035.
- Canada’s oil sands are expected to create 905,000 new jobs between 2011 and 2035.
- Canada produces approximately 3 million barrels and consumes 1.6 million barrels of oil a day.
- Crude oil meets approximately 40% of Canada's energy needs.
- Canada produces approximately 13.7 billion and consumes 7.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day.
- Natural gas meets approximately 30% of Canada's energy needs.
Source: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
CBTU is campaigning to have the federal government introduce a Construction Mobility Tax Credit—a personal tax exemption on expenses construction workers typically incur when they temporarily relocate for work.
Flexibility and mobility are common requirements of the construction workforce: employment ends when projects are complete, and construction workers often find the next available job is in another region or even another province. Workers often leave their homes and families to take on temporary contracts elsewhere.
Because of strong investment in the resources sector, some parts of Canada—often rural and northern regions—are desperate for skilled construction workers, while others have more workers than they can employ. The tax credit would make it easier for Canadian workers to go to where the work is.
Studies for the Construction Sector Council and CBTU show that:
- The cost of temporary relocation is one of the biggest impediments to mobility.
- 70 percent of surveyed tradespeople travel for work at least once in their careers.
- On average, workers spend about $3,500 of their own money to relocate temporarily.
- Employers rarely reimburse workers for these costs.
- The construction mobility tax credit would increase long-term income tax revenues and reduce dependence on costly social programs.
- Initial studies show that the credit could yield a return on investment of nearly 5:1.
Parliament has had two opportunities to consider the Construction Mobility Tax Credit; it was introduced in a Private Member’s Bill in 2006 and again in 2013. The New Democratic and Liberal parties favour the tax credit, while Progressive Conservatives oppose it.
CBTU’s campaign in support of pipeline projects is designed to educate the public in communities located along key routes about the benefits of these projects.
CBTU strongly endorses the development of pipelines to deliver oil and natural gas to world markets. Pipelines are economic generators that produce thousands of well-paid jobs during construction and many more in maintenance and other sectors over their lifespan.
Pipelines are the safest and most reliable way to move oil and gas across the country, and Canada’s building trades have the skills to build pipelines that meet the highest safety and environmental standards.
- Transporting oil by rail and road heightens the risk of incidents and accidents, and increases the volume of traffic on our overburdened infrastructure.
- Pipelines offer the safest, most efficient means to move Canadian oil to domestic and international markets.
- The proposed pipeline projects will provide thousands of long-term jobs.
- Jobs include converting existing pipeline, constructing new pipeline, building pumping stations, tank terminals and marine facilities, and expanding and upgrading refineries.
- Construction workers own homes, pay taxes, buy from local businesses, and support local clubs and charities in communities across Canada.
- Every construction job produces 7 spinoff jobs in other sectors.