Supporter Spotlight: BC Chamber of Commerce

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160928_SSS_BCchamber_Val LitwinAs part of our Supporter Spotlight series, we interviewed Val Litwin, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, representing 125 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade and more than 36,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors from every region of the province.  We talked about responsible resource development in Canada and ultimately why his members support the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

Why do you support the Trans Mountain Expansion Project?

A $6.8 billion investment, the expansion project will create 800,000 person years of employment over the life of the project and provide billions of dollars in new revenue for all levels of government. Small business operators, residents and communities are among those who will gain from this project.

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project will create exceptional opportunities for B.C.’s small and medium sized enterprises.

The project will generate a large demand for goods, services and workers, with an emphasis on local hiring, procurement, and sourcing, which presents opportunities for regional-based employment during construction.

Aboriginal residents will also stand to benefit from consideration for hiring and the initiation of an Aboriginal employment and training program to increase access to Aboriginal employment opportunities to meet the demands of the project.

The project will also serve as an important source of economic prosperity and job creation for British Columbians and Canadians in both the short and long-term.

As an organization what’s your main interest or priority with expansion?

Our interest with the expansion is the tremendous economic benefits the project would bring to our province.  A project of this size and scope will generate 58,000 person-years of employment across Canada during construction, including 36,000 in B.C. Over the life the project, total employment is expected to reach 108,000 person-years, including 66,000 in B.C.

Indirect opportunities include an estimated 1,500 spinoff jobs annually, or 29,845 person years of employment. These jobs include construction, financial services, professional services, manufacturing and transportation.

Project development will generate $3.3 billion in labour income across Canada. Approximately 58% (or $1.9 billion) here in B.C.

And finally, the project will generate significant benefit for the federal, provincial and municipal governments, as well as the communities they represent.

The development phase and first 20 years of operations will boost B.C. GDP by at least $8.5 billion and national GDP by $13.3 billion. Tax revenue through the construction and operation phases will total $2.1 billion for the federal government and $1 billion for B.C.

Are you in favour of responsible resource development? If so, why?

Resource development is a vital economic driver. This development allows sectors, such as oil and gas, the opportunity to grow, create jobs, and compete not just here at home but around the world.

Our natural resource wealth enables B.C. to serve as a net contributor to Canada’s national economy, which in turn supports critical social services, such as health care and education, that we all cherish and depend on.

If British Columbians, and our fellow Canadians, are to prosper in the decades ahead, though, we need to support private sector investments in responsible resource development and the transportation infrastructure needed to safely deliver our products to market.

The Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline is one of those projects that shows B.C. is open to multi-billion-dollar investments that can also satisfy our high expectations for environmental sensitivity, regulatory compliance and safe, responsible operation.

The positive NEB ruling, with its 157 conditions, showcase the rigorous process that business can rely on and that all Canadians can be proud of.

What is your message to those who haven’t decided whether or not they support the proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project?

The BC Chamber would be the first to say that debate about any project should be part of a healthy review process.  But much of the criticism of projects such as Trans Mountain appears to be driven by a conviction that the project should simply not proceed, irrespective of the proponent’s ability to meet stringent regulatory requirements for responsible development.

It is critical that BC maintains its reputation as a jurisdiction that is open to investment.  We must be constantly mindful that inefficient and unpredictable processes can turn away potential investors.

 The BC Chamber respectfully encourages the Federal Government to support the development of a world-class regulatory system that enables economic growth and prosperity, by providing certainty and predictability to those businesses engaged in responsible resource development.