B.C. and China agree to allow foreign workers to help build LNG industry

Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman. Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann , PNG

VICTORIA — B.C. and China have inked a new agreement that will see the two governments work to allow foreign workers into the province if needed to help build a liquefied natural gas industry.

The provincial government and the People’s Republic of China signed the non-binding memorandum of understanding this week, which pledges co-operation and information sharing to help develop B.C.’s LNG industry.

The two sides will “work together with the appropriate authorities to secure and facilitate the entry of foreign workers” in B.C., while “respecting the priority of hiring domestic labour wherever possible,” according to the agreement.

Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman has said B.C. could need temporary foreign workers to fill some of the 100,000 jobs that would be created if several B.C. LNG facilities materialize.

None of the multinational corporations considering LNG plants in B.C. has yet made final investment decisions.

China “respects” B.C.’s jobs strategy to create more apprenticeship and skilled trades training opportunities for the LNG sector, Coleman said in a statement Friday.

“Some jobs will not be filled by British Columbians, either because they require highly specialized experience in the LNG industry or because we do not have enough workers in the province to meet the level of demand,” he said…