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Weekly News Update: 8/13-8/17

AUGUST 17, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

Chief urges Indigenous business leaders to support Trans Mountain pipeline
Chief Allan Adam might be best known for his resistance to oilsands development, but on Thursday in Yellowknife he told Indigenous business leaders they should support oil sands developments like the Trans Mountain pipeline if they want to be successful.

Pipeline work to boost rural economies
About 2,000 workers descending on southern Manitoba to rebuild the Enbridge oil pipeline will also pump money into rural economies, town and business officials say.

Community Benefits Agreements needed to fix 16 years of mishandling apprenticeships and training
Much has been written recently about whether British Columbia’s new Community Benefits Agreements process for major public construction projects are a good thing. But what hasn’t been much discussed is why. Community Benefits Agreements are needed. It’s pretty simple: Because apprenticeship training was mishandled for 16 years in B.C. and the number of skilled workers being trained dramatically deteriorated. The facts prove it. Statistics Canada found that in 2016 B.C. had 4,500 fewer new apprentices signed up than in 2013, despite huge demand in the booming construction industry.

Trans Mountain could bring C$1B annual cash flow to Canada’s feds, bank says 
Canada would see annual returns excluding debt costs of about C$1 billion per year from its purchase of Kinder Morgan Inc.‘s Trans Mountain pipeline, even if an expansion project is delayed or goes over budget, according to a filing related to the C$4.5 billion sale of the crude-carrying network.

U.S. & International: 
Crews to break ground next month on widening of Interstate 25 ‘Gap’
Construction will begin next month to add a pair of toll lanes to the Interstate 25 “Gap” from Monument to Castle Rock, state transportation officials said Monday.
Shortly after Labor Day, crews will start on the long-awaited project’s first leg, on about 5 miles from Castle Rock to Sky View Lane at the north end of the 18-mile stretch, reports the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Big redevelopment ahead for Aurora shopping center 
Kimco Realty Corp. (NYSE:KIM) is in the process of a $14.5 million overhaul of its Village on the Park shopping center in Aurora. The southern part of the center has been demolished and will be rebuilt. Ground will break this fall and completion is expected next summer. Old Navy will occupy at 13,800 square foot space in the new part of the center. America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses will also fill a 3,515-square-foot space in the new center, adjacent to TJ Maxx.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

How Canada’s Mining Sector Impacts the Economy
Canada is a mining nation.
From the Rockies to the Canadian Shield, and from the Plains and to the North, the variety of geology that exists in the country is immense – and this has created a large and unique opportunity for groundbreaking mineral discoveries.
As a result, Canada is one of the world’s largest exporters of minerals and metals, supplying approximately 60 different mineral commodities to over 100 countries.
Today’s infographic comes to us from Natural Resources Canada and it highlights an industry that has given Canada a competitive advantage in the global economy.

Canada moves towards imposing potential new tariffs on steel imports amid dumping fears 
Justin Trudeau’s government is taking a key step toward imposing potential new tariffs and quotas on certain steel imports, with his finance chief saying a surge in foreign steel may be disrupting the market.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced a 15-day consultation on potential safeguard measures on seven types of steel imports. The provisional measures would be applied if the consultation shows producers are being harmed, Morneau said Tuesday, signaling there’s already evidence that’s happening.

20 major upcoming industrial and water treatment construction projects – Canada – August 2018 
The accompanying table shows 20 of the largest upcoming industrial and water treatment construction projects in Canada. They are all in the planning stage and are mainly new projects, but may also involve additions and/or alterations.

Hydro power storage project to be built near retired open pit coal mine
A clean power developer has received regulatory approval for a stored hydro project to be built on the site of a retired open pit coal mine about 60 kilometres east of Jasper National Park.
Turning Point Generation says it can now proceed with raising capital to build the Canyon Creek Pumped Hydro Energy Storage Project, the first large-scale storage project in the province, following approval by the Alberta Utilities Commission.

To solve interprovincial conflicts, first find common ground, says new minister
OTTAWA — The key to unlocking an ever-tightening knot of policy disputes between the provinces and the federal government will be to focus on those areas where everyone can agree, says the minister whose new job is to help do exactly that.

U.S. & International:
Macquarie funds to sell ownership interests in Puget Sound Energy 
Funds controlled by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners Inc. are selling their ownership interest in Washington state utility Puget Sound Energy Inc. Puget Sound Energy on Aug. 8 said it would file with Washington state regulators for approval of the transaction, under which the Macquarie funds’ 44% noncontrolling interest in the utility would be disbursed to four parties, in September. Two existing owners will increase their holdings. Alberta Investment Management Corp. will increase its ownership interest to 13.6% and British Columbia Investment Management Corp. will boost its holdings to 20.9%.

Before Fixing the Infrastructure We Need to Address the Labor Issues 
For a moment, dream of a world where the President and Congress have agreed on a funding mechanism for an ambitious overhaul of our nation’s infrastructure. Then watch the dream dissolve into a nightmare of labor-related roadblocks. This is the threat—both now and in the future—if employers can’t overcome the labor-related risks already in place, according to attorneys David Laurent, Min Suh and Kimberly Arouh of the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Canada needs to focus on infrastructure in the North, Nunavut tells ministers’ conference
Canada says it wants to increase mining and development in the North, as discussed at a conference in Iqaluit this week, but Nunavut is calling for better infrastructure to make it happen. Ministers responsible for energy and mining from across the country met in Iqaluit for the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference from Aug. 12 to 14.

Kenneth Green: Empty office buildings in Calgary reflect poor policy choices in Edmonton
Several news reports have documented the bleak reality for office vacancy rates in Calgary. According to one CBC report, office vacancy is as high as in 2008, with nearly 28% of offices in the city core vacant. The vacancy rate remains high despite the fact oil prices have rebounded significantly: Western Canada Select was trading at US$52.10 at the end of June, up from a low of only US$16.30 in February 2016.

Vancouver tops global increase in industrial lease rates
Vancouver’s industrial lease rates surged by 29.1 per cent over the last year. Beijing ranked second overall with a year-over-year increase of 19.8 per cent.

Hydro One ‘fully committed’ to Avista deal despite board shakeup, CEO says 
Hydro One Ltd. management said Aug. 14 that the company is still “fully committed” to closing its $5.3 billion acquisition of Avista Corp., even after Hydro One’s CEO and entire board stepped down a month earlier under pressure from the company’s largest shareholder.
The Ontario-headquartered transmission and distribution utility in July 2017 announced an all-cash $5.3 billion transaction to purchase Avista, an electric and natural gas business with operations in the Pacific Northwest. The transaction has received approval from federalAlaska and Montana regulators, with consent still needed from Idaho, Oregon and Washington authorities.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

B.C. declares provincial state of emergency due to wildfires
The B.C. government has now declared a provincial state of emergency due to the wildfires burning around the province. This state of emergency will be in place for 14 days but may be extended or rescinded as necessary.

Solar Eclipsed Future looks cloudy for booming Manitoba solar power industry
An array of solar panels fastened to a rocky face above a cluster of cabins in the Canadian Shield is one of several record-shattering projects underway in Manitoba. The nearly 200 kilowatt, 588-panel system on a hill overlooking the rustic cabins at Tallpine Lodges in West Hawk Lake is just one of dozens of record-tying solar projects planned to come online within the next year. But this boom year for solar power could quickly go bust, after a subsidy program expired in April with nothing planned to replace it.

Swiss utility in LNG supply talks with Canada’s Goldboro project
Axpo, a Swiss utility and energy trader, said on Thursday it was in talks with a Canadian company planning to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the country’s East Coast for a 10-year supply deal. If the talks lead to a Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA), they would help boost the chances of the C$10 billion ($7.6 billion) Goldboro project being built by Pieridae Energy to become the first LNG export terminal on Canada’s East Coast.

Fixing the Construction Industry’s Skilled Labor Shortage
For the past several years, the construction industry has been suffering from a shortage of skilled laborers. This is adversely affecting both commercial and
residential construction projects, leading to drawn-out project completion timelines and higher costs for those looking to buy or rent property.

Idaho is 7th-highest state for percent of minimum wage earners
Idaho was tied for seventh-highest in the nation for its percentage of hourly wage-earners making the federal minimum wage or less in 2017. The data, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, show Idaho tied with North Carolina; in both states, 3.3 percent of workers made $7.25 per hour or less, compared to a national average of 2.3 percent. The figures are much higher for women working in Idaho. While just 1.7 percent of Idaho’s male hourly workers earned $7.25 an hour or less in 2017, 4.6 percent of Idaho’s female hourly workers fell at or below that mark.

Friday, August 17, 2018

U.S. & International:
Unions, tribes back Clean Water Act changes to boost pipelines, energy projects
Proposed legislation to rein in the states’ use of their Clean Water Act authorities to block energy infrastructure would help natural gas pipeline projects that support thousands of labor jobs, a trade union official told a Senate committee. But Democrats pointed to concerns that such an approach could impair states’ ability to protect water quality. A Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Aug. 16 gave vent to industry frustration that mounted over high-profile denials by New York regulators of water quality certifications for interstate gas pipelines, including the Williams Cos. Inc.-led Constitution Pipeline Co. LLC project and National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. and Empire Pipeline Inc.‘s Northern Access project.

Workers who opt out of union dues are freeloaders
Unionized labor has helped bring about major improvements in workplace practices in this country, including the 40-hour work week, paid vacations, better pay, health care and pensions. But labor unions have been under attack since they formed because they help workers stand up for their rights. The latest attacks have been through the court system, with the Supreme Court ruling that workers in the public sector who are represented by unions do not have to pay union dues if they opt out.
The workers who don’t pay their fair share are placing the burden of support for the union staff who negotiate workplace wages and benefits onto the rest of their fellow workers. The opt-outs get a free ride at the expense of their colleagues. They will get the same wages, holidays, vacation and health care as their fellow workers who pay for the labor union staff.
In the long-term, everyone will suffer for the greed of those who opt out, because wages and working conditions will deteriorate. The Supreme Court ruling creates a new welfare society of freeloaders in the labor force.