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Special Project Orders Issued for Muskrat Falls Project

The following is being distributed at the request of the Labour Relations Agency:

The Honourable Darin King, Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency, the Honourable Tom Marshall, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Nick McGrath, Minister Responsible for Labrador Affairs, today announced that in accordance with Section 70 of the Labour Relations Act, regulations for three Special Project Orders (SPOs) have been issued for the Muskrat Falls Project.

A special project is an undertaking of construction work designed for the purpose of developing a natural resource or establishing a primary industry and requiring a construction period exceeding two years. An SPO sanctions the unique labour relations regime for a special project.

“Labour relations stability is important to ensuring the timely and successful completion of the Muskrat Falls Project,” said Minister King. “These SPOs are the result of positive collaboration by employers and unions who successfully negotiated the collective agreements for the Muskrat Falls Project. I applaud the energy and commitment of the parties involved in establishing productive workplace relationships for this project.”

SPOs have proven to be successful for major construction projects in Newfoundland and Labrador as they allow for a single collective agreement to govern labour relations for all trades working on each component of the project and support labour relations stability. Three SPOs have been issued confirming distinct labour relations regimes for specific components of the Muskrat Falls Project:

  1. Construction of the hydroelectric generation facility at Muskrat Falls;
  2. Land clearing to support a water reservoir at Muskrat Falls; and,
  3. Construction of transmission line and associated infrastructure running from Churchill Falls to Muskrat Falls in Labrador and from Muskrat Falls to Soldier’s Pond on the Avalon Peninsula (includes the Labrador Transmission Assets as well as the Labrador-Island Link pending release from environmental assessment).

It is expected that a fourth SPO will be issued later this year relating to the construction of the transmission link between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

“The development of Muskrat Falls will generate significant opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians during construction,” said Minister Marshall. “Individuals and businesses are already benefiting from this project. There will be an average of 1,500 jobs each year during construction with an average of 3,100 jobs at peak employment in 2015, ensuring valuable work for the people of the province including skilled trade workers.”

The collective agreements referenced in these SPOs outline a hiring protocol that is consistent with the Lower Churchill Construction Projects Benefits Strategy and Lower Churchill Innu Impacts and Benefits Agreement. These agreements outline priority hiring for qualified Labrador Innu, qualified residents of Labrador and qualified residents of the island. In addition, the SPOs confirm commitments from the Benefits Strategy regarding development and implementation of a gender equity and diversity plan.

“Labradorians will see great benefits through the hiring protocols of the Lower Churchill Construction Projects Benefits Strategy,” said Minister McGrath. “Gender equity and diversity provisions will provide further measures to increase participation of under-represented groups including women and Aboriginal people. It is important that these SPOs confirm the hiring initiatives that have been brought forward by this government.”

The Benefits Strategy is available online at www.nr.gov.nl.ca/nr/energy/lcp_benefits_strategy.pdf.

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