News Release

Labour market study shows Northwest B.C. to experience economic boom due to construction of new transmission line and other projects

Human resources strategy released to address skilled labour shortage
Terrace  – Labour market research released today shows BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line will be an economic catalyst for the region – electrifying an area of the province currently not part of the grid and enabling the development of mines, power projects and other resource projects that will help fuel B.C.’s economy. The Northwest Transmission Line alone will create up to an estimated 280 direct jobs per year of construction.

In total, projects in Northwest B.C. could create about 5,700 jobs between 2011 and 2021, according to labour market research conducted through the Northwest Transmission Line Labour Market Partnership Program. The program is funded by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, and BC Hydro is a partner, providing services in kind.

Also released today was an action-oriented human resources strategy to ensure that Northwest communities and industries will be ready to attract the thousands of workers required for the projects. The strategy was produced by a steering committee made up of representatives from education, training, industry, community, government and First Nations.

The steering committee studied the gap between the existing labour force and the anticipated labour force requirements over the next 10 years, and recommended human resources strategies to ensure the Northwest is ready to take advantage of the employment opportunities that will become available, with many of its recommendations to be acted on this year.


Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
“Northwest B.C. is poised to become a region of major job creation and growth, and as part of 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan,’ the Province is committed to ensuring that Northwest workers are ready to take advantage of these economic development opportunities.”

Greg Reimer, Executive Vice President, Transmission & Distribution, BC Hydro
“BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line will spark substantial economic development by providing a reliable source of clean power to industrial developments in the area and by providing a secure interconnection point for clean generation projects.”

Rick Brouwer, Northwest Transmission Line Labour Market Partnership Steering Committee representative
“Our goal is for workers from the Northwest, including First Nations people, to be the cornerstone of a sustainable labour force, able to fill industry needs wherever possible. By working together regionally, we will maximize the economic benefits from the Northwest Transmission Line and other major resource projects.”

Rob McPhee, Vice-Chair of the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation
“The labour market analysis shows that First Nations are largely an untapped employment resource in the Northwest. With skills training, they can meet these capital projects’ needs and play a vital role in powering the economy of the province.”

Human Resources Strategy Highlights

  • Maximize opportunities for already trained, local workers to meet the needs of major project
    •  Develop a regional website/information portal for jobs, workforce and business information.
    • Develop a workforce opportunity promotion campaign targeting local people.
    • Fund a Community Human Resources Coordinator.
    • Develop and implement a recruitment package that targets trained locals working elsewhere and workers across Canada.
    • Develop formal partnerships between major project owners, contractors and local groups.
  • Develop an education, training and development plan to ensure local people are workforce-ready.
    • Initiate an industry/training organization peak demand summit.
    • Develop an industry/education cooperation program.
    • Improve access to regional training, certifications and apprencticeship programs for high-demand occupations.


  • The Northwest Transmission Line will be a 344-kilometre, 287-kilovolt transmission line between Skeena Substation near Terrace and a new substation near Bob Quinn Lake. The line will be in service by spring 2014.
  • The NTL will provide a source of electricity to potential mining projects in the area and an interconnection point for the AltGas Forrest Kerr run-of-river hydro-electric project. These developments will provide long term job opportunities in the region. Strong labour demand is also coming from other projects, including the Rio Tinto Alcan modernization project, and the Kitimat liquefied natural gas plant/pipeline project.
  • Collectively, capital projects in the region are expected to account for more than $7.5 billion in construction alone by 2014.
  • Phase 1 of the Labour Market Partnership Program included labour market analysis and the development of a human resources strategy encompassing recruiting and training. Phase 2 of the program will focus on implementation of the HR strategy.

Learn More

To read the Labour Market Partnership Program’s labour market analysis and HR strategy, please visit

Media Contacts
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation 
Caroline McAndrews
Communications Manager
250 356-0613

BC Hydro
Media Relations
604 928-6468