LNG Canada scales back workforce

LNG Canada is scaling back its workforce in Kitimat by half amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the Northern Sentinel reports.

The company had already been restricting international travel for staff and contractors, and says it will now be reducing the number of fly-in rotational workers.

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Essential work will continue under additional precautions, but the company says it will cut the workforce further if necessary.

"Essential work that will continue during this time includes seasonal activities that must take place within regulatory windows, activities which have commenced and need to be finished to safely secure the area, and unloading of material delivery vessels at the port," the company said.

"This work will be conducted with additional safety, health and hygiene precautions that follow recommended social distancing protocols and all other current recommendations for best practices."

Workers typically fly in to work for two weeks, then fly out for one week, But the company plans to reduce the number of workers at the site by half. Currently there are about 1,750 workers on site.

Susannah Pierce, LNG Canada's director of corporate affairs, said she doesn't know how long the reduction will last or if further reductions will be needed.

"We're going to try to stay as much as we can ahead of the issue and take a look at what further actions may be required, which might also mean that we reduce further. In terms of ramping back up, that's going to be decided to based on when we believe it's safe to do so."

The move raises questions about other large energy projects, like Site C dam, where thousands of workers are housed in work camps, and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Trans Mountain reports that it doesn't have any work camps yet.

— with files from Business in Vancouver

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