BC Hydro

Crown corporation deserves pat on back for northwest BC labour insight

WITH BILLIONS of dollars needed to repair aging infrastructure, more billions needed for the massive Site C hydro project in northeastern B.C., piles of debt tucked away in dark corners and a demand for ever-increasing amounts of power, provincial crown corporation BC Hydro is one big financial behemoth.

It is, to use a cliché phrase, a law unto itself and in the northwest at this time, is second only to Rio Tinto Alcan in terms of financial impact  thanks to its Northwest Transmission Line.

But for all of its corporate bluster, there’s a bit of a social engineering side to BC Hydro as revealed in one aspect of the Northwest Transmission Line.

Somewhere deep inside the crown corporation one or more individuals correctly realized the region and its residents were unprepared for the potential direct and indirect jobs from the transmission line.

From that was born what is now called the Northwest Labour Market Partnership, a bulky title assigned to a collection of government, economic development agency and industry representatives gathered together with the goal of marrying up trained workers with industry needs.

It organized a jobs conference here this spring and has now developed iChinook, a website to help all of that along.

BC Hydro can be rightly criticized for any number of reasons but on this occasion, it did its job.