As the global COVID-19 pandemic grows, the Canadian Government has not ensured the safety of rural northern communities. Coastal Gas Link, Trans Mountain Pipeline, Teck coal mines – all continue construction and work despite the shutdowns in virtually every other sector. The lives and health of Indigenous peoples and communities continue to be put at risk by the ongoing support of oil and gas projects across Canada.
The utilization of man camps, which house hundreds of oil and gas workers at a time, do not offer the opportunity for social isolation or the ability to self-quarantine, increasing the risk to their lives and the communities where they operate. In the event of an outbreak, these communities would not have the healthcare resources to support the ongoing influx of temporary workers or even their own community members that may potentially become infected. The results of an outbreak would be devastating.
BC Premier John Horgan has exempted construction workers from his order to limit gatherings of 50 people or more, making workers who chose not to work from fear for their safety ineligible for collecting unemployment insurance. If construction work was mandated to stop, it would ensure the safety of all rural construction workers and the communities that they are working in. We can support workers by sending them home to isolate themselves with their families, just like the rest of the country.
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Tiny House Warriors, and the Union for BC Hereditary Chiefs have all called for immediate action in ending construction in their communities.
Let’s join them in calling for an immediate halt to all construction on TransMountain, in Wet’suwet’en and Secwepmec territories, and other oil and gas projects.
The lives of vulnerable communities and workers are at risk.
Sign this open letter to Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, John Horgan, Premier of B.C., Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry