The 56th annual convention of the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada (PLCAC) met June 6-10 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Attendance was strong with 280 delegates. Outgoing PLCAC president Teri McKibbon, Aecon Infrastructure Group, chaired the overall meeting.

McKibbon’s opening presidential address covered the previous two years of contractor work and an outlook for the future. He indicated that members reported a total of 6.7 millions man hours of work done on mainline and distribution pipe projects in Canada in 2009. This was down from 7.1 million in 2008. Gas distribution system hours came in at 1.73 million in 2009, slightly lower then 2008. On the mainline construction side, man hours totaled 5 million vs. 5.2 million in 2008. He pointed out that 2008 was the second highest recorded man hours ever worked in the history of PLCAC.

McKibbon discussed that over the next few years as many as 25 percent of the current workforce will be retiring. Thus, there is a great need to bring in new labor. To address this workforce deficit, PLCAC has partnered with its four pipeline craft unions and the government of Alberta on an initiative known as the Pipeline Workforce Attraction Project. The program includes a series of career exploration videos in DVD format. A copy of the DVD was provided to all attendees.

Things could improve in the long term, McKibbon says, with such projects as TransCanada’s Keystone Gulf Expansion Project, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Project and the Woodland Pipe Project, Apache and Pacific Northern Gas Pacific Trails Project and the long-delayed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline and Alaska Highway Pipeline Projects, but these are a long way into the future.

The convention chairman was Dave Douglas, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. With the PLCAC staff, he assembled strong business sessions and great fun activities and entertainment. The social events included a pub crawl, a Viking theme party, a golf tournament and the final Gala Banquet. A surprising and quite welcome speaker was General Rick Hillier, retired and former Chief of the Defense Staff for the Canadian Forces.

At the Gala Banquet, the 2010-2011 board of directors was introduced. PLCAC’s new president is Kevin Waschuk, Waschuk Pipe Line Construction Ltd., 1st vice president Nick De Koning, Robert B. Somerville Co.; treasurer Rick Delaney, Link-Line Group of Companies; and 2nd Vice President Dave Kavanaugh, O.J. Pipelines Canada.

The 2011 convention will be April 11-15 on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

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