Pine River Update Oct 8, ’19

The health department is inspecting mice infestation at the camps.

Good afternoon,

Your complaint regarding mice at Hasler Camp 24 and Little Prairie Lodge was forwarded to me for follow-up. I will visit Little Prairie Lodge tomorrow and will also contact the operator of Camp 24 to arrange a re-inspection if necessary (the photos you’ve submitted may be sufficient).

I will contact you with my findings. If the worker experiencing a persistent cough hasn’t already, I would recommend they seek medical attention.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Thank you,

Ali Moore

Environmental Health Officer

Our member’s inspection has confirmed that Camp 20 in Chetwynd exceeds the Camp Regulation Standards. If at any time a camp falls below standard you can refuse to live in it. Contact the Union if you have any questions or concerns.

Ken Nash is now the contact for Clayburn Workforce. 780-913-7442 mobile.

Pine River Gas Plant Shutdown, Shifts expected to be 7-7 with foreperson crossover. Night shift is in Camp 20 in Chetwynd. Day shift is in Camp 24 near the plant. They are dry camps. Ken will confirm with the union and workforce asap if any changes to shifts.

Clayburn needs more workforce for CNRL, and Syncrude on the hydro (Conversion is pretty much handled). They need API certified members for QC.

Working in Alberta requires a Urine test.

Travel to CNRL is under TAP agreement with local 1AB and is $550 one way flat rate drive or fly. Travel to Syncrude is $285 on the way in and $285 on the way out if you don’t bail.

Urgent Need for 20 Bricklayers in Fort Mac.

20 bricklayers to Fort Mac. Clayburn needs bricklayers still…. Specifically we need our available Nozzlemen on deck. Contact the hall or Geoff Higginson as soon as possible. Even if you are working right now they could use you in a week or ten days. Let’s go…double bubble and full wages. The three bucks came back in the wage.

Pine River Gas Plant Job September 15, Clayburn.

September 4 2019 Update.

We have received communications from the plant (see below) who assure us the camp is flat and there should be no problem with leaks. That seems to solve our safety concerns.

BUT, Another fact has just recently come to light, and it sounds like Clayburn was not aware of this either. The Plant owner now tells us that night shift will be housed in another camp IN Chetwynd. We were not made aware that this camp was going to be used for night shift.

The whole exercise appears to be intended to aggravate our contractor and our members into not doing the work. Leaving the door open for another (probably non union outfit) to do the work.

The union will send someone in to check out this camp in Chetwynd with an inspection checklist. Until then we know very little about the conditions there. See below for info from the CLRA about the Chetwynd Camp.

Hi Geoff

We finally got the information on the night shift at Pine River.  The night shift will be staying in a separate camp (Flite Lodge) in Chetwynd which is also operated by Flite Camp Services with catering provided by Western Camp Services.  I have attached the permits for this camp to this e-mail.  Apparently the camp in Chetwynd is approximately two years old and is on the municipal water and sewage systems so there are no water permits.  I’m thinking of reaching out to Tony at the Pine River camp to see if he can provide any information or details about this second camp given the connections between the two. Paul Strangway

Time is short. With the runaround happening with this job, members should consider that Alberta is in dire need of bricklayers at this time. Contact the hall or Geoff Higginson at 778-847-2472.

Email chain re the evac plan…

Good day,

I called you a moment ago and left a message.

I was wondering if you can send me copies of the Evacuation plan and confined space rescue plan you may have onsite. I require this information as the Union representative approval of the camp is still contingent on this confirmation of this information.

Please call me back at your earliest convenience to discuss as I really need this info.

Kind Regards,Triston Stone

Good morning Triston,

To follow up with our phone conversation. We are currently working with our ERP team out of Calgary to finalize an evac procedure for the camp that aligns with the plant, that being said we will be bringing the plant down and it will be flat for the duration of the TA. Camp currently has their localized ERP which they will use for any issues at camp that are not a result of what is happening at the plant.

As far as the Confined space rescue plans go, United safety is our safety contractor for TA. They have built rescue plans for each and every confined space. They will be carrying out all rescues. I can put you in touch with them if you need further clarity on the rescue plans.

As I mentioned I will be heading out today, I have cc’ed Larry he is my cross shift and will be available while I’m gone. (response from Cale Kinch)

Good day,

I have followed up regarding the evacuation plan on a conference call with Pine River safety this morning and I want you to know they are working on this as we speak and will provide it hopefully in a few days. Also the site will be shut right down during the duration of the turnaround so there will be no issue of a leak.

You can see the correspondence below from Pine river regarding the issues brought forth. I hope that this email will suffice that they are moving forward on getting this information and once made available I will forward it along.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss further please feel free to contact my anytime.

Kind Regards,Triston Stone

Hi Geoff

As you can see from the e-mail chain (below) the plant will be completely down during the maintenance cycle so a leak will not be an issue during this project. Paul Strangway

Thanks Paul.  It is my understanding that during turnaround there could still be storage tanks of H2S on site.  I am somewhat reassured but still haven’t seen the document that shows the camp outside of the exclusion zone.


September 3 2019 Update

Pine River Gas Plant Job-Camp. As of this moment, 1:26 p.m. the camp has been inspected and has met requirements under our camp regulations. There is one hangup. The camp is 1/2 a kilometre from the gas plant. The Union and the Contractor representative the CLRA have asked for an evacuation plan for the gas plant and camp in case of a gas leak. We have NOT seen this yet and the union (and contractor association and camp operator) is gravely concerned about approving the use of the camp without assurances that 200 camp dwellers can be evacuated safely if there is a leak. Please stand by today for confirmation of an evacuation plan. Check this link for previous leak at the plant and you will understand our concern. Our Blog for Members

Geoff Higginson

August 30, 2019 Update

The Owner, CNRL-SNRI requires a pre access test, under our policy it is a swab. See our policy here. The owner is having a health and safety meeting today to present the evacuation plan and hazard analysis. A reminder-Clayburn is probably the only union company on the site. The shifts are 7 days a week 12 hour shifts for approximately 23 days. There is a lot of work there. Brick, plastic, shooting. It is a dry camp. Clayburn says it will have a van there to get crews in and out of town. The camp has been inspected and is a long ways better than port mellon or even kmp camp. The camp is considered approved as long as the evac plan checks out. More asap on the evac.

August 29, 2019 the fire alarm tests all check out. Still have not received the plants evac plan. Remember his job is supposedly a dry camp. It is confirmed that the shifts are 7 12’s for about 23 days. There will be a van for members to go into town with. We are so far the only Building Trades union on site. There was a question as to whether or not there would be pre job d/a testing, and we are awaiting the news on that. If you accept work on this job you may find the work is postponed because the evacuation plan has not been properly provided.

August 28, 2019, Camp Approval Update.

August 28 2019 2327 hrs. CLRA representative Chris Mydske confirmed this evening via email that “Hi Geoff, I did hear back from Clayburn on the shifts. They are running 2 shifts both which are 7 12s. They are also going to be providing a van. If you need anything else let me know. Thanks.”.

Although the camp is a decent camp and follows the camp guidelines and an email to the CLRA indicated that the camp is outside of the hazard area of the gas plant, we still have not received the evacuation plan from the plant owner SNRI who is owned by CNRL. Until we see the risk assessment and evacuation plan I we can’t approve the camp. You should also know there have been conflicting reports about what the shifts are, 6 10’s or 7 12’s and whether or not there is a night shift. The company has confirmed that there will be a van available to take members to town when they are not working. Also know that the owner says that the camp will be a dry camp. I also understand that the work is extensive. They are calling for 20-23 days. Also note that Clayburn is the only Union Company scheduled for this job as far as I know.

Geoff Higginson

August 26, 2019

I have inspected the camp. The camp is clean, the food services good and the bunkhouses are clean with Wi-Fi and satellite tv. The four dorm style bunkhouses have 47 /48 rooms each. Each bunkhouse has 6 semi private bathrooms. That means 6 lockable rooms each having a toilet, shower, sink, in each bunkhouse. There is a movie theatre, two gyms, an enclosed smoking area. The food services will take your lunch order the night before and put it out with your name on it. Full service is 0530 to 0730 and 1730 to 1930. The mess hall has round tables and booth style seating. It is brand new.

The camp operator Flite and CNRL have to provide us the risk/hazard assessment and evacuation plan yet, and the fire alarm system has not been tested yet. Those two items are a must or the camp won’t be approved. They have all other health department permits and inspections. Our most critical item is the evac plan. The camp is situated uphill and about a half km from the plant.

I understand that the company will provide a van or bus to take members to town on the day off or as needed. I have been told this is a dry camp. I have yet to confirm this. I will post photos of the camp facilities later. The company is insisting this is a camp job and as long as the risk assessment and evac plan is made available and is acceptable the camp will meet camp standards. I can say they may have trouble getting the workforce if they don’t flex on the dry camp designation. I will advise on the evac plan fire alarm inspection etc asap. Geoff Higginson

August 21, 2019

The camp will be inspected next Monday and a report and recommendation to members will be made late in the day.

This camp is not inspected or approved to date under the terms of our collective agreement. Please see the excerpts from email exchange with the CLRA and Clayburn below.

From: “Geoff Higginson” 
DateFri, Aug 16, 2019 at 9:54 PM -0700
Subject: Re: Pine River CNRL Camp at Gas Plant
To: “Chris Mydske” “Jason Bodnarek” 
Cc: “Paul Strangway” “Derrill Thompson”

We have no intention of ceasing to advise our members it is not an authorized camp and they are entitled to LOA, unless and until it becomes an authorized camp. Go ahead and file a grievance or a complaint at the Board, and we will be there to defend ourselves. 

As for your adamant disagreement with our statement that “you going to our members directly and asking them to stay in a camp that hasn’t been inspected is bargaining directly with them and is a violation of the agreement.”  We stand ready to file a grievance if you continue to do so.

Geoff Higginson, President

IUBAC  Local 2 BC

From: Chris Mydske 

Sent: Thursday, August 15, 15:08 

Subject: Pine River CNRL Camp at Gas Plant 

To: Geoff Higginson IUBAC Local 2 BC President 

Cc: Paul Strangway, Jason Bodnarek 

Hi Geoff, please be advised that Clayburn has asked CLR to deal with this matter on their behalf. I wanted to first say that we are actively looking to gather as much information as possible about the camp. We will be happy to work with you in that regard and share any information with you when we obtain it. Although we hope to get this information soon and clear up any issues, I did feel it was appropriate to respond to a number of your comments. 

We adamantly disagree with your statement that us going to your members directly and asking them to stay in a camp that hasn’t been inspected is bargaining directly with them and is a violation of the agreement. Article 12.202 (a) reads as follows, 

 “Camp accommodations, when supplied, shall meet the standards and requirements of the applicable Construction Camp Rules and Regulations Agreement by and between BCBT and CLR. An Employee may refuse to live in accommodations which do not meet such standards.” 

The second sentence says that an employee may refuse to live in accommodations which do not meet such standards (we don’t know if this camp meets the standards or not). If the may refuse, then they may also not refuse. The choice is theirs. If a member decides to stay in this camp without it being inspected, it is not a breach of the collective agreement. Also, this in no way means CLR or Clayburn is bargaining directly with your members. The collective agreement clearly contemplates this and gives the employees the right to make their own decision. Mr mydske’s statement is false. This part of the collective agreement does not kick in until the camp is approved.

We take strong exception to you having “instructed our members to not accept work on this job unless they are offered the usual choices of Loa or room and meal allowance and unless otherwise notified by the union”. Article 12.202(a) clearly gives them an option and “instructing” them not to exercise an option provided to them by the Collective Agreement is not appropriate. If you continue to take this position we will have no choice but to look at filing a grievance and/or complaint at the Labour Relations Board. Mr Mydske is dead wrong again. If the camp is not approved then it is not a camp job. If it is not a camp job then you have the choice of Loa or room and meal allowance and the union will instruct you not to go to the camp. Mydske threatens but has no teeth. As you noticed we are not at the labour board and CLRA is planning on a proper examination of the camp.

We have already discussed on a number of occasions situations where members have had to sit out for a day or two on an out of town job. Although our contractors do their best to work with clients to ensure this does not happen, there are times when the circumstances of the project makes this unavoidable. Although this is an inconvenience, it is not a violation of Collective Agreement. Nor is there any requirement to lay off and pay return travel under these circumstances. 


Chris Mydske | Director, Labour Relations 

Construction Labour Relations Association of BC   

From: Geoff

Date: Aug 14, 2019 10:07 PM 

Subject: Pine River CNRL Camp at Gas Plant 

To: Jason Bodnarek

Cc: Geoff Higginson <>,BAC #2 BC <>, 


I understand that Clayburn has been trying to secure workforce for a job at the Pine River gas plant for a September 15 start.  Scott Darroche has informed me that the client is demanding that our members park their vehicles in Chetwynd in a secured parking lot and then ride a bus to a camp of some kind which has been built by CNRL near the gas plant and be required to stay in the camp for the balance of the shut down. 

Under our collective agreement all camps must meet camp standards established by an agreement between the BC Building Trades and the CLRA and be inspected and approved prior to occupancy.  We have no idea of the standards of this camp and it has not been Inspected by representatives of the unions And the CLRA.  The camp in question does not appear to even be licensed or listed under the northern health listing of construction camps.  We have no idea if it has been permitted by the health department or what kind of food services are present.  The union is also aware that the gas plant in question has the highest SO2 emissions in the province so we are concerned about our members being asked to stay in a camp of unknown nature so near the plant.  This is not to say the camp and commissary are unacceptable.  It is just that we have absolutely no information. 

I have instructed our members to not accept work on this job unless they are offered the usual choices of Loa or room and meal allowance and unless otherwise notified by the union. 

Be advised that any attempt by the CLRA or Clayburn to negotiate directly with our members as to whether or not they “choose” to stay in his unknown camp will be responded to in no uncertain terms as a grievance, as any changes to the collective agreement must be enabled in writing and mutually agreed to, not to mention we are the employees exclusive bargaining agent. 

There have been other issues with this client in the past for our members.  Specifically, arriving for a short term shutdown only to find that the client has advised our  contractors that they did not need our members on a particular day or days and have demanded that they stay in the hotel and not be paid for the day.  If our members are going to leave their families for a short term shutdown we expect the client and the contractor to inform the member of whether or not there will be random days off so they can make an informed decision as to whether or not to accept the work hire.  Especially on shut downs less than a week or two.  Certainly if work is not available our members should receive a layoff and their return travel. 

The contact at the plant whom Scott Darroche referred me to in relation to the camp is Chris Engel, 780 292 2730 

Please send us details of this “camp” as soon as possible so we can sort out how to get this work completed. 

The camp regulations are not much different from Alberta’s.  As this is a new camp, we expect it to be up to snuff and in particular to be approved and properly licensed. 


President, IUBAC Local #2 BC 

Anode Bake Furnace (ABF) Maintenance-UNIFOR Grievance

Refraco, a non union company from Quebec has been working as a subcontractor within Rio Tinto maintaining the ABF. This work used to be Unifor Plant employees including mill masons. UNIFOR has a Labour Board hearing soon in the north over their grievance with Rio Tinto sub contracting work after the plant was handed over to them at the completion of the KMP. This will determine what our next steps will be in solidarity with UNIFOR in Kitimat.

Potline Maintenance Update

The local has taken bold steps to figure out what has been going on at the Smelter in Kitimat. Many members and legitimate contractors have been involved in helping to secure this work for our members. The work amounts to hundreds of thousands of hours of work over the decades ahead. Using techniques known as “salting” we have proven that the company SL & B is indeed hiring people off the street and training them with bricklayers who do not understand the meaning of union. The company has an all employee certification with the Labourers/Teamsters Poly Party Constitution. This company is paying untrained uncertified and unskilled workers to lay brick and to attempt to re and re pots in-situ. I understand that it may not be going too well. Stay tuned. Rio Tinto may have to make a critical decision shortly.

Hiring According to Our Bricklayers Standard Industrial Agreement

Please note this letter sent to clra via email re hiring.
For CLR Rep Chris Mydske's response scroll to bottom.  
Top of this post is his letter to CLRA contractors.
Please take Note!

From: Chris Mydske 
Sent: February 11, 2019 11:58 AM
To: Chris Mydske <>
Subject: Name Request, Clearance Slips/Lists – Non Local #2 members
Importance: High

Hi everyone,

I recently received an email from Geoff Higginson from the IUBAC Local #2. The email was putting CLR on notice that he believes certain aspects of the collective agreement are not being followed by a number of contractors. He didn’t provide me with any specific instances and has not filed any grievances so far. However, he has indicated to me that if there are further issues he will be filing grievances and looking for financial remedies. The specifics are outlined below.

  1. Under article 11.02 of the Collective Agreement, all employees must be members of the union in good standing and must be cleared by the union prior to commencing work. Before you start a job you should be emailing the union a list of the Employees you are hiring for a specific project. They can then review the list and make sure they are members in good standing. Please ensure that you are doing this if you are not already.
  1. Under the hiring provisions in the collective agreement you must hire union members from Local #2 to do work in B.C. As I understand it, there have been times when Geoff has allowed you to hire non-members, for example members of the IUBAC in Alberta. Please be advised that we need to consult with the union and get approval prior to doing this. If we do not get approval and the union files a grievance there could be a significant financial liability to your organization. As such, I would strongly suggest that you contact the union prior to hiring anyone who is not already a union member. You can also contact me and if you would like me to facilitate the conversation on your behalf.
  1. Just a reminder that work which falls under the traditional scope of the Bricklayer is supposed to be done by union members. Management personal, Superintendents, etc., are not supposed to be working on the tools. Although I understand this may happen from time to time due to unforeseen circumstances, we should be trying to avoid it wherever possible.

Please ensure that we are following these aspects of the collective agreement as there is likely to be a lot more scrutiny put on this going forward. Any questions, please let me know.


Chris Mydske | Director, Labour Relations

Construction Labour Relations Association of BC  

97 Sixth Street, New Westminster, BC V3L 5H8

Despite my repeatedly bring the issue up with both you and your signatory contractors, there continues to be an ongoing and serious failure of these contractors to send us name requests lists prior to their employment on any project in British Columbia. Clause 11.102 clearly states that “All employees must be a member in good standing of the Union. Employees shall present a clearance slip to the job steward prior to commencement of work, and such clearance shall include confirmation of the Employee’s membership status.”
To be clear, our collective agreement requires that all employees must be members of this Local, as opposed to a Local from another province, and must be cleared prior to starting work. All non-members of the Union (IUBAC Local #2 BC) are outside of the scope of hiring in the Bricklayers Standard Industrial Agreement.
On occasion, and when necessary, we have been very flexible with enabling non members to work when the situations such as lack of union workforce available or specialty crews required, warranted the enabling of non members.
However, it is clear this flexibility is being taken advantage of, and your contractors are openly breaching the collective agreement by bringing in out-of-province bricklayers without first clearing it with me.
This email is to notify the CLR and its signatory contractors that all future breaches of Clauses 11.101 and 11.102 will be met with grievances. If your contractors fail to send name request lists of hires to the union hall or me, prior to an employee starting, such that a prospective employee can present a clearance slip from the Local to the job steward, then said contractors will be considered to be in non-compliance with the agreement. As remedy for such breaches we will seek damages equivalent to every hour worked (Blouin Drywall
Additionally, until we have full compliance with this, I do not anticipate looking favourably on any request to employ non-members of the Local (this would include out-of-province members of the IU).
Finally, any supervision brought to the job are management only and are not allowed to touch the tools or enter the vessels other than to inspect the work. Foremen are required to be members of the Local. We will not enable any out-of-province foremen.
Again to reiterate, Employers must provide us with name requests (which may only include members of this Local) in advance of the start of a job, in order that clearance slips can be provided. If this procedure is followed, and there remain supply issues, then, and only then, will the Local consider enabling the Agreement to allow for out-of-province members of the IU to be employed. Supervision above the level of foremen are not allowed on the tools. Any future disregard of these provisions of the Standard Agreement shall be met with grievances and damage claims for equivalent wages and benefits.
I request that you apprise each of your contractors of the Local’s position and I sincerely hope compliance shall follow.

Geoff, as we discussed the other day I don't believe that you have ever brought this issue to my attention before. You certainly haven't brought it to my attention repeatedly as you state below. Regardless, I will send a communication to the signatory contractors reminding them of their obligations under the Collective Agreement. Thanks. Chris