In Canada, the oil and natural gas industry currently directly and indirectly employs more than 500,000 Canadians and is a key element of our national economy

In Canada, the oil and natural gas industry currently directly and indirectly employs more than 500,000 Canadians and is a key element of our national economy.

While the oil and natural gas industry has undergone significant job losses in 2016 due to the decline in oil prices, the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform expects rehiring will begin in 2017 as capital investment resumes and there is a need to fill positions left vacant by retiring baby boomers. By 2020, PetroLMI estimates the industry will require up to 55,300 new workers if oil prices increase to the US$60-$80/bbl range and historical retirements remain the same.

The loss of talent to other industries in Canada may have a significant impact on the oil and natural gas industry's ability to attract and retain a skilled labour force once activity does ramp up. Expected retirements are likely to make employee attraction and retention even more important. Additionally, the oil and gas industry often faces difficulty finding enough people with the right skills to do the work when activity ramps up. All of this mean the oil and gas industry will need to continue to find ways to attract the best and brightest Canada has to offer to maintain its competitiveness in the new cost-driven environment we find ourselves in.

This labour challenge will determine whether the opportunity for continued responsible growth in the sector will be fully realized. Addressing Canada's workforce challenge will require a portfolio of measures, some with immediate impact and some that will require a longer time period to have a substantive impact. CAPP is of the view that we must maximize opportunities for Canadians, while at the same time recognizing that immigration (both permanent and temporary) may be needed to fill gaps.

Access to skilled labour remains a priority for CAPP member companies in the long run. Ensuring we have the right people with the right skills is crucial to delivering oil and gas projects safely, on time and on budget.

Labour market information (LMI)

CAPP worked with PetroLMI to produce an updated labour market model for industry. PetroLMI has used this updated model to produce updated labour outlooks across the value chain of the oil and natural gas industry. These outlooks include estimates of labour supply and demand for oil sands, conventional exploration and production, pipeline, and oil and natural gas services operations, as well as oil sands construction and liquefied natural gas facility construction. This information will be broken out by occupation to give employers, workers, schools, and governments more information on industry's labour needs.

Policy issues

Canada's oil and natural gas industry is committed to providing opportunities to Canadians first – attracting, training and developing from within. CAPP members continue to invest significant resources to train and access Canadian workers. These efforts include partnerships with educational institutions across Canada, as well as partnerships with other stakeholders specifically relating to under-represented populations in the workforce (Women Building Futures and Indspire Institute). Some of our members also operate rotational workforces, allowing their employees to commute to work from different areas of the same province or from other provinces.

We also rely on the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program to meet our short-term labour needs or for temporary jobs, particularly for the construction, turnaround and maintenance of major energy projects in more remote northern and offshore locations.

CAPP will continue to advocate on behalf of a Canadians-first approach for Canadians to benefit most from the responsible development of Canadian resources.