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International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)

International Union of Operating Engineers (“IUOE”) logo

Overview

The International Union of Operating Engineers is a progressive and diversified trade union representing workers in a wide variety of occupational categories. Made up of 17 Local Unions across Canada, our 55,000 members have helped build Canada’s infrastructure and have been involved in the production of Canada’s resources and delivery of its critical health care and community services since 1896.

Our members construct and shape the skylines of Canada—we are the specialists that build roads, schools, hospitals, pipelines, solar and wind farms, and more. We have proudly served Canada’s nuclear sector and are committed to small modular reactors (SMRs) as a source of clean, safe and affordable energy, as outlined by the Statement of Principles.

The development and deployment of various SMR technologies in Canada will serve to strengthen our economy, and protect and enhance our environment. The construction, manufacturing, and distribution of SMRs will provide vast employment opportunities for Canadian workers, especially women, Indigenous peoples and visible minorities. SMRs have the potential to support thousands of highly-skilled Canadian tradespeople through apprenticeship training and employment not only today, but to also provide avenues for future opportunities.

As a labour representative, we would provide a consistent and stable workforce for the development and maintenance of SMRs in Canada. In Ontario, we have nuclear ready workers who have the skills and training needed to work on nuclear reactors, through nuclear refurbishment projects in the province, and who are prepared to develop and construct SMRs.

We have and will continue to work with stakeholders and all levels of government to ensure the construction, manufacturing, and distribution of SMRs. We will ensure that SMRs are built with the most capable and highly skilled workforce in Canada. This can be achieved, in part, through the implementation of workforce development plans, which support the hiring and training of local workers and underrepresented groups—including women, Indigenous groups and visible minorities—as well as the training of apprentices and critical socio-economic investments in local communities.

Additionally, we recognize the important role SMRs can have as opportunities for investment in clean energy, and in the acceleration towards a low-carbon future in Canada. United as partners in “Team Canada”, we will work with all stakeholders to encourage investment in the technology and its deployment. SMRs provide ample investment opportunities for our pension plan funds, as well as other investors, who see its value for safe, low carbon emitting energy. The IUOE through its pension plans sees the possibilities and potential to invest our members money in such projects.

At a time when Canada faces numerous social, economic and employment challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits that SMRs would provide to local economies would be substantial. Several provinces across Canada have shown keen interest in participating in the development of SMR technologies, including Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, among others, with consideration that SMRs will not only help to revitalize their economies, but also provide a source of clean, safe and affordable energy. These provinces, especially Ontario, have the infrastructure and workforce in place to support SMRs.

SMRs would be crucial in promoting clean energy in Canada’s North and in industrial activities, such as mining. The versatility of SMRs can provide power and increase energy efficiency in remote communities, especially in vulnerable Arctic environments. Further, as a source of affordable, low-carbon emitting energy, SMRs could be deployed to power communities in the North for decades with low maintenance and upkeep.

According to Statistics Canada, nearly all power generation in Canada’s North is through diesel, making up over half of all diesel usage nation-wide. SMRs have the potential to reduce the reliance on diesel and coal-fired power generation, especially in Nunavut which is entirely off-grid and reliant on diesel. Resource development in the North would benefit from SMRs as a responsible, sustainable source of power generation for their facilities and operations.

Another great opportunity rests in Canada’s oil and gas sector. SMRs would help the Government of Canada meet its environmental commitments in the sector, while at the same time ensure that the sector continues to grow and export oil and gas to market. By installing a SMR in Fort McMurray, the environmental impact of the oilsands would be greatly reduced.

From our perspective, Canada has the key components to make SMRs a success: a skilled workforce, including trades and engineering; the ability to supply and procure materials and components; and ready access to shipping for exports. Success will depend upon the timely development and deployment of the infrastructure needed to support the manufacturing and production of the technology, and the need to ensure that SMR projects, such as the one proposed by Arc Nuclear, are supported by all levels of government and fully funded.

We are currently working with industry and government stakeholders to advance and raise support for SMRs. We are eager to see the development and implementation of SMRs roll out in Canada within the next decade and will continue to provide assistance and support towards that goal, wherever possible.

ACTIONS

POLICY, LEGISLATION, AND REGULATION
Canada’s SMR Action Plan – Labour
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
IU01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 4, 5, 39

ACTION

IUOE will engage with other “Team Canada” partners to develop an Action Plan that recognizes the critical role of labour and workforce development plans for SMR development and deployment.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • An Action Plan is developed that recognizes the critical role of labour and workforce development plans in developing and deploying SMRs.
  • The future SMR skilled workforce is diverse and equitably recognizes contributions from women, youth, minorities and Indigenous peoples.
  • Workforce development initiatives highlight the importance of apprenticeship training and local hiring in regards to SMRs.
  • Promote Canadian investment in SMRs.
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Labour engagement in the promotion and development of SMRs
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
IU02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 11, 12, 24, 39, 41, 46, 53

ACTION

IUOE will continue to work with other stakeholders, including all levels of government, industry and labour organizations, to meaningful consult on and promote investment in and the timely development and deployment of SMRs.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Positive outcomes are formed in financing and establishing timelines for the development and deployment of SMRs.
  • Skilled organized labour is deployed to construct, manufacture, distribute and operate SMRs.
  • Investments are made, including potentially through our pension funds, to support the development of SMRs.
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Promotion of diversity and inclusion in a future SMR workforce
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
IU03

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 38, 39, 53

ACTION

IUOE will continue efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in a future SMR workforce, through initiatives including workforce development and community benefits plans that support the training, apprenticeship, and hiring of women, youth, minorities and Indigenous people.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • The future SMR workforce is diverse and equitably recognizes the contributions of women, youth, minorities, and Indigenous people.
  • Plans and agreements are in place to promote the training, apprenticeship and hiring of Canadian workers, especially women, youth, minorities and Indigenous people in a future SMR workforce.
  • Initiatives such as “Equal by 30” are achieved in the promotion of a diverse and inclusive workforce.