Work camp for new B.C. energy project raises safety concerns for Indigenous women and girls

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Groups advocating on behalf of lacking and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) say they fear a significant fossil gasoline project in Squamish, B.C., presents dangers to the safety of women locally.

They’re asking the province  to train its “due diligence to guard Indigenous women and girls.”

Major development on Fortis B.C.’s Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre LNG high-pressure fuel pipeline project is anticipated to start out in 2023. The firms proposed a short lived work camp for about 600 employees this 12 months to deal with the workforce, given the native housing crunch.

The project would provide 50 kilometres of new fuel pipeline between Coquitlam and Woodfibre LNG in Squamish.

Sue Brown, a lawyer and director of authorized advocacy at Justice for Girls, says there was little or no analysis by governments and companies on how these camps affect native Indigenous communities.

“Much of the proof that has been collected has been performed by the communities themselves,” Brown informed Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC’s The Early Edition.

Karen Vecchio, the chair of the House of Commons standing committee on the standing of women, says there’s a lack of analysis on the affect of resource-extraction firms on Indigenous women and girls.

She says the committee is engaged on its third examine taking a look at MMIWG and the useful resource sector and shall be publishing a report with its findings and suggestions for the federal authorities by the top of the 12 months.

“We acknowledge that there are gaps, and that is without doubt one of the causes for doing this examine. One of the largest issues that we should be making use of on these tasks are affect statements from the communities.”

In 2019, a nationwide inquiry into MMIWG referred to as on useful resource industries and regulators to contemplate the safety and safety of Indigenous women and girls and the connection between work camps and sexual violence.

Vecchio says communities with useful resource extraction firms are sometimes secluded and distant with no accessible sources.

“They do not need the infrastructure for lots of and generally as much as 1,000 individuals coming into the group.”

Increased charges of sexual assault

A examine in 2017 by the Firelight Group in northern B.C. checked out sexual assault charges in communities like Fort St. John, the place useful resource extractive industries had been current and discovered a rise of 26 per cent within the first 12 months of operation.

Brown stated one other examine by Northern Health discovered a 22 per cent enhance in sexually transmitted infections in communities within the north the place useful resource extractive industries had been current.

“The data that is been collected right here and overseas is that there’s completely little doubt that there’s a hyperlink between sexual exploitation, sexual violence, bodily violence and these camps.”

Following consultations with the Squamish First Nation, Woodfibre LNG says it is submitted a proposal to the province for a floatel as a substitute of a piece camp — floating housing that can be positioned seven kilometres away from Squamish close to the project web site on the far facet of Howe Sound.

“The selection of floatel was made on the request of the group and is supported by the Squamish Nation. We are at present within the approval course of with the B.C. authorities,” stated Rebecca Scott, the director of communications for Woodfibre LNG. 

She says the floatel will solely be accessible by boat and was chosen for its minimal affect on the Squamish group and Sea to Sky hall.

In an emailed assertion to CBC News, Fortis B.C. stated a group engagement in 2019 confirmed that non permanent lodging had been the popular choice for housing the workforce required for the Eagle Mountain Gas Pipeline project.

“The full-service lodge will meet all of the wants of our workforce, offering meals, fundamental medical, and train and recreation amenities. This will cut back the affect on housing availability and on native companies,” stated Zaneta Ewashko, the communications adviser for Fortis.

She says everybody on the work web site will obtain obligatory Indigenous cultural consciousness coaching and should comply with a employee’s code of conduct that outlines subjects together with drug and alcohol use and respectful after-hours behaviour.

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