News Release: Business Council of B.C. statement regarding increasing costs of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

February 7, 2020

February 7, 2020 (Vancouver, B.C.) - The Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) has issued a statement regarding the increased costs to complete the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project (TMX).

“The delay in approving TMX has added unnecessary costs that have resulted in delays in job creation and more importantly, the export of a needed commodity to world markets,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia. “Getting to markets in a timely manner and achieving full-value for our responsibly sourced petroleum exports in this case, or for agri-food, manufactured goods, technology or other exports is fundamental to our country’s success and that of its people.”

“As a Crown corporation, TMX is now feeling the impact that too many private sector regulated projects and industries experience as a result of regulatory uncertainty and delays that add to the cost of doing business in Canada,” added Mr. D’Avignon. “Our collective ability to get commodities to market that the world wants and needs, demands that we meet timelines for project development and completion or suffer from undue costs or lost investment. There are no winners when major projects in the national interest are delayed.”

Exports of natural resource commodities represent up to 75 percent of B.C.’s merchandise exports, disproportionately paying the bills and will continue to do so for some time by providing people, communities and governments with the income, innovations and supporting services we demand to maintain the quality of life we enjoy in Canada and British Columbia.

Since 2013, concurrent to Trans Mountain’s application to the existing pipeline network, the United States added over 35,000 kilometers of new crude oil pipelines, becoming a global exporter at Canada’s expense.

BCBC’s 2019 study, The Ties that Bind shows that as the gateway for Alberta products traded with Asia, B.C. garners more than $2 billion in export earnings every year by providing transportation and related services to Alberta. Capital investments in port and related transportation infrastructure also benefit both provinces.

The Business Council estimates that $30 billion in the trade of goods and services exists between B.C. and Alberta. Trade, capital flows, migration, and interprovincial employment between the two serve to bolster economic growth and prosperity in both provinces. TMX is also supported by the federal government’s $1.5 Billion federal Ocean Protections plan, increasing protection ocean environments.

A review of the top 25 exports for each province in the report shows the breadth of the trading relationship and confirms that energy – oil and natural gas -- are the most significant traded products, with Alberta and B.C. exporting over $2.6 and $2.2 billion in refined petroleum and natural gas products respectively to one another.

“We now need to accelerate this project. Today’s announcement, although negative due to cost escalation, still holds good news from the project as a whole. TMX still remains economically viable, is currently employing more than 2,900 and will grow that number significantly,” stated Mr. D’Avignon. “Importantly, this project is advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples with 58 agreements along the route while employing Canadians in high wage jobs including the current employment of 300 Indigenous peoples, in an industry that is key to our collective economic prosperity.“

About the Business Council of British Columbia

Now in its 54th year as the premier business organization in British Columbia, the Business Council of B.C. is a non-partisan organization made up of 250 leading and largest companies, post-secondary institutions and industry organizations from across B.C.'s diverse economy. The Council produces exceptional public policy research and advocacy in support of creating a competitive economy for the benefit of all British Columbians.

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