Energy workers flock to Alberta town

Living conditions becoming challenging

Energy workers flock to Alberta town


Around 2,000 workers have come to the town of Edson in Alberta where three major energy projects are underway nearby.

Currently under construction nearby are part of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, another pipeline project from TC Energy and the $1.5-billion Cascade Energy Project power plant, according to a report from CBC.

After a three-week shutdown, the Trans Mountain Pipeline was safely restarted in December. Previously, Trans Mountain Pipeline Corp said that it is still working to get its pipeline running again after it was shut down during extensive flooding and landslides in British Columbia.

These workers add to the 8,400 people already living in the town.

This brings a flurry of economic activity to the town after several slow years following the oil market crash of 2015, according to Mayor Kevin Zahara.

"We're really in the peak with most of the workers here in our community," he said, according to the CBC report.

Zahara noted that before the pandemic, companies would create work camps. But now, workers are flooding into the town and the surrounding Yellowhead County.

This has also brought downsides: its impact on traffic, crime, and the unavailability of housing that most affects people experiencing homelessness.

"Our hotels are packed — we have zero per cent rental vacancy available," Zahara said.

In December, the federal government said it is looking to further improve safety measures for temporary foreign workers in the agricultural sector.

But overall, things have been great, he said, according to the report.

"We're really in the peak with most of the workers here in our community," he said. “Overall, it is a hugely beneficial thing for our community."