Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Program creates new jobs for Indigenous workers

Construction monitoring and liaison roles bolster Indigenous project participation

Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP) has created multiple opportunities for Indigenous participation.

Over and above the standard positions that would be filled on any large pipeline construction project, Enbridge has committed to providing 27 new jobs for Indigenous construction monitors—and another nine for construction liaisons—over the life of the Canadian portion of the project.

The first group of Indigenous monitors and liaisons began work in the fall of 2017 and wrapped up in early 2018. The next group of monitors is expected to commence work in August 2018.

For Wennell Swampy of Samson Cree Nation, near Edmonton, it’s been an opportunity to do something different and to advance her career.

“I wanted to take on the challenge with a huge opportunity like this one,” she says. “When I read the ad, I said to myself: ‘I believe I've gained the field and administrative experience over the years. I’m confident I can do this.’ ”

The focus of the monitoring role is to provide an Indigenous perspective, and the implementation of environmental and cultural protection measures, during the construction phase. Each construction “spread” or area also employs an Indigenous construction liaison who is responsible for the success of Indigenous workers and contactors, as well as acting as a resource for the monitors.

For much of the past seven years, Swampy had been up north for various oil sands producers doing quality assurance/quality control work—even getting an opportunity to work on a project in New Jersey.

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Line 3 Replacement Program (Canada)
The multibillion-dollar Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP), with a $5.3-billion Canadian component, is the largest project in Enbridge history.

As that work began to slow down, Swampy found herself between jobs and ready for a new experience. She found it when she came across a Facebook page advertising a unique opportunity to train as an Indigenous construction monitor for the L3RP.

Upon completing the training, she was hired by Matrix Solutions Inc. as a Junior Aboriginal Construction Monitor, joining the L3RP out of the Provost, AB field office in September. Swampy is part of a four-person team working within construction Spread 1, an area running from Hardisty, AB to west of Luseland, SK.

Pipeline construction is now complete in Spread 1 and the work is turning to focus on restoration of the pipeline right-of-way. Swampy’s strong work ethic resulted in being invited back on the project this summer, along with a well-deserved promotion to Senior Monitor.

“She’s been a big asset to the construction monitoring team,” says her supervisor, Mel Abraham, an Indigenous construction liaison. “She’s got a lot of administrative experience. There’s a lot of paperwork involved with the job and she’s keeping us on track filling out the vehicle inspection reports, safety reports, and things like field-level hazard assessments.”

The construction monitoring job requires diligence, attention to detail, and plenty of walking along the pipeline right-of-way.

“With my previous position in the oilfield, the majority of my time was spent in the office,” Swampy says. “I was reading a lot of paperwork and having to imagine projects being built compared to actually having that visual perspective from start to finish—this is a totally different and amazing experience that I’m proud to be a part of.”

(TOP PHOTO: Wennell Swampy and co-workers along Enbridge's Line 3 Replacement Program right-of-way.)