The Government of Canada’s June 18 approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project was national news. The following day, President and CEO Ian Anderson held a teleconference for news media to take questions and provide the company’s reaction to the announcement and outline the next steps. Here are a few questions and quotes from that call with reporters from major Canadian media outlets. Questions and answers are edited for brevity and clarity. 

Can you give me an idea how many people you have in place right now on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and how many contractors you’ll be looking to hire? — Chris Varcoe, Calgary Herald

On staff right now in terms of employees and contractors working 100 per cent on the Project, we probably have a couple of hundred contractors. We’ll be hiring at the peak of construction thousands of Canadians to work on the project. I think some of our peak requirements are up around 5,000 or 6,000 people.

Where will construction begin? Will it begin in several places? Will you start in say, Burnaby and move east? — Robert Tuttle, Bloomberg News

Where we start construction will be essentially where we left off construction last August (2018). So, it’ll be back in Burnaby at our Westridge Marine Terminal, building out our dock, working in the Burnaby Terminal and recommencing work in the spread west of Edmonton and east of Jasper National Park, so in Alberta. That’s where we’ll go back to work first.

And then over time as final permits and land acquisitions are made, we would work into the Edmonton area as well as the North Thompson area north of Kamloops as our next locations.

What do you personally believe are the biggest challenges in getting this pipeline completed? — Tara Weber, BNN Bloomberg

I think the biggest challenge we have on a project of this scale and magnitude is the day-to-day coordination of the activities of thousands of workers in the field, all towards a united project. There are interfaces between contractors doing different spreads. There are different terrains. The project management of this effort is going to be significant. We’re prepared for it. I’ve got world-class people prepared to manage that. It is many major projects within a mega-project and we’re approaching it that way.

What is your plan is for managing potential interruptions and protests in British Columbia? Has the government of Canada given you any indication on how they will deal with that? — Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post

We’ve had no direct conversation with the Government of Canada around that. As you know, we have a standing injunction in place that protects all of our facilities and work activities from any interference; and that’s a standing injunction we’ve had for some time in British Columbia and it still exists and is valid today. Obviously, we’re fully respectful and appreciative of different points of view and people’s right to protest. Our wishes remain that it is done in a law-abiding and safe and secure manner. We’ll be prepared to protect our workers and our facilities as required. We have full control over those security plans and we will undertake them as necessary.

We do know that increasingly, I believe, Canadians are believing in the Project and the importance of this project to Canada. And once we get started, I hope that momentum continues to grow.

Last time this project was approved, you were working for a private American-based company. Now you’re working for the federal government indirectly – do you think it will be easier to get those reconsiderations from the NEB and so on? — Dan Healing, Canadian Press   

As a proponent of this Project, the regulatory framework we work within is well-defined and it’s no different today than it was before. Our dealings with the National Energy Board are no different today than they were before and we continue to operate in that fashion, and we’re committed to adhering to all the regulations and standards as required by the NEB.

Obviously, I’ve got a new board (of directors) now, providing oversight and governance to the company and the Project and it’s a very high-quality board that’s been very, very helpful to me over the last six months. So, I would say that’s really the only difference. We’re operating the business and the Project and the company as we were before with the same objectives in mind.