Better Communities, Better Lives
/ Author: Dennis Perrin
/ Categories: Guide magazine /
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Better Communities, Better Lives

CLAC members come from across the country to work on remote projects, and they build a workplace community together

The concept of community has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of many communities in my life. It started with the community that I was raised in and has since included communities in several other parts of Canada as well as other parts of the world.

Typically, when we think of community in this context, we are thinking of it as a geographical community—the town, city, or hamlet that I reside in. But the pandemic has forced us to rethink how we define our community. Depending on where we live, for months many of us have not been able to live in our communities in person. We’ve been forced to take our communities online and in other creative ways so that we can maintain contact.

Technology has allowed us to maintain a sense of community in ways that we could not have imagined even 10 years ago. In some cases, I’ve been fortunate to communicate with friends and family more in-depth than I have in years. Necessity really is the mother of invention. 

Recently, I had the good fortune to visit a number of Local 63 members working on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project. The visit was a real treat as I was able to see first hand the construction of an amazing piece of infrastructure that moves critical energy to market, thus reducing our reliance on energy from other countries who do not hold the same social and environmental standards as we do in Canada. 

What was even better was being able to interact with these individuals. I met members hailing from various parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. All of them come from specific geographic communities in Canada that they call home. 

The biggest thing that was impressed on me was how obvious it was that these members were a community unto themselves. They all proudly spoke of their home communities and the families they had to leave behind. But in place of that gap was a community of coworkers. 

These members work and live together while at the job. Their camaraderie and support for each other was obvious. They maintained a great sense of humour while looking out for each other. It was a wonderful thing to observe as it embodies the type of community that we all want to belong to. 

CLAC is committed to building better workplaces, better communities, and better lives. That commitment rang through my mind for days after that pipeline visit. These members are part of a workplace community that both challenges and supports them. They are living the very ideal that CLAC is committed to. 

It made me fiercely proud of them—both in what they are building and the way in which they support each other in doing it. I was honoured to be allowed to see a glimpse of that, and it gives me hope for the work that CLAC has in front of it for many years to come.

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