When Newfoundlanders and Labradorians build our province, we all benefit.

About NL First

When we’re working, everyone thrives.

As the collective voice for 18,000+ members of the 16 building trades unions we represent, Trades NL is committed to ensuring that all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians benefit from our province’s resources and public infrastructure investments.

Right now, NL is experiencing a lull in construction leaving many skilled trade women and men out of work. Our membership believes that the provincial government can do more to ensure Newfoundlanders and Labradorians receive first consideration to work on projects in the province and from our resources. This can be achieved through the implementation of Newfoundland and Labrador Benefits Agreements (NLBAs) for publicly funded infrastructure projects and negotiation of stronger benefits agreements with industry on resource development projects.

Government continues to miss employment opportunities for our workforce as we have been seeing on their own projects: West Coast Hospital and Long Term Care facility, Central Long Term Care facilities, numerous school’s, Labrador Wellness Center, and the Mun Core Science Building. Likewise on recent oil & gas projects where there are missed opportunities for our workforce when topsides are constructed out of the country, major refits scheduled to happen out of the country, and other major infrastructure for our resources permitted to be constructed out of the country. On numerous mining projects in Labrador and on the Island, we have many local skilled trade workers left unemployed while out-of-province contractors continue to bring in workers on projects from our resources.

This trend of missed work opportunities can not continue. NOW is the time for our Provincial Government to give Newfoundland & Labrador skilled trade workers a hand-up. We are not looking for a hand-out.

We want our members, their families, and everyone who calls this province home, to live and work here. We want everyone in the province to benefit from the fruits of our members’ labour. Our members have a long history of building projects that are the highest of quality while maintaining impeccable safety standards. And, when our members are working, everyone benefits. Over the past eight years alone, our members have donated over $21 million to local charities helping our youth, those who are sick, the most vulnerable people around us, major health care equipment and much-much more.

Proud Positions

Trades NL has a well trained, highly qualified, very productive and extremely safe workforce. Our members have successfully constructed and maintained some of the most complex projects in the world right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our workers want to work and live here at home, contributing to the economy in a significant way.

We want to develop our workforce to ensure our province is competitive. A strong construction industry leads to stronger communities. For every job in construction, it produces 7 spin-off jobs in other sectors of the economy. Our local workforce should be receiving a fair chance at work happening in our province from our resources, in a way that benefits labour, contractors, suppliers and developers.

Trades NL is calling upon the Provincial Government to implement a Newfoundland & Labrador Benefits Agreement Policy on all publicly funded infrastructure and resource development activity in this province.

Provincial governments and cities right across the country – Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and BC – are implementing community benefit policies as a measure to protect jobs and provide opportunities for their residents. With all the developments and work planned in our province, it is time for our government to follow suit, ensuring our residents are the primary beneficiaries.

Below are the position statements of the NL First campaign.

One purpose of the Atlantic Accord is to recognize the right of Newfoundland and Labrador to be the “principal beneficiary” of the oil and gas resources off our shores. Under section 51 of the Atlantic Accord, a plan must be approved for employment of the provincial labour force, and for providing manufacturers, consultants, contractors and service providers in Newfoundland and Labrador with a full and fair opportunity to participate in the supply of goods and services used for that project. Job creation benefits the short and long term outlook for the province.

The NL First. Our Resources, Our Benefits campaign is advocating for the highest number of construction jobs from all resource development projects.

  • Just as government negotiates benefits agreements for industrial projects, a similar process should be in place for public infrastructure projects
  • Public infrastructure projects should create employment opportunities within the province as a first step
  • Trades NL supports government adopting a NLBA policy for publicly funded infrastructure to ensure the local economy is being stimulated by the project first before going outside
  • As taxpayers and owners of public infrastructure projects, our skilled workers deserve to be given first consideration to be employed on these projects and for everyone in the province to enjoy the fruits of their labour

What are NLBAs?

  • Labour agreements that set out hiring provisions on publicly funded infrastructure projects
  • Include provisions for fair wages and the hiring of qualified local workers, apprentices, females and indigenous workers
  • Provisions are known up front, which levels the playing field
  • NLBA projects are open to union and non-union contractors    
  • Government can follow the lead of other provincial governments across the country by implementing Benefit Agreements as other provinces have done including Quebec, Manitoba, BC and Alberta
  • There are virtually no limits to what can be achieved at the Bull Arm Fabrication (BAF) facility, Atlantic Canada’s largest industrial fabrication site.
  • This is a world-class facility which should be a major employer for Newfoundland & Labrador resource developments
  • In order to remain competitive, the province needs to continuously build capacity of this facility
    • Government should retain this facility as a provincial asset
    • Government should invest in this facility so that it is positioned to capitalize on the evolving oil & gas industry, including FPSO’s
    • Government needs to diversify the use of the facility, opening up opportunities for new industries
    • As a provincial asset, government needs to ensure the building trades are given the opportunity to supply the labour on future developments at this facility

Proudly Trades NL



Trades NL is made up of 18,000+ skilled trades workers from across Newfoundland and Labrador representing 16 building trades unions and diverse backgrounds from age to gender to culture to communities.

Our members achieve world-class safety records on the projects we work on and the quality of our work is second to none – we build projects right. In 2015, our members received the ExxonMobil President’s Award for Safety – over 42 million person hours without a lost-time injury during construction of the Hebron project.

More about Trades NL



Trades NL members help build our province with construction experience in public, commercial and resource development sectors. Projects that our members have worked on include Hibernia, Hebron, Terra Nova, White Rose, West White Rose, Pleasantview Towers Long Term Care Facility, The Rooms, Memorial University Core Sciences Centre, and more.



We work closely with government, industry and community partners as well as our other provincial counterparts and national organization to ensure the whole province benefits from construction projects happening here. We value and appreciate our partnerships and collaborations with the government, industry and the community. By continuing to work together, we can ensure that everyone benefits from construction projects happening here in NL.

More about our Community Investment

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Labour agreements that set out hiring provisions on publicly funded infrastructure projects
  • Include provisions for fair wages and the hiring of qualified local workers, apprentices, females and indigenous workers
  • Provisions are known up front, which levels the playing field
  • NLBA projects are open to union and non-union contractors
  • Government can follow the lead of other provincial governments across the country by implementing NLBAs – examples: Quebec, Manitoba, BC and Alberta
  • Boilermakers, Local 203
  • Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local 1
  • Elevator Constructors, Local 125
  • Hotel & Restaurant Workers, Local 779
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1620
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 2330
  • International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, Local 137
  • Labourers, Local 1208
  • Iron Workers, Local 764
  • Carpenters, Local 579
  • Millwrights, Local 1009
  • Operating Engineers, Local 904
  • Painters & Allied Trades, Local 1984
  • Sheet Metal Workers, Local 512
  • Teamsters, Local 855
  • United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 740

Newfoundland and Labrador Benefits Agreements are open to union and non-union workers.

  • Corner Brook Hospital
  • Long term care facilities in Grand Falls-Windsor & Gander
  • Schools
  • Mental health facility in St. John’s
  • New prison in St. John’s
  • Mining projects in Central Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Voisey’s Bay underground mine
  • Kami mine in Labrador West
  • Come By Chance Oil Refinery Enhancements
  • Equinor’s Bay Du Nord offshore oil development
  • Terra Nova FPSO refit
  • Searose FPSO refit

As the voice of our 18,000+ members, Trades NL is advocating daily to be the organization of choice for quality construction labour solutions for government, owners and contractors in Newfoundland and Labrador. We have put a focused effort around NL benefits with the upcoming Bay du Nord project as well as several government infrastructure announcements. We have seen projects being built here in NL employing individuals from outside our province. We want to ensure that residents who want to live and work here at home are given first consideration and a full and fair opportunity to gain employment on NL construction projects.

To date, we have met with the Premier and other government leaders to discuss our issues. We have also engaged our members and union leaders to help us advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador Benefits Agreements through productive discussion and two-way communication. Our members are ready to put NL First.

The people of the province receiving first consideration and a full and fair opportunity for employment on construction projects happening in NL.

We want to see the highest number of jobs possible from our resources projects and public (tax paying) infrastructure projects. 


  • Quebec
  • Manitoba
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia

When we develop our workforce and build our capacity, we become more competitive as a province to attract new business. When we retain workers through gainful employment, they stimulate the economy in a significant away through spin-offs and community investment.

Our members are contributing to the economy right across Newfoundland and Labrador, into the smallest rural communities and urban centres. We drive the economy of our province.


If you have any questions, would like more information on Trades NL or to learn more about how you can support the NL First movement, please contact us.

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