The Northwest Territories and Nunavut Construction Association is launching a “reverse job board” to help northerners find jobs on construction projects in their communities.
Matt Belliveau, the association's executive director, said: "Both employers and government staff in the NWT and Nunavut have told us that when construction projects take place in small communities, they have a hard time knowing if there are apprentices or others who are in the area and looking for work.
“We’re hoping that this resource will make it easier for people in small communities to connect with employers and increase the economic benefits of construction projects in these communities.”
Northerners' concerns about local jobs being awarded to southerners are well-documented. During the building of Hay River's replacement Pine Point Bridge, residents asked their MLA to look into how many locals were involved in the $12.8-million project.
The federal government was criticized this past summer by its own MP, Michael McLeod, over the lack of local and Indigenous people involved in northern mine reclamation. Ottawa says it is now trying to do more in that field.
Even in Yellowknife, hiring remains an issue for residents.
Giant Mine cleanup leaders had claimed more than 50 percent of people involved in the remediation work were northern, but the project’s independent oversight board criticized these numbers. The remediation team's 2017-18 employment statistics suggest only 20 percent of workers at the time were northern – and just four percent were Indigenous.
Right now, the construction association is reaching out to hamlet offices and schools to let them know about the new program, which is set to launch in early 2020.
Tradespeople and apprentices are invited to send their contact information, resume, and apprenticeship status to email@example.com.
The construction association plans to create a list of people looking for work, which will be shared weekly in a newsletter with more than 300 construction industry contacts.