As many as 1,500 jobs in northern Manitoba could be lost over the next two or three years, according to an internal document sent to Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen in May.
The briefing note, dated May 10, 2017 and obtained by the New Democrats through a freedom-of-information request, projects the job losses could amount to as much as $100 million in lost income, with a loss to the regional economy of roughly $300 million.
The numbers were part of an advisory note to Pedersen ahead of the province’s Look North initiative, announced in its throne speech in November 2016.
The task force, which is co-chaired by Chuck Davidson, president of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. and Christian Sinclair, an independent business adviser from Opaskwayak Cree Nation, presented its final report and action plan on Friday.
The report included a note that the region is in decline, but didn’t mention the 1,500 jobs that could be lost. NDP leader Wab Kinew called it “alarming” the number wasn’t included in the task force’s report, and said he wants to see the government take action to keep people working and improve internet access in the region.
“We’re willing to work with the government on this issue, but I think it’s important that we find a path forward here that will keep people across the north working. Again, reports don’t put food on the table. Jobs do,” Kinew said.
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