Opinion: Ensuring remote First Nations are fully ready for mining jobs – by Daniel Bland (Montreal Gazette – November 21, 2017)


Daniel Bland works with Cree Human Resources Development on the design and delivery of workforce development training programs. He is based in Mistissini.

Resource extraction companies across Canada continue to ride out a worldwide slump in commodity prices that market analysts suggest may continue into 2018 before showing signs of any extended recovery.

While that is certainly bad news for mining companies, it could be a blessing in disguise for many remote First Nations hoping to benefit from their proximity to potential mining operations.

In recent years, Canadian policy institutes and think tanks have paid considerable attention to determining the labour market demands of major mining projects, many of them planned on or near aboriginal land.

There has been much less attention paid, however, to assessing the educational, skill and experience levels of the on-reserve aboriginal populations most people agree will supply much of the labour force needed to meet those demands.

Accurate labour force information about the residents of aboriginal reserves is hard to come by. While Statistics Canada conducts a monthly labour force survey in provinces and territories across Canada, it does not include the country’s on-reserve aboriginal population.

For the rest of this column: http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-ensuring-remote-first-nations-are-fully-ready-for-mining-jobs