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Labour Market Info and Major Projects

Introduction

Labour Market InformationIndigenous Works (formerly the Aboriginal Human Resource Council) embarked upon a labour market research project commencing April 1, 2014. The project “Making Better Use of LMI Information data to Increase Aboriginal Participation in Major Projects” is supported by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) as part of approved funding under their Sectoral Initiatives Program.

Background

There are many major development projects planned in Canada in the oil, gas, energy, forestry and mining in the next few years. Over the next decade major projects will inject an estimated $650 billion into our Canadian economy. These projects will develop in proximity to more than 500 Aboriginal communities across the country.

Historically, while major projects offer significant employment opportunities, Indigenous people have experienced many barriers in their efforts to participate directly in these projects. As well, a general statement can be made that many rural Indigenous communities have been unable to realize sustainable employment gains and diversification in their local secondary and tertiary economies which result from these major project developments.

Companies that are developing major projects need to secure the best skilled labour as close to their development sites as possible. Indigenous people and communities need the jobs. But they need longer lead time and better information to prepare their people for these opportunities. They need to know what the job opportunities are. An occupational forecast will help reduce the mismatch between the developers’ needs on the one hand and Aboriginal communities’ expectations and planning on the other hand. Both industry and Indigenous groups also need to work more closely with educational organizations so that training offers can be brought into closer alignments with the skills needs of major projects.

We also need to better understand the cumulative impact of major projects (regionally and nationally) and their demand and opportunity for Indigenous talent. It is this deeper understanding of the cumulative employment impact and the staging and sequencing of major projects across the country which will also help Indigenous people to be more responsive to labour market demands, and to implement plans and mechanisms which encourage labour mobility and collaboration with industry, education and labour partners to prepare Indigenous youth and others for a better future.

Our project takes its cue from recent work and dialogue about the ways that Canadians can make better use of labour market information. The 226 page report on “Working Together to Build a Better Labour Market Information System for Canada”, (2009) provided a thorough overview of this issue. The report offers many insights into the ways that we should be re-examining the packaging, exchange and end use of labour market information to optimize data usage. The main challenge with labour market data has to do with forecasting and predictions. What are the demand side drivers for employment and how best to interpret them? Our focus on major projects and the development of an occupational forecast will contribute to the broader outcome of Indigenous participation in these projects. 

Our project has the following three objectives.

  1. Conduct a 10 year occupational/skills forecast of the direct employment needs of 125 major projects.
  2. Identify the indirect opportunities for local Indigenous employment stemming from major projects and the economic leakage implications of communities’ non-preparedness and non-participation (three case studies).
  3. Disseminate this occupational forecast and other data; organizing and documenting discussion forums which illustrate and invite the ways that these labour market data can be better used by Indigenous, education and industry organizations in order to facilitate increased Indigenous employment and participation in major resource projects. (Nine discussion forums of which three will be in-person and six via webinar exchange).

A key outcome of the project is that it offers some practical recommendations about the ways that industry, Indigenous and education organizations can better work together to use occupational forecast data in ways which create more gainful employment for the Indigneous people living in the 500+ communities who will be impacted by major projects in the coming years. 

Indigenous Works has engaged the Conference Board of Canada to conduct an occupational skills forecast of employment opportunities in major development projects. Looking at Canada’s major development projects over the next 10 year horizon we want to better understand what the emerging skills requirements are and where the jobs are likely to be created in the future.   

Research

Labour market research and analysis will include the following activities:

  • Using existing provincial, territorial and national major project inventories to research and identify a list of current and future major projects to develop in Canada over the next decade, including the various phases of major projects, costs associated with the construction phase of the projects and details on the expected timing and volumes of production.
  • Occupational demand profiles based on the four digit NOC for 125 major projects across Canada.
  • Assessment of the secondary and tertiary labour market opportunities connected with specific major projects.
  • Assessment of the economic impact of increasing aboriginal employment in these projects.
  • Three case studies informing on the indirect secondary and tertiary job opportunities and quantifying the economic impacts of territorial residents working in these secondary and tertiary industries.
  • Participation in nine Indigenous human resource webinars and roundtables about the labour market data gathered through this project.

(THIS PROJECT WAS COMPLETED JULY 31, 2016)

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