• Regional Labour Market Committee Established to Support Businesses and Address Labour Market Challenges

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    November 16, 2021
    Regional Labour Market Committee Established to Support Businesses and Address Labour Market Challenges.
    For immediate release
    Fort McMurray, Alberta (November 16, 2021). The Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Government of Alberta, Oil Sands Community Alliance, Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism (FMWBEDT), Keyano College, Athabasca Tribal Council, and FuseSocial has established a Regional Labour Market Committee.
     
    A healthy, thriving Wood Buffalo requires a strong labour market,” said Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dianna de Sousa. “This is a far-reaching issue that we have repeatedly heard from businesses across all sectors in our region and one that the Chamber is strongly committed to.
     
    As unemployment rate continues to drop, Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo companies are struggling to recruit qualified employees – citing post pandemic impacts, difficulty with relocating skilled workers, and loss of the Northern living allowance as key challenges.
     
    This committee was formed from the 2020/2021 Regional Labour Market Study recommendations and aims to identify ways to improve conditions for employers and workers in the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo labour market. The Study is intended to be a living document that can support the community over the coming years. The labour market issues and challenges identified during this process reflect the concerns at this time and are expected to evolve over time, requiring adjustments to the strategies and priorities.
     
    “As we emerge from COVID-19, the success of Alberta’s economic recovery depends on having a resilient and diverse labour market,” said Minister of Labour and Immigration Tyler Shandro. “Alberta’s government is proud to support initiatives that will help ensure the skills of our local workforce match the needs of our economy today and in the future.”
    The stakeholders forming this committee have expertise and share a common vision to advance labour market initiatives and create opportunities for people to live and work in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.
    “COVID-19 has brought a historic disruption to the marketplace, significantly impacting labour trends and requirements. The oil sands industry continues to be committed and employ over 30 percent of the local workforce in the region. This is an important time to collaborate, understand the challenges and plan for future workforce requirements,” said Shafak Sajid, Manager, Oil Sands Community Alliance.
     
    Cross-sectional planning, advocacy from local groups and collaboration between regional employers, programs and service providers, community organizations and the business community, will aid in developing and implementing strategies to strengthen the regional labour market.
     
    Working together to address regional labour market challenges and changing conditions will best position us for success,” said Kevin Weidlich, President and CEO of FMWBEDT. “This will ensure we remain competitive in labour attraction and retention for Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.”
     
    In the coming months, the committee will define shared goals and prioritize labour market objectives and strategies. The committee’s scope of responsibilities include:
    • Determining ways to address ongoing regional labour market challenges
    • Supporting employers to navigate the current labour market with information, tools, workshops and thought leadership
    • Be a central voice for workforce issues in the region
    • Raise awareness for the region as a place to live and work
     
    Our goal is to support business and industry and this Labour Market Study is vital to Keyano College and our understanding of the community’s needs for training,” said Bertha Fairley, Dean, School of Continuing Education. “This information will help us develop courses, anticipate industry need, and plan for staffing requirements for the short and long term.” 
     
    Athabasca Tribal Council serves our Nations by providing programs and service that enrich the well-being, health and prosperity of our people. The goal of Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ISETS) is to increase Indigenous participation in the Canadian Labour Market, ensuring the First Nation, Métis and Inuit people are engaged in sustainable, meaningful employment. By being an active participant on the Regional Labour Market Committee this will ensure we are engaged in the regional labour market trends for the advancement of clients and supporting sustainable communities,” said May-Britt Jensen, Director of Employment & Training.
     
    Timely and relevant labour market information emerges as key to helping businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals respond to the changes that are happening throughout the economy. Understanding labour patterns and trends is essential to remain competitive in an economy and labour market that has changed in terms of demographics, occupation skills required, technological advances and future training demands.
    “We are committed to continuing to work alongside our sector partners to identify the primary workforce challenges facing local agencies in our community – many of which have significant implications on attracting and retaining skilled staff at a time when agencies are experiencing an increased demand for services,” says Shannon Rex, Special Projects Manager at FuseSocial. “We look forward to further collaborating with our valued community partners on the development and dissemination of labour market resources so we can better support local social profit organizations as we wade into the world of pandemic recovery together.”

    The Committee is being chaired by the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce. Stakeholders will meet monthly to review strategic priorities and action items. Additionally, the committee will use current market and employer feedback to inform and update the mandate of the committee on an on-going basis. The committee will remain in place as improving labour market conditions in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is an ever-evolving target.
     
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