June 11, 2012
Canadian Apprenticeship Forum
Kativik, Quebec official says Northern Canadian contractors need support
Remote locations, exclusion and cultural clashes are just some of the barriers faced in Northern Canada’s construction industry.
David Larose, Sanajiit project coordinator with the Kativik Regional Government (KRG), explained to a group of delegates at the recent Canadian Apprenticeship Forum the unique set of circumstances faced in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, where 90 per cent of the residents are Inuit.
Founded in 2003, the Sanajiit project’s goal is to improve Inuit participation in the construction sector.
Larose said there is a lot of negativity toward hiring an Inuit construction worker.
“Criticism that we (sometimes) get from a construction company say our workers are not qualified enough, don’t mix well with their guys from the south and they don’t know how to behave on the worksite,” he said, so KRG developed specific skills training.
Challenges for this remote region of Quebec include: worker retention and inclusion; low perception of the construction trades; worker qualification; worker mobility; job placement in the region; cost of living; and overcrowded housing.
Contractors need incentives and support as neither of these things alone is sufficient, said Larose.
The approximately 507,000-square-kilometre area has about 11,000 residents who live in 14 northern communities along the coasts. Sixty per cent of the Nunavik population is under the age of 30 — twice the proportion as in the rest of Quebec.
The training focuses on many different aspects and includes a safety course, intercultural training, workplace training, preparatory training for the Commission de la construction du Quebec (CCQ) exams and three courses teaching basic skills, a new initiative. Skills targeted include: mathematics, communication, working on a team and using documents.
“It’s working on the self-esteem. Most of them never had any training. It’s their first training, they get to realize that they know things, practically, economically and about themselves,” he explained.
One of the exercises in the essential skills courses involves role playing and workers have to re-enact scenarios where they were told rude things on the job site and they have to react appropriately.
Intercultural training is important to raise cultural awareness and sensitizes workers to the diversity of the workforce and pull work crews together and to promote employee retention.
Larose pointed out that there might be a good reason why a worker has to leave for a little bit every day.
“It might be because the tide is going down and he needs to pick up the fish from his net before the seagulls get to it. Since the tide is moving every day, this guy would change his schedule every day to get to those fish. Those fish, it’s free food He’s got to go,” he said.
“You just need to acknowledge the situation.”
The KRG tries to encourage the inclusion of a regional recruitment clause for calls for tender. The idea has caught on and so far three major Nunavik organizations have incorporated some sort of regional recruitment clause.
Rights to employment are guaranteed by the James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement which includes a provision requiring the hiring of Nunavik Inuit and the CCQ has a regulation that employers should prioritize hiring based on the proximity of workers.
“The body is there to enforce them is there also but the way those agreements are built, it’s easy to go around and since the economic situation is really strong more people go around them if it’s possible,” he explained.
In 2011, KRG referred 114 individuals and 99 of them were hired. Since KRG does the referral, it is important to develop workers’ skills. Through its Sustainable Employment Department, the KRG is a vital player in the delivery of employment and training service in Nunavik. Last year, 481 workers participated in training and mentoring programs.
It’s difficult to attract workers to the program as apprenticeships are fixed salaries and in Nunavik, the stock boy at the local corner store will make the same as an electrical apprentice, said Larose.
Larose said the program costs almost $1 million a year, much of that cost is due to the amount of travel for the mentors and trainers. Locations to conduct practical training are limited and can be expensive once found.
Going forward, Larose said that a lot work has been done and much remains to be done and that the results have not yet materialized.
“If we suspend our activities today, nothing accomplished so far will last,” he concluded. “The good news is that we keep going.”
|MOST POPULAR STORIES|
|TODAY’S TOP CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS|
These projects have been selected from 515 projects with a total value of $3,642,725,048 that Reed Construction Data Building Reports reported on Friday.
$47,000,000 Metro Toronto Reg ON Tenders
$40,000,000 Ottawa ON Negotiated
$34,000,000 East Gwillimbury ON Prebid
- Ex-Canadian military bases can be transformed
- Shop and Sleep
- Martin remembered for infectious laugh and mentorship
- Staffing levels and safety drive Ontario elevator worker strike
- Proposed wood-frame use meets opposition
- Provincial MPP supporters of prompt payment legislation excited at prospects
- Concrete airplane in South Dakota takes flight
- Opposition tackle Harper government on lack of youth employment
- Construction Site Arson
- VIDEO: Journal of Commerce Update for the week of May 27th, 2013
- Commercial Construction
- Ruling vindicates company that hired Chinese workers
- Acetylene torch explosion causes significant damage
- Investigation continues in deliberate Vancouver duplex fire
- Ancient First Nations site damaged during BC Hydro work
- On Target
- Global engineering guidelines taking shape
- Fit to Work program being developed
- Dire prediction
- Canada and Ireland sign recognition agreement
|ALEX’S ECONOMICS BLOG|
Reed Construction Data Canada’s Chief Economist Alex Carrick discusses current developments in the North American economic environment with emphasis on the construction industry.
- An Overview of Prices and Sales in the Diverging U.S. and Canadian Housing Markets (April 25, 2013)
- Canada’s Precarious Dependence on the Commodity Price Super-Cycle (April 22, 2013)
- Twenty major upcoming residential and transportation terminal construction projects - April 2013 (April 15, 2013)