May 25, 2016 by Danna O'Brien
Last spring, the British Columbia government announced a $30-million training fund for programs to help First Nations with the skills they need to build careers in the LNG and natural resources sectors in Northern and Northeastern BC. As funding rolls out, how can government, industry and First Nations work together to ensure skills training translates into real opportunity and employment?
Earlier this month, an association of construction companies met with more than a half dozen BC cabinet ministers, MLAs and staff to show how it’s done. Its goal was to raise awareness about a unique partnership that is setting the standard in how companies and Aboriginal Communities work together.
“Ledcor’s successful partnership with Haisla Nation has led to new business opportunities and lasting community benefits,” said Paul de Jong, president of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA). “This is the kind of progressive model of construction that helps move resource projects forward. It’s a model worth replicating.”
The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada is urging government to encourage industry across the province to follow Ledcor’s lead. For the past five years, Ledcor, a diverse construction company, has been training, mentoring and hiring Haisla Band Members at project sites. When work slowed in Kitimat, the company made sure their skills were put to work by moving 15 Haisla Band Members to a project in Fort Hills, Alberta to gain job experience.
“Ledcor has proven it truly has the Haisla Band Members’ best interests at heart,” said Paula Smith, job coach at Haisla Nation. “The company went above and beyond by hiring Band Members outside the local area.”
Ledcor also provides profit sharing and scholarships. Its community support ranges from hosting information sessions and open houses, to snow clearing on village streets in the Haisla community following a major snowstorm this past winter.
“Our partnership with Haisla Nation exemplifies our company’s core values,” said Quentin Huillery, senior vice-president of Ledcor Constructors. “We look for ways to engage with the local community and build lasting relationships that make a difference long after a project has wrapped up.”
In 2011, Ledcor formed the Ledcor-Haisla Limited Partnership (LHLP) to explore potential LNG projects in the Kitimat Region. It has been selected by LNG Canada for site preparation activities in Kitimat.