Province opens forestry job office in Fort St. John

The province has opened an office in Fort St. John to help workers impacted by the forestry crisis find new jobs.

The office will give workers access to supports for job placement co-ordination and new skills training, the Ministry of Labour said Wednesday.

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"Each office employs a co-ordination officer who is a displaced forestry worker," the ministry said in an information bulletin.

"These co-ordinators understand what clients are experiencing and are trained to assist others in finding new jobs or training opportunities."

Nearly 200 mill workers lost their jobs, as did hundreds more contractors, when Louisiana Pacific shut down operations indefinitely at its Peace Valley OSB mill last June. 

The shutdown, coupled with a summer-long curtailment at the Canfor's Taylor pulp mill, was called an "economic emergency" at a forestry roundtable held with city business leaders. The province held a job fair for impacted workers a month later in response.

The province has also given the city $75,000 in grant funding because of mill closure, which council gave to the Salvation Army. The agency saw a 28% spike in the number of families using its services from 2018 to 2019, or about 140 more per month.

Eligible workers will be assessed and connected to government programs or services to match them with jobs, supports, or training, the ministry said. That could include education upgrades, special designations or credentials, or certifications such as trade tickets and driver's licence classifications, the ministry said.

The assessment will also look at a worker's willingness to move to where similar job vacancies are available, and whether they have other skills needed in different sectors and trades facing labour shortages.

Job offices have also opened in Mackenzie, 100 Mile House, Fort St. James, and Clearwater.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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