On February 27th, the Committee met to study the Committee resumed its study of Skills Development in Remote Rural Communities in an Era of Fiscal Restraint pursuant Standing Order 108(2) and the motion adopted by the Committee on November 17, 2011.
On Wednesday, February 29 this study continued. In the meeting, witnesses were present from the Canadian Nuclear Association, Vale Canada Limited, and, in videoconference from Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Mining Association. Although the companies differ in areas of expertise, their similar circumstances led to many common issues. The companies are all located in remote areas with large native populations surrounding them, and have difficulty gaining the skilled workers they need in order to function efficiently. All of the companies mentioned partnering with the community in order to promote a predominantly local workforce, but find they can do little beyond providing scholarships and encouragement. They require government assistance to update much of their infrastructure, and promote education in primary and secondary schools. The Mining association raised the issue of the Protection of Species Act, which does not allow disturbances in many Northern areas. In their opinion, this hindered development of communities, as well as expansion of their company.
The committee adjourned, and proceeded to go in camera to discuss committee business.