More money for Plan Nord job-seekers: Charest

“Plan Nord will benefit workers and companies from all regions of Quebec”


Quebec premier Jean Charest, shown here at the May 9 launch of Plan Nord. (FILE PHOTO)

Quebec premier Jean Charest, shown here at the May 9 launch of Plan Nord. (FILE PHOTO)

Quebec will spend another $55 million to make sure workers throughout Quebec get some of the 20,000 jobs a year, which are expected to flow from the new mines, hydro-electric projects, roads and other development connected to Plan Nord.

The announcement comes a week after a major Quebec union, the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec, with more than 500,000 members, complained that the Nunavik Nickel mine had recently hired 120 workers from New Brunswick for its mine project between Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq.

Premier Jean Charest and other top Quebec ministers announced Feb. 28 how they’ll use the province’s Emploi-Québec employment offices to get Quebec workers and businesses involved in Plan Nord, the government’s 25-year development scheme for Nunavik and other regions of northern Quebec, announced last May near Quebec City.

“Plan Nord is one of the most ambitious projects that Quebec has carried of the main objectives of Plan Nord is to meet the challenge of training the workforce. Networking between businesses and job seekers is prioritized, mainly on the territory of the Plan Nord, but also south of the 49th parallel. So the Plan Nord will benefit workers and companies from all regions of Quebec,” Charest said in a French-only Quebec government news release.

Among the measures announced Feb. 28:

• Information on Plan Nord will be available in all 110 youth employment centres;

• Six advisors will work on aboriginal relations at Emploi-Québec with First Nations communities and Inuit. These advisors will cover the territories of the Cree, Inuit, Innu and Naskapi; and,

• A new information hotline for jobs will be set up for Plan Nord at 1-888 JOBS (1888 367-5647).

Emploi-Québec will also create 418 permanent jobs for Cree in the James Bay region..

And Charest will invite a representative from each aboriginal nation in northern Quebec (Cree, Inuit, Innu and Naskapi) to serve on a task force on Plan Nord jobs, along with a representative of Quebec’s native womens’ association.

“The participation of our aboriginal partners in Plan Nord is essential. Working together, we will ease access to training and jobs for aboriginal workers, so they can quickly take part in the economic development of their communities and contribute to improving their quality of life,” Quebec’s Native Affairs Minister Geoff Kelley said.

Trade shows and job fairs will be held each year over the next five years, and “in all four corners of Quebec.”

Job seekers can also register on an on-line placement site and be part of a database that businesses can use to fill their labor needs and companies will also be able to view available positions;

The social networks, Facebook and Twitter, will also be used in the plan to promote Plan Nord jobs.

Overall, Quebec plans to spend $160 million over the next five years on promoting jobs and training:

• $50 million on training projects in businesses to create or maintain thousands of jobs;

• $5 million to publicize job opportunities during trade shows and job fairs and on-line;

• $105 million in measures related to Plan Nord;

• $55 million already allotted to people living in northern Quebec; and,

• $50 million, from existing budgets, to train people and support businesses in southern Quebec to work on Plan Nord jobs.

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