CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE: Aboriginal communities will ease shortfall of trained workers

(The following was prepared and circulated on behalf of the Mining Industry Human Resources Council, I...


(The following was prepared and circulated on behalf of the Mining Industry Human Resources Council, It bears consideration in light of the skilled worker shortage that is looming for the mineral industry.)


One of Canada’s most productive industrial sectors faces a serious skills shortage in the next decade according the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), an independent, industry-driven organization, which recently launched an awareness campaign to educate Canada’s Aboriginal communities and the mining industry how to work together to find a mutually beneficial solution.


Aboriginal peoples represent a significant, largely untapped resource for addressing the expected labour shortfall next decade, when tens of thousands of workers from the baby boom cohort are set to retire.


Canada’s Aboriginal communities are part of a multi-pronged effort by MiHR to address the shortage:


?         Proximity is a critical factor as some 1200 Aboriginal communities are located within 200 km of 220 principal producing mines and more than 3,000 active exploration sites, according to a 2008 report by Natural Resources Canada.


?         Half of all Aboriginal people in Canada are under 25 years of age and feature a growth rate more than six times that of the general population, making them one of the fastest growing groups in the country.


MiHR has developed several tools including a website and two extensive informational guides for Aboriginal communities and industry employers. The two guides give direction on how Aboriginal communities and the mining industry can work to help Aboriginal people enter the workforce of one of Canada’s most vital sectors.


The Mining Industry Human Resources Guide for Aboriginal Communities will equip community leaders with valuable tools that will enable thousands of young Aboriginal men and women to find rewarding careers in Canada’s mining industry, while addressing the need to replace highly skilled labour.


?The guide is available online at (

? Contains a comprehensive list of occupations at all phases of the mining cycle

? Showcases education and training programs, most of which were developed by Aboriginal peoples and taught by Aboriginal instructors


Why would someone want this resource?


? Enables leaders and employment and HR professionals to prepare the community to take advantage of local employment opportunities

? Learn about opportunities in the sector


Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion in Mining is a module series designed to nurture and grow the competencies that help businesses become companies-of-choice for Aboriginal talent. Launched in 2008, Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion was developed based on three years of research the Aboriginal Human Resource Council conducted with its corporate inclusion partners. Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion in Mining expanded research efforts to include more than 20 additional companies, labour organizations and industry associations in the mining sector.


? The series takes employers through the history of Aboriginal culture, revealing the centuries of legislated exclusion that threatened the existence of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures

? The materials explore the value of diversity and enc ourage employers to discover and develop their specific business case for the recruitment, retention and advancement of an Aboriginal workforce


The Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion module series and training program (available through makes a strong business case for Aboriginal inclusion and helps employers move up the Inclusion Continuum:


? Aboriginal demographics (favourable population rates, proximity to mining projects)

? Skills shortage requires action now

? Companies benefit from diversity

? Corporate social responsibility because being inclusive is the right thing to do

? Many mining companies already champions of inclusion/employers of choice for Aboriginal peoples, and industry has already developed best practices


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