Mr. Speaker, today I would like to update my colleagues on an important publication that has come out of the Northern Mining Workforce Initiative Memorandum of Understanding: the 2009 NWT Survey of Mining Employees. Later today, at the appropriate time, I will be tabling the document.
But before I speak about the survey, I would like to talk briefly about the memorandum of understanding itself, which was signed in 2008. This document is a platform for the Government of the Northwest Territories and our three diamond mines -- BHP Billiton Canada Inc., Diavik Diamond Mines Inc., and De Beers Canada Inc. -- to work together on issues regarding our mining workforce.
Mr. Speaker, two of the memorandum of understanding’s most important objectives are to improve the mining skills of Northwest Territories residents and to attract and retain our residents so that as many diamond mine employees as possible are from the Northwest Territories.
A steering committee, which includes leadership from the three diamond mines, the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment and myself, guide three working groups to achieve these objectives: one for training, one for transportation and one for residency. Industry, Tourism and Investment has been focused on the residency working group and how to attract and retain Northwest Territories resident employees at the diamond mines.
This survey is the first major step towards meeting this objective. Industry, Tourism and Investment and the diamond mines collaborated extensively with the Northwest Territories Bureau of Statistics to develop a questionnaire that would provide clear data on what motivates diamond mine employees on whether or not to live in our Territory.
Employees from all three diamond mines, and the employees of contractors for two of the mines, took part in the survey. In total, 1,705 people responded; a phenomenal response rate of 93.5.percent. The survey also broke the diamond mines’ workforce up into four groups: residents originally from the Northwest Territories; non-residents who have moved here; non-residents who once lived in the Northwest Territories but now live elsewhere; and non-residents who have never lived here.
Surveying these four different groups will help the Government of the Northwest Territories and the diamond mines understand the challenges of recruitment and retention of each group. It will also help us understand how to best direct our efforts to increase the size of the northern resident workforce.
The survey produced some very useful findings. It found that recreational opportunities, closeness to family and friends, competitive pay and benefits and cost of living are all key factors when diamond mine employees consider moving to or from the North.
Mr. Speaker, this is valuable work. The information in this survey has provided all the partners with useful data that we can use to help solve the challenges facing us as we try to increase the number of diamond mine employees that live in the Northwest Territories. It’s an example of how this memorandum of understanding is providing results that are beneficial to the Territory.
Industry, Tourism and Investment, Education, Culture and Employment and the diamond mines are now taking the survey’s findings and considering what steps can be taken to act on the valuable information provided in the report.
Mr. Speaker, there are some significant challenges to increasing our northern workforce at the diamond mines. But there are also significant opportunities. And it is work like the 2009 NWT Survey of Mining Employees that will be a starting point for the
memorandum of understanding partners in coming up with creative ways to meet those challenges and embrace those opportunities so that we can continue to build a Territory with a diversified economy that provides all regions and communities with choices. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.