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In a news release near the end of last week, the city provided more information regarding its senior government selection, as one of the communities being asked to consider, developing a pilot project to among other things address provincial labor market challenges.

It says the regional economic development office has tracked over $200 million in investments that have not proceeded over the last year due to a lack of skilled workers.

“There are specific skilled workers who are in high demand in our region,”  Director of Strategic Services Moira Green says. “This project is proposed to assist in the recruitment and – just as importantly – retention of those workers and their families.”

Earlier, Mayor Ackerman emphasized this program is separate from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and the news release listed five specific purposes of the pilot.

In addition to addressing labour market challenges they are, improving retention of immigrants in the community, developing community partnerships to provide support for newcomers, enhancing existing support services, and providing a model that can be used in other communities.

Northeast BC reportedly attracts less than 2% of the total number of immigrants, who come to the province, but going forward there are now plans for 57 major projects in the region.

It is believed then even if just two of the now 21 proposed west coast LNG projects gets off the ground, more than 5,000 permanent resident workers and up to 18,000 provisional workers would be required.

As to be expected, Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm is solidly behind the pilot project.

However, we have nothing yet from the BC Federation of Labor, although President Irene Lanzinger is said to be studying the proposal and could have something to say about it later this week.

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