Labour crunch time
- By DAVID SHIPLEY, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, Canada
The single-largest challenge in dealing with the growing skilled labour shortage in New Brunswick may be figuring out exactly how big of a problem it really is.
Industry, government, academic institutes, union leaders and experts all agree that the sheer number of the employees that could be required to build a $7 billion second oil refinery in Saint John, a $4 billion second nuclear reactor along with a $1.6 billion potash mine expansion will outpace the number of skilled workers currently available in New Brunswick.
But what is far less clear is by how far the requirement for thousands of new workers will outpace the province's current ability to train new boilermakers, pipefitters, crane operators, carpenters and other tradespeople.
'The labour resource is going to be the largest issue moving forward on these projects, bar none,' said Energy Minister Jack Keir.