Last chance for services for workers?

Trent Ernst, Editor


On September 17, the District of Tumbler Ridge is hosting a community information forum. The forum, says EDO Jordan Wall, is centred around the services available for people who are out of work, underemployed or in need of social supports.

The forum will be slightly different than most, says Wall. “In the morning, different groups will be coming in and giving information about their organizations. We will break for lunch, catered by Action Play Café. Then after lunch, all the presenters will remain in the forum, and people can go up and talk to the individual groups that they need to talk to.”

Groups include: Northern Lights College, Work BC, Service Canada, United Way, Women’s Outreach, TR Cares, ITA and the TR Library.

Wall says residents who are in need of these services need to show up. “We’ve been working hard with the District to bring in organizations that the community doesn’t have,” says Wall. “We were able to convince work BC to come in and set up an office for ten hours a week, because this is what the public wanted. But they didn’t have enough people coming in to use that service, so they canceled it.”

He says the number of people from TR being case managed by Work BC is low, and because of that, Tumbler Ridge doesn’t have access to Job Creation Programs (JCPs). “JCPs will put people to work while providing a benefit to the community,” he says. “We hope this forum will convince people to be case managed. It allows them to access training and funding get through difficulty, but also because the town is missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars because we don’t have the number of people signed up.”

Wall says there are still people in Tumbler Ridge who need help, but the Province just isn’t seeing the demand from the community. “In our conversations with Provincial support organizations, unless people are willing to come and meet with them while they are in town, they aren’t willing to come back. It’s very important that people who need help come out to this forum, so we can show the province their presence is needed in this community. Unless we can show that to them with numbers, we won’t be able to convince them to come anymore.

“Tumbler Ridge is missing out on opportunities because the government isn’t sure there is really a problem here. Please come to this event and let them know we want these services in our town.”

But the town is not waiting for the Province to come in and provide these resources, says Wall. They just hired Dawn Pouliot as a transitions coordinator. “Dawn has been working on putting together this information session while working on another one to bring in Credit Counselling Service of BC to help people with budgets and any debt load they might have,” says Wall. “She will be holding regular part time office hours starting in October. I encourage anyone who needs support to reach out to Dawn and come out to the Information Forum.”