Team effort to help laid off workers after mine shutdown


The District of Tumbler Ridge, the Government of British Columbia, and local and regional service providers are working together to help workers affected by the Walter Energy mine shutdowns at the Wolverine and Brazion Mines as well as the layoffs by Teck Resources Ltd. at the Quintette Mine.

““The District of Tumbler Ridge is committed to providing a healthy and sustainable community for our residents, both economically and socially. We are grateful of the commitment made by the Province to help steer us through this time of transition for the residents,” says Mayor Darwin Wren.

Upon notification of layoffs, the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training (JTST) was on the ground in Tumbler Ridge, working with the District and stakeholders to ensure worker transition services were available. WorkBC has offices in Chetwynd and Dawson Creek and has begun providing services in Tumbler Ridge as well.

“When we heard about the layoffs, we made sure we had worker transition services available,” says Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour.

WorkBC staff attended a job fair in Tumbler Ridge provided information sessions at Northern Lights Community College in Tumbler Ridge. Meantime, stakeholder meetings were held and a Community Resource Guide is being developed. Service Canada is also providing information and services in Tumbler Ridge. The organizations will continue to help workers.

““We know it’s a stressful time for families and for Tumbler Ridge,” says Bond. “We’ve been impressed by the hard work and determination shown by the District of Tumbler Ridge during this challenging situation. Together we are working to find ways to mitigate the impacts the layoffs are having on workers, their families and the community.”

Aside from the District of Tumbler Ridge, JTST, WorkBC and Service Canada, other partner agencies offering assistance include the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MSDSI), Northern Lights College, Northern Development, Community Development Institute (CDI) as well as Walter Energy and Teck Coal.

“While this is a very difficult and challenging time for the affected workers and families of Tumbler Ridge, we are coming together and working as one to provide the necessary support and services needed to the community,” says MLA Mike Bernier. “Our government is taking the steps to ease the transition during this stressful time with services such as job fairs in the coming months, in addition to outreach services in Tumbler Ridge. As your MLA, my office is always available to answer any questions or provide guidance and support to workers in need of assistance in finding applicable government services.”

Ongoing assistance includes a worker transition working group organized by JTST. It will coordinate efforts related to programs, services, and training for laid off workers as well as tracking re-employment where possible. A number of other organizations and employers have also been supporting the affected workers by hosting job fairs and highlighting information and opportunities.

“The District understands that the mine shutdowns as well as the delay of the restart of the Quintette Mine mean a difficult time for the community of Tumbler Ridge,” says Wren. “We are doing our best to help through the transition. We’re hopeful that coal prices and market conditions improve so employees can return to work as soon as possible.”

To assist the laid off workers the District is planning to host a two-day Job Fair on June 24 and 25, 2014 at the Community Centre. Details will be made available to the public as the planning progresses.