Fort McMurray Reconstruction
Fort McMurray will enter uncharted territory when it starts reconstructing houses and businesses destroyed by last month’s wildfire. The fire forced the evacuation of 94,000 people, shut down half of the region’s oil production and destroyed 2,400 homes and businesses. Rebuilding Fort McMurray will need to be a coordinated approach between construction companies, insurance companies, government and property owners.
Getting the oil sands operations running is a key first step in the long term restoration of the community and for the benefit of the GDP of Alberta. About 500 job openings are being filled on behalf of a major disaster recovery firm that is getting ready to enter Fort McMurray. Workers will be the first allowed back into the community once it’s deemed safe.
Reconstruction will give the local economy a strong stimulus. It is predicted that the construction of 1,000 homes will add about 2,000 people to the town’s workforce, not counting spinoff jobs.
The Conference Board of Canada estimated that the rebuilding effort will add $1.3 billion to Alberta’s economy in 2017, bringing nearly half a percentage point to the province’s overall growth. It is anticipated that rebuilding will continue into 2019. While the preference is for local companies to rebuild Fort McMurray, companies are already recruiting workers from outside the city for help, as they can’t do it alone.
Ottawa is fast-tracking employment insurance claims from displaced workers who have dispersed across the country. It could take months for residents to trickle back and some will take insurance payouts and never return. However, the community’s opportunities are also hard to match. There is no other place in the country where people with a high school education can earn $175,000 to $225,000 a year, enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, use their earnings to see the world or build a better life for themselves and their families.
The community will need to be patient and realistic about the timelines of reconstruction but if everything bounces back as planned including to full oil sands production, a three percent growth in the third quarter is predicted. The return and availability of highly skilled managers, trades, and technical staff to Fort McMurray will certainly have an impact on its ability to rebound.
For more information on hiring for Fort McMurray jobs, please contact Kevin Leh, Senior Recruiter in Construction, Engineering, and Operations at Goldbeck Recruiting Inc.
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