Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall has established the 12-member B.C. Mining Jobs Task Force. The task force is mandated to work with First Nations, the mining industry and mining communities to make jobs secure and mines viable as commodity prices fluctuate.
The task force will be responsible for providing the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources with recommendations on the following areas:
- Establishing baseline metrics (e.g. cost of production, carbon intensity, employment statistics, expenditures and revenues, etc.) to measure the current state of the industry and provide an economic impact analysis of the mining sector in B.C.;
- Skills training and development, so that British Columbians can enter and grow careers in the sector;
- A co-ordinated provincial approach to geoscience;
- Potential financial incentive programs and the Province’s competiveness and approach to attract mining investment into B.C.;
- Potential government actions to ensure the sustainability of existing mines and job protection during commodity cycles;
- Identify innovation and partnership opportunities that ensure an environmentally sustainable mining sector;
- Identify best practices in mining jobsite health and safety;
- Increasing public awareness of the importance of the mining sector to the province and its role in a low-carbon future; and
- In consultation with the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, any other matters arising over the course of the review that the task force considers significant.
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources assistant deputy minister Peter Robb will chair the task force. The other members of the task force include:
Edie Thome, president and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration (AME):
Thome brings a wealth of experience in government relations, permitting and public affairs as well as on-the-ground experience working with stakeholders, First Nations, elected officials and land owners on projects in the resource sector. Through her work, she is familiar with advocacy efforts at both the provincial and federal levels and, specifically, how the legislative and regulatory framework can support or hinder productive, responsible resource development within British Columbia and Canada.
Most recently, Thome was director of environment, permitting and compliance, Aboriginal relations and public affairs at BC Hydro, responsible for permitting and compliance, Aboriginal relations and public affairs for the Site C Clean Energy Project. Prior to that she worked in risk management, environment, operations and customer service for BC Hydro. Her management experience also includes four and a half years as vice-president, customer service, airport operations and corporate communications for Harmony Airways. Thome has brought to AME a keen understanding of leadership in an industry association, gained through her service from 2013 to 2017 as chair of the board of the Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA), a national, non-profit organization, comprised of nearly 50 members – spanning hydropower producers, manufacturers, developers and engineering firms to individuals.
Bryan Cox , president and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC):
As the preeminent voice and advocate for the mining industry in B.C., Cox leads a team actively working with governments, business leaders, First Nations, communities, and the broader public to advocate for and communicate the economic and social value of mining. MABC is focused on keeping the interests of its members and the value of mining forefront in the minds of British Columbians, especially regarding society's transition to a lower carbon economy.
Don McPherson, mayor of Tumbler Ridge:
McPherson moved to Tumbler Ridge in 1981, two years before it ever became a community. Working on the Province’s North East Coal Project at the 1,000-person camp, he contracted to Quintette and Bullmoose Mines. In 1986, he moved his business into the downtown core and saw the community rise up around him.
The mayor was first elected to council in 2000 during a byelection. The circumstances surrounding this election have given the mayor deep insight into both the strengths and vulnerabilities of a mining community. As the town emptied during the shutdown of the two mines then-councillor McPherson fought to ensure the community did not close, retained its infrastructure and attracted new residents through a first of its kind mass housing sale. McPherson will bring a unique perspective to the task force as its only municipal representative on issues such as community needs, sustainability, and how government can work with industry to ensure the success of all.
Regina Saimoto, associate dean for Northwest Community College (NWCC), Eastern Region:
Saimoto has played an instrumental role in NWCC’s award-winning School of Exploration & Mining and collaborated on curriculum development of the Environmental Monitoring Assistant Program (EMAP) since 2006. Previously, she developed curricula for a number of courses and programs related to the natural resource sector, working with government and industry to identify key competencies. Saimoto has also served as the executive director for the Centre of Training Excellence in Mining (CTEM), the dean of instruction and has taught in numerous natural resources related programs and courses.
Alan Young, director, Materials Efficiency Research Group:
Since 1990, Young has worked as a facilitator and strategist for a wide range of conservation groups, Indigenous organizations, progressive companies and governments across Canada and internationally. His primary focus has been on implementing sustainability and leadership strategies for the extractive sector in North America, Latin America, Europe and Scandinavia. His work includes ethical practices certification programs in the forestry and mining sectors, cross-sector collaboration design and facilitation, large-scale conservation strategies, as well as various legislative reform initiatives in the extractive sectors nationally and internationally. He is chairperson of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, steering committee member of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, and is a former chair of the Forest Stewardship Council of Canada.
Tom Syer, head of Government Affairs, Teck Resources Limited:
Syer has 20 years of experience in leadership roles within the public and private sectors, working on policy development with specific focuses on natural resource development, climate change and Indigenous relations. He has been involved in the development and roll-out of numerous provincial and federal policy initiatives and, in the private sector, has been responsible for advancing resource development policies and Indigenous relationships, including successfully negotiating comprehensive agreements for the largest wind farm and run-of-river projects in Western Canada.
Additionally, Syer has actively led and participated in numerous multi-lateral initiatives, policy committees and reviews including chairing the Energy and Indigenous Affairs Committees at the Business Council.
Richard Tremblay, Taseko Gibraltar Mine vice-president and general manager:
Tremblay is a seasoned mining professional who has 29 years of experience in the mining industry. He is currently vice-president and general manager of the Gibraltar Mine, located north of Williams Lake and, previous to that, was vice-president of Operations at Coalspur. Tremblay has also been general manager of Teck Coal’s Fording River and Line Creek Operations, located in the Elk Valley in southeast British Columbia.
Tremblay holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University and is a professional engineer with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Queen's University. He and his wife Sue have been married for 28 years and have three adult children, all of whom work in the mining industry. The Tremblays live in Williams Lake with their 14 dogs, two cats and three horses.
Michelle Laurie, staff representative for the United Steelworkers – Western Canada:
Laurie has lived and worked throughout British Columbia: on the coast, Vancouver Island, the far northern portion of the province, and in the east-central region. She is a red-seal certified electrician, having served her apprenticeship in a coal mine in Tumbler Ridge. Prior to that, she was employed in Cassiar, in the asbestos mine as a labourer, drill oiler and truck driver. Laurie has been trained in mine rescue (surface) and has also worked as a paramedic in central and southern B.C.
Currently, Laurie is primarily involved in collective bargaining and dispute resolution matters in various sectors of the Steelworkers, as well as delivering training to workers on those issues and others. She is married, with four adult children and five grandchildren, all living in various parts of B.C., and clearly has an ongoing interest the economic security and development of the province.
Earl Graham, staff representative for the United Steelworkers:
Earl Graham is employed as a staff representative for the United Steelworkers and services through-out the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, as the Interior of British Columbia, and also goes as far north as to include the Yukon. Graham, at a young age, started in the logging industry on Vancouver Island, then transferred to the manufacturing side of the business back on the mainland. He then moved on to serving as a business agent with the IWA in 1996. In 2006 the IWA merged with the United Steelworkers where he then became a USW staff representative. In his capacity of staff representative, he has been involved in many sectors from agriculture, forestry and mining.
More importantly, with respect to this task force, he has serviced in the mining sector for over 10 years at the Quinsam Coal Mine in Campbell River, and Texada Quarrying (A Division of LaFarge), Imperial Limestone Company, and Blubber Bay Quarry (Ash Grove Cement Company), all of which are located on Texada Island. In 2017, Graham was appointed from labour to the Health and Safety Review Sub-Committee for the review of the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia. Graham is married and has three adult children who live and work in greater Vancouver and Surrey region. He continues to support working families to make their lives a better place to live in the wonderful province of British Columbia.
Mark Podlasly, senior adviser, First Nations Energy and Mining Council:
Podlasly, member of the Cook’s Ferry Indian Band (Nlaka’pamux Nation), is a consultant with over 20 years of experience in corporate strategy, strategic partnerships and revenue sharing mechanisms related to extractive industries.
A graduate of Harvard University, he is currently a Trustee of the NLX Legacy Trust, managing and operating a seven-figure mining-based, sovereign wealth fund shared by eight Indigenous communities in south-central B.C. He also serves as chair of the First Nations Limited Partnership (FNLP), a 16 First Nations commercial entity allied to Chevron Canada’s Kitimat LNG Project.
Podlasly previously ran a successful executive education and consulting practice in Asia, the United States and Europe where he designed and delivered corporate strategy, leadership, and globalization programs for a client list that includes GE, Unilever, General Mills, Clorox, Goldman Sachs and Praxair. Podlasly is a regular contributor in the Kellogg School of Management’s mining leadership programs in Chicago, and an active participant to global business and indigenous engagement for the International Finance Corporation’s Sustainability Exchange and DPI Mining.
Neil Pogany, partner, Deloitte and Touche LLP:
Pogany is a tax partner with a big-four accounting firm, and has over 22 years of experience serving major and junior mining companies. He has provided a variety of taxation services to these companies, including Canadian/provincial income tax and mining tax consulting, tax compliance and government audit defence services. Pogany is recognized as one of the leaders in mining taxation in Canada for his firm and has significant experience in the mining industry.
Pogany has presented at the BC Mining Forum, Federated Press Understanding Natural Resources Taxation Seminar and the Canadian Institute’s Global Mining Finance & Law Seminar.
Codie Morigeau, Ktunaxa Nation Council:
Morigeau is the director of Education and Employment for the Ktunaxa Nation Council in Cranbrook. The education and employment sector is one of five sectors that strive to achieve the Ktunaxa Nation vision of: “Strong, healthy Citizens and communities, speaking our languages and celebrating who we are and our history in our ancestral homelands, working together, managing our lands and resources, within a self-sufficient, self-governing Nation.” Morigeau has also served as an elected Band Councillor for her community of ʔaq̓am for the past five years.
Morigeau has worked for the Ktunaxa Nation for over 15 years. In Ktunaxa ʔamakʔis (Ktunaxa Territory), also known as the East Kootenay region, where there are numerous large-scale mining operations. Through her work, she has been very involved in the negotiations and contribution to Impact Management Benefits Agreement (IMBA) between the Ktunaxa Nation and Teck Coal. Morigeau works to establish formal and informal educational and employment relationships and partnerships to leverage opportunities for Ktunaxa Citizens and Indigenous people who are underrepresented in both the mining industry and post-secondary education. Morigeau is passionate about advancing opportunities by being solution oriented for all that call Ktunaxa ʔamakʔis or the East Kootenay region home.