Skills training and community support for Burns Lake
Economy, Families Tuesday, November 13, 2012 3:40 PM

BURNS LAKE - Since the Babine Forest Products mill accident in January, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Pat Bell and ministry staff have been working with local MLA John Rustad, municipal leaders, First Nations Chiefs, and union and industry representatives to help the community recover.

To assist displaced workers and their families, the B.C. government is hosting a BC Jobs Start Here jobs fair in Burns Lake today with over 20 businesses, post-secondary institutions, industry associations, training authorities and health authorities. The interactive BC Jobs Start Here mobile exhibit, which toured the province this summer, will also be on hand to provide information about skills training, employment services, job banks and career-development tools.

The Province continues to work with the community of Burns Lake to explore Labour Market Development opportunities. To overcome barriers to employment in the trades, funding is being provided to eligible participants in Burns Lake through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement (LMA). In 2012-13, the College of New Caledonia Lakes District Campus will oversee the delivery of the following programs:

  • $300,000 for 20 former millworkers to complete a pre-foundation trades program that includes upgrading/essential skills, job readiness skills, exposure to multiple trades, and a link to employers and local labour market needs.
  • $100,000 for eight participants (not limited to millworkers) to enter Professional Cook Level 1, Carpentry Level 1 and Welding C.
  • $80,000 for five Aboriginal participants to complete foundation programs and receive upgrading and essential skills support.

A Labour Market Partnership agreement is also currently underway with the Ministry of Social Development. This will provide $72,807 for short-, medium- and long-term labour market strategies to be developed. An improved process for communicating with the Village of Burns Lake, First Nations, employers and the public at large will also be put in place.


Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour -

"We are bringing together all levels of government, private companies and First Nations to help Burns Lake recover economically from the Babine mill tragedy. A big part of that is giving people in the area the opportunity to find new careers through job fairs and to access skills training programs so they can be active participants in a rejuvenated labour market."

John Rustad, MLA Nechako Lakes -

"Helping Burns Lake and the region recover from January's tragedy is a continuing priority for myself and our government. Today we are seeing more programs to help displaced workers acquire skills and launch new careers. Everyone in the Burns Lake is pulling together, and I'm grateful our government is helping rebuild the community."

Moira Stilwell, Minister of Social Development -

"By entering into Labour Market Partnerships in communities like Burns Lake, our government is encouraging and supporting local labour market or human resource activities that are helping to get people back to work. We are working closely with employers, community organizations and others to promote partnerships in Burns Lake and other communities facing labour market challenges."

Quick Links:

Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement information:

Industry Training Authority website:

WorkBC skills training programs:

During the month of November, the B.C. government is asking for ideas from citizens on the topic of building a skilled workforce. You can contribute your ideas, comments, or make a suggestion at:


Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
250 356-8177

See More Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Stories

See more from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training


Watch the BC Government's latest videos on YouTube

Sound Bites

Listen to the BC Government's latest audio clips