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Resources to see employment boom

Despite recent difficulties in the resource sector, the long-term economic outlook for the industry is generally positive and employment opportunities are expected to continue to grow. A new Conference Board of Canada report estimates about $342 billion of new investment in major resource projects in Canada over the next decade and expects over 65,000 jobs openings in the resource sector. However, the majority of the job openings will come from the retirement of workers—more so than the expansion of the sector.

"The commodity market is highly cyclical and conditions are expected to improve," said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada. "The sector will continue to be an important part of Canada's economy and provide well-paying jobs for a great number of Canadians."


  • Canada's resource extraction industry is projected to generate over 65,000 job openings over the next 10 years.
  • The industry is also expected to see $342 billion of new investment in major resource projects over the next decade.
  • The resource sector is a key private sector employer of Aboriginal people and supports economic growth in several Northern regions.
  • Training for resources sector occupations will need to be put in place for Aboriginal job seekers to acquire the skills needed in the resource sector.
As commodity prices gradually improve over the next 10 years, employment in the resource extraction sector is forecast to resume growth. Employment in the sector is expected to reach close to 160,000 by 2025, but remain well below the 2014 peak. Only 10 per cent of the new job openings will be due to expansion of the sector, while the majority of openings will be due to retirements. Approximately 42,000 resource sector workers will reach retirement age within the next 10 years.

Transport truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, underground production and development miners, and managers of all levels are the occupations that are expected to be most in demand. These four occupations alone represent almost one-quarter of all the employment opportunities that will need to be filled.

The resource sector is a key private sector employer of Aboriginal people and job openings in the industry provide quality employment opportunities for Aboriginal job seekers. Aboriginal people make up a greater share of the mining industry workforce than any other industry in Canada. In fact, more than 30,000 Aboriginal people across the country have a job in the mining, energy, or forestry industry. Not only is the mining industry an important employer for Aboriginal people, it also offers the highest compensation for Aboriginal workers. In 2010, Aboriginal people working full-time in the mining industry earned about $78,000 annually.

However, the majority of new job openings will require formal training and education. With enough lead time, training programs can be put in place to improve Aboriginal participation in the Canadian workforce. Aboriginal leaders and policy-makers will need to plan ahead to take full advantage of the upcoming employment opportunities in the resource sector.

Research for this report was undertaken by The Conference Board of Canada for the Aboriginal Human Resource Council, which received funding support from the federal department of Employment and Social Development Canada for its labour market project "Making Better Use of LMI Information Data to Increase Aboriginal Participation in Major Projects".

July 29, 2016  By  Scott Jamieson

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