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Thread: Attracting professionals to the north

  1. #1
         
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    Attracting professionals to the north

    A time honoured challenge we face in our area is attracting planners, economic development practioners and other professionals to work and stay in Northern areas.

    With recent federal government and provincial government program announcements, the organization I work for and other ec dev operations are being challenged to ramp up to deliver these programs but are limited by available staffing.

    Have others encountered such problems and I'm looking for suggestions on how to deal with this issue.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Market better in the States. I would've love to move up north when I was looking for work.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I think it would help if people knew more about how easy it was for an American to go work in Canada. I think people have some mistaken impression that you have to renounce your US citizenship or something. Your marketing also needs to focus on quality of life stuff--I know it's not -15 year-round, but most people when they hear Canada immediately think of the icebox in the garage. You should also discuss cost of living and things like that. perhaps you could do comparissons between Canadian cities and American cities that we are familiar with so that prospective applicants can get an idea of what it's like up there.

    Of course, it could be that Americans are holding back in preparation to invade and conquer our canuckistani neighbors!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    I think it would help if people knew more about how easy it was for an American to go work in Canada.
    I think that when Northboy is talking about the "north," it's not Toronto north, Winnipeg north or even Edmonto north, but rather Yelloknife north, Tuktoyatuk north and Kuujuaq north - the almost unpopulated far northern areas of the provinces, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

    Northern BC and Whitehorse might appeal to outdoorsy planners who want to be around whitewater rapids, mountains, and the like. Getting a planner to Yellowknife, Northern Quebec, Labrador or Baffin Island is going to be a HUGE challenge. You would be cut off from civilization in many ways, and diversions outside of the workplace are extremely limited.

    Aramco attracted American planners to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s by offering luxury housing, social and travel opportunities, and LOTS of money. Can the north afford to do the same?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    B....b....!what!

    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    I think it would help if people knew more about how easy it was for an American to go work in Canada. I think people have some mistaken impression that you have to renounce your US citizenship or something. Your marketing also needs to focus on quality of life stuff--I know it's not -15 year-round, but most people when they hear Canada immediately think of the icebox in the garage. You should also discuss cost of living and things like that. perhaps you could do comparissons between Canadian cities and American cities that we are familiar with so that prospective applicants can get an idea of what it's like up there.

    Of course, it could be that Americans are holding back in preparation to invade and conquer our canuckistani neighbors!
    Oh come on.....give me a BREAK....easy to work in Canada.....that's a laugh.....Its been a black hole for my application's for years and I don't consider myself to have poor credentials either I think Canadians are saying one thing and turning around and doing something very different My applications included some of the most remote places in North America.....and not even a courtesy response.....NOT ONCE........ I'm now not really in the market anymore and too bad for Canuckistan I say I even joined the CIP(not MCIP) for several years looking to get an edge and become a member some day......So others might buy your statement......and those Americans in entry level positions might come to your side, but not me.....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  6. #6
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Recent job posting for Nunavut have starting salaries around $80 plus northern livign allowance (around 15K - non taxable) plus income tax exemptions. Now the bad news, a trailer up there costs aound $125-150k, if you can find one and a head of lettuce can cost $10.

    Having moved from 2 "remote" communities I'd really suggest playing up the activities outside of work and cost of living, BUT DO NOT speak to quality of life, it means very different things to different people. I would describe the communities honestly and openly in teh add and when discussing organizing the interview.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I had a friend go to work in Toronto without any trouble, though he was in a totally different field.

    When I mentioned quality of life comparrisons, I was referring to things more akin to a community profile and information on what it is like living there. Things like housing costs, things to do, businesses located there, etc. Outside of the bigger cities like Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal, I know very little about the rest of Canada. Having never applied for a Canadian position, I cannot relate to The One's experiences. I didn't realize that the "northern areas" referred to the areas that always seem to be colored some shade of purple on the weather maps!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  8. #8
    Member Nor Cal Planner Girl's avatar
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    I looked into the planning thing in Canada several months ago. From what I vaguely recall- you either have to be a certified planner in Canada (CIP) or, if you have an AICP certification- that is also accepted. Temperature issues bugged me out- way too cold (I'm cold where I live- and, it's warm here!). I thought there were some other issues about being able to work there.... you needed to know someone or live there for a year or something... funny, when I decided my answer was 'no' to working there- I dumped all the information from my hard drive (brain).

  9. #9
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Have they considered offering April through October contracts? How much work could there possibly be up there anyway? I don't imagine there's much in the way of new applications to review. The you could live the winter months in Mexico!
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus
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    My concern would be access to health care - medical, vision, & dental.
    I have heard some stories
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Northboy
    A time honoured challenge we face in our area is attracting planners, economic development practioners and other professionals to work and stay in Northern areas.

    With recent federal government and provincial government program announcements, the organization I work for and other ec dev operations are being challenged to ramp up to deliver these programs but are limited by available staffing.

    Have others encountered such problems and I'm looking for suggestions on how to deal with this issue.
    I have lived on a remote military base, about 40 miles from the nearest town and over 70 miles from what most folks on the base considered "civilization". An internet search for places in The Mojave Desert -- like Baker and Barstow, California -- may yield some interesting descriptions of the "assets" there ("Peace and quiet", "panoramic views", "untouched natural beauty", etc).

    You also might check out websites for or about Sequim, Washington state. They are pretty remote and tiny. But the unique geography means they have a remote annex of one of our national laboratories that I think exclusively studies marine biology (I did a phone interview for an internship there, ). And for such a tiny town, they have a LOT on the internet -- including real estate, apartment info, etc. They jumped on the internet early and with enthusiasm. It is their portal to the world.

    Make the most of what you have and leverage it with technology, if you can. You can get a lot of services remotely these days. Check out GISPlanning as one example of web-based economic development.

  12. #12
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    Just to clearify something: you don't need to be a certified planner to work in Canada. All the affiliated CIP and OPPI planning organizations are money grabbing organizations with no weight.

    I would have to say one thing though about working in Canada. Whether your American or Canadian, finding a job within the public sector as a planner is alot harder than it is seeking employment in the private sector. There are tons of jobs doing consulting, trust me on this.

    As it pertains to money. The bigger cities, such as Toronto are going to pay you the most. You will also not have to sell a kindney to buy a loaf of bread in remote areas such as Yellowknife. jk.

  13. #13
    For many people, the weather is a huge quality of life issue and one is a tough one to overcome.

  14. #14
         
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    I think that when Northboy is talking about the "north," it's not Toronto north, Winnipeg north or even Edmonto north, but rather Yelloknife north, Tuktoyatuk north and Kuujuaq north - the almost unpopulated far northern areas of the provinces, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

    Northern BC and Whitehorse might appeal to outdoorsy planners who want to be around whitewater rapids, mountains, and the like. Getting a planner to Yellowknife, Northern Quebec, Labrador or Baffin Island is going to be a HUGE challenge. You would be cut off from civilization in many ways, and diversions outside of the workplace are extremely limited.

    Aramco attracted American planners to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s by offering luxury housing, social and travel opportunities, and LOTS of money. Can the north afford to do the same?

    Actually the areas I'm referring to aren't as harsh living as all of that...

    I am only speaking for the regions I know are having problems getting people.
    Specifically central and north- central BC.--

    There are vacancies for economic development and planning practioners in places like Salmon Arm, Merritt and Kamloops-- climate in these places would hardly be considered cold. In the Prince George and west corridor, almost every community is looking for staff.

    Wages would range from entry level in the mid 40's and go up from there. All the jobs I know of come with full medical, dental and eye care coverage after a 90 day probation as standard compensation.

    The cost of living is about the same as Vancouver or any Canadian city.
    While groceries are about 15% higher, you can buy a nice hobby farm within community limits for about $ 800.00 per month. Heating costs ( nat. gas for example ) run around $ 150.00 monthly during the winter.

    In the Vanderhoof area, which is approx. 55 miles west of Prince George, there has been 3 in migrations of new residents since the 1970's. These people are all from the US. The curator of the local historic park in Fort St. James is from Colorado. He came north for a 4 week vacation and never left....

    I doubt that northern living is for everyone-- you really have to like 4 X 4 s

    Graham.

    [QUOTE=The One]Oh come on.....give me a BREAK....easy to work in Canada.....that's a laugh.....Its been a black hole for my application's for years and I don't consider myself to have poor credentials either I think Canadians are saying one thing and turning around and doing something very different My applications included some of the most remote places in North America.....and not even a courtesy response.....NOT ONCE........ I'm now not really in the market anymore and too bad for Canuckistan I say I even joined the CIP(not MCIP) for several years looking to get an edge and become a member some day......So others might buy your statement......and those Americans in entry level positions might come to your side, but not me.....[/QUOTE

    In my experience trying to get a job with the Fedral Gov't or one of the eastern provinces is liking bucking an old boys club, even for Canucks...

    Most of the ec dev / planning jobs are working for government funded NGOs, consulting under government contract or finding a small community that needs your services.

    Sorry to hear someone else has had the same kind of ride I used to get....

    Graham.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 31 Jul 2006 at 2:10 PM.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Right now it is hurting everywhere in Canada. I work for an affluent community on the outskirts of Edmonton, and we have had great difficulty filling open planner positions. There is too much growth in Alberta and too few planners to go around. And it's worse the further north you go. I really feel for MD of Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray). They train some good planners just to lose them to areas further south. My agency is going through the same problems. I think I've only had a full staff for less than a year of the 3+ years I've been working here. Some communities just can't keep up with competition due to hiring practices and tight budgets. I know that is why we are having problems ourselves.

    My tips... be flexible on anything that you can. Four or five weeks of vacation may sway someone when the extra salary won't. It's no good touting the beautiful nature that surrounds you, if you can't actually get the time to go out and see it or enjoy it. Put together healthy budgets for travel and conference costs (face it, if you are in Canada and off the beaten path, you have to pay through the nose to get back to civilization). Allow for out of province and out of country conferences (APA's national conference is far superior to CIP's. Sorry Canadians.). The feeling of remoteness is softened by the chances to learn new things and explore ideas with others on a regular basis.

    Good luck!

  16. #16
         
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    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater
    Have they considered offering April through October contracts? How much work could there possibly be up there anyway? I don't imagine there's much in the way of new applications to review. The you could live the winter months in Mexico!

    We do a fair amount of this already by contracting out specific projects to contractors, but the ec dev and planning people required are those positions who in part manage these contractors.

    How much work could there possibly be??

    FYI

    -Pine Beetle epidemic has killed 10% of our forest base, BC Central Interior communities are facing a transition from forest-based economy to something yet to be determined. The Fedral / Provincial gov't response will probably be $ 1 to 1.5 b. in transition funding. $ 250 m already announced..

    -East / West rail corridor development to take advantage of container port construction in Prince Rupert. Fed. Gov't. just announced $ 2 b. for Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

    -North / South rail corridor project finally linking Alaska with the continental US

    -Oil and Gas exploration everywhere.

    -First Nation community building- ongoing project.

    -2010 Olympics and sport legacy attributed to this provincial project.


    Frankly it's actually overwhelming how much is coming up and without sound planning we could end up with a big mess..

    Graham.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    Balmy weather would be enticing, but that won't happen unless global warming really kicks in.

  18. #18
    maudit anglais
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    From the talk around these parts in the run-up to last year's election you would have thought Canada would have been overrun by disgruntled liberal planners. Doesn't seem to have happened yet, eh?

  19. #19
         
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    From the talk around these parts in the run-up to last year's election you would have thought Canada would have been overrun by disgruntled liberal planners. Doesn't seem to have happened yet, eh?
    Put 'em on a bus and send 'em West...

    Graham

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