Lisa Gervais: County missed out on job fair
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | March 15 2018|
I’ve lived and worked in Haliburton County for almost two years now. And, in all that time, I’ve heard the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce and both tiers of municipal government lament about the
lack of workers here.
I was reading the Toronto Star recently when I came across a story about the County of Grey, along with the Newcomer Centre of Peel, a settlement agency, busing in new immigrants from Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto for a field trip.
They were also there to attend the region’s annual job fair in Owen Sound, more than two hours’ drive northwest of Toronto.
According to The Star story, the passengers bombarded the bus driver with questions about housing costs, daycare,public transportation, and, most importantly, jobs and pay.
One of the passengers had never even heard of Grey County before. She holds a master’s degree in environmental engineering but has been working at Tim Hortons to survive because the city can be
competitive for jobs. So, immigrants are keen to explore what else is out there, she said.
From Grey County’s perspective, addressing labour shortages and ensuring long-term sustainability is behind the ‘New to Grey’ pilot project, which has been funded by the province.
While the job fair in Owen Sound in late February was a regional one, there’s a Rural Employment Job Fair, put on by the Newcomer Centre of Peel, next Tuesday, March 20 in Mississauga. It’s open to everybody.
“Employers in rural Ontario are looking for you!” the event listing says. “Your opportunity awaits!” It goes on to say that the registered companies and municipalitiesare looking to hire hundreds of people.
For the newcomers, it offers access to sustainable jobs in rural Ontario, in their field (not Tim Hortons) and a lower cost of living than the GTA.
I had a look at who’s going and found a slew of companies but also Grey County, Hastings County, City of Belleville, City of Quinte West, Town of Cochrane, City of Temiskaming Shores, City of Kawartha Lakes, Town of
Caledon, County of Renfrew and Perth County.
Haliburton County isn’t on the list.
We asked CAO Mike Rutter why not. He told us they didn’t have time to prepare this year but it’s certainly something they’d love to be involved with in future. County Warden Suzanne Partridge said the county
didn’t learn about it in sufficient time to prepare but they’d like to participate in any future ones.
Quite frankly, that isn’t good enough. It would appear the county has missed the boat on what could have been an excellent opportunity to attract some skilled workers. We hope the county better tracks these job fairs in future and ensures a presence if it wants to pay something other than lip service to its recurring complaint that we can’t find workers.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.