To have your labour market questions answered, email [email protected] and have your question displayed here!
Are things picking up now in Fort McMurray?:
A lot of construction projects were or are on hold with the slowdown in the economy. Despite this, demand for trades and construction work is ongoing, and demand for skilled and experienced workers never went away. See our Wood Buffalo Economic Update and our Oil Sands Project Report for more info.
I want a camp job. Can you tell me which companies offer this?:
This is a hard question to answer because it depends on a number of things: the job position, the proximity to Fort McMurray and contracts with oil sands companies. Generally though, major oil sands companies close to Fort McMurray do not provide camp housing for direct employees unless they have a position that is extremely difficult to fill. The rooms are distributed to the contractors based on their workforce needs and the contracts they sign. Sites further away and many of the on-site locations to the south of Fort McMurray provide camp housing contracts. However, whether or not an employee gets camp housing depends on the contract and/or their collective bargaining agreement (if they have one). Camp housing depends on the company and the job, so it’s something that you have to negotiate with the employer. To learn more about jobs with camp accommodation, read our Camp Jobs bulletin or check out the Work Camp Report.
I want to be a labourer, make lots of money and stay in a camp, but I have no experience. Can you get me a job?:
No, we can’t give you a job or forward your resume to employers, but we can give you the names of the companies that hire in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). We provide labour market information about employment in the area. Finding a job is a process and it still takes time and hard work to make good connections with employers. Doing your own research and remaining diligent is important. Jobs generally pay more in the RMWB than in other centres, but it may still not be enough to pay for housing. The average resale price of a single family home in Wood Buffalo was $581,484 as of July 2015. The average two bedroom rental property cost $1,841 per month with a 29.4% vacancy rate in October 2015. If you believe you will find a job immediately after you get here, you are probably mistaken. It takes time to get work in Wood Buffalo, or anywhere else. Contrary to popular belief, employers are not recruiting at the airport. The employers in the RMWB are looking for skilled, experienced and trained workers. There are generally not high-paid positions for unskilled labour. For more info, read the February 2008 Labour Market News and the Labourer Occupational Profile.
I am from Ontario (or another province/territory) and I have been a welder (or pipefitter, electrician, carpenter, etc.) for 20 years, but I don't have a ticket. Can I get a job?:
Employers in the RMWB want skilled labourers. They are looking for Alberta-certified, ticketed journeymen and indentured apprentices or tradespeople with an Interprovincial Red Seal. If you have your journeyman ticket from another province than Alberta, you can take the Interprovincial Red Seal exam. The major employers in the RMWB require these, and many contractors are also asking for the same qualifications. You can also apply for your Qualification Certificate Program through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
I am having a hard time getting a job. Can I just come out there and get a job in Fort McMurray?:
Yes, but it’s not recommended. There is work available in Wood Buffalo, but it is still a process to find it. Most employers have websites and only accept resumes through online application processes. You would be no further ahead if you went to Fort McMurray. We strongly encourage people to apply online. The best route is to look on employer websites for job postings. Here is our list of Employers in the region. It is true that word of mouth counts! Speak with as many people as you can before moving, make contacts and build your job search network.
What is housing like in Fort McMurray?:
If you do decide to come to the RMWB before acquiring employment, do as much research as you can beforehand and make sure you can afford to live here. Even if the process of getting a job only took a couple of weeks, you would still need a place to live. The average resale price of a single family home in Wood Buffalo was $581,484 as of July 2015. The average two bedroom rental property cost is $1,841 per month with a 29.4% vacancy rate in October 2015. It is recommended that you have a job lined up before you come out to the RMWB. Also, if you think you are going to require a hotel or motel room, make sure to book before you come. At some times of year ALL hotels/motels are booked – even up to a month in advance. Please do your research before you come.
Are there any employers who will fly me in and out of Fort McMurray?:
Yes, but it’s not as common as it was at the height of the previous construction boom. Employers used the fly-in, fly-out bonuses as a way to attract and retain skilled staff. Cutting down on this was one of the first things employers did to cut costs, and they haven’t generally started offering this incentive again. The more remote sites do offer fly-in, fly-out bonuses, but often only to and from a few places, like Edmonton or Calgary.
Will employers help me with my immigration needs?:
That depends on the position you are applying for, the amount of training and skills you have and whether those skills need to be updated to meet Canadian standards. Employers in the RMWB look for workers in their community first, then in the rest of Alberta, then across Canada and then outside of Canada. Some employers have a hard time looking internationally because work experience and references can be difficult to check. If you are a professional and have a university degree, employers may be willing to help you with your immigration needs. If there is a Canadian or Alberta association for the field you are working in, contact them for more information (e.g. APEGA – the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta). Also, Alberta Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour provides a service to determine a person’s international qualifications, called International Qualification Assessment Service (IQAS). If you are a tradesperson, you will more likely be given a chance at employment in Canada by getting the Interprovincial Red Seal certification before applying. Some employers travel to other countries to hold a recruiting campaign. If you are hired in this way, those employers will help you to come here. To find out about any recruiting campaigns, contact the government office that deals with employment in your country. These campaigns are not advertised here, so we do not hear about them until after the workers are already in Canada. Regardless of whether a company helps you come to Canada or not, you should check out the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website. This website has all of the information you might need.
Is it cold up there?:
The average temperature in Fort McMurray is -20 degrees to 16.5 degrees C (-4.4 degrees to 61.7 degrees F). Look at our Community Info page for more information on Fort McMurray and the RMWB, or visit the Municipality’s Newcomer website for more information.
I want to move there with my family. Would my spouse be able to find a job there too? Will my kids have things to do?:
Yes, Fort McMurray is a thriving centre with all of the services and businesses that any large city provides. For employer contacts for all areas of work, look at the Employer Websites and choose the category of work that suits your skills and interests. See the Newcomer website provided by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo for recreation, housing, living and services. Also, look at the Resources section for additional information on career planning, community information, housing and business development.