The workers’ perspective: The impacts of long distance labour commuting in a northern Canadian small town

Ryser, Laura and Halseth, Greg and Markey, Sean (2016) The workers’ perspective: The impacts of long distance labour commuting in a northern Canadian small town. The Extractive Industries and Society, 3 (3). pp. 594-605. ISSN 2214-790X

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A significant economic downturn beginning in early 2008 resulted in the closure of all local forest industry operations in Mackenzie, British Columbia. Many forestry workers had to engage in long distance labour commuting (LDLC). For most, this was their first experience with LDLC. By 2011, most of Mackenzie’s forest industry was back in operation. This research explores the impacts of LDLC on the experiences and personal development of workers in order to inform policies, programs, and community services to support workers during these experiences. It produces a greater understanding of how LDLC is reshaping the resiliency and opportunities for workers in rural labour landscapes. Key benefits of LDLC identified by workers included financial support, employment benefits, education and training, and work experience in other sectors. However, key concerns included transportation logistics, financial impacts, and safety. More attention is needed to develop flexible shift schedules; to support workers’ ongoing capacity and skills development; to invest in communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills for workers; to invest in fatigue management training; to broaden the infrastructure and opportunities for interaction to connect workers with support networks; and to ensure information about local and non-local supports is current and available in multiple formats.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 14188
Department(s): Divisions > On the Move Partnership
Date: July 2016
Date Type: Publication
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