A worker at Agnico-Eagle's LaRonde operation
The Quebec mining industry has come together to launch an
offence on the human resources challenges. This past year, the
Comité sectoriel de l’industrie des mines
du Québec (sectorial committee on HR
for the Quebec mining industry) was
incorporated, and strategic planning is near completion to formulate
a three-year plan to address industry needs.
Pierre Guimont is the general manager of the sectorial committee.
“People in the industry wanted a sectorial committee to
address all the human resources matters in the sector,” he
explained. “These included employers, workers’ associations and
so on—they came together to form this committee to address
The plan took wing in 2004, and for about a year and a half,
efforts were made to complete a diagnostic of the human
resources challenges, and to identify the different concerns and
questions to be addressed by the committee.
Last January, the composition of the committee was finalized,
and the committee officially started April 1. Funded by Emploi
Quebec, the board includes eight representatives from employers,
eight from workers’ associations, and four from government.
“Throughout the summer and early fall, we’ve worked in the
field to establish who is in the industry,what they are doing,what
organizations exist, and to reach out in industry and visit schools
to make contacts and assess the situation,” Guimont said.“We’re
working to get everyone on the same wavelength, and have established
The three priorities include promotion, training, and HR management—
policies that companies should work on to attract and
retain employees. The major problem identified is how to sustain
current industry growth while also replacing or coping with the
retirement wave. “These aren’t unique issues—they cross industrial
sectors,”Guimont added.“But in many mining areas the populations
are decreasing, demanding new ways to attract people.
It’s an interesting challenge—you can’t work on one aspect of the
problem in isolation; you must address all sides at once.”
On the HR management side, companies are developing HR
practices to be more attractive to employees, and repositioning
their policies to increase worker satisfaction. For example,
increased efforts to involve the employee on the first day of
work, through mentoring or other practices, would make a difference
at the end of the year in how proud people are to be in
the mining industry.
The committee’s main focuses for the next year, however, will
be on promotion and training. “We need to reach out to young
people, at school, who are not sure what to do in life,” Guimont
said. “Mining has a public image, and I’m not sure that it’s still relevant.
People need to see the pace of change of industry, to see its
evolution. As an industry we need to work harder at this—changing
perspectives is a very long process.”
The committee doesn’t plan to reinvent the wheel, but rather
work together with other groups, and perhaps piggyback on, or
chip in to, different actions already being led throughout the
Training is a key element, and Guimont said the committee
wants to evaluate more specific training needs, then build solutions.
Again, through working with companies and groups
across the industry, the committee will seek areas lacking current
By November, the action plan for the next three years will be
completed, to be presented at the November board meeting and
to the three main mining areas in the province—Abitibi-
Témiscamingue,Côte-Nord,and Nord-du-Québec. “We’re prepping
the first year now, and it promises to be busy,” said Guimont.