May 2008

Addressing the HR challenge

Overview of projects from MiHR and its partners

By the MiHR Team

The Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) is the national human resources sector council for Canada’s mining industry. The Council, incorporated in 1996, is the recognized leader in the development of solutions to national human resource challenges facing the Canadian mining sector. MiHR develops programs with strong ties to the mining industry representing the exploration, extraction, smelting and refining sectors, and also to organized labour, aboriginal communities, post-secondary education institutions and other mining industry stakeholders.

MiHR is also a key collaborator in developing and providing HR information to CIM through the Distinguished Lecturer Program and the HR Outlook column published in CIM Magazine.  Furthermore, MiHR co-funds the annual Mining in Society show in partnership with CIM.

Early in 2008, the MiHR board of directors appointed Ryan Montpellier as executive director of the Council. Montpellier has been with MiHR since February 2004. This follows the departure of Paul Hébert, who recently accepted the position of executive director of the Federated School of Mines in Sudbury, Ontario.

The following is an update on some of the projects that MiHR and its partners are undertaking to address the current HR challenges facing the sector. Based on industry growth rates, average attrition and turnover rates, it is estimated that the mining sector will need to hire up to 92,000 skilled workers over a period of 10 years. The projects featured below aim to address this challenge.

Mining Attraction, Recruitment and Retention Strategy (MARS)

MARS is an integrated program developed to support and enhance the industry’s ability to attract, recruit and retain skilled workers. Designed to increase the participation of several target groups, including youth, women, aboriginals, new Canadians, retirees and Canadian mining ex-pats, the project will produce the following deliverables in 2008:

  • Employer’s manual: best practices in the attraction, recruitment and retention of target groups.
  • Mining industry photo gallery.
  • Career pathways for 10 key mining occupations.
  • Mining careers speaker’s toolbox: online speakers’ bureau, speaker’s guide, and career attraction powerpoint decks, pop-up displays, and banners.
  • Virtual mining mentorship program.
  • Student-on-the-job board.

The MARS project is being guided by a 21-person steering committee representing a variety of industry stakeholders. MiHR is currently in year one of this three-year project.

National Mining Credentials Program

This initiative began in 2006 with the development of three National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the Canadian mining industry. These NOS were created for the occupational areas of underground mining, surface mining and minerals processing operations.

These NOS will serve as a foundation for two systems under the umbrella of the National Mining Credentials Program. They are: the Mining Worker Certification System and the Mining Training Accreditation System. The certification and accreditation systems will be the first in the Canadian context for mine workers and employers.

The outcomes will provide industry with skills recognition and a variety of workforce development tools.  Work on the new standards and on building the certification system will begin in the spring of 2008.

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