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Over the next decade, about 14% of the environmental workforce in Canada will retire, opening up approximately 100,000 positions for new employees. Employers plan to hire workers in site assessment, reclamation, environmental health and safety and water quality (ECO Canada 2012). These environmental services often take place at the site of resource extraction, waste or emission generation, making the majority of economic activity local. Thus, there is a market for the provision of environmental services to government as well as to local private industries including oil, coal and gas, mining, power and forestry. Building the capacity of an Indigenous workforce to capitalize on environmental service opportunities is an appealing approach because Indigenous people have a strong cultural connection to the land, and depend on a healthy natural environment to maintain their traditional way of life.
Most environmental sector employees are employed by private industry (74%), with about 20% being employed by government. About half of all environmental sector employees work in small businesses or are self-employed.
In a sample of environmental services employers in Canada in 2012, about 60% of job postings were for employment in the Environmental Protection and Resource Conservation sectors (the same sectors AESN focuses on). One third of employers experienced difficulty in hiring the personnel they required, citing lack of applicants with appropriate education or experience.
Employers, please take our survey
To help us understand what employers from industry, government or communities are looking for, please take our 10 minute survey. The purpose of the survey is to investigate the employment potential for Indigenous people within the environmental services sector.