Fort McMurray wildfire: how to apply to be part of the cleanup, rebuild efforts

Click to play video: 'Fort McMurray wildfire recovery effort needs workers'
Fort McMurray wildfire recovery effort needs workers
WATCH ABOVE: The focus of the Fort McMurray wildfire response is beginning to shift toward cleanup and recovery now. Restoration companies are now hiring crews in preparation. Julia Wong reports – May 10, 2016

If you want to be part of the cleanup in Fort McMurray after a wildfire ravaged about 15 per cent of the community, several Alberta companies have put out job postings looking for labourers.

Spirit Staffing & Consulting, which was hired by a restoration company, is holding two career fairs in Edmonton this week in hopes of hiring about 500 people.

The job fairs were held Monday and Tuesday and proved very popular.

Those seeking employment were asked to bring the following items:

  • Current resume
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Direct deposit slip with their banking information
  • Social Insurance Number and birth date
  • Any safety or WHMIS tickets

READ MORE: Notley, energy executives to discuss Fort McMurray wildfire’s impact on oilsands operations

The company hosted its first career fair for the cleanup work on Monday and said it saw around 300 people drop by to apply.

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“The response is totally overwhelming. We were not prepared for the number of people that would come in a look for work,” Beatrice Floch, owner of Spirit Staffing, said Tuesday.

“It just seems that everybody’s hearts are in the right place. They don’t care what they’re paying, they just want to help with the cleanup.”

“The phone calls and the people dropping by the office and people inquiring about our career fair… First Nations are coming in by the busloads from all over Alberta, even B.C., Manitoba. It’s amazing.”

Spirit Staffing said wildfire evacuees will be on the top of their list when it comes to employing people for the cleanup efforts.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire: One week since mass exodus of 80,000 people

WATCH: Ongoing coverage of Fort McMurray wildfire
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Drake International, an HR solutions and recruiting firm, said it received word on Friday from a national client doing restoration work that it was looking for about 200 workers for the cleanup effort.

Drake International put up a job posting, but due to the overwhelming demand, it was taken down.

“From coast to coast to coast, it was overwhelming,” Leanne Bourbonnais, branch manager of Drake International in Edmonton, said. “We actually had to take the post down about 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Friday because we had over 2,500 resumes in less than 24 hours.”

Bourbonnais said they’ve received resumes from people across the country, including those who have been forced from their homes.

“We had a lot of resumes from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick. Everybody from the Maritimes has some connection to Alberta, especially Fort McMurray, and they just want to do what they could,” she said.

“We’ve had so many people that want to go home to help rebuild the community. We’ve had a lot of Edmontonians that are out of work that are good, strong, able people. It’s good work. We’ve just had everybody apply.”

Bourbonnais said at this point they’re looking for people who will be shovelling, sweeping and moving debris, rather than electricians and carpenters.

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Watch below: As fire crews continue to work to put out a massive fire in the Fort McMurray region, several companies are searching for workers to get started on the cleanup efforts. Erin Chalmers has more details of a job fair in Edmonton hosted by Spirit Staffing.


Bourbonnais said they are still accepting resumes, as they anticipate there will be a second wave of workers needed. To apply, you can visit Drake International’s job website.

READ MORE: ‘You’re going to get through this,’ former mayor of Slave Lake tells Fort McMurray

There have been some fake job postings floating around online over the past few days. People searching for work are encouraged to phone the number on the posting and ensure it’s a legitimate opportunity.

At this point it’s not known when the work will start, but the restoration companies want to get workers hired and ready to go when they’re given the OK.

Premier Rachel Notley said Tuesday that the community remains unsafe for anyone other than first responders. Notley said a plan for re-entry would be available within the next two weeks.

READ MORE: ‘Ocean of fire’ destroys 2,400 structures but 85% of Fort McMurray still stands

On Monday, Notley and members of the media were given a tour of Fort McMurray. The media tour went through the Beacon Hill, downtown and Abasand neighbourhoods.

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Watch below: Video of the destruction in Fort McMurray, and the areas saved in the wildfire

Wood Buffalo Fire Chief Darby Allen confirmed about 85 per cent of the community is still intact.

As of Tuesday morning, two fires in the Fort McMurray region had joined. The Fort McMurray wildfire measured at 229,000 hectares Tuesday morning.

Below: Photo gallery of the media tour through Fort McMurray Monday afternoon 


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