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New Brunswick announces partnership to expand workforce at Port Saint John

Port Saint John in Saint John, N.B. Tim Roszell/Global News

The New Brunswick government is creating a partnership that it claims will maximize employment and economic development opportunities resulting from the modernization of Port Saint John.

Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder said ongoing modernization is expected to “significantly increase” the demand for workers at the Port.

The partnership will be led by a committee made up of employers, union leaders, Envision Saint John and the Saint John Learning Exchange.

Read more: Port Saint John looks to add container village to uptown waterfront

Holder told stakeholders at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal that governments too often wait for an employment crisis before organizing a response through committee and investment work.

But he said the new partnership is a more proactive approach to identifying and filling impending employment gaps.

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“We need to understand how big this opportunity is so that we’re chasing real numbers, so that we know exactly how many jobs could possibly be created,” Holder said.

“We need to know what training programs we need in place, what training dollars we need to put in place, what equipment do we need to put in place.”

The government has earmarked up to $450,000 through WorkingNB for the creation and operation of the partnership.

The committee will be chaired former Saint John Port Authority Board Chair Allen Bodechon, who is also a former chief of the Saint John Police Force.

“Canadian Pacific Railway is excited to be back in Atlantic Canada with an exceptional growth opportunity that will help to create jobs in New Brunswick,” said John Brooks, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer of Canadian Pacific Railway, in a news release.

“The workforce development committee will play an integral role in matching people with opportunity as Port Saint John continues to grow.”

Read more: CBSA seized stolen vehicles at Port Saint John in February

“The International Longshoreman’s Association Local 273 is looking forward to the role that it will play within the workforce partnership to meet the future labour demands in the longshoring industry due to the modernization project attracting new business,” said Terry Wilson, local president of the International Longshoreman’s Association.

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Holder said it will be up to the committee to decide how long it will be needed.

Port Saint John’s $205-million West Side Modernization Project began in 2020 is expected to double the port’s shipping container capacity with the potential for further expansion.

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