Pretivm’s Social Responsibility Policy guides our grassroots approach to community relations. Our Community Relations Manager leads the day-to-day activities on the ground, driven by our commitment to providing local economic benefits through employment, training, and business opportunities. Our senior leadership, including the CEO and Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, champion this commitment at all levels of the organization.
Commitment to Northwest BC
Northwest BC is home to many of our workers and contractors. Our commitment to develop and maintain strong ties with local residents, communities, and Indigenous groups has helped us deliver mutual benefits through local employment, procurement, and community investment.
Our regional office in Smithers is the base for our Community Relations Manager, who regularly engages with communities and Indigenous groups through planned events such as career fairs and information sessions, visits to local schools, as well as community and cultural events. The Community Relations Manager also works closely with local employment and training officers and acts as a liaison with our human resources and procurement departments. By staying in touch with local communities, we share information about upcoming opportunities and stay informed about local issues. This connection supports our ability to identify opportunities where we can have a positive impact.
We believe that—when done right—mining can be win-win for all involved, and we work hard to make this a reality. We choose to invest in people and communities; our approach to the development of a strong and successful workforce has been to support the individuals, families, and communities that surround our operation. This means investment in steady, long-term employment opportunities and support for families and communities so that everyone can thrive and succeed. We also work with youth to identify career opportunities in the mining industry and elsewhere, and help local businesses access contracts and partnerships. We contribute to the economic prosperity of a number of smaller communities in Northwest BC through these initiatives, and the direct economic stimulus of our employment and procurement supports indirect benefits such as spin-off employment in local communities.
More information about regional employment and economic expenditures is provided in Our Workforce and Contractors and Supply Chain.
Partnering for Training & Economic Development
Our approach to training and economic development is to partner for success. We are actively engaged in provincial and regional initiatives targeted at training, skills development, and economic growth and diversification. Our Community Relations Manager currently sits on the Mining Sector Advisory Group for the Industry Training Authority (ITA), the provincial agency responsible for trades and apprenticeships. In this role, she advises on training strategies, policies, and our experience as an industry employer so that the ITA can better understand and respond to industry needs. In addition, we also work with First Nations' skills and training departments, and other regional organizations (including Kitimat Valley Institute, Upper Skeena Development Centre, and Coast Mountain College) to identify opportunities for training and apprenticeships.
Responding in Times of Crisis
Our strong relationships with local communities are especially important in times of crisis, especially as we are a neighbour to the communities and Indigenous groups with whom we work. In January 2019, we donated $250,000 to the Tahltan Nation to support the restoration of Telegraph Creek following the devastating fires in the summer of 2018. This followed earlier financial and in-kind donations, including paid leave for workers who volunteered to fight the fire and assist with evacuation efforts. Although the impacts of the forest fires cannot be reversed, we hope that these contributions will support the reconstruction of community infrastructure and other healing.
Portions of the Brucejack Mine, access road, and transmission line lie within the traditional territories claimed by the Tahltan Nation and Tsetsaut Skii km Lax Ha, and in the Nass Area of the Nisga’a Nation as defined in the Nisga’a Final Agreement. We value our relationships with these and other Indigenous groups, and we are committed to working together towards sustainable growth and development in the region.
Cooperation and Benefits Agreements with the Nisga’a Lisims Government and Tahltan Central Government support our relationships with these Indigenous groups. We have also worked closely with Tsetsaut Skii km Lax Ha and Gitanyow First Nation. While our formal Agreements provide hiring objectives, we consider these objectives to be a minimum standard and are pleased to have exceeded many of these objectives in 2018 and 2019.
Beyond negotiated agreements, we support and engage with local Indigenous groups for many reasons. We recognize the history of First Nations in the area and the legacy of resource development in past decades. Our Social Responsibility Policy defines our commitment to incorporating Indigenous knowledge, building capacity, and working cooperatively with local communities and Indigenous groups. Our hope is that our actions today support the Brucejack Mine’s legacy of long-term local and regional benefits.
Building Skills & Experience
Our approach to building skills and experience for our workforce is to ensure we contribute to capacity-building efforts in a way that is meaningful to each Indigenous group. We continue to support a number of initiatives designed to maximize Indigenous employment and maintain regular engagement with communities:
- Engagement with First Nations’ Employment and Training Offices: Our Community Relations Manager works with staff from Nisga’a Nation, Tahltan Nation, and Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs to share information about employment opportunities and interested applicants, and to give feedback on recruitment processes. In May 2019, she also facilitated Pretivm's second annual Collaborative Session including ten representatives from the three Indigenous groups to share experiences, common interests, and challenges related to employment and training. The session also provided an opportunity for the First Nations to explore opportunities for further collaboration.
- Snow Removal Recruitment Program: Building on the success of previous snow removal recruitment teams, we were excited to provide this program again in 2019. Indigenous applicants received support before and after the interview process, and the hiring team provided each person with individual feedback. Throughout the recruitment efforts, Pretivm met with each Indigenous group to review hiring requirements and provide feedback on candidates.
- Tahltan Skills Inventory Database: Our mill and maintenance teams have shared their skills and training information with the Tahltan Skills Inventory Database. Managed by the Tahltan Nation, this database aims to improve workforce capacity and development through the creation of user profiles, which support a quick search of potential employees’ skills, education, and experience against the job requirements of active postings for both Pretivm and other potential employers. The user profiles will also support essential skills testing and link to curriculum modules to develop essential skills as needed.
Our community relations efforts are fundamental to the success of our Indigenous recruitment program. In 2019, 31% of Pretivm’s direct workforce identified as Indigenous, and the total number of Indigenous workers has nearly doubled since 2017. More information about Indigenous employment is provided in Our Workforce and Contractors.
Our goal is to maximize Indigenous employment with the Brucejack Mine. To achieve this goal we provide a distinct advantage for Indigenous workers through our recruitment process. We provide early notification of job positions to Nisga'a Nation, Tahltan Nation, Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, and Tsestaut Skii km Lax Ha prior to public and online posting. Our first preference for any role, where required job qualifications are met, is to hire from the Indigenous groups with whom we have negotiated agreements. Our Community Relations Manager works with First Nations to identify potential applicants and to provide information about the recruitment and hiring process. Some of the organizations we worked with in 2019 to promote Indigenous hiring included:
- Nisga’a Employment, Skills and Training (NEST)
- Tahltan Works
- Gitanyow Education and Training Institute
- Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP)
- Upper Skeena Development Office
- WorkBC (in Terrace, Smithers, and Houston)
- Gitanmaax Education
- Haisla Nation
- Witset (Wet'suwet'en Nation)
- Kitselas Employment & Training
- Skii km Lax Ha
Our annual hiring of the snow removal team is one of our most successful Indigenous recruitment initiatives. Snow removal is critical to our operations as we face challenging winter conditions and heavy snowfall every year. It also provides an entry-level opportunity for interested applicants to gain exposure to work on rotation at a remote mine site, while building job experience and employment skills. Many people appreciate the seasonal nature of the work, which allows them to enjoy other pursuits in the summer. We feel successful when our temporary employees progress into permanent positions and continue to develop careers with our organization.
Our community investment strategy is guided by our Corporate Donations Policy, which outlines how requests for donation or sponsorship are evaluated. We prioritize investments that have a local focus and contribute to ongoing and sustainable efforts for community building. We support work with community-based organizations, particularly those that can demonstrate measurable results in the form of positive impacts on communities.
In 2019, we contributed over $436,000 in local donations, sponsorships, and other investments with communities and Indigenous groups in Northwest BC. Beneficiaries included:
- 2018 Telegraph Creek Fire Relief Fund
- Sports teams including hockey, figure skating, volleyball, soccer and basketball
- Career fairs
- Support for students travelling to events
- Industry events including Minerals North conference
- Music and literacy programs
- Health and fitness programs
- Christmas dinners, hampers, and events for children
- Indigenous cultural events
In addition to financial contributions, our staff invested time and provided in-kind donations of storage space and cargo transportation. While most of our investments arise through requests from community organizations, we have also proactively identified opportunities to make a positive impact.
Participating in Local Events
We were honoured to accept invitations to community events hosted by our Indigenous partners in 2019. These events provide a wonderful opportunity to engage with local residents one-on-one and share stories, culture, and history. In 2019, we were fortunate to be welcomed at the Nisga'a celebration for Hobiyee, the Dease Lake High School Community Science Celebration, and the Tahltan Nation’s annual Tour De Telegraph fundraising bike ride. We look forward to continued involvement.
Throughout Northwest BC, our participation in local career fairs and other community events provides a welcome opportunity to engage with local members, families, and employees of the communities surrounding our Mine.
Pretivm: Proudly Part of the Northwest BC Communities