Our Workforce & Contractors
The value of local hiring cannot be understated. At Pretivm, we believe that the value of the Brucejack Mine should extend across the region, and we work hard to hire workers from Northwest BC communities and Indigenous groups. Not only do we employ people in a broad range of full-time and seasonal opportunities, we also work collaboratively with our contractors to maximize local employment for their open positions.
Our commitment to local hiring and contracting is reflected in our Economic and Social Effects Mitigation Plan (ESEMP), which includes strategies for employment, training, procurement, community engagement, and worker transportation. Our CEO and Senior Leadership Team champion our commitment to local hiring, and our Human Resources and Community Relations teams put this commitment into action, with support from across all departments. In addition to hiring, retention, and workforce relationships, other sections of this report discuss how we train and develop our workforce, and how we keep our workers healthy and safe.
With the development of the COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020, it was a challenging year for our company and our workforce. The safety of our workers was our utmost priority and we suspended some non-essential activities at the Mine between March and June 2020, including construction projects and geological exploration. By July, our workforce had returned to pre-pandemic employment levels, and remained relatively steady for the remainder of the year. We also temporarily adjusted our rotation schedule, with longer rotations to reduce the frequency of travel. Considering the challenge of this unprecedented pandemic, we are immensely proud to have maintained operations at the Mine while keeping people employed, paying salaries and taxes, and avoiding incidents of COVID-19 at the mine site over the year.
At Pretivm, we strive to be an employer of choice so that we can attract and retain a skilled and regionally based workforce. We regularly review and integrate feedback from our employees, facilitate engagement between site staff and senior leaders, help workers progress their careers, and ensure our policies and programs best reflect the needs of our workforce.
In 2020, we employed over 850 individuals including 792 people at the Brucejack Mine, 18 based in Smithers, and 43 at our corporate head office in Vancouver BC. Our total workforce at the Brucejack Mine exceeded 1,300 individuals, including 558 employed through on-site contractors (discussed below). Our hiring process is designed to give preference to Indigenous peoples and residents of Northwest BC. When reviewing applications, preference is given to the First Nations with whom we have Cooperation and Benefits Agreements, followed by local area residents1, and those who reside in other parts of Northwest BC. As of December 2020, almost half (45%) of our direct hires were from Northwest BC, 90% lived in BC, and nearly a third (30%) identified as Indigenous.
The majority of our direct workers (78%) hold permanent contracts. Temporary and seasonal contracts support our snow removal, camp services, exploration, health and safety, and additional types of work that are essential to our operations. Workers employed by contractors at the Mine work in roles related to underground mining, health and security services, and transportation of goods and materials. Together, the surface operations, mill, and underground mining departments account for nearly half of the Mine’s workforce with a combined total of 602 positions. There are a broad range of positions outside of these departments, ranging from chefs and maintenance staff to geologists and hydrologists, safety experts, electricians, and wildlife experts.
Brucejack Mine Workforce by Department, 2020
1 The local area for the Brucejack Mine includes the Nisga’a villages (Gitlaxt’aamiks, Gitwinksihlkw, Laxgalts’ap, and Gingolx); the Tahltan communities of Telegraph Creek, Iskut, and Dease Lake; the Hazeltons; Gitwangak (Kitwanga); Stewart; Smithers (and area); and Terrace (and area).
reside in BC
people under the age of 30
We value our relationship with all our employees. The success of our workforce is critical to the success of our company, and we stand behind our commitment to ensure that people feel safe, respected, and rewarded in the workplace. In 2020, we continued to roll-out the management and supervisory training program that began in 2019. This and other human resource programs are led by our Director of Human Resources, with a focus on leadership development, talent development, and succession planning in 2020. Progress is reported to the Mine General Manager and COO. When changes affecting workers need to be communicated, we connect to our workforce through emails and notice boards at the mine site, and through our managers who provide updates directly to staff at daily toolbox meetings.
Governing policies for labour relations include our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and our Workplace Bullying and Harassment Policy. Our Complaint Reporting and Whistle Blower Policy also applies to all employees and contractors. We provide more information about these governance policies and systems in Corporate Governance & Business Ethics.
Compensation & Benefits
In an industry where competition for skilled workers is heightened by developments in the construction and energy sectors, we know the importance of attracting and retaining workers. We have focused our retention efforts on offering competitive employment and benefits packages, an attractive work environment with opportunities for advancement, and work-life balance initiatives that support health and wellness. Our entry-level wage in 2020, before bonuses and incentives, was 52% above the provincial minimum wage.
Overall, our total compensation package includes numerous benefits for both permanent and temporary full-time employees. We provide all permanent, full-time staff with three weeks of vacation, extended health and dental benefits, healthcare spending account, short- and long-term disability benefits, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, life insurance, and matched retirement savings contributions. Additionally, permanent full-time employees are eligible for a short-term incentive bonus and long-term incentive plan in the form of restricted share units, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors. Our temporary and seasonal employees (with a minimum of a six-month contract and minimum of 25 hours per week) may also receive a range of employment benefits, including extended health and dental benefits, healthcare spending account, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and life insurance.
We also provide a comprehensive Employee and Family Assistance Program to all employees, including access to confidential counselling and resources related to financial planning, parenting, communication, and stress management. At the peak of COVID-19, we implemented a temporary pay framework to enhance our sick leave policy, covering 14 different scenarios for employees who might need to take a leave of absence.
Retention & Promotion
We actively work to understand and reward our employees through annual performance reviews. These reviews inform employee bonuses, salary adjustments, and position changes and promotions. Whenever possible, we work to promote people from within the company and support ongoing growth, development, and engagement of our workers. In 2020, 77 employees were promoted, of whom 13 were Indigenous and ten were women. We had an additional 46 employees change positions, 18 of whom were Indigenous and 13 women. Illustrating the success of our efforts to attract new workers to our Mine, we were successful in moving a total of 37 employees from temporary to permanent positions. These numbers highlight the success of our efforts to recruit and retain local employees and to involve them in increasingly skilled positions, supported by our training and development programs. More information about talent development is provided in Training & Development.
We actively work to understand the reasons for voluntary workforce turnover. We conduct exit interviews and work to address these issues in our recruitment and workforce management programs. Our voluntary turnover rate in 2020 was 12.7% representing 104 individuals. Reasons for voluntary departure included finding other work closer to home, retirement, family considerations, returning to school, or being unsatisfied with a rotational position at a remote mining camp. In addition, there were 81 individuals on a fixed period contract that ended and was not extended. There were an additional 98 workers terminated due to a shortage of work primarily as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the majority (63%) of the pandemic related departures were later re-hired. There were 56 other non-voluntary departures for a variety of performance or medical reasons.
In 2020, 558 workers were employed through on-site contractors, representing 41% of our total on-site workforce. We work with our contractors to support local and Indigenous hiring where possible. Approximately 15% of our contractor workforce were Indigenous in 2020, and 52% were from Northwest BC. In 2020, our largest contractor Procon, a BC company responsible for underground mining, employed 345 people at the Mine. Procon is a joint venture with the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation and their workforce at the Brucejack Mine included 62 Indigenous workers.
The involvement of local and regional business provides indirect economic benefits for local communities, Indigenous groups, and the broader region and optimizes the economic viability of the Mine. Our on-site contractors report monthly on local and Indigenous hires and employment. We continuously work with them to identify opportunities and strategies that enhance local involvement.
Diversity & Inclusion
We are committed to increasing the representation of women across our workforce. In 2020, 149 workers on our direct workforce were women, with the majority residing in BC and working in permanent positions. This shows a steady increase over previous years, and we continue to strive for greater inclusion of women. At the Mine, women work in a wide range of roles including equipment operators, housekeeping, geologists, catering, and administration. Refer to the highlight stories in this year's report for a spotlight on several of the many remarkable women at Pretivm.
Women held 17% of our management and supervisory roles, and 25% of our Board of Directors in 2020 were female. With changes in our internal management structure in 2020, we were also pleased to promote a number of women from within our business. These promotions filled important leadership roles such as the Chief Mine Geologist, Camp Services Assistant Manager, and Resource Manager. We are looking forward to seeing these women grow their careers at Pretivm.
Our efforts to engage with First Nations and local communities about employment opportunities continued to be a priority in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Although in-person meetings and participation in local events were restricted throughout the year, our Community Relations Manager proactively communicated employment opportunities via email, phone, or teleconference, as well as provided updates in monthly reports to our communities. In 2020, our Indigenous employees worked across a variety of roles at the Mine including labourers and equipment operators, camp services, geological technicians and assistants, mill operators, and maintenance workers.
More information about Pretivm’s initiatives in support of Indigenous and local communities is provided in Community Relations.
Procon—3 Years Without Lost Time Incidents
Since 2018, Procon has been the primary underground mining contractor with Pretivm, performing all production and development work at the Brucejack Mine. Procon, a joint venture with the Tahltan Nation, manages a workforce of around 350 people, most of whom work in a challenging work environment where safety is the top priority. Collaboratively, the Procon-Tahltan joint venture has built a stable workforce at Brucejack Mine with a strong safety culture. We are proud to share that in September 2020, Procon achieved three years of underground mine operations without a Lost Time Injury.
Lost Time Incidents (LTIs) are an indicator used to determine the safety of a workplace. LTIs are an industry standard metric, disclosing the number of injured individuals that have missed work due to an incident. They can have a clear and distinct impact on a person’s health, at home and at work. Our people are our most valuable resource, and our priority is to ensure that all our workers return home safely.