First of all, thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.
During a committee question period on December 7, 2010, Mr. David Anderson asked questions of Lionel Lepine relative to the ACFN Business Group on employment statistics of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation membership.
I wish to submit some of the statistics on the ACFN Business Group as well as some supporting documentation and comments.
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Business Group consists of five companies that are 100% owned by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and another seven joint ventures and partnerships. The ACFN Business Group employs a moving number of employees, depending on industrial demand. At peak industrial requirement of resources during industrial maintenance turnarounds and/or shutdowns, we employ approximately 1,400 people. During the non-industrial maintenance turnarounds, the business group maintains employment numbers of approximately 1,200 employees.
Employment opportunities for ACFN band members are also a moving number depending on industrial demand. During these turnarounds, industry may ask the business group to provide additional labour resources of 300 to 400 personnel. Out of these numbers, we attempt to provide temporary employment for band members living on-reserve. These employees are then transported from Fort Chipewyan to other communities, directly to the plant site, and are provided with accommodation for the period required by the industrial companies.
For questions pertaining to permanent employee levels, I will provide you with some of the demographics of band membership employed with the business group.
The reasons for ACFN band members being at a suggested low level are listed as follows: in the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo, based on the 2010 census, the population of Fort Chipewyan was 1,261 people. ACFN's total membership population out of that is 920. The number of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation members living in Fort Chipewyan is 236. This equates to 19% of the total population in Fort Chipewyan which are ACFN members in all ages.
Of the ACFN membership, 26% reside in Fort Chipewyan. The ACFN working-age population, between 18 and 55, as of May 2010, is as follows: in Fort Chipewyan there are 135, in Fort McMurray there are 99, and in Edmonton there are 57.
With regard to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Business Group joint ventures employees, based on January 2011 stats, the ACFN Business Group consists of five companies that are 100% owned by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. These include Chip Manufacturing, manufacturers of Kevlar wristolets and safety products; Denesoline Environment, our waste division; Denesoline Janitorial, our janitorial division; Denesoline Maintenance, for highway mechanical repairs; and Tech Sonic Services, an ultrasonic cleaning company.
Our seven joint ventures and partnerships consist of ACFN Allnorth Consulting, our civil engineering firm; AC&T, our heavy equipment earth moving company; ACE Industrial, where we do all the welding and machining; Cutting Edge, where we shred all sizes of tires, on highway and off highway; Dene West Catering; Lemax Machining and Welding; and Poplar Point, another camp catering service.
Our current combined workforce is 1,250 employees with ACFN business and joint ventures. On our website, we stated we had over 1,400 valued employees. Although that was accurate at the time, we must also take into account the attrition and recession in our business group and joint ventures during 2010.
ACFN Business Group employees, in our 100%-owned companies, total 585.
In the ACFN Business Group, 9% of our total employees are of aboriginal descent, at 54 out of 585 employees. Of our total employees, 4% of them are ACFN members. Thirty-nine per cent of our aboriginal employees are ACFN members, at 21 out of 54. The number of working-age ACFN members living in Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan combined is 234, with ACFN employees at almost 9% of that population. You will need to consider other employees who work directly for the industrial energy groups such as Syncrude, Shell, and Suncor.
Of the ACFN members who are employees--21 of them--there are 11 in Fort Chipewyan who hold managerial positions and positions as factory workers. In Fort McMurray, we have 10. These employees are in executive management and senior management, are accountant personnel, and are in administrative support, trades, and janitorial positions.
Our joint venture employees total 665. Seven per cent of the total employees of the joint ventures are of aboriginal descent, at 47 out of 665. Two per cent of the total employees of the joint ventures are ACFN members, at 11 out of 665. Twenty per cent of the joint venture aboriginal employees are ACFN members. The types of positions held by ACFN employees in our joint ventures and partnerships include supervisory positions, heavy equipment operators, camp attendants, accounting and administrative support people, and labourers.
The ACFN Business Group supports continuing education and development. We currently have four ACFN members who are employees as well as students. One is on educational leave, pursuing her studies in native studies; one is working part time towards her accounting degree; one is full time, completing an associate certificate, and has her Bachelor of Management degree and a certified human resources professional designation; and one is a heavy equipment apprentice.
On ACFN students in general--as a whole nation, not the ACFN Business Group--during the last few years, we've had many graduates. They have certificates, diplomas, degrees, master's degrees, and doctorates. They are in range of disciplines, such as environment, management, law, numerous trades, nursing, education, and sciences, to name just a few. Within the last few years, ACFN has a very good number of students registered with our education department for post-secondary studies.
Now I will go on to some barriers to employment opportunities. Employment opportunities for ACFN band members are also a moving number, depending on industrial demand. The business group caters to industry in services such as our janitorial division, waste management, and recycling, and also to very specific sectors.
We do have a large number of graduates, but their field of expertise is not in the sectors that we work in. For example, there are ACFN members who are nurses, but we do not hire nurses. We have no positions for them.
Although we have had success in some areas, there are some areas that need special attention. There are other factors that contribute to barriers, such as, for example, a lack of education among band members. A study done in 2006 said that 74% left high school in grade 10 or earlier.
Also, some band members cannot achieve employment because they do not have a driver's licence.
There is also a lack of employability skills and training.
Transportation is a very critical area. People living in Fort Chipewyan want to work for industry, but they reside in Fort Chip, and when they move to Fort McMurray, they must seek accommodation on their own.
Also, like the total population of the municipality, we have alcohol and drug testing, which is mandatory with us, and some people cannot pass it.
There are 78 houses in Fort Chipewyan, 53 of which are band owned, and 25 are mortgaged. Currently there are ten families, four singles, and two elders on the waiting list for housing.
The average wait for a home is three years. There are homes with more than one family living in them because of the housing shortage.
Housing in Fort McMurray is at an extremely high cost. If an ACFN member decides to leave Fort Chip and move to Fort McMurray, the following is what he or she can expect to pay: a bachelor suite in Fort McMurray is $1,492 per month, a one-bedroom apartment is $1,524, a two-bedroom is $1,879, and a three-bedroom apartment is $2,093. The average single detached home costs $704,000; a multi-family home--a condominium, and that sort of thing--is $429,000; a duplex is about $508,000; and a mobile home on its own property sells for about $410,000. On top of this, there are child care costs. At the YMCA in Fort McMurray, daycare is $1,225 a month per child and after-school care is $450. For a family of four, with two adults and two children, the cost of living in Fort McMurray is $3,000 a month with housing and child care.
I hope I have provided you with some answers to the questions that were asked of me.