53Economic Development
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27Regional Information
15Regional Profile
7Electoral Area Information
Electoral Area A, Smithers Rural
Electoral Area B, Burns Lake Rural
Electoral Area C, Fort St James Rural
Electoral Area D, Fraser Lake Rural
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Regional Skills Gap Analysis
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Regional Skills Gap Analysis

The Regional Skills Gap Analysis project is now complete and on January 23, 2014 the final report was adopted by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako‘s Board of Directors.  A year in the making, the final report identifies recommended goals and strategic actions that will assist the region’s communities in establishing initiatives that are meaningful and beneficial.

Thank you to the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada for generously providing the funding to complete the Analysis.

Bulkley-Nechako Strategic Workforce Opportunities Team


SWOT Members



First Name

Last Name


Chambers of Commerce Rosa Anne Howell Fort St James Chamber of Commerce
First Nations Education & Training Albert Gerow Burns Lake Band
Independent  Jerry Botti Independent 
Community Futures Tammy Lyell Community Futures Stuart-Nechako
Education Eugene Marks School District #91
Education Mike McDiarmid School District #54
Employment Sector Andrea  Newell  Work BC Smithers / Burns Lake
First Nations Rick Morrison Burns Lake Native Development Corporation
First Nations Education & Training Karin Hunt Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Assoc.
Community Futures                                               Kim  Martinsen Community Futures Nadina
Industry Sector - Energy Kiel Giddens TransCanada Corporation, Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project
Agriculture Mark  Fisher High Slope Acres
Industry Sector - Manufacturing Lianne Olson RioTinto Alcan
Post-Secondary Education Walter  Sorokovsky               Industry Training Authority
Industry Sector - Forestry Ruben Gaytan Hampton Affiliates - Babine Mill/Decker Lake Mill
Industry Sector - Mining Claudette Gouger New Gold Inc,- Blackwater Project
Local Government John Illes Village of Burns Lake
Local Government Rob Newell Regional District of Bulkley Nechako
Municipal Economic Development Krystin St Jean Village of Burns Lake
Post-Secondary Education Lynn Synotte College of New Caledonia - Burns Lake
Post-Secondary Education Lisa Haslett University of Northern BC
Post-Secondary Education Regina Saimoto Northwest Community College - Smithers & Houston
Province of BC Rick Braam Ministry of Jobs, Tourism & Skills Training
Public Libraries Audrey Fennema Fraser Lake Public Library
Regional Economic Development Corrine Swenson Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako


Terms of Reference


Approved: March 23, 2015 


The Committee reflects broad-based community leadership committed to, and advocating for, a skilled and resilient labour pool that is best positioned to meet local labour demand. 

SWOT members will provide a vision for the Bulkley-Nechako, achieved through strategic implementation of priority actions that address key challenge areas.


To provide strategic direction, guidance and leadership for implementation of the Regional Skills Gap Analysis Recommendations


Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako is a regional, neutral body that will function in a facilitative role, providing an avenue for funding applications, and offering supervision of a SWOT Coordinator.



The SWOT will operate with Co-Chairs, one of which will be representative of industry.

Decision making will be by consensus.

An Executive Committee will be formed to ensure efficient response to regular business. It is preferred executive members be from different communities across the region. Positions will include:

  • Co-Chairs (2)
  • Secretaries (2)
  • Treasurer

The Executive Committee members will be nominated by SWOT members and determined by consensus.

Subcommittees: formed to implement recommendations of the Regional Skills Gap Analysis. Subcommittees should include two members of the SWOT and a minimum one member will serve as chair of the subcommittee. Where existing entities are meeting in the region to advance a similar initiative, the members of SWOT will reach out to participate with that organization.  

Any member may suggest changes to the terms of reference at any time.  Changes will be made after discussion at a regularly scheduled SWOT meeting. Terms of reference will be reviewed annually by the committee.


  • Task Focused
  • Respect
  • Openness
  • Integrity
  • Generosity
  • Flexibility
  • Confidentiality
  • Consensus based
  • Cooperative


Consistent with the Vision, the Committee will:

  • support and advance implementation of recommendations within the Regional Skills Gap Analysis
  • recommend priorities based on significant changes and influences impacting the region

ensure open communication with relevant stakeholders and ‘communities of practice’  - a group of organizations/individuals that share a common concern, and seek to improve  the situation  through shared learning

  • inform an Annual Report Card that captures status of activities within the Regional Skills Gap Analysis – this is then shared broadly
  • consider opportunities that have partial or complete reach across the regional district; this approach will support learning and best practice identification that can be then more broadly applied, for the betterment of the region as a whole




  • Promote SWOT as a regional working group with a mandate to strengthen the region’s response to workforce planning and labour market development.

Share insights, leadership, and perspectives to advance strategy recommendations.

Members are each responsible to ensure other stakeholders from their sector are informed of SWOT activities.

  • Encourage engagement of others with a common interest to support recommendation implementation
  • Support relevant funding opportunities (letters of support, linking potential funding partners, etc.)
  • Members will be responsible for their time and travel expenses to attend meetings

Participate on bi-monthly conference calls and two annual face to face meetings, or as required.





Representatives will be selected from but not limited to the following sectors:

  • Industry
  • Manufacturing, Mining, Forestry, Agriculture, Tourism, Energy
  • Education
  • Post-Secondary Education
  • First Nations Education and Training
  • Independent Business
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Community Futures
  • First Nations Communities
  • Local Government
  • Economic Development
  • Employment
  • Province of BC
  • Public Libraries
  • Labour Unions

Membership will include 25-35 members.        

Members may appoint an alternate, if required. Both members are to remain informed through meeting notes following each meeting. If a member misses 50% of SWOT meetings in a calendar, without regrets being received, and no alternate in attendance, that committee member will be asked to step down.


Members will remain on SWOT for a period of 2 years, with the option to stand for an additional 2 years.

New membership is sought by the committee through their networks and an open invitation shared with key stakeholder groups from across the region.


  • Conference Calls  – to be held bi-monthly and as required
  • In person –-2 meetings annually at a central location
  • Email – ongoing as required



Agendas will be set by the Executive and sent out one week prior to meeting

Meetings will be facilitated by a Co-Chair

Minutes will be taken and distributed within a week following a meeting

In absence of a SWOT Coordinator, Agendas and Minutes will be drafted and distributed by SWOT Secretaries

Project Description

Stage one – Development of the Report
This project was initiated because many communities struggle with high unemployment while companies are having difficulty in finding workers with the right skills.  To address this dilemma it was important to understand why.  To understand the dynamics of the regional labour supply and demand the RDBN spear headed the Regional Skills Gap Analysis Project in order to develop strategies that will address the regional skills gap.
The Regional Skills Gap Analysis project engaged local residents, educational and training professionals, employers and First Nations organizations to assist in identifying the labour market challenges that exist in the region.

Stage two – Implementation of the Report
The final report was adopted by the RDBN Board of Directors on January 23, 2014.  The next steps will involve the following:

  1. Launch Event to introduce stakeholders and community members to the report
  2. Creation of a Strategic Workforce Opportunities Team 

Final Report

View and Download Final Report as a PDF - DOWNLOAD

Project Management Committee

The Project Management Committee (PMC) was instrumental in the completion of the strategy.  The PMC met monthly, attended focus group meetings, reviewed drafts of the report, and provided input and guidance to the consulting firm, Millier Dickinson Blais.  The PMC consisted of representatives from local government, industry, small business, First Nations, and Education providers.


Corrine Swenson, Manager of Regional Economic Development, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Deneve Vanderwolf, Regional Economic Development Assistant, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Karin Hunt, Executive Director, Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association
Kathie LaForge, Community Manager, New Gold Inc., Blackwater Project
Mike McDiarmid, Assistant Superintendent, School District #54
Halley Finch, ESC Manager, Work BC
Maureen Czirfusz, Manager, District of Houston Chamber of Commerce
Lianne Olson, Community Relations Liaison, Rio Tinto Alcan
Lynn Synotte, Marketing, Recruitment and Program Linkages, College of New Caledonia, Lakes Campus
Rob Newell, Director – Electoral Area “G”(Houston Rural), Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Danielle Smyth, Regional Director, Eastern Region, Northwest Community College
Carrie Dusterhoft, Manager, Community Transitions, Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training


Trudy Parsons, Director Workforce Development, Millier Dickinson Blais
Sarah Lewis, Senior Development Analyst, Millier Dickinson Blais


Community Engagement

In July of 2013 Trudy Parsons and Sarah Lewis from Millier Dickinson Blais visited the Region.  During their visit six community focus groups were held, several face to face individual interviews were conducted and the resident survey was completed.

Burns-Lake Fort-St-James
Fraser-Lake Houston
Smithers Vanderhoof

In October of 2013 Trudy Parsons and Sarah Lewis from Millier Dickinson Blais returned to the region and a Special Luncheon Event was held in Burns Lake.  The event gave the opportunity for stakeholders to get a project update and provide input into prioritizing the strategic actions in the report.

BLMeeting  BLMeeting2

Partnership Opportunities

Please contact the Regional Economic Development Department if you have questions/suggestions or would like to be involved in the implementation of the strategy.

Corrine Swenson, Manager of Regional Economic Development
Deneve Vanderwolf, Regional Economic Development Assistant
Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Phone:  (250) 692-3195
Toll Free: 1-800 320-3339