Over its six-year construction period, the Wuskwatim project created hundreds of jobs. These provided a range of opportunities for both designated and non-designated trades.

Designated Trades 

Designated trades required for Wuskwatim included carpenters, electricians, pipefitters, millwrights, and ironworkers. Roughly one-third of all jobs available were for journey persons and apprentices.

Non-designated Trades

Non-designated trades and construction support positions accounted for roughly two-thirds of positions available. They included labourers, heavy equipment operators, vehicle drivers, rebar workers, cement masons, catering staff and clerical staff.

As construction progressed, demand for different skills changed and not all jobs extended through the entire six-year life span of the project. Employment levels also varied by season with numbers peaking during summer months when warm weather provided necessary conditions for some activities.

Hiring Considerations

Jobs on the project were covered by the Burntwood Nelson Agreement (BNA) that governs employment on northern hydroelectric projects.  Employment Manitoba referred workers to project employers in the following order:

  • Qualified northern Aboriginals living within the Churchill/Burntwood/Nelson River (CBNR) region and surrounding areas as defined in the BNA, and members of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation who live in Manitoba
  • Qualified northern residents living north of the Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs boundary who were members of a union involved in the project
  • Qualified northern Aboriginals living north of the Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs boundary but not within the CBNR and surrounding areas as defined in the BNA
  • Qualified northern Manitobans living north of the Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs boundary
  • Qualified Manitoba union members
  • Qualified Manitoba workers.

Applying for Employment

WPLP and Manitoba Hydro had no direct hiring responsibility for the project, however, specific agencies were designated to handle employment.  Regardless of the hiring preferences in place, employment was conditional on the applicant's qualifications for the job.

If you were an NCN Citizen …

Wuskwatim job referrals and hiring for NCN Citizens were handled through the Atoskiwin Training and Employment Centre in Nelson House.  ATEC assessed individuals' job experience and qualifications and, if necessary, arranged for training to provide the skills needed.

If you were not an NCN Citizen …

Other Manitobans seeking employment on the Wuskwatim project were required to use the Wuskwatim Job Referral Service set up by the provincial government's Employment and Training Services (ETS) Branch.  Applicants could register for work with any one of ETS's 17 centres across the province or with an authorized registration agency in their community.

Employment Advisory Committee

An Advisory Committee on Employment was established, comprised of representatives of NCN, Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Advanced Education and Training, Hydro Projects Management Association (including contractor members) and the Allied Hydro Council. It was created as a forum for addressing employment-related issues, particularly Aboriginal employment, related to construction of the Wuskwatim Project. The committee received and considered employment-related concerns, and provided advice and recommendations to the Project Manager on various items.