The prosperity of the OBAC region has long been reliant on its timber resources. However the
mountain pine beetle epidemic is expect to diminish opportunities in the traditional forest sector
for several decades. OBAC is developing several industrial sector strategies. These include forestry,
alternative energy, mining and mineral exploration, tourism and agriculture, that are designed to
diversify the economy and create more resilient communities. As well as these industrial strategies,
it is also necessary to develop a strategy designed to attract and retain the workers and other
residents that contribute to a diversified economy and resilient communities.
The attraction and retention strategy is important to the region for the following reasons:
- Skilled workers are in short supply generally in Canada and North America;
- The region has a net out-migration that has averaged almost 2000 per year over the last ten
- Many people are connected to the communities and their families and would choose to stay
here if jobs were available. Diversification of the rural economy and the development of employment
and self-employment opportunities is critical;
- The current lumber market downturn and future mountain pine beetle impacts on timber supply
could see the loss of the skilled workers needed for the region’s future economy;
- The region has a relatively youthful population however many young people are leaving because
they are not adequately connected to the region’s educational and employment opportunities;
- The region has much to offer to current and prospective residents including considerable
environmental assets and outdoor recreational opportunities however this is not well known
outside the region.
OBAC has worked with specialists who have a wide variety of perspectives to develop strategies.
This strategy incorporates learning from these sector strategies and a working group of economic
development officers, social service providers, educators, and others with specialized insight into
the service needs and opportunities in the region.
OBAC communities envision a future where the region’s communities are recognized as desirable
places to live, learn, work, play and invest. The assets of the region, including its natural beauty
and outdoor recreational opportunities, are well known and appreciated by current and prospective
residents. The region’s young people and others are provided good opportunities to train and
work in the communities. Its resources support diverse business and employment options and the
needed work force is available to realize these opportunities.
Achieving the following objectives will be a major step toward realizing this vision. The four objectives
Diversify the region’s economy and support good employment and self-employment opportunities.
Retain and attract the skilled workers and professionals needed by business, government, and
Improve retention of the region’s young residents and other community members by improving
linkages between training and employment opportunities.
Develop synergistic and cooperative opportunities for attraction and retention across all communities
in the region.
The recommendations and actions have been developed based on these objectives. There are five
specific recommendations and 22 specific actions. Some priority actions are listed below. A complete
list of proposed actions is provided in Section 6.