Potash layoffs to have minimal Prince Albert impact

Tyler Clarke
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Prince Albert Regional Economic Action Committee chair and city councillor Rick Orr. 

Saskatchewan’s potash giant is cutting 440 jobs from its provincial workforce, sending a ripple effect throughout the province.


“I don’t think there’ll be any direct impacts here in Prince Albert, however we’re not always aware of all impacts or can assess them,” Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce CEO Merle Lacert said.

“An example of that would be if we have any contractors or service providers who were providing services to the mines.”

Coun. Rick Orr said that he’s met people in his ward who work in the potash mines in southern Saskatchewan.

“They actually commute from P.A. down there,” he said, adding that while these individuals have been directly impacted by the layoffs, the city’s economy as a whole will come out relatively unscathed.

“Like the slowdown of any industry, it has definite effects,” he said. “Will it affect P.A.? I don’t think so. We’re pretty diverse.

“Look at what happened when our pulp mill shut down -- we didn’t really see much result. It affected a lot of families and a lot of people ended up finding employment in other areas.”

Although Orr notes that a lot of people employed at the mill in the service industries -- such as caterers and security staff, may have had some difficulty finding employment after the mill shutdown, “any of the trades people were instantly gobbled up by the economy.”

I don’t think there’ll be any direct impacts here in Prince Albert, however we’re not always aware of all impacts or can assess them. Merle Lacert

The same thing will happen as a result of this week’s potash-centered mass layoff announcement, Orr said.

“I think, from what I saw in the media, most of the people who are going to be laid off from the potash are probably going to find it pretty easy to find work,” he said.

“It may not be close to home, but I think with the economies we have in Western Canada, I‘m sure their talents and their labour force will be put to use.

As of Wednesday evening, saskjobs.ca had 702 job listings within the Prince Albert region.

Orr is chair of the city’s Regional Economic Action Committee, which he said is moving on to its next stage.

So far, they’ve been setting up shop by “getting together with our partners, which is where we engage the RMs and the city and try and work collectively to attract business,” he explained, adding that partners also include various community and business groups.

The next step will for the various partners to pool their resources on a regional effort, Orr explained.

“Really, when you look at what we are, it’s a regional strategy that we have to look at -- It’s working together.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, Regional Economic Action Committee

Geographic location: Southern Saskatchewan, Western Canada

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