November 22, 2019, FREDERICTON (GNB) – Provincial government representatives and stakeholders from the Belledune region met today to begin charting a recovery plan for the community.
The Brunswick smelter is expected to close at the end of the year, resulting in more than 400 direct job losses. Earlier this week, the government announced the creation of a transition adjustment committee to assist former employees and the community.
“Today we are providing an update regarding the committee and how things have been unfolding over the past week,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “I was pleased to have Premier Blaine Higgs, Economic Development and Small Business Minister Mary Wilson, and Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Robert Gauvin with me to demonstrate our commitment to finding new opportunities for employment and economic development.”
Denis Caron, president and CEO of the Port of Belledune, was appointed to chair the transition adjustment committee. Its full membership is expected to be finalized next week.
The committee’s terms of reference were reviewed and membership discussed at today’s meeting. It was decided that two working groups would be established within the committee; one will be tasked with focusing on supporting the transition of affected workers to other opportunities within the workforce, while the other will be responsible for supporting private sector economic development opportunities within the northern region.
“This closure is not the news we wanted, but we have a hard-working group of people determined to find new economic development opportunities for the region,” said Wilson, who is also the minister responsible for Opportunities NB. “We are stronger when we work together toward the same goal. Everyone involved has shown a real willingness to do just that and help these workers, their families and the community overcome this challenge.”