OPG celebrates success of Indigenous Opportunities Network program with union partners
At a glance
- OPG’s Indigenous Opportunities Network (ION) is helping to build up Indigenous skilled workers and capacity across the energy sector.
- The company recently celebrated ION’s success by recognizing key union partners and other agencies.
- Since 2018, ION has placed more than 120 Indigenous workers in roles across the industry, helping meet demand for skilled workers and advance OPG’s Reconciliation Action Plan.
OPG is thanking the unions and agencies who have helped make its Indigenous Opportunities Network (ION) a major success story.
The community-centred ION program is helping to build up Indigenous capacity across the energy sector and is a key component of OPG’s Reconciliation Action Plan, which aims to increase representation of Indigenous workers and grow economic benefits for Indigenous communities and businesses by $1 billion by 2031.
Since it began in 2018, ION has worked with Kagita Mikam, an Indigenous employment agency, to recruit and place more than 120 skilled and qualified members from Indigenous communities across Ontario in jobs within the energy sector, including at OPG, union halls, and vendor partner organizations. Funding for the program is provided by the Electrical Power Systems Construction Association (EPSCA).
In an event at OPG’s Darlington Energy Complex on Friday, Dec. 1, the company recognized the Millwright Regional Council (MRC), the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers (CUSW), and EPSCA for their ongoing support of ION.
A roundtable was also held to discuss how trades unions and OPG can continue to advance ION in 2024.
“ION’s success is thanks to its many partners: EPSCA, the unions, vendors, and Kagita Mikam, along with the OPG implementation team,” said Jim Brown, OPG’s VP of Construction Services. “The program moves from strength to strength each year, but more needs to be done by everyone to ensure that ION keeps pace with the challenges and opportunities in the energy sector. We want to see more candidates placed by more unions and vendors in 2024.”
ION’s success is thanks to its many partners: EPSCA, the unions, vendors, and Kagita Mikam, along with the OPG implementation team.Jim BrownOPG’s VP of Construction Services
Many ION candidates have found jobs in the skilled trades, as well as in project management and administrative positions. These roles are helping to fill a major need for more skilled labour, particularly as Ontario begins to mobilize on new clean energy projects to support electrification.
In 2021, to support training of more millwrights, an in-demand skilled trade, the MRC, in partnership with ION, created the Introduction to Millwrighting training program. Since inception, the program has delivered four training sessions, including at OPG facilities, with a total of 34 candidates hired as first-year apprentices within the millwright union and deployed in roles across the sector through ION.
For many Indigenous workers, ION has been life-changing as it has helped open the door to new opportunities and, in some cases, helped facilitate career changes.
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