Canadian Manufacturing

J.D. Irving to give Atlantic Canada much-needed boost, plans to hire 7,900 over three years

Company will fill positions across a variety of sectors, including at its Halifax shipyard as it ramps up production on navy's arctic patrol ships



Irving's $300 million modernization will boost $235M to Canada's GDP and create 2,800 positions across Canada. Photo: Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

Irving’s shipyard in Halifax is planning to bring on new staff as it ramps up production of its arctic patrol ships. Photo: Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

HALIFAX—J.D. Irving hopes a hiring blitz in the next three years will help keep Atlantic Canadians working at home, the New Brunswick-based company said Thursday.

The company expects to hire about 7,900 people by 2018 to work for its operations in Canada and the United States. It said the vast majority of those positions—89 per cent—would be in the Atlantic provinces.

Spokeswoman Mary Keith said the jobs could benefit some of the hundreds of New Brunswickers losing their positions in the Sussex area with the closure of the Picadilly potash mine.

“We’re filling the need for good-paying jobs in our region,” Keith said from Halifax.

J.D. Irving plans to hold a job fair in Sussex next week. Some of the roles it’s looking for include millwrights, welders, electricians, mechanics, machine operators and labourers, as well as accounting, administration and human resources professionals.

The Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan made the surprise closure announcement Tuesday, citing weak markets that have forced it to shift focus to lower-cost operations in Saskatchewan. The shutdown is expected to eliminate up to 430 high-paying jobs.

The company is the world’s largest supplier of potash, which is used mainly as a fertilizer.

J.D. Irving currently employs 15,000 people in a variety of sectors. Some of the jobs expected in the next three years include positions in manufacturing, engineering, retail, trucking and other sectors.

The company said the new hires are the result of retirements and normal turnover within the workforce. Keith said about 1,091 of the forecasted 7,900 hires are expected to come from anticipated business growth.

A number of jobs will be at the shipyard in Halifax as it ramps up production on Ottawa’s long-promised Arctic offshore patrol ships and combat vessels.

Keith said 250 people were hired in 2015 for the shipyard and 325 workers were recalled to the site. Another 150 jobs are expected to be added this year.

“This region is home for many of our operations and our focus is on ensuring we’re keeping (workers) home and we’re bringing them home,” she said.

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