Mining industry workers 'need more than 3 days' training
Mining companies both embrace and reject Ontario's shortened underground training standards
Some mining schools in northern Ontario are choosing not to offer the new shorter training program approved by the province.
A year ago, the required training to work underground was shortened from several weeks to three days.
However, some people — like Bob Mack at Northern College — say they’re hearing the opposite from the mining industry.
Mack said gold mining companies in Timmins and Dubreuilville are thrilled with Northern's 12-week training program and don't want to see it changed.
"The underground setting is not necessarily dangerous," he said.
"But, certainly, I think you need more than three days to get those skills and abilities to work in that setting."
Other schools do offer the shorter course, and some mining companies run new employees through it as well.
Mine mill union president Richard Paquin lobbied for the province to make the change.
He says new miners can now get underground faster and get more specific training on the job — including specialized safety courses.
That means companies have "the ability to hire people with a smaller base knowledge ... [and then] they can then train them to their standards," he said.
Paquin noted the shorter training course will also help the mining industry deal with the shortage of workers that's expected once the baby boomers start to retire.