Tawich Construction Inc, in conjunction with Marcy Sylnord Inc, are now offering training programs in sylviculture in the community of Wemindji. Through these programs, Crees will attain certification that will enable them to secure employment associated with the EM1 project. As one of the things standing in the way of securing contracts for EM1 is that lack of training and certification. One of the main objectives of the programs is to promote partnership agreements between the government, local school boards and local institutions.

Earl Danyluk of Tawich Construction, who saw that there was need and a strong interest in sylviculture jobs, initiated the project. He approached the Wemindji Band Council and secured their support. He then invited representatives from Marcy Sylnord Inc, who are considered experts in this field, to visit the community and discuss the possibility of forming a partnership in this endeavor. From there they developed the training program together. There are other similar programs offered in the south, but this program is designed specifically for the Crees.

“We are trying to get our people certified as forest workers, forestry technicians. What we are concentrating on is sustainable forestry, we’re not logging for sawmills. We are just planting trees, regeneration of burnt forest and roads. In the course of the EM1 project, there is going to be a lot of work in that area: tree clearing and tree planting. Most of the work so far has gone to southern companies that are qualified to do that work. The Cree never had any involvement because of the lack of certification and training. Now we can have qualified workers.”

One program has already finished. Chain Saw Training, and another one is slated to begin June 2, on Brush Cutting Operation and Maintenance. The other programs to be given include Replanting, Scarification Vehicle Operator, Supervision Training, Professional Global Positioning System using for Forestry Workers and 2 Stroke Engines Mechanical Maintenance. For each finished program, participants receive certification with the CSST. Each module also gives credits to trainees who are willing to continue their studies to obtain a D.E.P. in sylviculture. (Sylviculture is more or less tree planting, cone picking, regeneration of young forests, clearing up of burnt out areas, and re-cultivating the soil in order to re-grow trees.)

The initial trial program saw only locals from Wemindji participate, however the programs are open to members of all 9 Cree communities of Northern Quebec. Those who come from outside Wemindji will be boarded at private homes for their initial training.

Another objective of the training program is to introduce participants to practical field works. To accomplish this, the construction of a forest camp is in the works. It will reflect the traditional architecture of the Cree, while at the same time being easily transportable, and adaptable to different kinds of work and contracts that they will undertake.

It is initially 200 hours of theory, practical and shop courses, during which time students receive a training allowance. A further 700 hours of actual work experience to become certified as workers. It uses Quebec Ministry of Education instructors and certification, which insures that those who receive the certification can obtain employment anywhere.

For more information, contact Earl Danyluk at 819-978-0264 ext 252, or Guy Fortin at 819-978-3555.