Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., looking for workers to fill hundreds of jobs
Lights illuminate the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. (Angela Kipling/The Evening News via AP)
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -- A northern Ontario city is looking for trained workers to fill hundreds of jobs.
Local officials in Sault Ste. Marie say they've set their eyes on the city of Oshawa, where about 2,600 autoworkers are expected to lose their jobs.
General Motors has announced it will shut down the Oshawa Assembly Plant by the end of the year.
Sault Ste. Marie's deputy chief administrative officer Tom Vair says the city is looking to fill about 300 jobs, about 250 of them with Algoma Steel.
He says they plan to reach out to the GM employees who will be out of work to highlight the benefits of moving to the northern city.
Vair says it is part of an effort to attract young people, skilled workers -- and "Saultites" -- to a city that is aging.
"The community has recognized it needs to invest in itself," Vair said, adding that the city has hired a labour force co-ordinator as part of its outreach program.
They also have jobs in information technology, finance and a burgeoning film industry through one post-production company that has recently set up shop, Vair said.
"We've heard consistently that some of the employers are starting to run into trouble finding skilled labour," Vair said.
But besides jobs, Vair said he first has to sell prospective workers on Sault Ste. Marie.
"We found a lot of people who don't have an idea of what life would be like in Sault Ste. Marie," he said.
Many have no clue about the size of the city, which has a population of about 73,000 people, he said.
"Some people are new and ask if we have a grocery store," Vair said.
"Well, we've got grocery stores, we've got movie theatres, shopping, a mall."
The cost of living is significantly cheaper in the north, he said. The median price for a house is about $199,000.