News Releases

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REF NO.: 60

SUBJECT: Housing and its relationship to Newfoundland and Labrador’s mobile workforce

DATE: Feb. 2,2017

A new report reveals a need for housing that is accessible and affordable for mobile workers and other residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The report, by the Newfoundland and Labrador research component of the On the Move Partnership, a national research project headquartered at Memorial, is the outcome of a forum that explored the housing-related pressures faced by communities in this province in the context of a mobile workforce.

Research in this area is particularly important to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, a place with a long history of working far from home. The province has experienced unprecedented economic growth in recent years, driven largely by oil and gas, mining and energy projects in remote areas of Newfoundland and Labrador and other parts of Canada, particularly Alberta. Communities across the province benefit from this growth, but also face associated challenges. Some of these challenges include housing, such as housing affordability, sense of place, and community engagement.

“It’s clear that a greater range of housing choices and housing opportunities are needed to address the diverse housing needs of residents,” notes Dr. Kelly Vodden, co-author of the report and associate professor, environmental policy, Grenfell Campus. “This will require appropriate planning and flexibility on behalf of municipal and provincial decision-makers, as well as other housing stakeholders.”

“The relationship between housing and working in one place and living in another is complex,” adds Dr. Sandrine Jean, report co-author and assistant professor, Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Despite the current economic downturn, different types of mobile work will continue to play an important role in the province’s economy in the future, and continued research will enhance our understanding of its impacts and help to inform policies and practices so to ensure housing accessibility and affordability for future generations.”

The full report, Forum on Housing and the Mobile Workforce in Newfoundland and Labrador, is available here

 

On the Move Partnership

A Canadian research initiative with international links, the On the Move Partnership is investigating workers’ extended travel and related absence from their places of permanent residence for the purpose of, and as part of, their employment. In Canada, many workers are “on the move,” travelling long distances to, from and within their work. A large but hard-to-document number of Canadians work in different municipalities, provinces or even countries from those in which they live, and several hundred thousand non-Canadians come to Canada as temporary foreign workers. They and their employers invest considerable time and other resources in employment-related mobility.

 

Forum on Housing and the Mobile Workforce in Newfoundland and Labrador Report

The Forum on Housing and the Mobile Workforce in Newfoundland and Labrador report draws on a forum hosted by the On the Move Partnership and its partners: the Canadian Home Builders' Association – Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Municipalities N.L. and the Harris Centre at Memorial University, with funding from the Office of Public Engagement at Memorial University and the Accelerator Fund. The forum brought together housing researchers, industry representatives and policy-makers to discuss housing issues related to the province’s mobile workforce, establish a portrait of ongoing projects and potential future research, and gather input on research already underway. Implications for the housing industry and communities that plan for housing developments and related services were explored, and policies and actions with potential to address issues raised were identified.

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For more information, please contact Dr. Sandrine Jean, Memorial University, at (709) 864-3065 or sjean@mun.ca; or Dr. Kelly Vodden, Grenfell Campus, at (709) 864-3065 or kvodden@grenfell.mun.ca.  

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