News Release

REF NO.: 199

SUBJECT: PSA: Johnson GEO CENTRE public lecture series

DATE: April 5, 2011

                 As part of the festivities celebrating the 50th anniversary of Memorial University’s Department of Geography, the Johnson GEO CENTRE continues to sponsor a series of public lectures on the role of geography in all of our lives.
Dr. Keith Story, honorary research professor in the Faculty of Arts’ geography department will discuss “Home and Away: Alberta-bound on the ‘Big Commute’” on Tuesday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the GEO CENTRE in St. John’s.
Newfoundlanders have always gone away to work. Fort McMurray and the oil sands region of Northern Alberta is currently the destination of choice, with its opportunities for work in all phases of oil sands work from exploration through development to production. Many have left Newfoundland and Labrador permanently. Others are mobile workers who either temporarily migrate to Fort McMurray and its region or commute on a regular basis.
With the dramatic increase in oil sands activity since 2003, work in this area has provided employment opportunities that have helped to support individuals, families and communities, particularly in rural Newfoundland, that have been devastated by losses of employment in the fishery and the pulp and paper industries.
The importance of this mobile workforce to the economy and local communities has long been recognized, but in the absence of any specific data, not well understood.
The complexity of “mobile work,” the impacts on individual and family life and the implications for community sustainability in rural Newfoundland and Labrador are the main themes explored in this presentation.

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