As of 2019, Canadian companies of all sizes and in all sectors are reporting severe labour shortages. Big Lakes County is launching a creative multi-pronged strategy to address labour shortages in the area and support local businesses. This strategy includes:

  • A Return to Service Bursary Policy to help incentivize post-secondary graduates to provide their skills and expertise within Big Lakes County boundaries following graduation.
  • A student debt relief campaign to further attract young professionals to live and work rural.
  • A program to match retired consultants to companies seeking labour.
  • HR training, tools, and resources to help local companies attract and retain.
  • A regional workforce strategy based on information gathered from the Northern Alberta Economic Development Councils 2017 Workforce Scan.


Big Lakes County has a labour force of 2,770 residents, the majority working in agriculture, forestry, energy, transportation, construction and education. The County is also a thriving spot for self-starters and entrepreneurs, with almost 20 per cent of the workers being self-employed.

Figure 1: Employed Labour Force by Industry in Big Lakes County

Industry (NAICS) Number of Workers % of Employed Labour Force
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting 355 13.20%
Education Services 295 11.00%
Construction 265 9.90%
Public Administration 230 8.60%
Retail Trade 215 8.00%
Health Care and Social Assistance 200 7.40%
Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction 195 7.30%
Transportation and Warehousing 190 7.10%
Other Services (Except Public Administration) 190 7.10%
Accommodation and Food Services 125 4.70%
Manufacturing 120 4.50%
Administrative and Support, Waste Management
and Remediation Services
70 2.60%
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 60 2.20%
Utilities 40 1.50%
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 35 1.30%
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 30 1.10%
Finance and Insurance 25 0.90%
Wholesale Trade 20 0.70%
Information and Cultural Industries 15 0.60%
Management of Companies and Enterprises 10 0.40%
Unclassified 85 3.20%
Total 2,770 100%
Source: Statistics Canada; 2016 Census Profile

Figure 2: Employed Workforce by Class of Worker

Figure 2 Employed Workforce by Class of Worker
Source: Statistics Canada; 2016 Census Profile