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Mayor announces task force to tackle labour attraction

Mayor Paul Lefebvre delivered his first State of the City address on Wednesday, at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Sudbury, which he focused primarily on economic growth
Mayor Paul Lefebvre delivers his first State of the City Address at the downtown Radisson Hotel on Wednesday, hosted by the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.

Aimed at tackling labour force attraction, Mayor Paul Lefebvre announced the creation of a new task force during his first-ever State of the City Address on Wednesday.

“We need to ensure that we have the labour force to support the unprecedented opportunities related to the importance of critical minerals sector for Canada and Ontario’s economies,” he said. 

“We must work together to address this challenge, from the Chamber members, trade unions, the city and all employers.”

The task force, Lefebvre explained to after his address, will be directed to “identify those missing pieces to make sure employers can find employees.”

Its creation was inspired by various meetings with industry groups Lefebvre said he has taken part in since he was elected on Oct. 24.

They have been unanimous in advocating for stronger efforts to attract employees to the region, he said, adding that they all feel like they’re on their own in navigating a city landscape with an unemployment rate of around four per cent and a job market with 3,500 vacancies.

It’s Lefebvre’s goal for the task force to help link everyone together to identify and fill gaps, with the help of the City of Greater Sudbury and its elected officials.

If employees are not available, he said employers “are going elsewhere, and we need to grow our population, we need to grow as a city.”

The informal task force will include the city’s elected officials and draw from the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce’s membership base, trade unions and various other organizations in the region, such as the Northeastern Ontario Construction Association.

Lefebvre said he’d like to get rolling on the committee by the end of May, and that it won’t be a “one and done” effort, with meetings likely to take place quarterly after its formation.

Aside from the task force announcement, Lefebvre’s first State of the City Address as Greater Sudbury’s mayor dug deep into previously stated aspirations, such as his intention to increase the city’s population to 200,000 by 2050.

Central to achieving this goal are areas such as tackling “unprecedented” labour force challenges, which will include growing a full range of housing options and shoring up industrial lands, which Lefebvre affirmed his and city council’s commitment toward.

“Economic growth means more jobs, which leads to more opportunities for our current citizens – and will attract new citizens, which in turn will grow our tax base,” he said. “A larger tax base will help us afford the services citizens rely on and will lead to increased community prosperity.”

As it presently stands, the city needs to spend more than $100 million per year on top of what is already spent in order to maintain its assets in their current condition. If placed solely on property taxes, this would result in a tax increase of more than 30 per cent.

By growing the tax base, including new and expanded industry, Lefebvre aspires to help fill this gap.

During his speech, Lefebvre pointed to the proposed Employment Land Community Improvement Plan tax incentive, the development of a housing supply strategy, and work to expand and service industrial lands as steps in the right direction in growing the local economy.

“Based on the numbers we have seen, and the anticipated growth, it is reasonable to conclude that the (housing) market will build between 2,000 to 2,500 new units in the next five years,” he said. 

“My thoughts are always focused on how we can do more. Let’s aim for 3,000 to 3,500. ... The housing supply strategy will include policy options to promote a true mix of housing types across Greater Sudbury’s communities, including methods to increase and protect the number of affordable rental units.”

Although Wednesday’s event marked Lefebvre’s first State of the City Address, he has delivered several other public presentations during his first half year in office.

In February, Lefebvre delivered a speech highlighting the new city council’s first 100 days in office, focusing on public safety and the economy.

“A lot has happened,” Lefebvre told after delivering his 100-day speech. “I'm quite proud with the team, and certainly, with council, of what has been accomplished. But there's a lot more work to do.”

Also in February, Lefebvre spoke during the Downtown Sudbury annual general meeting, at which he reaffirmed his downtown commitment for a new central library project.

In March, he was keynote speaker during a Northeastern Ontario Construction Association Fireside Chat event, at which he announced a new committee of city council to find the “best way of streamlining and of encouraging investment in Sudbury.”

Lefebvre has also been participating in a series of monthly town hall-style meetings throughout Greater Sudbury, where he has been answering the public’s questions. He plans on visiting each of the city’s 12 wards, with his latest meeting taking place April 12 in Ward 5.

The mayor’s next town hall meeting will take place on May 3 at the Centennial Community Hall in Hanmer, where he will be joined by Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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