Pilot program that connects retirees, employers with short-term needs expands in New Brunswick
A pilot project in New Brunswick that connects retirees with employers that have short-term labour market needs is expanding provincewide.
The Retiree Employment Agency was developed last year as a collaboration involving WorkingNB and the Edmundston Region Chamber of Commerce, helping people over age 50 fill the demand for temporary, casual and seasonal labour.
“New Brunswick continues to face significant labour force challenges, and we continue to look for new ways to increase the number of workers available to our employers,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “Our population continues to get older, and our pool of retirees is getting bigger. We know there are many who still want to contribute to the labour force, and these agencies will be key to ensuring we create opportunities to bring retired people back into the workforce.”
The goal of the pilot project was to make 25 pairings during its first year, the province said. It more than doubled that goal in filling 60 vacant positions.
“This service is a win-win for employers and retirees who are in the process of returning to work,” said Marco Ruest, retiree pairing officer with the Edmundston Region Chamber of Commerce. “Our clients appreciate the value this unique service offers, and we are extremely proud of the success we have seen through providing employers with the help they need and reassurance to retirees who are looking to rejoin the workforce.”
The pilot project was developed following a forum organized by WorkingNB in 2019; the forum sought to explore the interest of retirees in returning to the workforce, as well as the interest of employers in welcoming them.
“Operating a seasonal company brings its challenges with staffing,” said agency client Julie Lavoie, who is executive director and president of the Fraser Edmundston Golf Club. “This program has proven a great success over our last two golf seasons, and we now rely on the Retiree Employment Agency for any human resources need that may arise. Happy employees make a huge impact on our team and we are thankful to have access to this brilliant service.”
More than 342,000 New Brunswickers were aged 50 and over, as of last year, and 59 per cent of them were not in the labour force.
WorkingNB has signed contracts with various service providers to manage the agency in their respective regions.
The provincial government is investing $2.7 million over two years to expand the pilot project. This funding is provided by the federal and provincial governments through the Canada-New Brunswick Labour Market Agreements.
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