True North Labour recognized for association participation

True North Labour logo

CADCR Special feature

True North Labour is a Burnaby-based staffing agency providing skilled workers to trade contractors in the ICI construction industry.

Though a small player in the industry, and relatively new, True North was nominated recently in the category of Member of the Year in the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) Awards of Excellence.

Marc-Antoine Cuerrier, who co-founded the company with Alex Nuhiyev and now acts as CEO, says True North was born out of an awareness that temporary agencies often did not have the necessary knowledge to assign the right workers to the right jobs. While modelled after a temporary agency, responsible for placing roughly 90 workers on average a week, True North fulfills that need in specific ways.

Cuerrier says True North Labour is challenging stereotypes, refreshing workers’ confidence in temporary agency employment, and working to prove to their clients that skilled, professional labour can indeed come from a temporary agency. “We’re focused on building a workforce of people who are skilled, accountable and who are satisfied because they feel like they belong to a community of professionals.”

He says building a skilled team starts with skills testing and training before people are brought on board. In-house training, including occupational health and safety training such as fall protection and confined space training follows. “True North Labour employees can sign up for any of our programs and can earn cross-provincial certification for free.”

Rather than re-inventing the wheel, he says training requirements, or Red Seal, apprenticeship and other specialized training is sourced to the Industrial Training Authority (ITA), which allows True North to benchmark employee skill levels based on set and known criteria.

He says True North is currently working on developing its own supervisors training because many of its workers end up in these roles.

Besides ensuring workers receive good wages and free training, he says an effort is made to create a corporate culture that brings people together and makes them feel part of a company. Training sessions, he says, become events and networking opportunities that are fun and engaging.

“We take the time to show up on construction sites with our staff when they are first assigned to a project to be sure they get introduced, that they know who to talk to and what they are there to do. We also make regular site visits to insure our workers have everything they need to excel on their assignments.”

Cuerrier, who is secretary for the VRCA’s U40 committee, says True North tries to be an involved member and present as much as possible. He says he and Nuhiyev were humbled to be nominated.

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