(Re)location of FIFO workers into local communities

Decision-makers in sparsely populated places such as the Yukon Territory would like to see more people and families permanently move to the communities, rather than participating in FIFO work practices and keeping their main residence elsewhere.


In many remote mining regions the governments try to attract the FIFO workers to settle permanently – sometimes with housing subsidies or other benefits.


For companies, it is less costly to hire locally than to fly a massive number of people from all over the country in and out of camp. Therefore, there is a trend towards attracting trained people to the nearby towns.

However, this is difficult for a number of reasons: not everyone likes remote places, small villages and mid-sized towns. Larger cities offer more diversity in terms of cultural and social activities.


But even more importantly for many is that cities offer a better economic structure. This allows the spouse to choose a more attractive job and there are more education options for children.


For some, it is hard to leave friends and relatives behind and to build a new social network elsewhere.


Nevertheless, others are attracted by life in smaller communities and the opportunity to be in the ‘bush’, leading an outdoorsy lifestyle, like it is possible in remote communities. However, housing shortages can be a significant issue, as Sam, an engineer, explains, “I tried to find a house here but it was really hard. In this town they have a housing shortage and therefore, the price was just too high. You never know when you might lose your job in the mine, since this business is so dynamic. You might end up sitting on your mortgage while the price for your house is down.”


Jennifer puts it this way: “I am afraid of the boom and bust cycles. I’d rather fly in and out since I do not want to bring my husband with me. He would have to find a job here first. If he doesn’t and I lose my job in the mine we’re screwed. I think about the downturn in mining right now. It is not secure enough for us to relocate.”

These concerns might change over time, as the mining sector prospers again and a new boom comes back. Under such conditions it is a bit more likely that families are willing to relocate to remote regions. 

Toronto is a major hub for people flying in and out. I am a big fan of city life. It is busy, I can go downtown, there is life and I have access to anything and everything, you know, entertainment and a lot of travel options. David


They did a survey a couple of years ago, asking if you are interested in moving to the Yukon. Unfortunately, they did this in the winter with minus 40°C outside. Of course, I checked the No. But I know it is a beautiful country up here. But Nevada is pretty different! Sarah


I know a lot of miners, they are used to FIFO – that is their lifestyle. They do not want to move up here, they prefer travelling. Jessica

If my wife finds a job too, we could move up here. It is a lovely place and I like the nature. You can even have your own house! Now we just have a condo. Brady


Some companies pay relocation costs or you get housing subsidies. This would definitely be a bonus for moving here. John


There is nearly no unemployment here in the Yukon. You can always find something in the various sectors. So, where can the workers come from? Of course there is FIFO, because there are just not enough locals to cover all the positions. If the work force is not available here, then it has to come from outside. This is the way it is done in the Yukon. Freddy