The Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI) has officially opened its office on Goderich Street in downtown Port Elgin.
OCNI is an association with more than 240 member suppliers to the nuclear industry in Canada.
The new office will support OCNI member companies in fostering stronger working relationships with Bruce Power and its employees who provide services to Bruce Power's ongoing operations, Life-Extension Program, and site infrastructure investments.
The office will be shared with Indigenous Relations Supplier Network (IRSN)
Bruce Power and its supplier partners have created IRSN as they look to further strengthen their relationships with local Indigenous communities.
This will be a key vehicle to ensure that Indigenous communities will have the opportunity to actively participate in the company's ongoing investment program in the area of employment, business partnerships and procurement.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday (MAR 21) where the President and CEO of OCNI, Ron Oberth announced, "We are in the process of negotiating an agreement with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development for funding that will allow us to engage Indigenous young people to join our industry, largely in the skilled trades area."
During his speech, Oberth suggested they could receive a grant of up to $500,000 over a year to develop Indigenous opportunities.
He says, refurbishment of 10 nuclear reactors, six at the Bruce and four at Darlington, will be worth 25-billion-dollars over the next 50-years.
Oberth says they're going to need a lot of workers in skilled trades such as welders, pipefitters, millwrights and electricians, just to name a few.
He says OCNI's goal is to find people that can do that work, particularly within the Indigenous communities.
Oberth says on top of that, the centre of Ontario's nuclear industry is shifting from Southern Ontario to Bruce County.
He says the OCNI office will assist companies coming into the area with some working space until they can establish their own office of operation.
President and CEO of Bruce Power Mike Rencheck says the OCNI office opening in Saugeen Shores "means everything."
He says they will "Enable suppliers to gain information about the community and how better to work with the Indigenous Suppliers Network and Bruce Power in creating local jobs."
Rencheck says to date, 21 different companies have moved into the region.