Models of Success – In Remote Communities – Cree Construction Development Company, Quebec Models of Success – In Remote Communities – Cree Construction Development Company, Quebec

Overview

The Cree Construction Development Company (CCDC) was formed in 1976. This First Nation company is owned by The James Bay Cree of northern Quebec. CCDC has become one of the largest and most successful construction companies in Quebec. The company has the capability and experience to undertake and manage major projects in remote and semi-remote areas, either directly through its subsidiaries or in partnerships within the Cree territories, across Canada and internationally.

In peak construction periods, approximately 850 workers are employed by CCDC, with 80 of them being assigned to the administrative offices and workshops of Chisasibi, Mistissini, Laval, Nemiscau, Eastmain and Wemindji, as well as in Ontario and Manitoba.

CCDC’s primary purpose is to build the Cree community and economic infrastructure by developing and delivering construction projects within EeyouIstchee that will provide opportunities for the Cree Nation while maximizing profits and delivering quality work on time and on budget. It is acknowledged as the leader in its industry and region.

Who is Involved

The CCDC’s client list ranges from federal to provincial government contractors. A range of large infrastructure construction contracts are within Cree communities and utilities, such as Hydro Quebec, Manitoba Hydro and other First Nations outside of Quebec.

The Focus

Projects totalling up to $100M in costs include the following:

  • Chisasibi School (75,000 sq. ft.)
  • Waskaganish airport (6,500 sq. ft. civil work)
  • Civil work at the Wemindji airport
  • Five houses in Waskaganish
  • Chisasibi fire station renovations
  • Construction of a telecommunications centre in Chisasibi
  • Justice facility in Ouje-Bougoumou (9,332 sq. ft.)
  • Justice facility in Waskaganish
  • Wastewater treatment facility in Eastmain
  • Quarry in Chisasibi and Nemaska
  • Elementary school in Chisasibi
  • Community drainage in Chisasibi
  • Shoreline Protection Project, Split Lake Cree Nation, Manitoba
  • Mistissini Health Centre
  • Administration building, Eastmain Cree Nation
  • Housing with training component, Cree Nation of Mistissini
  • Police headquarters building, Chisasibi
  • Water/sewage contract, Chisaisibi
  • Road/maintenance contracts, James Bay
  • Catering/janitorial contracts, James Bay
  • Campsite maintenance contracts

Why This Model Works

CCDC reports that 95% of the employment in construction for Aboriginal and Cree workers is a result of the company. It has worked to establish the following streams to support the hiring and economic opportunities within their region:

  • Establishment of Joint Ventures with First Nations whereby the experience, local employment, transfer of knowledge, and training is attained by the partner.
  • Ensuring maximum local economic spinoffs are attained.
  • Understanding the aspirations and objectives of the First Nations.
  • Establishment of communication between the First Nations and CCDC.

Challenges to Work on

CCDC feels that training subsidies are limiting, making it difficult for trainees to support themselves during these periods. Other challenges include working in other regions and their issues, and working with sub-contractors who do not recognize training experience of some of the apprenticeships. Specifically, these issues are

  • Certification of a carpenter (6,000 hrs) - companies need to have patience while trainees get their certificate.
  • Some contractors, employers, and subcontractors do not recognize or record the hours achieved by the trainees/apprentices to attain their certification.
  • Existing dependency of government agencies, such as Indian Affairs.