EDMONTON – Upwards of 30 employers were on hand for a job fair in Edmonton Wednesday as hundreds of people lined up to apply for positions.
Stephane Paradis was among those looking for work. Paradis has 24 years of experience as a welder but was recently laid off. The job hunt has been tough and Paradis said at this point he’ll take any job he can get.
“I’ve been here 11 years and I never ran out of a job. Right now it’s pretty hard,” he said. “It’s worse than ’08.
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“We’re looking for something else right now, to find something to put food on the table.”
Several hospitality companies were on site, including the Delta Edmonton South Hotel, the Sawridge Hotel and Tim Hortons. The RCMP, Canada Post and Statistics Canada were also on hand.
Acces Emploi hosted the job fair. Employment liaison officer Robert Delplanque expected 1,000 people to come through the doors Wednesday. That’s up from the 700 the job fair brought in last year.
“Because of the economy, a lot of people (are) unemployed,” Delplanque said.
There were fewer construction companies at the job fair than in previous years. Delplanque said that too has to do with the economy.
“Everything has slowed down because of the oil patch. Usually I’ll have a few of the oil companies also,” he said. “There’s still jobs but it’s not the jobs that are up in Fort McMurray that are related to the oilpatch.”
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McDonald’s Restaurants took part in the fair, looking to hire 215 new employees in Edmonton alone. The fast-food restaurant is looking to hire 750 across Alberta.
“We are hiring new positions to grow our business and this is also an ideal time for us to get ready and staffed for our summer season ahead,” Hanif Adatia, who owns a McDonald’s restaurant in Sherwood Park, said.
Crew, management, hospitality and customer service jobs were available as part of McDonald’s sixth annual national hiring day, which allows job seekers to drop off their resume at any McDonald’s location across Canada. The hiring spree will see 7,000 new positions filled across Canada.
Adatia said he saw all sorts of people applying for jobs, from students to those looking for a career change.
“We are seeing more individuals who are reintroducing themselves into the workforce,” he said. “We’re seeing a little more of an uptick in that group.”
The jobs up for grabs at McDonald’s Wednesday were on top of the 1,900 new jobs the company said it was creating in March.
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The new jobs are all part of the company’s plan to redesign over 1,000 of its 1,400 Canadian restaurants.
“We are hiring more people today than we have in the past because without people, this strategy cannot come to fruition,” Adatia explained.
The redesign includes new self-order kiosks, personalized burger options and improved table service.