North Bay’s loss will be Timmins’ gain when 40 Ontario Power Generation (OPG) jobs are redistributed later this year.
The OPG announced on March 6 it would be closing its North Bay location and redistributing the 40 employees that work there. Rumours about the move had been swirling in the community for the last few weeks.
OPG’s chief operating officer Al Reid confirmed to Village Media that the company would be redistributing the jobs around the province, including sending 20 trades and maintenance employees to its Timmins location.
The 40 transferred employees represent support staff, engineering, and the environmental operations group. The control group, consisting of 20 workers, will be moving to Timmins.
"This is about the ongoing commitment by OPG to find the most cost-effective way of generating electricity and this was a financial efficiency," Reid said in a phone interview this morning.
"We have a very small bit of generation in this part of the province and we have a very large administrative overhead to manage that, so we're merging parts of the operations here in North Bay to some larger existing parts of the operation such as Eastern Operations in Timmins so we can gain economies of scale."
The move will be effective over the next few weeks and take a year to get everything done.
Reid said there is no going back.
"We are committed to making these cost savings for the business."
And he defended the decision not to keep local politicians in the loop.
"We are committed to treating our employees fairly and part of that is that they heard this news first and, as you can imagine, it's not a straightforward process to making sure that all our ducks are in a row, that we've talked with the right people like our people and unions before we talk to elected officials,” Reid said.
“We made the announcement this morning and we've already started reaching out to the mayor and (North Bay MPP Vic) Fedeli."
Reid says he got a "very professional" reaction from the affected employees this morning.
"We're very proud of our employees and they acted in a very professional manner,” he said.
“They have a lot of concerns. This is affecting their livelihood and the lives of their families. Under the circumstances, we had a very professional response this morning."
Reid said the company will now look at selling the OPG’s North Bay facilities.