Cree Construction and Development Company

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Partnerships at the heart of business

Throughout its 32 years in business, Cree Construction and Development Company (CCDC) has participated in some of Canada’s biggest construction projects, notably with Quebec Hydro. Founded in 1976 by Cree First Nations communities and owned entirely by The James Bay Cree of Northern Quebec, it is now one of the largest and most successful companies of its kind.

The mission of Cree Construction is “to build First Nations communities through economic development.” CCDC is made up of projects managers, technicians, procurement specialists, administrative and HR experts, engineers and labourers. The team is currently busy on a multitude of projects, from work on Chisasibi School, Waskaganish airport, a wastewater treatment facility in Eastmain, to a telecommunications centre in Chisasibi. In fact, over the last seven years, CCDC has been involved with projects costing $180 million, with $100 million being paid into First Nations communities. 

“We will continue to work hard to develop and employ as many First Nations members as we can,” says William MacLeod, President of CCDC. From his office in Chisasibi, MacLeod says his greatest pride is that 350 native employees work for CCDC and its joint ventures.

“The objective is to create employment and experience and certification for First Nations people to do this skilled work,” says MacLeod. CCDC’s main efforts centre around certification. First Nations communities have many skilled labourers, but not all have the necessary paperwork to be permitted to work on larger projects outside the communities. MacLeod aims to cease this disenfranchisement.

“Our objective is to get certification. We have people here who have worked for many years as a carpenter but don’t have certification. With help from the CCDC, members can work outside the reserve, under CCQ-provincial regulatory board.”

If CCDC was created initially as an experiment, it has worked. In peak season, some 850 Native and non-Native employees are employed with infrastructure and construction projects for municipalities and reserves in northern Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.

“Ten different construction companies hired Cree workers at the Eastmain-1 site. However,  CCDC alone accounted for 96 per cent of hours worked by Cree employees” (source CCQ).

Partnerships

“When you think about it, most of these First Nations are in the North. We have been working with them to do the necessary work to keep northern contracts,” says MacLeod. “The majority of our clients support our mission to be an aboriginal First Nations company. These projects in Northern Quebec require a lot of manpower, a lot of companies are looking for employees.  We work in partnership with these companies.”

The partnership works so that CCDC provides employment opportunities in communities where employment is somewhat scarce, and the companies receive some of the most dedicated, hardworking and skilled employers in the country.

Not content to rest on its laurels, CCDC’s next mandate is to train another 290 First Nations members in the next 30 months to continue providing certification and employment opportunities for these communities. “The positions will vary to cover all positions in the construction (field and administration), catering and janitorial industries. The Cree Job Partnership is possible through the contributions of Emploi Québec, ASEP, CREECO (ADC, CCDC, Valpiro and Air Creebec), Cree School Board and the Cree Human Resources Department,” says MacLeod.

CCDC is continuing a legacy of quality projects and creating opportunities within the First Nations communities, the effects of which will be far reaching and long lasting.  

www.ccdc.qc.ca

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