Some mixed feelings are brewing in the Dehcho about Great Slave Helicopters’ new “lean mean management” after staff and pilots in Fort Simpson were fired on Friday.
The Yellowknife-based chopper company was issued a new business number and a new board of directors in an Ontario court late last month. The company had been losing around $5 million annually, in part due to a decline in oil, gas and mineral activities, according to court documents.
— Josh Campbell (@Splash_Campbell) December 1, 2018
The new management team had let their Ontario and Alberta staff go on November 26th, and said publicly in a CBC news report that they would not be cutting any positions in the NWT.
Ron Blauel is an indigenous pilot from the Dehcho community of Fort Simpson and is one of three employees affected. In a social media post and a message to CKLB News, Blauel confirmed he was let go on Friday.
Blauel writes, “it It has been is pleasure serving the community as the base manager for Great Slave Helicopters for the past two years, and he has always taken pride in keeping people safe in his region especially through the difficult times traveling between the ferry and ice road twice a year.”
The only Dene group that challenged the new management takeover according to court documents in Ontario was the Gwich’in Development Corporation which is the majority shareholder in Great Slaves joint venture in that Region.
Sahtu Helicopters is also a majority shareholder in Great Slave Helicopters in its region at 51 per cent.
Dehcho Helicopters was the only regional joint venture that held less than 50 per cent share.
No one from Great Slave Helicopters was available for comment over the weekend.