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Janice Larocque - Women in Business Panel

Successful Indigenous staffing agency opening another location

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Janice LarocqueJanice Larocque just loves to see other Indigenous people working.

But it’s not as if the Métis woman, who lives in Calgary, is just sitting around watching others.

Back in 1998 Larocque started Spirit Staffing & Consulting Inc., an equal opportunity employment agency that assists Indigenous people with finding work.

“It’s very satisfying,” Larocque said of the work she does in helping other secure jobs. “At the end of the day when you see them smile and they have an income, it’s all worth it.”

Larocque estimates she’s helped about 2,000 Indigenous people find work in the past two decades in the company’s Calgary branch alone.

For the past 15 years Spirit Staffing & Consulting Inc. has also had an Edmonton office, run by Larocque’s sister Beatrice.

The Edmonton business is booming so much that a second office is opening in September. The company’s original location will continue to be for those seeking administrative and professional services jobs. And the new branch will be for industrial and safety training positions.

Due to her own successes in the business world Larocque has been named to this year’s Stantec Women in Business panel. The four panelists will discuss their business exploits at the Cando Conference, which will be held Oct. 22-25 in Enoch, Alta.

This marks the fifth year of the women’s panel at the conference run by Cando, the national organization that promotes Indigenous economic development.

Spirit Staffing & Consulting Inc. helps Indigenous people find different types of work, either with temporary, permanent or contract jobs.

One of the company’s busiest moments came in 2016, when it found several hundred Indigenous workers to help rebuild Fort McMurray, following a devastating wildfire in the Alberta municipality.

“It went very well,” Larocque said of that employment-seeking venture. “We had a career fair in Edmonton and we had 3,000 people show up for that.”

About 600 of those individuals were hired and given contracts, ranging from 2-6 months. Their jobs included helping with the cleanup of the town, various demolition duties and working with numerous insurance companies.

Though even more work can be done, Larocque is happy she’s been able to do her part to help erase some of the myths about Indigenous employees. And she’s thrilled her company has been able to bridge the gap with many non-Indigenous businesses.

“We have a lot of people in the community that believe in us,” she said.