Census: Public admin the top industry in Opportunity and First Nations

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

This article is part of a series on the 2021 Canada Census. Unless otherwise indicated, all data is from the Census.

Public administration was the largest industry or tied for first in five out of eight communities in the Slave Lake and Wabasca area. It was the largest industry in M.D. #17 Opportunity, Bigstone Cree Nation, Swan River First Nation, and Loon River First Nation. Sawridge First Nation had a three way tie between three industries, including public admin.

In the other three communities, it was much further down. Public admin was seventh from the top (close to the middle) in Slave Lake. In M.D. #124 Lesser Slave River, it was 12th from the top (seventh from the bottom), so in the lower half. Kinuso didn’t have anyone in public administration, which may have been an error since it does have a county office. However, people working in the Kinuso office may live in Big Lakes County, M.D. #124, Slave Lake, Swan River, or High Prairie.

Industry
The Census has 21 industry categories. No one in Slave Lake listed ‘management of companies and enterprises’ as their industry. However, the other 20 were present. The other communities had fewer industries, with a general trend that larger communities had more industries.

For both industry and occupation, the Census has estimates based on a survey of 25 per cent of the population aged 15 years and older. This means that there is likely some difference between the numbers listed and reality. Also, the job information was based on questions referring to the week of May 2 to 8, 2021.

The size of the working-age population (people 15 and older), from largest to smallest, in the Slave Lake and Wabasca area communities are: Slave Lake (3,760), M.D. #124 (1,590), M.D. #17 (1,455), Bigstone (740), Loon River (180), Swan River (105), Kinuso (60), and Sawridge (20).

In Slave Lake, the largest industry was ‘manufacturing’ with an estimated 565 people working in it. Manufacturing likely includes the four forest products mills. Whereas, logging would be in forestry.

Occupations and industries are based on where someone lives, not where they work.

For example, the Slave Lake mills are in Lesser Slave River, but many people who work in them live in Slave Lake.

Also, Slave Lake has seven schools and Lesser Slave River only has one (in Smith), but people living in Lesser Slave River attend and work at schools in Slave Lake.

Most area communities (except Kinuso and Swan River) also have a Northern Lake College (NLC) campus, so likely some of the people working in education are connected with the college.

On the low end, the Census said Slave Lake had an estimated 30 people each working in two industries: ‘info and cultural industries’ and ‘real estate and rental’.

In the order they appear in the Census, the industries for Slave Lake were: not applicable (120); ag, forestry, fishing and hunting (105); mining, quarrying and oil and gas (255); utilities (40); construction (175); manufacturing (565); wholesale trade (40); retail trade (525); transport and warehousing (165); info and cultural industries (30); finance and insurance (50); real estate and rental (30); professional, scientific and technical services (105); admin and support, waste management and remediation services (95); education (285); health care and social assistance (400); arts, entertainment and recreation (45); accommodation and food service (380); other services (except public admin) (145); and public admin (200).

M.D. #124 had 18 industries. Of the 20 industries in Slave Lake, it was missing ‘info and cultural industries’ and ‘arts, entertainment, and recreation.’

Retail (190) was the largest industry for people living in M.D. #124, most likely many work in Slave Lake. The second was ag, forestry, fishing and hunting (180). This is not surprising as more people in M.D. #124 live on farms or acreages than in the hamlets.

M.D. #124’s 18 industries were: not applicable (35); ag, forestry, fishing and hunting (180); mining, quarrying and oil and gas (105); utilities (10); construction (150); manufacturing (145); wholesale trade (40); retail trade (190); transport and warehousing (100); finance and insurance (25); real estate and rental (30); professional, scientific and technical services (90); admin and support, waste management and remediation services (40); education (130); health care and social assistance (105); accommodation and food service (70); other services (except public admin) (85); and public admin (50).

M.D. #17 had 19 industries. Of the 20 industries found in the area, it was missing ‘real estate and rental.’
In M.D. #17, public admin was the highest industry with an estimated 265. This was followed by 220 people in education.

The 19 industries in M.D. #17 were: not applicable (85); ag, forestry, fishing and hunting (15); mining, quarrying and oil and gas (130); utilities (25); construction (125); manufacturing (10); wholesale trade (10); retail trade (135); transport and warehousing (40); info and cultural industries (10); finance and insurance (15); professional, scientific and technical services (10); admin and support, waste management and remediation services (85); education (220); health care and social assistance (175); arts, entertainment and recreation (20); accommodation and food service (65); other services (except public admin) (25); and public admin (265).

Like its closest neighbour M.D. #17, Bigstone’s largest industry was public admin with 200 people. The next was health care and social assistance with 165.

Bigstone had 13 industries. These were: not applicable (50); ag, forestry, fishing and hunting (25); mining, quarrying and oil and gas (25); construction (55); wholesale trade (10); retail trade (20); transport and warehousing (35); admin and support, waste management and remediation services (60); education (90); health care and social assistance (165); arts, entertainment and recreation (15); accommodation and food service (15); and public admin (200).

Loon River had six industries. Like the previous two communities, the largest industry was public admin (70). This was followed by education (35).

Loon River has a Kindergarten to Grade 12 school (K to 12) school and a NLC campus. The closest community is Red Earth Creek in M.D. #17, which also has a K to 12 school. It is a bit odd that ag, forestry, fishing and hunting were not included in Loon River, as Loon River First Nation is involved in logging and has members who hunt and trap.

Loon River industries: construction (20); retail trade (15); education (35); health care and social assistance (15); other services (except public admin) (10); and public admin (70).

Swan River had six industries. The largest was public admin (25) followed by education (20).

All six Swan River categories were: not applicable (10); construction (10); admin and support, waste management and remediation services (10); education (20); health care and social assistance (10); and public admin (25).

Looking at industries, Kinuso and Sawridge are not on the graph as they only had two or three industries.
Kinuso had an estimated 60 people (15+) working. Of these, the industry for 35 people was listed. This was 25 in retail and 10 in health care and social assistance.

Sawridge had 20 people working. These worked in three industries 10 in retail, 10 in accommodations and food services and 10 in public administration. As the number of people in industries (30) is greater than the number of workers (20), it is possible that some people worked in two or more industries.

Occupation
Another way of looking at the job data is through occupations instead of industries. Some of these could be within an industry, for example it seems reasonable that a school would include finance and education occupations. Others are combinations of industries for example ‘education, law and social, community and government services.’

‘Trades, transport, equipment operators and related occupations’ was the top or second top occupation in most communities. It was first in M.D. 124, Bigstone, and Loon River. It was second in Slave Lake, M.D. #17 and Kinuso (three way tie).

Similarly, ‘sales and services’ was in the top two in all but Bigstone. It was the only occupation in Sawridge.

Sales and services and trades etc. were tied for third in Swan River.

The Census includes 11 occupations. All 11 were present in Slave Lake.

In Slave Lake, the largest occupation was ‘sales and services’ (1,025). The second was ‘trades, transport, equipment operators and related occupations’ (745).

Slave Lake occupations (in the order in the Census): not applicable (120); legislative and senior management (55); business, finance and admin (475); natural and applied sciences and related occupations (170); health (220); education, law and social, community and government services (410); art, culture, recreation and sport (35); sales and service (1,025); trades, transport, equipment operators and related occupations (745); natural resources, ag, and related production occupations (180); and manufacturing and utilities (315).

In M.D. #124, the top to occupations were switched compared to Slave Lake. These were trades etc. (405) and sales and services (320).

M.D. #124 had 10 occupations: not applicable (35); business, finance and admin (200); natural and applied sciences etc. (60); health (65); education, law and social, community and government services (155); art, culture, recreation and sport (20); sales and service (320); trades, transport, equipment operators and related occupations (405); natural resources, ag, and related production occupations (220); and manufacturing and utilities (115).

In M.D. #17, the largest occupations were sales and services (370) and trades etc. (280).

M.D. #17 had all 11 occupations listed in the Census. These were: not applicable (85); legislative etc. (30); business, finance and admin (180); natural and applied sciences etc. (30); health (45); education, law and social, community and government services (240); art, culture, recreation and sport (25); sales and service (370); trades, transport, equipment operators etc. (280); natural resources, ag etc. (115); and manufacturing and utilities (65).

In Bigstone, trades etc. (185) was the largest occupation followed by business, finance and admin (155).

Bigstone had eight occupations: not applicable (50); legislative etc. (20); business, finance and admin (155); health (78); education, law and social, community and government services (150); sales and service (135); trades, transport, equipment operators etc. (185); and natural resources, ag etc. (30).
Loon River’s top occupation was trades etc. (50) followed by sales and services (45).

Loon River had seven occupations: legislative etc. (10); business, finance and admin (20); education, law and social, community and government services (30); sales and service (45); trades, transport, equipment operators and related occupations (50); natural resources, ag, and related production occupations (10); and manufacturing and utilities (10).

Bucking the trend, Swan River’s top occupation was education, law and social, community and government services (25), followed by business, finance and admin (20).

Swan River had eight occupations: not applicable (10); legislative etc. (10); business etc. (20); education etc. (25); sales and service (15); trades, transport, equipment operators and related occupations (15); natural resources, ag, and related production occupations (10); and manufacturing and utilities (10).

Kinuso had four occupations. The top one was sales and services (25). It was a three way tie for second place with 10 each in business etc., trades etc, and education etc.

Sawridge is not included on the graph, because all of the people listed as working were in the same occupation ‘sales and services.’ It had an estimated 20 people 15+. Of these, occupations only 15 were listed.

Workers in the Slave Lake fell into 20 categories. Wabasca and the other areas had a subset of these industries. M.D. #17 Opportunity had 19 categories. M.D. #124 Lesser Slave River had 18. Smaller communities had less industries. This graph has six of the area communities. Those not listed had less industries.
The Census has information on occupations. Slave Lake had 11 occupations. This graph has seven of the area communities. Those not listed had less occupations.

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